Dr. Greger: Latest in Clinical Nutrition – Volume 28

November 29th, 2015 by Jack Norris RD

Dr. Michael Greger has released his Latest in Clinical Nutrition – Volume 28. It can be ordered as a digital download or a DVD.

In discussing Volume 28, Dr. Greger says, “Alternative medicine practitioners continue to treat thousands of cancer patients with vitamin C, but why isn’t it the standard of care in mainstream medicine? Has it been successfully debunked or is it a Big Pharma conspiracy to suppress the truth?”

Find out in Volume 28!

Lower Risk of Prostate Cancer among Vegans

November 29th, 2015 by Jack Norris RD

The Adventist Health Study-2 has published results of their study on prostate cancer risk among various diet groups after 7.8 years of follow-up.

Vegans were shown to have a 34% lower risk of being diagnosed with prostate cancer than regular meat-eaters. The other diet groups were not found to be statistically different than regular meat-eaters. Here are the confidence intervals:

  • Non-Veg: 1.00
  • Semi-Veg: 1.18 (.91, 1.54)
  • Pesco: 1.07 (.88, 1.31)
  • Lacto-Ovo: .96 (.83, 1.12)
  • Vegan: .66 (.50, .87)

The results were adjusted for age, race, family history, education, screening, caloric intake, and body mass index. There were 2,140 vegans in the study.

A similar trend was found when looking only at African American participants, but the results didn’t reach statistical significance.

Among those diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer (as distinct from all types of prostate cancer) vegans had a 30% reduced risk, but it wasn’t statistically significant.

The authors speculated on a number of mechanisms that could be responsible for the lower rates among vegans:

  • Lower levels of insulin-like growth factor 1
  • Lower insulin resistance
  • Lower calcium intakes increasing the need for the conversion of vitamin D into its active form which might reduce prostate cancer
  • Reduced inflammation due to higher antioxidant intakes
  • Increased soy consumption which has been linked to lower prostate cancer risk (with a large number of possible mechanisms)

I have updated the prostate cancer section of the VeganHealth.org article, Cancer, Vegetarianism, and Diet.

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Methylcobalamin & Adenosylcobalamin: Consolidated

November 11th, 2015 by Jack Norris RD

It’s raining B12!

I have consolidated all the information from my blog and VeganHealth.org regarding the benefits and drawbacks of supplementing with the co-enzyme forms, methylcobalamin and adenosylcobalamin, over cyanocobalamin.

Click here: Methylcobalamin & Adenosylcobalamin

Support JackNorrisRd.com

If you like my posts, please like my posts! Or share them!

I am very grateful for donations of any amount (click here).

Purchase anything through these links and JackNorrisRD gets a percentage:

Pangea – The Vegan Store
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Vegan for Life by Jack Norris & Ginny Messina

Thank you!

Two B12 Deficiency Cases

November 11th, 2015 by Jack Norris RD

I have updated the VeganHealth.org page, Individual Cases of Deficiency, with two recent cases below. In the past, readers have asked me to post these when they come out, so I will continue to do so.

Biyani S, Jha SK, Pandey S, Shukla R. Acute bilateral useless hand syndrome: a rare presenting manifestation of vitamin B12 deficiency. BMJ Case Rep. 2015 Oct 16;2015. | link

A 38-year-old man, “strict vegetarian,” developed “useless hand syndrome.” Laboratory tests showed vitamin B12 deficiency. He was given B12 injection and after 8 weeks was free of symptoms.

Førland ES, Lindberg MJ. [Severe macrocytic anaemia and secondary hyperparathyroidism in a vegan]. Ugeskr Laeger. 2015 Aug 10;177(33). | link

“In this case report we present a 39-year-old male vegan with severe macrocytic anaemia due to vitamin B12 deficiency as well as secondary hyperparathyroidism due to severe vitamin D deficiency.”

Vegan Health & Fitness Magazine: Vegans Need B12

November 8th, 2015 by Jack Norris RD

Over the past couple of years a number of readers and colleagues have contacted me about the apparent stance of Vegan Health & Fitness Magazine (VHFM) that vegans do not need to supplement with vitamin B12. People have contacted the magazine about this issue but they have not modified their position.

Currently, VHFM has an article, The Science is in: B12, by Brian Acree, which has been available for some time (no publication date is listed).

Despite the name of the article, Acree suggests that the science is actually not in. He argues that we have no definitive answers, but that if vegans eat a variety of plant foods, including foods like seaweed, we’ll be fine.

Acree bases his argument mostly on research from the Watanabe group, research that I detail in B12 in Plant Foods.

Acree says, “Of particular interest is the fact that Watanabe cited two studies that showed that vegans who consumed nori and/or chlorella (the green substance in all green vegetables) had serum vitamin B-12 concentrations ‘twice as high as those not consuming these algae.'”

Acree appears to be mistaking the algae, chlorella, for the molecule chlorophyll and, because of this mistake, seems to be suggesting that all green vegetables contain B12. But in reality, chlorophyll has nothing to do with vitamin B12.

Readers of this blog probably remember that just a couple weeks ago, and after this article by Acree was published, the first study came out indicating that chlorella has B12 activity (see Chlorella Shown to Have B12 Activity in Humans—Caution Warranted).

As for nori, in the one study looking at nori’s B12 activity in humans, it didn’t have any (more info).

In 2014, VHFM ran an article by Deobrah Nasmyth that pointed out that the editor of VHFM, Brenda Carey, doesn’t take B12 supplements or eat fortified foods and hasn’t developed B12 deficiency. Acree also uses his own personal lack of B12 deficiency symptoms as evidence that vegans don’t need to supplement with B12.

The problem with this reasoning is that unless you’re getting your methylmalonic acid and homocysteine levels checked, there’s no way for someone to know they don’t have B12 deficiency.

The study on chlorella mentioned above shows that many vegans come down with vitamin B12 deficiency due to a lack of vitamin B12 in the diet. Long periods of mild B12 deficiency are linked with dementia, and poor bone health in vegans.

And even if some vegans don’t develop vitamin B12 deficiency or obvious symptoms, too many vegans do develop them and sometimes with horrible consequences (see the Background section of Vitamin B12: Are You Getting It).

It’s not worth risking people’s health in order to make a philosophical statement and I hope to see Vegan Health & Fitness take a more responsible position regarding vitamin B12.

New Supplement with Vegan K2, D3, and “Chondroitin” Available

November 5th, 2015 by Jack Norris RD

Vegetology, the makers of Vitashine vegan vitamin D3 have a new vegan supplement out for joints, Joint-vie. They sent me three bottles along with three bottles of their vegan omega 3 supplement Opti3 Omega-3 EPA & DHA. Other than some free products occasionally, I get no compensation from Vegetology.

Two tablets of Joint-vie include 400 IU vitamin D, 200 mg of calcium, 187.5 mg of magnesium, 80 mg of vitamin C, 37.5 µg of vitamin K2, 500 mg of vegan glucosamine, and 425 of a vegan version of chondroitin (called Phytodroitin).

In 2011, I wrote an article, Glucosamine and Chondroitin. My conclusion was that the therapies have not been shown to be generally effective. But that said, I think it’s great that there’s now a vegan version for people who want to try it and especially for those who would otherwise buy chondroitin made from shark cartilage.

It’s also good to have a vegan vitamin K2 product other than natto. I couldn’t tell from the label what version of K2 Joint-vie contains.

As always, here are my Daily Recommendations for the nutrients I think all vegans need to be aware of.

I won’t be able to give any recommendations for any individuals regarding these supplements. Chris from Vegetology will probably be tracking any comments on this blog post so I will let him answer any specific questions people have.

Chlorella Shown to Have B12 Activity in Humans—Caution Warranted

October 28th, 2015 by Jack Norris RD

I have updated the article B12 in Plant Foods with a new study on B12 activity in Chlorella:

In a 2015 (USA) study, Merchant et al. fed 17 B12-deficient vegans and vegetarians a Chlorella pyrenoidosa supplement for 60 days (1). Average serum MMA levels decreased from 441 nmol/L at baseline to 301 nmol/L at 30 days and 297 nmol/L at 60 days. Average serum homocysteine levels decreased from 10.0 µm/L at baseline to 9.5 µmol/L at 30 days and 9.0 µmol/L at 60 days. No adverse effects were noted from the chlorella regimen.

Some caveats:

• Average serum MMA levels appeared to stabilize on this regimen at above recommended levels. B12 deficiency is generally defined as serum MMA levels above 270 nmol/L, the same standard used in this study by Merchant et al.

• The study was funded by Sun Chlorella Corporation of Japan and the lead author of the study is a paid consultant.

• A daily regimen of 45 Sun Chlorella A tablets (totaling 9 g) were used in this study. That amount of tablets would be quite costly. While it might require fewer than 45 tablets to achieve the same results, we can’t tell from this study.

In summary, it appears that at least some batches of chlorella have vitamin B12 activity, but it’s too soon to know how much chlorella vegans would require for optimal B12 status.

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If you like my posts, please like my posts! Or share them!

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References

1. Merchant RE, Phillips TW, Udani J. Nutritional Supplementation with Chlorella pyrenoidosa Lowers Serum Methylmalonic Acid in Vegans and Vegetarians with a Suspected Vitamin B(12) Deficiency. J Med Food. 2015 Oct 20. [Epub ahead of print] | link

Methyl vs. Cyano B12

October 25th, 2015 by Jack Norris RD

Special note: A study was just released suggesting that the algae chlorella has vitamin B12 activity. I will be reporting on that as soon as I get the paper.

A paper was published in the July edition of Molecular Nutrition and Food Research reviewing the four different forms of vitamin B12 (1). The four forms are cyanocobalamin (CNCbl), hydroxocobalamin (HOCbl), methylcobalamin (MeCbl), and adenosylcobalamin (AdoCbl).

A quick summary is that MeCbl and AdoCbl are the two forms of vitamin B12 that are co-enzymes–the body actually uses these forms and needs both of them. But CNCbl is the form most commonly found in supplements and fortified foods while HOCbl is the form usually contained in B12 shots.

There has been a debate for about the last 10 years as to whether supplementing with the co-enzyme forms is better than supplementing with CNCbl or HOCbl. The paper by Obeid et al. suggests that people do not benefit more from the co-enzyme forms. Even for people with genetic defects of vitamin B12 metabolism, injections with HOCbl are preferable to supplementing with the co-enzyme forms.

Excerpt:

Currently, we do not have sufficient evidence to suggest that the benefits of using MeCbl or AdoCbl override that of using CNCbl or HOCbl in terms of bioavailability, biochemical effects, or clinical efficacy. There is uncertainty regarding the claimed superior role of Cbl coenzyme forms for prevention and treatment of Cbl deficiency. However, HOCbl may be an advantageous precursor of the cofactors, particularly in the inherited disorders of metabolic Cbl processing. CNCbl is a more stable and inexpensive form that appears to be best suited for oral supplementation and parenteral [intravenous] treatment as well.

.

Support JackNorrisRd.com

If you like my posts, please like my posts! Or share them!

I am very grateful for donations of any amount (click here).

Purchase anything through these links and JackNorrisRD gets a percentage:

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References

1. Obeid R, Fedosov SN, Nexo E. Cobalamin coenzyme forms are not likely to be superior to cyano- and hydroxyl-cobalamin in prevention or treatment of cobalamin deficiency. Mol Nutr Food Res. 2015 Jul;59(7):1364-72. | link

Latest in Clinical Nutrition Volume 27 Released

October 25th, 2015 by Jack Norris RD

Dr. Michael Greger has released his Latest in Clinical Nutrition Volume 27.

As always, there’s lot of interesting stuff!

Butter is Not Back

October 25th, 2015 by Jack Norris RD

From the Harvard School of Public Health: Butter is not back: Limiting saturated fat still best for heart health

Excerpt:

People who replace saturated fat (mainly found in meats and dairy foods) in their diets with refined carbohydrates do not lower their risk of heart disease, according to a new study led by researchers at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. On the other hand, those who replace saturated fats with unsaturated fats (found in vegetable oils and nuts) or whole grains lower their heart disease risk.