American Society For Nutrition

Welcome to the ASN Blog!

Welcome to the ASN Blog!

Excellence in Nutrition Research and Practice
Posted on 12/29/2007 at 03:05:37 PM by Suzanne Price
Welcome to the ASN blog! As the society enters the 21st century with a redesigned website, it makes sense to launch one of today's most popular communication vehicles– the blog. This is where leaders and members of ASN will have the chance to write about any nutrition-related topic you choose. This is your blog, a place to respond to the issues that confront you every day.

To open, I would like to provide a brief update about the Society. The impact factors for our journals continue to rise, membership is increasing, our leadership remains active and engaged, and we recently launched a spokesperson program to raise our profile with the media. A strategic planning process is taking place, and we are well on our way to a successful 2008.

In light of the positive movements at ASN, I want to continue to solicit recommendations for improvement. How do we balance support of the entire field of nutrition, and still provide you, members of the society, with the specific resources you need? I would like to open this dialogue to encourage communication between all interested people. I don't expect this conversation to produce a final report or product, but to be a catalyst for real communication that grows over time.

ASN is committed to creating new opportunities for member engagement and we want to hear from you. Let us know if you have a topic you want to write about and we will assist you in posting it to the blog. We welcome comments from experiences through attending a conference, mentoring a student, or traveling abroad for nutrition education or charity work.
I would agree that it is easy for parents to make poor food choices for their children, but the pressures are often beyond pricing. Brand pressures affect parents and children. The key is good education about affordable choices, and ASN's role is important in this regard. Red beans and rice -- inexpensive, low-fat complete proteins. Oatmeal -- inexpensive, good carbs for the morning. And so on. Best of luck in your mission, with the new organization and your new site!

Very informative article, I've learned some things.

Cool site.

Posted Feb 16, 2009 1:57 AM by Simon
Are You Wasting Money on Multivitamins?


Simeon Margolis, M.D., Ph.D. - Posted on Wed, Feb 11, 2009, 3:28 pm PST

Advertisements with tantalizing promises of improved health, prevention of cancer and heart disease, and greater energy have lured millions of Americans to spend billions of dollars on the purchase of multivitamins.

In the February 9 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine reported that multivitamin use did not protect the 161,808 postmenopausal women enrolled in the Women's Health Initiative Study from common forms of cancer, heart attacks, or strokes. And the numbers of deaths during the 8 years of the study were the same in vitamin users as in non-users. Still, it is important to recognize that this was an observational study, not a more meaningful clinical trial. Although these findings apply only to women, other studies have failed to show benefits of multivitamins in older men.
These results are not at all surprising for several reasons. No large study has shown that multivitamins significantly benefit healthy men and women. In addition, for some years physicians prescribed folic acid and vitamins B12 and B6 in the hopes of preventing heart attacks and strokes by lowering blood levels of homocysteine. (High blood levels of homocysteine are associated with an increased risk of coronary and other vascular diseases.) A number of recent studies, however, have shown that, while these vitamins do lower homocysteine levels, they do not prevent heart attacks or strokes.

Many doctors have also prescribed the antioxidants vitamin E and beta-carotene to reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases and cancer. Alas, studies have now proven that these supplements are not protective--and may even be harmful.

No one denies that an adequate intake of vitamins is essential; however, vitamins can and should be obtained from eating enough healthy foods rather than from swallowing vitamin supplements.

Then what about vitamins being a great source of energy? Some multivitamin ads do indeed claim that their supplements boost energy; and some professional athletes gobble handfuls of vitamin pills to increase their energy and strength. But researchers proved long ago that energy comes from calories, not vitamins. The highly touted cholesterol-lowering effects of substances added to some multivitamin supplements? Still unproven.

All this is not to say that specific vitamins supplements are never desirable. Vitamins can be valuable in certain situations:

Folic acid supplements in women who are pregnant or plan to become pregnant can help to prevent serious neural-tube defects that affect the baby's brain and spine.
Supplements that contain more vitamin D and calcium than is present in regular multivitamin pills can help older men, and especially women, avoid osteoporosis and bone fractures.
Supplements of vitamins C and E, beta-carotene, zinc, and copper may slow the progression of vision loss in people with early macular degeneration.
And multivitamins are beneficial for some entire groups of people:

those on a very-low-calorie weight-loss diet
strict vegetarians
heavy alcohol drinkers
individuals who are not getting an adequate diet because they are too sick or too poor--or live by themselves and are unable to prepare proper meals for themselves
I also agree with a comment made by one of the coauthors of the Archives of Internal Medicine article about postmenopausal women mentioned above. An 8-year follow-up period may not be long enough to show that multivitamins protect against cancers that take many years to develop.

All the same, the results of the studies on vitamins so far point to one conclusion: Healthy people who eat enough calories from a varied diet do not benefit from multivitamin supplements.