Nutrition News: What You Need to Know
A Rise in Metabolic Syndrome
Half of U.S. adults age 60 or older now have what is called metabolic syndrome – a cluster of symptoms that raise the risks of heart disease, diabetes, and stroke. Talk to your doctor if you have three or more of the following:
- A large waist circumference
- Low HDL (the “good” cholesterol)
- High triglycerides
- High blood pressure
- A high fasting blood sugar leveL
A HEALTHY LIFESTYLE CAN CUT the RISK!!
DO YOU NEED VITAMIN D?
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin found in two forms, Vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol) and D3 (cholecalciferol). The RDA for women and men is 15 mcg or 600 UL and the UL is 100 mcg (4,000 IU The primary functions are: needed for absorption of calcium and phosphorus and their utilization in bone formation, and nerve and muscle activity. It also inhibits inflammation and is involved in insulin secretion and blood glucose level maintenance. You may have seen lately the claim that it is needed especially in older adults for the prevention and/or treatment for COVID-19; however, so far there is no solid evidence to support that.
There is some preliminary evidence that it may offer some antiviral responses against the risk of respiratory infections in general and boost the ability of lung cells to fight bacteria and viruses. A large meta analysis) published in 2017 in BMJ (British Medical Journal) concluded that taking a D supplement with anywhere from less than 800 IU to more than 2000 IU reduced the risk of having at least one respiratory tract infection. Those most deficient saw the most benefits, and there is “no trial that has shown any benefit for giving vitamin D in any population that is getting enough vitamin D,” says F. Michael Gloth, III, M.D., an associate professor of geriatric medicine at Johns Hopkins University Medical School.
About 50 percent of people aged 60 and older take a D supplement and for some, it may useful. About 80% of older adults don’t get enough D in their diet as well as there are few food sources of vitamin D, since we make our own D in the skin. Because of this, The National Academy of Medicine recommends 600 IU of vitamin D a day up to age 70; 800 IU daily after that. Ultimately, whether to get tested or take a supplement comes down having this discussion with your doctor.
Lifestyle habits can make a difference:
- Don’t smoke – smoking depletes many vitamins and limit your ability to make vitamin D.
- People carrying extra weight often have low D levels. Losing that extra weight may boost D levels.
- Physical activity may increase vitamin D levels.
- Getting enough sun – just 15 to 20 minutes a day on face, arms, legs, back without sunscreen can give a healthy dose. This can be harder in the winter or if you have darker skin.
- Diet can help a little – cow’s milk and plant milks are usually fortified as well as some juices and cereals. Fatty fish and egg yolks help.
- People with bowel disease or metabolic problems can affect D absorption. A simple blood test is often recommended by your doctor. Consult with your doctor who can help you with testing your individual levels, no matter what your age or health status.
Source: CRConsumer Reports On Health, October, 2020
What is the difference betwwen ALA, EPA, and DHA Omega 3 fatty acids?
Both nuts and fish contain healthy omega-3 fatty acids. They help fight inflammation, boost brain and heart health and ensure healthy fetal development. However there are three omega-3 fats (ALA, EPA and DHA) that differ in how we acquire them in our diets. The omega-3 from nuts is primarily ALA, while EPA and DHA are found preformed in fish. and algae. Here are the facts:
- Omega-3 ALA cannot be created in our bodies and must, therefore be acquired from diet or supplements.
- ALA is good but EPA and DHA are better (EPA for inflammation and DHA for brain/heart health. Your brain is made up of 58% DHA by dry weight.
- Although we are technically able to synthesize our own EPA and DHA from ALA, we don’t do so very efficiently (in fact, the rates of conversion are quite low at 3% and 19%, respectively).
- So if you’re vegetarian or simply don’t like fish, you may need to supplement your diet with EPA/DHA from fish or look for vegetarian omega-3 supplements that derive EPA and DHA from algae. Simply, that is where the fish get it.
Source: Tufts Health & Nutrition Letter