Nutritional Adequacy of Plant-Based Diets

Vitamin D: A millenium perspective.

Vitamin D is one of the oldest hormones that have been made in the earliest life forms for over 750 million years. Phytoplankton, zooplankton, and most plants and animals that are exposed to sunlight have the capacity to make vitamin D. Vitamin D is critically important for the development, growth, and maintenance of a healthy skeleton from birth until death. The major function of vitamin D is to maintain calcium homeostasis. It accomplishes this by increasing the efficiency of the intestine to absorb dietary calcium.

Calcium and fructose intake in relation to risk of prostate cancer.

Laboratory and clinical data indicate an antitumor effect of 1,25(OH)2 vitamin D (1,25(OH)2D) on prostate cancer. High calcium intake suppresses formation of 1,25(OH)2D from 25(OH)D, thereby decreasing the 1,25(OH)2D level. Ingestion of fructose reduces plasma phosphate transiently, and hypophosphatemia stimulates 1,25(OH)2D production. We thus conducted a prospective study among 47,781 men of the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study free of cancer in 1986 to examine whether calcium and fructose intake influenced risk of prostate cancer.

How prevalent is vitamin B(12) deficiency among vegetarians?

Vegetarians are at risk for vitamin B(12) (B12) deficiency due to suboptimal intake. The goal of the present literature review was to assess the rate of B12 depletion and deficiency among vegetarians and vegans. Using a PubMed search to identify relevant publications, 18 articles were found that reported B12 deficiency rates from studies that identified deficiency by measuring methylmalonic acid, holo-transcobalamin II, or both.

Associations between breast cancer, plasma triglycerides, and cholesterol

A case-control study investigating the association between plasma lipids and breast cancer was conducted among women aged 30-80 in Buffalo, NY. All eligible women from a large breast clinic and two area physicians' offices were requested to participate over a one-year period. Subjects completed a health questionnaire and donated a fasting blood sample prior to diagnostic breast biopsies. The 83 women found to have breast cancer (cases) had significantly higher plasma triglyceride values than did the 113 women found not to have breast cancer (controls).

Updated estimate of trans fat intake by the US population.

The dietary intake of industrially-produced trans fatty acids (IP-TFA) was estimated for the US population (aged 2 years or more), children (aged 2-5 years) and teenage boys (aged 13-18 years) using the 2003-2006 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) food consumption database, market share information and trans fat levels based on label survey data and analytical data for packaged and in-store purchased foods. For fast foods, a Monte Carlo model was used to estimate IP-TFA intake.

Trans Fatty Acids and Cardiovascular Disease

The intake of trans fat has been associated with coronary heart disease, sudden death from cardiac causes, and diabetes. This article reviews the evidence for physiological and cellular effects of trans fatty acids, unsaturated fatty acids with at least one double bond in the trans configuration. The authors consider the feasibility and potential implications of reducing or eliminating the consumption of trans fatty acids from partially hydrogenated vegetable oils in the United States.
 

Plants, diet, and health.

Chronic disease is a major social challenge of the twenty-first century. In this review, we examine the evidence for discordance between modern diets and those on which humankind evolved as the cause of the increasing incidence of chronic diseases, and the evidence supporting consumption of plant foods as a way to reduce the risk of chronic disease. We also examine the evidence for avoiding certain components of plant-based foods that are enriched in Western diets, and review the mechanisms by which different phytonutrients are thought to reduce the risk of chronic disease.

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