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Friday, September 19, 2008


The mineral that is critical for women of all ages
 Minerals-although only in relatively small amounts-are absolutely essential to the body's normal mental and physical functioning. The body's only source for minerals is diet-it must provide an adequate daily supply to maintain optimum health and fitness. The mineral content of food is dependent on the mineral available in the soil and, in some foods; minerals are included in compounds that the body cannot break down. Spinach, for example, is a rich source of calcium but it is not in a form that the body can utilize. Today researchers are reporting alarming statistics of widespread mineral deficiencies through out the world. The foods that are rich source of minerals such as dairy foods are also high in fat and cholesterol and are often not popular in the diets of many adults.
 Supplementation of minerals is increasingly an urgent necessity in the diets on many people-this is particularly seen in the amount of calcium which must be taken by women for protective benefits in many conditions. According to a recent study conducted with more than 45000 women, calcium supplementation can significantly reduce the risk of colon cancer and the combination of dietary and supplemental calcium resulted in the greatest effect. While women consuming more than 800mg of dietary calcium each day reduced their risk of colon cancer by 26%, women who consumed more than 800mg of calcium through a combination of diet and supplementation reduced their risk of colon cancer by 46%. "It is especially notable that the risk reduction was present regardless of the source of the calcium, and that simultaneously consuming high levels of calcium from both diet and supplements further reduced risk," said Dr. Andrew Flood of the University of Minnesota Cancer Center and School of Public Health. "Calcium has a direct impact on a whole series of biochemical pathways within the cells that line the colon and rectum. These pathways play important roles in regulating how these cells grow and mature, and thus can be important components of the cancer process."
In addition to cancer prevention, calcium has long been linked to the prevention of osteoporosis, and new research indicates that calcium supplements should begin at an earlier age than previously believed. Over a period of seven years, Dr. Velimir Matkovic, Director of the Osteoporosis Prevention and Treatment Center and the Bone and Mineral Metabolism Laboratory at Ohio State University, conducted a clinical trial of girls aged eight through thirteen to determine the impact of calcium supplementation on bone density. Dr. Matkovic explains, "The pubertal growth spurt accounts for about 37 percent of the gain in the entire adult skeletal mass, meaning inadequate calcium intake during the period compromises the bone mineral accumulation rate." Researchers found that calcium supplementation significantly increased bone mass development. Of the 354 girls in the study, the calcium-supplemented group showed a faster rate of bone mass development. These findings suggest that elevated calcium use by pre-adolescent girls is likely to help prevent fractures and osteoporosis later in life.


For years the debate has raged on about the benefits and drawbacks of modern farming techniques. Industrial agriculture or “hyper-farming” has resulted in giant strides in crop yield, but many claim nutrient content – and thus their total nutritional value to humans – has been suffering.
The average yield in terms of bushels per acre for major crops in the US has sky rocketed since the 1950’s. Corn is up 342%! Wheat is up 290% while both Soy beans and Alfalfa are up about 170%. Similar sorts of yield gains have occurred in Europe, Australia, Japan and other regions of the world as well.
Data presented by researchers from the Department of Soil Sciences at the University of Wisconsin Madison shows that while these great advances in crop yield have occurred in the last 50 years nutrient content has been under siege and declining. Similarly, a review of data published by the USDA’s ARC Nutrient Data Laboratory shows “a sharp decline in the minerals, vitamins and other nutrients in foods since the last comprehensive survey”, about 20 years ago.

Recent data published by Dr. David Thomas, a primary healthcare practitioner and independent researcher, looked at the difference between UK governments published tables for nutrient content published in 1940 and again in 2002. The comparison was eye-opening. It showed that the iron content of 15 different varieties of meat had decreased 47%. Dairy products had shown similar falls; a 60% drop in iron and up to a 90% drop in copper.

It is true that in the modern world of the industrial nations, fruits and vegetables availability is at an all time high. If we want it, it’s there. On the other hand despite this increased availability, fruit and vegetable consumption has not increased in the population. Indeed in many population sub-groups it has declined. When this knowledge is coupled to the reported declines in nutrient levels in foods, it has many healthcare providers, scientists, researchers and government officials looking for answers as to how we can hope to sustain the nutritional value and balance of our foods while needing to produce more and more from the same soils to feed an ever-growing population. So far the path ahead is uncertain at best.

Tea and Ovarian Cancer Risk: researchers at the karolinska Institute Division of Nutritional Epidemiology in Stockholm, Sweden conducted a 15 year follow-up study of more than 61,000 women aged 40 to 76. Their evidence, published in the archives of Internal Medicine (2005; 165 (22): 2683-2686) showed that those women who consumed tea on a regular basis had a dramatically lower risk for ovarian cancer. Tea drinkers who averaged less than one cup per day equaled an 18% risk reduction. One or more cups per day provided a 24% risk reduction and 2 or more cups a day showed a 46% risk reduction. As you might expect, these findings prompted the researchers to conclude “Results suggest that tea consumption is associated with a reduced risk of ovarian cancer.”
Soy and Women Health: Publishing their work in the January 15, 2006 issue of Cancer Research, a team of researchers from West Forest University, Winston-Salem, North Carolina, USA concluded that soy phytoestrogens may protect against breast cancer risk in post menopausal women. According to researchers from John Hopkins University presenting data at the November 15, 2005 meeting of the American Heart Association, consuming soy protein (20 grams per day for 6 weeks) reduced two strong indicators for coronary heart disease in postmenopausal African American women. The result show that LDL-cholesterol and another cholesterol marker known as LDL-P (P=particle number) were decreased in women taking soy protein, regardless of age or race.