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From the Townsend Letter
January 2008


Fifty Nutrient Associations That Influence Health State
by Bill Misner, PhD

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Online publication only

Several foods and dietary micronutrients are associated with optimal health. Chronic nutrient deficiencies compromise health, resulting in disease or morbidity. Here's a challenge to readers: review each statement's cited reference to determine if the statement has been well-supported.

1. Fruit and vegetable consumption benefits bone health.
Prynne CJ, Mishra GD, et al. Fruit and vegetable intakes and bone mineral status: a cross sectional study in 5 age and sex cohorts. Am J Clin Nutr. 2006; 83(6): 1420-1428.

2. High dietary intakes of plant lignans reduce the risk of breast cancer in premenopausal women.
Piller R, Chang-Claude J, Linseisen J. Plasma enterolactone and genistein and the risk of premenopausal breast cancer. Eur J Cancer Prev. 2006; 15(3): 225-32.

3. Higher intakes of plant lignans reduce the risk of colorectal adenomas.
Kuijsten A, Arts IC, et al. Plasma enterolignans are associated with lower colorectal adenoma risk. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2006; 15(6): 1132-6.

4. Higher intakes of vegetables, lutein, zeaxanthin, and zinc are associated with lower risk of non-hodgkin lymphoma.
Kelemen LE, Cerhan JR, et al. Vegetables, fruit, and antioxidant-related nutrients and risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma: A National Cancer Institute-Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results population-based case-control study. Am J Clin Nutr. 2006; 83(6): 1401-10.

5. Higher dietary intakes of choline and betaine reduce plasma homocysteine levels.
Cho E, Zeisel SH, et al. Dietary choline and betaine assessed by food-frequency questionnaire in relation to plasma total homocysteine concentration in the Framingham Offspring Study. Am J Clin Nutr. 2006; 83(4): 905-11.

6. Eating low dietary fiber and fruits contributes to fat weight gain.
Davis JN, Hodges VA, Gillham MB. Normal-weight adults consume more fiber and fruit than their age- and height-matched overweight/obese counterparts. J Am Diet Assoc. 2006; 106(6): 833-40.

7. Eating dietary fiber and fruits lowers body fat.
Davis JN, Hodges VA, Gillham MB. Normal-weight adults consume more fiber and fruit than their age- and height-matched overweight/obese counterparts. J Am Diet Assoc. 2006; 106(6): 833-40.

8. Eating extremely well-done meat may increases the risk of prostate cancer.
Cross AJ, Peters U, et al. A prospective study of meat and meat mutagens and prostate cancer risk. Cancer Res. 2005; 65(24): 11779-84.

9. Supplementation with Coenzyme Q-10 reduces the effects of aging.
Yan J, Fujii K, et al. Reduced coenzyme Q10 supplementation decelerates senescence in SAMP1 mice. Exp Gerontol. 2005, Dec 29 [Epub ahead of print].

10. Betaine reduces plasma homocysteine.
Schwab U, Torronen A, et al. Orally administered betaine has an acute and dose-dependent effect on serum betaine and plasma homocysteine concentrations in healthy humans. J Nutr. 2006 136(1): 34-8.

11. Tea and coffee consumption reduces the risk of chronic liver disease.
Ruhl CE and Everhart JE. Coffee and tea consumption are associated with a lower incidence of chronic liver disease in the United States. Gastroenterology. 2005; 129(6): 1928-36.

12. High doses of Coenzyme Q-10 improve muscle strength in patients with muscle Coenzyme Q-10 deficiency.
Horvath R, Schneiderat P, et al. Coenzyme Q10 deficiency and isolated myopathy. Neurology. 2006; 66(2): 253-5.

13. Breakfast cereals reduce the risk of weight gain.
Bazzano LA, Song Y, et al. Dietary intake of whole and refined grain breakfast cereals and weight gain in men. Obes Res. 2005; 13(11): 1952-60.

14. Dietary supplementation with silymarin and its polyphenolic fraction inhibits cholesterol absorption.
Sobolova L, Skottova N, et al. Effect of silymarin and its polyphenolic fraction on cholesterol absorption in rats. Pharmacol Res. 2006; 53(2): 104-112.

15. Long-term vitamin C supplementation reduces the frequency of the common cold.
Sasazuki S, Sasaki S, et al. Effect of vitamin C on common cold: randomized controlled trial. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2006; 60(1): 9-17.

16. High fish intake further reduces risk of coronary heart disease.
Intake of fish and omega-3 fatty acids and risk of coronary heart disease among Japanese: Iso H, Kobayashi M, et al. The Japan Public Health Center-Based (JPHC) Study Cohort I. Circulation. 2006; 113(2): 195-202.

17. Vitamin D supplementation enhances bone mineral density in subjects with knee osteoarthritis.
Bischoff-Ferrari HA, Zhang Y, et al. Positive association between serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D level and bone density in osteoarthritis. Arthritis Rheum. 2005; 53(6): 821-6.

18. Polyphenolic antioxidants reduce exercise-induced oxidative stress.
Morillas-Ruiz JM, Vidal-Guevara ML, et al. Effects of polyphenolic antioxidants on exercise-induced oxidative stress. Clin Nutr. 2006 Jan 17; [Epub ahead of print].

19. Short-term folic acid supplementation protects against atherosclerosis and cardiovascular diseases.
Solini A, Santini E, et al. Effect of short-term folic acid supplementation on insulin sensitivity and inflammatory markers in overweight subjects. Int J Obes (Lond.). 2006 Feb 21; [Epub ahead of print].

20. Supplementation with carotenoids reduces lymphocyte DNA damage.
Zhao X, Yeum KJ, et al. Modification of lymphocyte DNA damage by carotenoid supplementation in postmenopausal women. Am J Clin Nutr. 2006; 83(1): 163-9.

21. Reducing portion size and energy density of foods decreases energy intake without affecting hunger.
Rolls BJ, Roe LS, Meengs JS. Reductions in portion size and energy density of foods are additive and lead to sustained decreases in energy intake. Am J Clin Nutr. 2006; 83(1): 11-17.

22. Dietary curcumin may counteract the effects of traumatic brain injury on synaptic plasticity and cognitive function.
Wu A, Ying Z, Gomez-Pinilla F. Dietary curcumin counteracts the outcome of traumatic brain injury on oxidative stress, synaptic plasticity, and cognition. Exp Neurol. 2006; 197(2): 309-17.

23. Conditionally Essential Nutrients (CEN) (taurine, coenzyme Q10, l-carnitine [CAR], propionyl l-carnitine [PCAR], and l-arginine) are clinically beneficial at reducing conditions associated with Cardiovascular Heart Disease (CVD), such as chronic heart failure, myocardial infarction, angina pectoris, hypertension, hyperlipidemia, and lipoprotein(a).
Kendler BS. Supplemental conditionally essential nutrients in cardiovascular disease therapy. J Cardiovasc Nurs. 2006; 21(1): 9-16.

24. Omega-3 fatty acids may be effective at lowering elevated lipid levels and reducing the risk of cardiac and overall mortality.
Studer M, Briel M, et al. Effect of different antilipidemic agents and diets on mortality: A systematic review. Arch Intern Med. 2005; 165(7): 725-30.

25. Glycine supplementation lowers high blood pressure.
El Hafidi M, Perez I, Banos G. Is glycine effective against elevated blood pressure? Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2006; 9(1): 26-31.

26. Salt intake acutely affects oxidative stress, particularly in salt-sensitive hypertension.
Laffer CL, Bolterman RJ, et al. Effect of salt on isoprostanes in salt-sensitive essential hypertension. Hypertension. 2006; 47(3): 434-40.

27. Omega-3 fatty acids may be beneficial in helping to reduce inflammatory markers and to increase anti-inflammatory markers in the body.
Ferruci L, Cherubini A, et al. Relationship of plasma polyunsaturated fatty acids to circulating inflammatory markers. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2006; 91(2): 439-46.

28. Nut and seed consumption reduce various inflammatory markers.
Jiang R, Jacobs DR Jr., et al. Nut and seed consumption and inflammatory markers in the multi-ethnic study of atherosclerosis. Am J Epidemiol. 2006; 163(3): 222-31.

29. Combined supplementation with glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate reduces moderate-to-severe knee pain in patients with knee osteoarthritis.
Clegg DO, Domenic RJ, et al. Glucosamine, chondroitin sulfate, and the two in combination for painful knee osteoarthritis. N Engl J Med. 2006; 354(8): 795-808.

30. Vitamin therapy (folic acid, vitamin B-12, vitamin B-6) reduces plasma total homocysteine levels in stroke patients.
Ho GY, Eikelboom JW, et al. Methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase polymorphisms and homocysteine-lowering effect of vitamin therapy in Singaporean stroke patients. Stroke. 2006; 37(2): 456-60.

31. Ascorbic acid prevents hypercholesterolemia-induced atherosclerosis.
Das S, Ray R, et al. Effect of ascorbic acid on prevention of hypercholesterolemia induced atherosclerosis. Mol Cell Biochem. 2006 Feb 14; [Epub ahead of print].

32. Replacing saturated fatty acids with monounsaturated fatty acids reduces blood pressure in healthy adults.
Rasmussen BM, Vessby B, et al. Effects of dietary saturated, monounsaturated, and omega-3 fatty acids on blood pressure in healthy adults. Am J Clin Nutr. 2006; 83(2): 221-6.

33. Increasing intakes of vegetable proteins reduces blood pressure.
Elliott P, Stamler J, et al. Association between protein intake and blood pressure: The INTERMAP Study. Arch Intern Med. 2006; 166(1): 70-87.

34. The protective effects of high fiber intake and fish consumption against colorectal cancer are demonstrated by a report that daily intake of 35 g of saturated fat doubles the risk of breast cancer compared to women with daily intake of 10 g or less.
Gonzalez CA. The European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC). Public Health Nutr. 2006; 9(1A): 124-6.

35. High consumption of processed meat increases risk of colon cancer.
Oba S, Shimizu N, et al. The relationship between the consumption of meat, fat, and coffee and the risk of colon cancer: A prospective study in Japan. Cancer Lett. 2006 March 3; [Epub ahead of print].

36. Low plasma vitamin E levels are associated with dementia and cognitive impairment.
Cherubini A, Martin A, et al. Vitamin E levels, cognitive impairment, and dementia in older persons: The InCHIANTI study. Neurobiol Aging. 2005; 26(7): 987-94.

37. Vitamin C, along with aspirin, decreases lipid peroxidation in ischemic stroke patients.
Polidori MC, Pratico D, et al. Effects of vitamin C and aspirin in ischemic stroke-related lipid peroxidation: Results of the AVASAS (Aspirin Versus Ascorbic acid plus Aspirin in Stroke) study. Biofactors. 2005; 24(1-4): 265-74.

38. Black cohosh and St. John's Wort found effective in alleviating menopausal symptoms.
Uebelhack R, Blohmer JU, et al. Black cohosh and St. John's wort for climacteric complaints: A randomized trial, Obstetrics and Gynecology. 2006; 107(2 Part 1): 247-55.

39. Supplementation with carnitine and DL-alpha lipoic acid improves age-related mitochondrial membrane damage in rats' hearts.
Savitha S, Panneerselvam C. Mitochondrial membrane damage during aging process in rat heart: Potential efficacy of l-carnitine and dl alpha lipoic acid. Mech Ageing Dev. 2006; 127(4): 349-55.

40. Intake of raw garlic lowers glucose, cholesterol, and triglycerides levels.
Thomson M, Ali M, et al. Including garlic in the diet may help lower blood glucose, cholesterol, and triglycerides. J Nutr. 2006; 136(3): 800S-2S.

41. Normalization of levels of reduced glutathione (GSH) ascorbic acid (AA), superoxide dismutase (SOD), glutathione peroxidase (GPx), and glutathione reductase (GR) reduces the risk of the oral tumor malignancy.
Fiaschi AI, Cozzolino A, et al. Glutathione, ascorbic acid, and antioxidant enzymes in the tumor tissue and blood of patients with oral squamous cell carcinoma. Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci. 2005; 9(6): 361-7.

42. Plasma homocysteine levels are inversely related to plasma phospholipid DHA levels.
Li D, Mann NJ, Sinclair AJ. A significant inverse relationship between concentrations of plasma homocysteine and phospholipid docosahexaenoic acid in healthy male subjects. Lipids. 2006; 41(1): 85-9.

43. Lower antioxidant vitamins (A, C, and E) and trace minerals (Zn, Cu, Mn, Fe, and Se) status found in patients with cerebrovascular disease.
Kwun IS, Park KH, et al. Lower antioxidant vitamins (A, C, and E) and trace minerals (Zn, Cu, Mn, Fe, and Se) status in patients with cerebrovascular disease. Nutr Neurosci. 2005; 8(4): 251-7.

44. Propionylcarnitine benefits patients with claudication.
Silvestro A, Schiano V, et al. Effect of propionylcarnitine on changes in endothelial function and plasma levels of adhesion molecules induced by acute exercise in patients with intermittent claudication. Angiology. 2006; 57(2): 145-154.

45. Niacin benefits postinfarction patients with and without the metabolic syndrome.
Canner PL, Furberg CD, et al. Benefits of niacin in patients with versus without the metabolic syndrome and healed myocardial infarction (from the Coronary Drug Project). Am J Cardiol. 2006; 97(4): 477-9.

46. Magnesium deficiency is associated with periodontal disease, and supplementation improves periodontal health.
Meisel P, Schwahn C, et al. Magnesium deficiency is associated with periodontal disease. J Dent Res. 2005; 84(10): 937-41.

47. Vitamin C prevents vascular dysfunction.
Bohm F, Settergren M, Pernow J. Vitamin C blocks vascular dysfunction and release of interleukin-6 induced by endothelin-1 in humans in vivo. Atherosclerosis. 2006 March 7 [Epub ahead of print].

48. Sweet foods high in glycemic index and load increase the risk of breast cancer.
Tavani A, Giordano L, et al. Consumption of sweet foods and breast cancer risk in Italy. Ann Oncol. 2006; 17(2): 341-5.

49. Cocoa intakes are inversely associated with blood pressure and 15-year cardiovascular and all-cause mortality.
Buijsse B, Feskens EJ, et al. Cocoa intake, blood pressure, and cardiovascular mortality: The Zutphen Elderly Study. Arch Intern Med. 2006; 166(4): 411-7.

50. Diet rich in magnesium reduces the risk of metabolic syndrome.
He K, Liu, K, et al. Magnesium intake and incidence of metabolic syndrome among young adults. Circulation. 2006, Vol. 113 [Epub ahead of print].


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