The return of rickets
Keeping healthy may be making babies sick. According to a story in the San Francisco Chronicle, rickets is on the rise in young children in the Bay Area. And, while it might still be rare—Children's Hospital Oakland has tracked 59 cases since 2000—the vitamin D deficiency that leads to this more severe condition is also gaining ground. Studies have shown that breastfeeding and keeping out of the sun negatively impact the body's store of vitamin D. This is especially true in darker-skinned individuals who need more sun exposure than fairer-skinned people to stimulate the same level of vitamin D production. "In pediatric training, you learn this was a disease that was taken care of. This was something that went away when children stopped working in factories," Dr. Suruchi Bhatia, medical director of endocrinology at Children's, said in the article. Of the 59 cases of rickets tracked at Children's, nearly three-quarters were in black children and 90 percent were in children fed only breast milk. In 2003 the American Academy of Pediatricians wrote in a policy report, "It is recommended that all infants, including those who are exclusively breastfed, have a minimum intake of 200 IU of vitamin D per day beginning during the first two months of life."
Field guide for tracking herbal supplements
Looking for more information to keep around in case supplement questions arise? The Dietary Supplement Information Bureau, part of the Dietary Supplement Education Alliance, has published the Field Guide to Herbal Dietary Supplements. The free 48-page booklet is available online at www.supplementinfo.org. Published in conjunction with herb expert Steven Foster, the booklet gives "background on the historical use of herbs, the regulatory framework in the United States, current research initiatives and some advice on their responsible use." Black cohosh, echinacea, garlic, ginkgo, ginseng, saw palmetto, St. John's wort and valerian are all covered in detail, including sections on current use, traditional use, dose and safety. For those wishing to research further, Web sites are listed in the booklet. (Click here for the legalities of posting information.)
Pump ... you up!
Researchers at Victoria University in Melbourne, Australia, have found that when customers take supplements is as important as what they take, when it comes to muscle growth. Those taking whey protein and creatine right before weight training built more muscle and strength than those taking the same supplements at other times. Adult males participated in a 10-week supervised resistance-training program while consuming the supplements. Lead researcher Paul Cribb, Ph.D., is also director of research for Golden, Colo.-based AST Sports Science, which supplied the supplements. The study is set to appear in the November issue of peer-reviewed journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise.
Natural Foods Merchandiser volume XXVII/number 10/p. 100