INTERNATIONAL HEALTH NEWS
William R. Ware, PhD - Editor
Featured in this issue are two important components of preventive medicine, the long chain omega-3 fatty acids and that constantly recurrent supplement, vitamin D. As readers of this Newsletter know, the evidence for the health benefits of the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil are compelling, accrue to all ages from the unborn to the very old, and confer benefits in the prevention of a number of disorders prominent in our society. Acquiring and maintaining a healthy omega-3 status can be accomplished by eating lots of oily fish, taking rather large amounts of cod liver oil, or supplementing inadequate dietary intake with fish oil capsules or capsules containing refined fish oil with enhanced quantities of EPA and DHA, the two critical fatty acids. A recent paper in the “Journal of the American College of Nutrition” reminded me of krill oil, a most interesting source of EPA and DHA. I have reviewed this paper which deals with decreasing inflammation as well as what appear to be the only other randomized trials, one devoted to krill oil and blood lipids, the other dealing with the premenstrual syndrome. The patented brand of oil used in these studies appears to have unique properties as regards bioavailability. All three of these studies were directed entirely, or in part, by university- or hospital-based groups, and thus the extent of support from the patent holder appears minimal. All were randomized studies and two were placebo controlled.
Two papers are reviewed that address the importance of omega-3 supplementation and attention- deficit/hyperactivity disorder. This is an important problem with an amazingly large percentage of young people diagnosed with this disorder. In addition, a study is mentioned that addresses the issue of food additives and hyperactivity in children.
The vitamin D studies reviewed deal with the effect on overall mortality, multiple sclerosis, cardiovascular risk and finally, the safety of mega-doses for therapeutic purposes. If the concern is primary prevention, no one would or probably could take such high doses (over 200,000 IU/day), the absence of adverse effects strongly suggests that the high (2-4000 IU/day) or very high (10,000 IU/day) are apparently very safe. It is unfortunate that some influential groups are still worried about the safety of doses that exceed 400-800 IU/day. Incidentally, I found it interesting in this connection that our local drug store (part of a big national chain) has a large display of vitamin D bottles which contain 1000 IU capsules.
This issue also contains the first of a series of reviews on cholesterol and cardiovascular disease. In part I, the role of cholesterol in atherosclerosis is discussed. Part II will discuss cholesterol and mortality and Part III various aspects of lipid lowering.
Please bear in mind that the cost of publishing this newsletter is solely defrayed by income made from the on- line vitamin store. Without this, there would be no IHN. So, if you need to restock your supplements, please remember that by ordering through the on-line vitamin store you will be helping to maintain the web site and database, and the publication of IHN. You can find the store at http://www.yourhealthbase.com/vitamins.htm.
Wishing you continuing good health, William R. Ware, PhD, Editor
International Health News