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26 May 2011

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of visual impairment and blindness in the developed world among people aged 65 years or older.  The Age-Related Eye Disease Study Group (AREDS) has found that high-dose vitamin supplementation may have a role in preventing the progression of Category 3 and 4 age-related maculopathy.

Oxidative damage has been implicated in the pathogenesis of AMD, secondary to the retina’s high consumption of oxygen, its high proportion of polyunsaturated fatty acids, and its exposure to visible light.  Over the last decade, nnumerous cross-sectional and cohort studies have investigated the role of antioxidant supplementation in preventing age-related maculopathy.  The largest randomised controlled trial, undertaken by the Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS) Group, compared antioxidant and zinc supplementation to placebo.  The AREDS Group demonstrated a statistically significant odds reduction for the risk of progression to advanced AMD and reduction in the rate of at least moderated visual acuity loss with the use of tablets containing antioxidants plus zinc.

A recent study published in the New Zealand Medical Journal compared dietary antioxidant, zinc, and copper intakes of Australia, New Zealand, United Kingdom, and the United States to determine the difference between the actual and suggested AREDS intakes for these nutrients.  The total median intake of vitamins A, C, and E; zinc; and copper is analysed from the most recent nutrition data published by the four countries. Forty multivitamin brands and 32 individual nutrient brands were analysed.

Results from this study revealed that the median intakes of antioxidants, zinc, and copper were comparable across the four countries, but substantially lower than the AREDS-recommended intakes to reduce the risk of progression to advanced AMD.  Sixteen of the 40 multivitamin preparations contained all recommended nutrients. The study authors suggested that dietary supplementation is required to achieve the AREDS nutrient intake recommendations. This may be achieved by using any combination of multivitamin and individual supplement preparations available.

Aparna Raniga & Mark J Elder, Journal of the New Zealand Medical Association, 24-July-2009, Vol 122 No 1299

30 May 2011

Coconut oil is of special interest because it possesses healing properties far beyond that of any other dietary oil and is extensively used in traditional medicine among Asian and Pacific populations.

Pacific Islanders consider coconut oil to be the cure for most illnesses.

Attacks viruses that cause influenza, herpes, measles, hepatitis C, SARS, AIDS, and other illnesses.

Attacks bacteria that cause ulcers, throat infections, urinary tract infections, gum disease and cavities, pneumonia, and gonorrhea, and other diseases.

Attacks fungi and yeasts that cause candidiasis, ringworm, athlete’s foot, thrush, diaper rash, and other infections.

The Medium Chain Fatty Acids (MCFA) in Coconut Oil (please use organic only) have been found to be effective in killing lipid-coated viruses, such as Hepatitis C, HIV, Herpes, Stomatitis and cytomegalovirus.

MCFA also kill lipid-coated bacteria as well as some fungi and parasites including Chlamydia trachomatis, Neisseria gonorrhoeae, Staphylococcus aureus, Helicobacter pylori, Candida albicans, and giardia.

Coconut oil is also fabulous for your skin and scalp.

To include coconut oil in your daily life:

USE ONLY Organic, unrefined coconut oil. Refined, hyrdrogenated and over-processed coconut oil is not the same and can be very damaging to your health.  Keep coconut oil in cool, dark storage – do not keep in a cabinet next to your stove.

Use coconut oil in your shakes (2-3 teaspoons)
Cook with coconut oil
Coconut oil is great in salad dressing
Great source of protein for vegetarians, vegans, and omnivores!

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14 May 2011

Iodine deficiency during pregnancy and breastfeeding negatively affects brain and nervous system of the unborn infants, particularly reduced IQ.  Despite recent legislation changes to make iodine fortification in bread mandatory across Australia since 2009, a recent study found that many women still aren’t getting enough iodine during pregnancy.

Researchers at Monash University conducted a cross-sectional study to assess iodine status and the factors that influence iodine status among a cohort of pregnant women living in Gippsland, Victoria.
86 pregnant women (at = 28 weeks’ gestation) attending antenatal care services participated in the study.

Urinary Iodine Concentration (UIC) > 150 µg/L is considered an indication of iodine sufficiency.  The study found that the percentage of pregnant women with UIC >150 µg/L was 28%.  17% of pregnant women were severely deficient at below 50 µg/L.  There was no statistically significant difference in UICs before and since iodine fortification of bread.  The UICs before and after fortification were at around 96 µg/L.  The dietary intake of iodine-rich food (including bread) and the use of appropriate supplements were insufficient to meet the increased iodine requirements during pregnancy.

The study has shown that more than 70% of women in Gippsland, Victoria, during their third trimester were iodine deficient, and such deficiency seem unlikely to be improved by the national iodine fortification program.  Pregnant women in Gippsland urgently need effective iodine education programs and encouragement to either consume iodine-rich foods or take appropriate supplements.  NHMRC guideline recommends that all women who are pregnant, breastfeeding or considering pregnancy take an iodine supplement of 150 mcg daily.

Ashequr Rahman et al. MJA 2011; 194 (5): 240-243

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