More Health and Nutrition Bites

The power of small changes 12/13/17
High-glycemic-index diets linked to risk of Alzheimer's Disease 12/06/17
Pro-inflammatory diets lead to weight gain 11/29/17
"Meal" vs. "snack": the name matters 11/22/17
Beans reduce insulin response 11/15/17
Warfarin may help prevent cancer 11/08/17
Most satisfying: dark or milk chocolate? 11/01/17
Portion size more important than turning off the TV 10/25/17
The importance of breakfast (it's not what you think) 10/18/17
Diet quality matters 10/11/17
Coffee and your heart 10/04/17
Get your exercise 09/27/17
Mushrooms vs. Meat 09/20/17
Good news for GERD sufferers 09/14/17
Reseal the bag 09/06/17
All Health and Nutrition Bites


Vitamin D and Gestational Diabetes
Several new studies have indicated that low Vitamin D levels in early pregnancy are associated with a higher risk for diabetes during pregnancy. We have known for some time that Vitamin D is important for bone growth and normal nerve functioning because of its role in calcium absorption and helping the body to use calcium efficiently. 

Vitamin D in Foods
There is mounting evidence that many of us are increasingly deficient in Vitamin D. While there is some controversy about the health impact of this it seems that changes in our diet in the last few years towards fewer foods rich in Vitamin D has led to a much lower intake.

Speaking of Vitamin D....
Previous studies have suggested a link between low levels of vitamin D and the risk of high blood pressure and diabetes. In this study, the researchers looked at data from a large-scale study known as the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), which was conducted between 1988 and 1994.


Health & Nutrition Bites

Get the latest health and diet news - along with what you can do about it - sent to your Inbox once a week. Get Dr. Gourmet's Health and Nutrition Bites sent to you via email. Sign up now!

Breast Cancer and Calcium Supplements

You may have heard that certain vitamin supplements can help you reduce your risk of breast cancer. One in particular that you've probably heard about is calcium supplements with vitamin D.

Many doctors say that women would do well to take a calcium supplement containing vitamin D in order to help prevent bone loss. The science for the current recommendations of 1200 milligrams per day may not be great, but there is some. The proof for calcium and breast cancer, however, doesn't appear to be nearly as good.

Over 33,000 postmenopausal women who were enrolled in the Women's Health Initiative were invited to participate in a study of calcium plus vitamin d supplements and their effect on the risk of hip fractures, colon cancer and breast cancer (J Natl Cancer Inst 2008; 100:1581-1591). These women had already been evaluated by clinical breast exam and mammogram and were free of breast cancer at the beginning of the Women's Health Initiative two years before.

Half of the women were given 1000 milligrams of calcium plus 400 IU vitamin D on a daily basis and the other half were given placebos that looked the same as the calcium/vitamin D pills. For an average of seven years these women were tracked and given regular mammograms as well as other appropriate medical tests and treatment. At the end of the seven years the researchers evaluated the medical records of the participating women to see if the incidence of breast cancer between the two groups was different.

They found that there was no significant difference in the risk of breast cancer between those women who were taking calcium and vitamin D supplements and those who were not. Nor was there any significant difference in the size of the cancers that were found – those women who were taking the supplements had tumors that were a very little bit smaller than those in the women who were not taking the supplements. The stages of the tumors found, however, were much the same.

What this means for you

Breast cancer is a very scary disease and it's natural to want to do everything you can to help prevent it. However, supplements, no matter what kind they are and how helpful they might be in preventing other conditions, are no substitute for eating healthy, maintaining a healthy weight, and exercising regularly. Need help doing just that? Try using The Dr. Gourmet Diet Plan, where you can create healthy, delicious menus for yourself and your whole family while tracking your exercise and daily caloric intake as you progress toward your goals. Get started today.

First posted: February 11, 2009