Thursday, December 9, 2010

Study Shows Vitamin A Supplements Reduce Deaths Caused by Measles, Diarrhea

The double-mindedness of the health authorities never ceases to amaze me.

Only this past summer we saw a number of medical experts quoted in a heavily biased Reader’s Digest article assuring the public there is very little benefit at all from taking vitamins, minerals, herbs and other supplements.

After that, a rash of studies were published demonstrating amazing effectiveness of Vitamin D in preventing scores of diseases including Parkinson’s disease, flu, breast cancer, bone loss, heart disease, depression, faltering memory and more…

…equally amazing effectiveness against heart disease, diabetes and cancer was reported for the nutritional supplement Reservatrol…

…and we saw an Oxford University study demonstrating that high doses of folic acid, vitamin B6 and B12 slash brain shrinkage by up to 53%!

Now, we have this new study by Cochrane researchers demonstrating the fact that Vitamin A reduces childhood deaths from disease by a whopping 24%, and recommending that children in underdeveloped countries where disease is rampant be given regular Vitamin A supplements.

Well…which is it? Either vitamins, minerals, herbs and other supplements are worthless, or they are beneficial.

What do you think?

-- Spencer

Study Shows Vitamin A Supplements Reduce Deaths Caused by Measles, Diarrhea

Vitamin A supplements are still an effective way to reduce childhood death and disease.

A new study by Cochrane researchers strongly endorses the continuation of vitamin A supplementation programs, which reduce the incidence of measles and diarrhea and ultimately save lives.

Vitamin A deficiency is a common problem in low and middle income countries. People whose diets do not include enough of the vitamin may have impaired body functions, and be more susceptible to blindness, infection and early death.

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends vitamin A supplements for pregnant mothers and children. However, controversies have recently been raised regarding the effectiveness of vitamin A supplementation programmes in developing countries.

The 43 trials included in the review involved 215,633 children between six months and five years of age. All except one trial used the standard dose of vitamin A as recommended by the WHO.

Overall, giving vitamin A capsules reduced the risk of death from any cause by 24% compared to placebos or usual treatment. This equates to saving the lives of almost a million vitamin A deficient children a year.

The review suggests that much of the beneficial effect vitamin A supplementation in developing countries may be related to prevention of measles and diarrhea.

"Giving vitamin A is associated with a reduction in the incidence of diarrhea and measles, as well as the number of child deaths due to these diseases," said Zulfiqar Bhutta, Chairman of the Division of Women and Child Health at Aga Khan University in Karachi, Pakistan and the senior reviewer of the project.

"However, the effects of supplementation on disease pathways are not well understood, so this could be a focus for further studies."

The researchers strongly recommend continuation of vitamin A supplementation programs in children under five, but recognise that this it is not a permanent solution to the problem of vitamin A deficiency.

"Fortification, dietary diversification, food distribution programs and horticultural developments such as home gardening and bio-fortification may provide more permanent relief," said Bhutta.

"For example, vitamin A content could be increased in staples such as rice or growers may aim to promote use of biofortified foods such as orange sweet potato."


Source: Wiley-Blackwell
December 09, 2010 12:01 AM

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