Vitamins & minerals

Peer-Reviewed Scientific Articles​

Vitamin D as a promising anticancer agent

Journal: Indian Journal of Pharmacology
Publication Date: 04/2011
Summary: Presence of vitamin D receptors in noncalcemic tissues and subsequent identification of its involvement in growth factor(s)-mediated cellular function suggested its probable beneficial role in genesis, progression and survival of cancerous growths. Data collected from both in vitro and in vivo studies are highly optimistic regarding its potential in prevention and regression of colorectal, prostate and breast cancers. The vitamin has been found to interfere with the transduction pathways of various growth factor(s)-activated receptors (receptor tyrosine kinases) thereby modulating transcription and alteration of genomic functions resulting in inhibition of cell proliferation and angiogenesis and facilitation of cell differentiation and apoptosis. It also increases the level of an endogenous protein – cystatin D, which possesses antitumor and antimetastatic property, by facilitation of the expression of the gene coding for it. Though not as a primary anticancer agent, this vitamin may be used for the prevention of cancer and included as an adjuvant in combination chemotherapy for the treatment of cancer.

Key Takeaways

Vitamin D performs several anticancer functions. It can reduce cancer's ability to grow by inhibiting cell division/growth and preventing cancer's ability to increase its blood supply. It can even help to increase production of a protein called cystatin D which has anticancer properties as well.

The bioavailability of (pro) vitamin A carotenoids and maximizing the contribution of homestead food production to combating vitamin A deficiency.


Journal: International Journal for Vitamin and Nutritional Research

Publication Date: 05/2007

Summary: An estimated 100-140 million children worldwide suffer vitamin A deficiency disorders (VADD). Strategies for combating VADD are best used in combination because they serve particular target groups and none has full coverage. Homestead food production (HFP) can contribute to combating vitamin A deficiency directly, by increasing intake of vitamin A-rich foods, and indirectly through improving health and increasing income. By the late 1990s, conversion factors for estimating vitamin A obtained from plant foods were revised from 6:1 to 12:1 (microg beta-carotene:retinol activity equivalent) by the U.S. Institute of Medicine, and by West and colleagues to 21:1 for a mixed diet (12:1 for fruits and 26:1 for vegetables). Thus, plant foods contribute less to vitamin A intake than do other sources. HFP’s contribution can be maximized by increasing the amount of vitamin A-rich food consumed, including animal source foods, choosing foods with higher vitamin A content, and improving bioavailability by adding fat, destroying the matrix of vegetables, and deworming. Since the early 1990s, HFP programs have also included nutrition education and were then generally successful in increasing vitamin A intake. However, impact on vitamin A status was not often accessed. Two examples of evaluating impact using a plausibility approach are described. It is concluded that HFP can make a valuable contribution to combating VADD, especially where dietary diversity is low and when animal husbandry and nutrition education are included. Impact can be further maximized by using program infrastructure to introduce micronutrient-rich cultivars and improved breeds, and by adding other interventions, such as deworming and micronutrient supplementation.

Key Takeaways

Carotenoids are colored compounds in plant foods that have vitamin A activity in humans. However, the actual vitamin A activity of these compounds is quite low with vegetable carotenoids typically having less activity than fruits. Animal sourced foods, specifically animal fats contain vitamin A in an active form that is better utilized by humans. Therefore, animal foods with animal fats are an important part of the human diet and should be eaten to prevent vitamin A deficiency.

Bioavailability of iron, zinc, and other trace minerals from vegetarian diets


Journal: The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition

Publication Date: 09/2003

Summary: Iron and zinc are currently the trace minerals of greatest concern when considering the nutritional value of vegetarian diets. With elimination of meat and increased intake of phytate-containing legumes and whole grains, the absorption of both iron and zinc is lower with vegetarian than with nonvegetarian, diets. The health consequences of lower iron and zinc bioavailability are not clear, especially in industrialized countries with abundant, varied food supplies, where nutrition and health research has generally supported recommendations to reduce meat and increase legume and whole-grain consumption. Although it is clear that vegetarians have lower iron stores, adverse health effects from lower iron and zinc absorption have not been demonstrated with varied vegetarian diets in developed countries, and moderately lower iron stores have even been hypothesized to reduce the risk of chronic diseases. Premenopausal women cannot easily achieve recommended iron intakes, as modified for vegetarians, with foods alone; however, the benefit of routine iron supplementation has not been demonstrated. It may be prudent to monitor the hemoglobin of vegetarian children and women of childbearing age. Improved assessment methods are required to determine whether vegetarians are at risk of zinc deficiency. In contrast with iron and zinc, elements such as copper appear to be adequately provided by vegetarian diets. Although the iron and zinc deficiencies commonly associated with plant-based diets in impoverished nations are not associated with vegetarian diets in wealthier countries, these nutrients warrant attention as nutritional assessment methods become more sensitive and plant-based diets receive greater emphasis.

Key Takeaways

Vegetarian dieters tend to have lower iron and zinc stores likely due to the phytates present in legumes and grains that prevents the body from absorbing the minerals. There haven't been any negative health outcomes associated with these reductions in developed countries.

The challenge to reach nutritional adequacy for vitamin A: β-carotene bioavailability and conversion—evidence in humans


Journal: The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition

Publication Date: 10/2012

Summary: β-Carotene is an important dietary source of vitamin A for humans. However, the bioavailability and vitamin A equivalency of β-carotene are highly variable and can be affected by food- and diet-related factors, including the food matrix, food-processing techniques, size of the dose of β-carotene, and the amounts of dietary fat, fiber, vitamin A, and other carotenoids in the diet as well as by characteristics of the target population, such as vitamin A status, nutrient deficiencies, gut integrity, and genetic polymorphisms associated with β-carotene metabolism. The absorption of β-carotene from plant sources ranges from 5% to 65% in humans. Vitamin A equivalency ratios for β-carotene to vitamin A from plant sources range from 3.8:1 to 28:1, by weight. Vitamin A equivalency ratios for β-carotene from biofortified Golden Rice or biofortified maize are 3.8:1 and 6.5:1, respectively, and are lower than ratios for vegetables that have more complex food matrices (10:1 to 28:1). The vitamin A equivalency of β-carotene is likely to be context-specific and dependent on specific food- and diet-related factors and the health, nutritional, and genetic characteristics of human populations. Although the vitamin A equivalency of β-carotene is highly variable, the provision of vegetable and fruit sources of β-carotene has significantly increased vitamin A status in women and children in community settings in developing countries; these results support the inclusion of dietary interventions with plant sources of β-carotene as a strategy for increasing vitamin A status in populations at risk of deficiency.

Key Takeaways

Plant based sources of vitamin A are derived from carotenoids. Vitamin A activity of these carotenoids is multiple times less than the actual level of carotenoid in the plant. Additionally, carotenoids are not fully absorbed by the gut, which further diminishes their ability for use as Vitamin A.

Meat and Nicotinamide: A Causal Role in Human Evolution, History, and Demographics


Journal: International Journal of Tryptophan Research

Publication Date: 03/2017

Summary: Hunting for meat was a critical step in all animal and human evolution. A key brain-trophic element in meat is vitamin B3 / nicotinamide. The supply of meat and nicotinamide steadily increased from the Cambrian origin of animal predators ratcheting ever larger brains. This culminated in the 3-million-year evolution of Homo sapiens and our overall demographic success. We view human evolution, recent history, and agricultural and demographic transitions in the light of meat and nicotinamide intake. A biochemical and immunological switch
is highlighted that affects fertility in the u2018de novou2019 tryptophan-to-kynurenine-nicotinamide u2018immune toleranceu2019 pathway. Longevity relates to nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide consumer pathways. High meat intake correlates with moderate fertility, high intelligence, good health, and longevity with consequent population stability, whereas low meat/high cereal intake (short of starvation) correlates with high fertility, disease, and population booms and busts. Too high a meat intake and fertility falls below replacement levels. Reducing variances in meat consumption might help stabilise population growth and improve human capital.

Key Takeaways

Meat is rich in vitamin B3 (nicotinamide). Meat Rich diets correlate with moderate levels of fertility, high intelligence, good overall health, and longevity. Low meat diets high in cereal result in increased fertility, but correlate with disease, and sharp rises and falls in population. Steady higher levels of meat intake may be helpful in maintaining healthy populations.

Menaquinone-4 Suppresses Lipopolysaccharide-Induced Inflammation in MG6 Mouse Microglia-Derived Cells by Inhibiting the NF-κB Signaling Pathway


Journal: International Journal of Molecular Sciences

Publication Date: 05/2019

Summary: Alzheimer’s disease is associated with glial inflammation. In a rat model, MK-4, a subtype of Vitamin K2, reduced the inflammatory response of glial cells to LPS exposure.

Key Takeaways

Vitamin K2 is a nutrient found only in animal foods that reduced brain inflammation in rat models.

Vitamin D deficiency in mothers, neonates and children


Journal: The Journal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Publication Date: 01/2018

Summary: Vitamin D deficiency mainly occurs if strict vegetarian diet is followed as mostly the source of vitamin D is animal based. Low vitamin D levels results in increased possibility of gestational diabetes among pregnant women, low birth weight and pre-eclampsia in infants, and mothers may suffer bone impairment, osteoporosis, hypocalcaemia, and hypertension. Vitamin D deficiency is directly linked with severe complication in mothers and neonates, causing rickets, poor fetal growth and infantile eczema in neonates.

Key Takeaways

Strict vegan diets can lead to low Vitamin D, which can result in gestational diabetes, low birth weight, and high blood pressure during pregnancy. Mothers can also experience low calcium and osteoporosis. Newborns may also experience rickets, poor growth, and eczema due to Vitamin D deficiency.

The role of dietary creatine


Journal: Amino Acids

Publication Date: 08/2016

Summary: Review of the dietary requirements and sources of creatine. Discusses variations in amount of creatine in human diet across different populations and historically. Reviews animal studies on effects of creatine supplementation on fatty liver and intestinal permeability.

Key Takeaways

Creatine is a nutrient only found in meat that when supplemented in animal diet models showed improvements in fatty liver and improvements in the integrity of the intestinal wall.

Status of 25(OH)D levels in pregnancy: A study from the North Eastern part of India


Journal: Indian Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism

Publication Date: 12/2012

Summary: Study of Vitamin D levels in pregnant Indian women. Vitamin D deficient women were significantly more likely to be vegetarian

Key Takeaways

Pregnant women on vegetarian diets are more likely to be vitamin D deficient, which can lead to complications with the pregnancy and development of the child.

Protective effect of high protein and calcium intake on the risk of hip fracture in the Framingham offspring cohort


Journal: Journal of Bone and Mineral Research

Publication Date: 12/2010

Summary: Middle-aged men and women show higher animal protein intake coupled with calcium intake of 800 mg/day or more may protect against hip fracture, whereas the effect appears reversed for those with lower calcium intake

Key Takeaways

An animal based high protein diet combined with increased calcium intake is protective against hip fractures.

Want To Achieve Your Optimal Health?

Join us for a Free 30-Day Trial. Cancel Anytime.