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7 January 2009

Lower Your Blood Pressure With Vitamin C

A study has linked high blood levels of vitamin C with lower blood pressure in young women.

The study involved almost 250 women. They entered the trial when they were 8 to 11 years old, and over a 10-year period, their plasma levels of ascorbic acid (vitamin C) and blood pressure were monitored. Both their systolic and diastolic blood pressure readings, were found to be inversely associated with ascorbic acid levels.

Previous research had already linked high plasma levels of vitamin C with lower blood pressure among middle-age and older adults.

Reuters December 30, 2008

Fosamax Causes Jaw Necrosis and Cancer of the Esophagus

Tens of millions of Americans currently take the osteoporosis drug Fosamax. But a brief report published today in the New England Journal of Medicine suggests a link between the osteoporosis drug and the development of esophageal cancer.

The report reveals that the has FDA received 23 reports of esophageal cancer possibly linked to the drug. Eight of the 23 have died so far. Some experts believe this report is concerning enough to warrant a change in doctors' habit of prescribing oral bisphosphonates, the class of drugs to which Fosamax belongs.

In a separate disturbing finding, clinical data has linked oral bisphosphonates to increased jaw necrosis. The study showed that even short-term use of common oral osteoporosis drugs may leave the jaw vulnerable to devastating jaw bone death.

ABC News December 31, 2009
Eurekalert January 1, 2009

The Overwhelming Evidence That Sunlight Fights Cancer

A new paper analyses the case for vitamin D’s cancer-fighting power by looking at the well-known Hill criteria for examining causality in a biological system. The Hill criteria look at:

Strength of association
Consistency (repeated observation)
Specificity (one agent, one result)
Temporality (exposure precedes effect)
Biological gradient (dose-response relation)
Plausibility (e.g., mechanisms)

Coherency (no serious conflict with the generally known facts of the natural history and biology of the disease)
The theory that solar ultraviolet radiation -- and by extension, vitamin D, which is produced when such radiation strikes your skin -- is a potent cancer fighter satisfies most, if not all, of the criteria. From a scientific point of view, therefore, vitamin D reduces the risk of many forms of cancer and increases survival rates once cancer reaches a detectable stage.

However, public policy often lags behind scientific research. It is to be hoped that the acceptance of the beneficial nature of vitamin D will not have too much longer to wait. It is encouraging that the National Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Medicine is currently embarking on a two-year study of vitamin D, and is expected to issue a report in 2010.

Dermato-Endocionology 1:1, 14-21; January 2009

The Top Anti-Junk Food Marketing Moments in 2008

The Center for Science in the Public Interest’s childhood obesity team has produced a list of “great anti-junk food marketing” moments in 2008. They focus on progress in industry self-regulation, but also on congressional legislation to restrict marketing and put healthier foods in schools.

Their list included such items as:

Under public pressure, Nestle USA joined the Council of Better Business Bureau’s Children’s Food and Beverage Initiative, which aims to set nutrition standards for the foods that will (and will not) be marketed to kids
At a U.S. Senate hearing, Nickelodeon scrambled to defend their reluctance to set nutritional standards for character licensing, and lawmakers made it clear that they will be closely watching self-regulation efforts
McDonald’s stopped advertising on report cards in Seminole, Florida, after nearly two thousand parents complained

What To Eat January 2, 2009

Women Warned: Eat Less or Weigh More

New research shows that women who don't try to eat less more than double their risk of substantial weight gain in middle age. If you're a 40-something woman, whether you're thin or overweight, the odds are that you'll gain weight over time if you don't make an effort to cut back on what you eat.

The finding comes from a study of nearly 200 women with an average age of 40. At the start of the study the women underwent detailed physical exams, and underwent a seven-day analysis of the food they ate.

Three years later, they underwent another round of physical exams and food-intake analysis. The bottom line was no surprise -- they tended to gain weight and body fat as they aged and became less physically active.

However, not all women gained weight. Even if they didn't exercise more, women who made an effort to eat less were 69 percent less likely to gain more than 2.2 pounds and were 2.4 times less likely to gain 6.6 pounds or more.

WebMD January 2, 2009