It is well known that vitamin D is essential for bone health. However, vitamin D has received more additional scientific
interest in recent years than any other nutrient, hormone or drug. Many age-related disorders such as cancer, cardiovascular
disease, chronic inflammation, colds, flu and viral infections have been linked to low intakes of vitamin D.
During winter months, daylight hours get shorter and colder. Because sunlight is important in the activation of
vitamin D, these shorter days lead way to less vitamin D being converted to the active form. Likewise, cold and flu season
is during the winter months. Researchers have suggested that low blood levels of vitamin D during winter months is a prime
reason for the increase in colds and flu.
Flu viruses cause a massive inflammatory response that
attacks the body's immune system. Researchers have concluded this inflammatory activity is responsible for the major
impact of flu viruses on the body. Moreover, vitamin D has been shown to have major anti-inflammatory as well as immune system
boosting effects. For example, a research study found that children with the lowest blood vitamin D levels were 11 times more
likely to have upper respiratory infections.
There also has been reported an antagonistic effect
of high levels (above 10,000 IU per day) for vitamin A on vitamin D. Most multi vitamins/minerals contain both vitamins A
and D. This antagonistic effect of vitamin A on vitamin D may be responsible for less than optimal health benefits for studies
evaluating multi vitamin/mineral products over the past few years.
Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin.
As such, it is stored in the fatty tissues of the body. Thus, there is a concern for possible vitamin D toxicity above the
Recommended Daily Value. Based on a review of the available safety data for vitamin D, in adults, up to 8,000 IU vitamin
D per day appears safe for daily use.
It is clear based on recent research reports the current Recommended
Daily Value is inadequate. Research findings indicate the minimum vitamin D per day for adults should be 2,000 IU. Depending
on season of the year, age and possible health conditions, 4,000 to 6,000 IU of vitamin D per day appear to be more appropriate.
Supplemental vitamin D should be part of your total wellness program.
listen to the Audio version at www.blogtalkradio.com/Wheeler-Factor
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January 27, 2010
My last BlogTalkRadio Show was devoted to a discussion
concerning "What is Nutrition Research?". The subject for that Show was based on the fact that many companies/individuals
loosely use the word "Research" when referring to their products or programs. Since that Show, I have gotten several
inquiries asking additional questions concerning the understanding and evaluation of nutrition research.
often am puzzled and confused by references to nutrition research by individuals promoting (selling) nutrition products or
programs. The challenge comes from my years of doing research at universities. Requirements and criteria for university-based
research are very specific and demanding. Additionally, the only accepted research in a true science environment are articles
published in referred scientific journals. Any other references to "research" are considered by academia just opinions.
I recently had a Canadian trained physician friend state "People from the US seem to have a need to
hear "research" about nutrition products. Nowhere else in the world is this the case." I agreed because
it seems that sales materials for US companies' nutrition products somewhere refers to "research". However, much
of this "research" in these documents is not referenced or does not exist.
there was a nutrition company advertising that it was a "research" based company. Additionally, this company spent
a lot of effort discussing its extensive sponsored university research. All of this sounded good to me. Therefore, I decided
to follow-up by requesting copies of their university research. Additionally, I spoke with that company's Chief Science Officer
to review their research program. Well, I was promised copies of the research reports immediately. However, nothing came after
6 months. I also found that my telephone calls to that company began not to be returned.
decided to verify this company's claims of university sponsored research myself. After several telephone calls to this company's
"university research partners", I was very disappointed. I confirmed the company was doing "research"
with at least one university. This "research" involved the company sending product samples to the Michigan State
University Soils Laboratory for routine chemical analysis. It seems to me it is a real stretch to claim this as company sponsored
university research. Unfortunately, the average consumer would never know the difference between real research and a scam.
For your benefit, let's cover the various types of research categories. I also will let you know that the only
research to be considered does not have to be published in referred scientific journals. There is good company sponsored research
that is never published in a scientific journal but is worthwhile. Moreover, there are companies that make available summaries
and reviews of published research articles. This type of information also is valuable.
It might seem
that every company should do university research. However, the cost of university research can be prohibitive. Additionally,
the time from the start of a university research project until its completion can be years. Moreover, companies are not assured
of a positive outcome. Thus, university research can be expensive and time consuming as well as it can be a "crap shoot".
However, most companies have enough experience with their products that results from a university trial will have better than
a 50/50 chance of success.
The minimum cost of a very simple university study is about $50,000. However,
most studies run several $100,000 to $1,000,000 each. Most of the time it is not the actual cost of the study that drives
up the price but rather the university overhead that is added. University overhead involves the administrative costs to the
university. These administrative costs can be as low as 50% to as high as 86% of the total study cost. In other words, if
the true cost of a university trial is $100,000, the company will have to pay the university between $150,000 and $186,000.
The difference in the percentage overhead is related to the "name" of the university not the quality of the research.
A less recognized university charges less overhead than a "big" name school. However, there is not much difference
in quality of the research.
Time required for the completion of a university research study also
is a factor to consider. The normal procedure would involve the company meeting with the university researchers to establish
goals for the trial. Next, the university researcher develops a research protocol. This document is a very detailed description
of the project, procedures, requirements as well as staff needs and supervision required. Sometimes the research protocol
can take 3 to 6 month to finish.
After the research protocol is finish, it next goes to a university
Internal Review Board (IRB). This board is composed of other university researchers as well as administrators. There are two
main purposes for the IRB. First, it evaluates the statistical design of the trial as well as its scientific validity. The
second purpose of the IRB is to evaluate the possible liabilities the university may have if the trial is started. These IRB
reviews can be very political within a university. IRB approval can take 6 months to 1 year.
IRB approval, it may take over 6 months to organize, allocate and begin the actual trial. Most nutrition research trials can
last up to 1 year. After the trial is finished, it may take up to 1 year to finish the statistical analysis, summarize and
write a finial report. Most university researchers are notorious for being slow at writing the final report. Therefore, many
companies agree to pay one-half the cost of the trial when the IRB is approved. The final payment is made when the final report
is received. This type of payment agreement tends to speedup the final report. However, it is easy to see that a university
research trial may take 2-3 years before the planning, implementation and results are completed.
usually is a decision by the sponsoring company on how the results should be published - refereed scientific journal or a
less prestigious company news release. Universities have agreements that the results from the study can be published in a
scientific journal. However, if the results are not positive to the sponsoring company, most universities will not publish
any negative results because the company funded the trial.
If the results from the trial are positive,
the company has to make a decision if the results are to be published in a scientific referred journal or as a company publication.
The scientific journal is by far the most pristine way to publish the results. However, it is the longest route to publish.
Scientific journals usually are sponsored by science societies. For example, the American Journal of Nutrition is sponsored
by the American Nutrition Society.
The science journals are administered like any other publication
with an editor. However, the editor of a scientific journal usually is a recognized researcher as well as author. A
science manuscript is submitted to the journal for review. There are 2-3 reviewers (referees). These reviewers are anonymous
- only known to the Editor. The purpose of the journal reviewers is to evaluate: 1.) the scientific worthiness of the manuscript
for publication and 2.) the scientific significance of the findings.
The manuscript can be:
1.) accepted as-is, 2.) accepted with changes, 3.) more information requested or 4.) rejected. It is not unusual for a scientific
manuscript to go back and forth with peer reviewers for over a year. During the journal review process, findings cannot be
released or published in any other form. If the results are published elsewhere, the manuscript is rejected.
Thus, it can be 12 to 18 months after the final university report is available before a referred scientific journal
article might be published. Most companies cannot wait that long to have the information available for marketing and sales.
After all, university research is used to support company sales.
A company can have a very well designed
and implemented university study. However, they cannot wait to have the results published in a referred scientific journal.
However, there is an alternative. The researchers can publish a one-paragraph summary of their findings as an abstract in
the journal proceeds section. These abstracts are not reviewed. However, abstracts do allow the results to be in the public
domain. I often would publish preliminary results as an abstract while I was preparing a full journal manuscript. This allowed
for some of the results to be available while the manuscript would contain all of the results. However, as you can see, the
scientific/university route can be time consuming.
One of the reasons I got out of pure research
was because it took so long to get findings out that would help people's lives. I usually figured that it took 7 years to
go from research planning and funding to a published journal paper. A lot of that time was involved with university (institution)
politics and journal politics. I felt that it was a waste to have findings that would help someone's life but not be able
to publish it. It placed a lot of stress on me because I was doing research to help people - not to be published in scientific
Please listen to the Audio version at www.blogtalkradio.com/Wheeler-Factor
**All rights reserved. Content and ideas are protected by Copyright laws. Any reproduction
of the information from this blog that is reproduced on websites, blogsites, in print, or otherwise is illegal and prohibited
without written approval.
Please contact Peak Performance Nutrition @ BLNutrition@aol.com for more information.