Health effects of vitamin and mineral supplements

In Western countries, upto two thirds of people take vitamin and mineral supplements regularly.

Many people think it’s common sense to take supplements. Many people don’t realise mega doses of vitamins can cause harm. Paradoxically the people who don’t have a healthy diet are less likely to supplements than those who have a well balanced diet.

A recent article in BMJ reviews the evidence regarding “Health effects of vitamin and mineral supplements” and concludes that “Randomised trial evidence does not support use of vitamin, mineral, and fish oil supplements to reduce the risk of non-communicable diseases”.

This article is certainly a “food for thought”

Reference

Food for Thought 2020. Health effects of vitamin and mineral supplements. BMJ 2020; 369 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.m2511 (Published 29 June 2020). Cite this as: BMJ 2020;369:m2511

Skeie G, Braaten T, Hjartåker A, et al. Use of dietary supplements in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition calibration study. Eur J Clin Nutr2009;63(Suppl 4):S226-38. doi:10.1038/ejcn.2009.83 pmid:19888276

Disclaimer: Please note- This blog is NOT medical advice. This blog is purely for information only and do check the the sources where cited. Please consult your own doctor to discuss concerns and options relevant to you.

The views expressed in this blog represent the author’s views held at the time of publication and is likely to change overtime, particularly when new evidence comes to light. The blog is not necessarily endorsed by any organisation the author is associated with and views are not substitute for professional advice.

Crowdfunding expensive stem cell therapies

Crowd fund metaphor

If you have come across a desperate request to crowdfund an expensive stem cell therapy, read this well researched BBC article before you contribute.

Hope is a powerful driver particularly when someone is facing immense difficulties in life. Human beings have a natural inclination to fight against all odds and it seems to be inbuilt in our DNA and psyche.

But not all promising treatments do help desperate people searching for a cure.

Reference.

BBC news. The unwarranted hype of stem cell therapies. By Jules Montague. 21 August 2019

Disclaimer: Please note- This blog is NOT medical advice. This blog is purely for information only. See your own doctor to discuss concerns and options relevant for you.

Is processed red meat bad for health?

Yes, red meat especially processed red is bad for health.

In a study published in BMJ, red meat was implicated in causing more deaths.

The authors from Harvard, advocate replacing red meat with equivalent amounts of other protein sources, such as nuts, poultry, fish, dairy, eggs, and legumes, and whole grains and vegetables.

Reference

Association of changes in red meat consumption with total and cause specific mortality among US women and men: two prospective cohort studies. BMJ 2019; 365 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.l2110 (Published 12 June 2019)

Disclaimer: Please note- This blog is NOT medical advice. This blog is purely for information only. See your own doctor to discuss concerns and options relevant for you.

Low Carb Diet

High carbohydrate diet can make a person put on weight.

The extra weight can put a strain on the knees and logic dictates that over time this can cause knee problems due to excessive “wear and tear”.

So would a Low-Carbohydrate and Low-Fat Diet help to relieve Pain in Individuals with Knee Osteoarthritis.

Yes, low carb diet can indeed have positive effect on Knee pain.

A study testing the efficacy of two dietary interventions found that low carb diet can reduce pain intensity .

Reference

Pain Med. 2019 Mar 13. pii: pnz022. doi: 10.1093/pm/pnz022.

The Effect of Low-Carbohydrate and Low-Fat Diets on Pain in Individuals with Knee Osteoarthritis.

Strath LJ1, Jones CD1, Philip George A1, Lukens SL1, Morrison SA2, Soleymani T3, Locher JL4, Gower BA5, Sorge RE1.

Disclaimer: Please note- This blog is NOT medical advice. This blog is purely for information only. See your own doctor to discuss concerns and options relevant for you.

Too much of a good thing

Sometimes it is better to leave things alone if they are working well.

Trying to refine things does not always make it lot better.

A case in point is the Troponin blood test used for diagnosis of heart attacks.

The conventional troponin blood test used to work reasonably well. I suppose it is human nature to try and make existing things better.

The high sensitivity troponin tests were developed to diagnose more heart attacks.

Yes, it is a good thing to diagnose more heart attacks quicker.

But the problem is these new blood tests can also generate false positives. It’s like a super sensitive fire alarm which is triggered by impurities rather than by fire. It’s not only annoying, but affects people’s response to alarms.

The high sensitivity troponin test can sound the false alarm for heart attack in lot of hospital patients admitted for something else.

Just because a test is highly sensitive doesn’t make it super useful!

But it looks like the genie is out of the bottle and the high sensitivity troponin tests are here to stay ….

Share your thoughts at the BMJ website through the rapid response option.

References

1. High sensitivity troponin assays: too much of a good thing.

Toll-free link: http://bmj.com/cgi/content/full/bmj.l1640?ijkey=63W6oWyB18vrXHn&keytype=ref

2. True 99th centile of high sensitivity cardiac troponin for hospital patients: prospective, observational cohort study.

BMJ 2019; 364 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.l729 (Published 13 March 2019)

Disclaimer: Please note- This blog is NOT medical advice. This blog is purely for information only. See your own doctor to discuss concerns and options relevant for you.

How to communicate that the disease is mild even though symptoms are disabling?

women s white long sleeved top

Beth McHugh makes a strong argument for doctors “not to explicitly discuss disease severity scale”.

But

(1) A valid informed consent would then become difficult

(2) Not discussing severity, is not a practical option for patients with certain illness.

My BMJ eLetter on this topic…

Risk categorisation will continue to be the norm in future as genomic data leads to personalised medicine.

England’s 100 000 Genomes Project