12 January - 20 June 2016

Other headlines

  • Vitamin D deficiency evident throughout the European population
  • Animal study suggests you are what your parents ate
  • Vitamin D and cancer aggression 
  • Urine test can measure specific food compounds
  • Review finds hydrolysed baby formula may not reduce allergies and eczema
  • Using plant-based ingredients in fish feed could interfere with nutritional value of farmed fish
  • Climate related changes in food production could cause an extra half million deaths by 2050
PHE launch new Eatwell Guide

**Vitamin D deficiency evident throughout the European population
An EU funded project has estimated that 13% of the EU population could be vitamin D deficient.  Vitamin D deficiency is defined in the study as having average serum vitamin D levels of <30 nmol/L throughout the year.  This is based on the risk of metabolic bone disease.  The study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition by Cashman et al. is part of the European Commission-funded integrated project Food-based solutions for optimal vitamin D nutrition and health life cycle (ODIN).  The objective of the study was to apply VDSP (an international vitamin D standardisation programme led by NIH, for standardising 25(OH)D measurements in health/nutrition surveys) protocols to existing 25(OH)D data from 18 key studies of European children, teenagers, adults and older adults to quantify the prevalence of vitamin D deficiency in Europe.  Cashman et al. note that there was considerable variation among the countries studied.  13% of the 55,844 European individuals studied were classed as being vitamin D deficient, with this number rising to 17.7% during the months October to March and decreasing to 8.3% between the months April to November. Vitamin D deficiency was much less in Norway, Iceland and Finland, whereas mid latitude countries such as United Kingdom, Ireland, Netherland and Germany were found to have high prevalence of vitamin D deficiency.  The study states “Non-white populations in Europe are at higher risk of vitamin D deficiency than white counterparts.” Non-white populations in United Kingdom, Norway and Finland were reported to have between a 3 to 71 times higher prevalence of vitamin D deficiency compare to white populations. The study concludes by stating: “Vitamin D deficiency is evident throughout the European population at prevalence rates that are concerning and that requires action from a public health perspective.”

RSSL's provides vitamin analysis in a wide range of matrices including drinks, fortified foods, pre-mixes and multi-vitamin tablets, including the analysis for Vitamin D2 and Vitamin D3.  It provides a full vitamin and mineral analysis service to assist with labelling, due diligence, claim substantiation and stability. For more information please contact Customer Services on +44 (0) 118 918 4076 or email enquiries@rssl.com

**Animal study suggests you are what your parents ate
The phrase “you are what you eat” is often used, however a mouse study published in Nature Genetics has found that your health could also be affected by what your parents ate.  The study reports that diet-induced obesity and diabetes can be epigenetically inherited by the offspring via both the oocytes and the sperm.  Using IVF, the scientists obtained offspring from mice that had become obese and developed type 2 diabetes due to a high fat diet.  The offspring were carried by healthy surrogate mothers so that additional factors including behaviour of parents during pregnancy would not interfere with results.  The team found that both oocytes and sperms passed on epigenetic information, which led to severe obesity in the offspring, particularly in the female offspring.  Blood glucose levels were more affected in the male offspring than in the females.  The study states “this kind of epigenetic inheritance of a metabolic disorder due to an unhealthy diet could be another major cause for the dramatic global increase in the prevalence of diabetes since the 1960s.”  (Science Daily)

**Vitamin D and cancer aggression
Two recent studies by researchers in the US have looked at low vitamin D levels and a link to spread and aggression of cancers. The first by Aggarwal et al. from Stanford University Medical Centre and published online in Endocrinology investigated whether vitamin D deficiencies in mice contributed to the spread of breast cancer. Aggarwal et al. fed one group of 10 mice a diet deficient in vitamin D, while another group of 10 had a sufficient vitamin D. After 10 weeks, mouse breast cancer cells were implanted into both groups of mice. The researchers found that the vitamin D deficient mice developed palpable tumours sooner than the sufficient group and, after 6 weeks of tumour growth, had tumours which were significantly larger. (EurekAlert) The second study, conducted by Dr Adam Murphy et al. at Northwestern University and published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, measured vitamin D levels in a group of 190 men from Chicago who underwent surgery for prostate cancer.  The subjects had an average age of 64 and the researchers found that those with the most aggressive cancers had a lower vitamin D level. The study identified that of the 190, 87 had aggressive prostate cancer. This group had a median vitamin D level of 22.7 ng/ml which is significantly below the normal level of 30ng/ml and so Murphy et al. suggest that low vitamin D levels may be a predictor of an aggressive prostate cancer.  (EurekAlert) Both sets of researchers go on to suggest that vitamin D levels should be checked and deficiencies addressed. Dr Murphy is quoted in a press release as saying that “Men with dark skin, low vitamin D intake or low sun exposure should be tested for vitamin D deficiency when they are diagnosed with an elevated PSA or prostate cancer. Then a deficiency should be corrected with supplements." Brian Feldman, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at Stanford University Medical Centre and senior author of the Stanford study is noted as saying that “People at risk for breast cancer should know their vitamin D levels and take steps to correct any deficiencies”.   The Stanford researchers also note however that more vitamin D is not always better and draw a distinction between correcting a deficiency and taking more than the recommended dose.

RSSL's provides vitamin analysis in a wide range of matrices including drinks, fortified foods, pre-mixes and multi-vitamin tablets, including the analysis for Vitamin D2 and Vitamin D3.  It provides a full vitamin and mineral analysis service to assist with labelling, due diligence, claim substantiation and stability. For more information please contact Customer Services on +44 (0) 118 918 4076 or email enquiries@rssl.com

**Urine test can measure specific food compounds
Food diaries and diet recall are used in population studies to examine the effect of diet and cancer, however this method can be unreliable. Researchers from Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center in Washington DC have designed a method that can quickly evaluate specific food compounds in human urine and could replace food logs.  The test, developed by Dyba et al., concentrated on cruciferous vegetables which were found to have a protective effect against lung cancer in of study of over 63,000 people.  The scientists used urine samples that were collected as part of this study, to validate the effectiveness of the tool.  By looking for specific members of the isothiocyanates family (which are thought to protect against cancer), as well as other compounds found in cruciferous vegetables, the test was able to identify the compounds thought to protect against cancer and how much of these molecules are being consumed. Dyba et al. note isothiocyanates (ITCs) have various potencies and anticancer properties so they don’t protect equally however the test can identify specific ITCs that work best. The results of the study will be presented at the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research in New Orleans. 

**Review finds hydrolysed baby formula may not reduce allergies and eczema
Hydrolysed baby formula may not reduce allergy risk, according to a study led by researchers from Imperial College, London and funded by the Food Standard Agency.  The study, a systematic review and meta-analysis, by Boyle et al. published in The British Medical Journal investigated whether feeding infants with hydrolysed formula reduces their risk of allergic or autoimmune disease. Current infant feeding guidelines in North America, Australasia, and Europe recommend the use of hydrolysed formula in the first 4-6 months of life in place of a standard cows’ milk formula for the primary prevention of allergic diseases in childhood. The scientists identified 37 eligible intervention trials of hydrolysed formula conducted between 1946 and 2015, consisting of over 19000 participants.  Boyle et al. selected prospective intervention trials of hydrolysed cows’ milk formula compared with another hydrolysed formula, human breast milk, or a standard cows’ milk formula, which reported on allergic or autoimmune disease or allergic sensitisation. On analysis the scientists found inconsistent evidence between the trials and note that further studies into infant milk formula need to be more robust.  "Our findings conflict with current international guidelines, in which hydrolysed formula is widely recommended for young formula fed infants with a family history of allergic disease." They also report no evidence to support the claim approved by the US Food and Drug Administration that a partially hydrolysed formula could reduce risk of eczema, nor for the Cochrane review's conclusion that hydrolysed formula could prevent cows' milk allergy. The authors state that they also found evidence of publication bias, methodological biases, and conflict of interest in those studies reporting allergic outcomes.

RSSL are industry experts in allergens, and provide a comprehensive range of testing, training and food allergen consultancy services to help you control and manage allergens within manufacturing and retailing.  For more information please contact Customer Services on +44 (0) 118 918 4076 or email enquiries@rssl.com  Don’t forget to join our Allergens in a Nutshell LinkedIn group.  Book your place at our FREE event – Free-From Manufacturing Session on 20 April, Leeds

**Using plant-based ingredients in fish feed could interfere with nutritional value of farmed fish
The fish farming industry is moving away from using traditional feed for fish, composed of high levels of fishmeal and fish oil derived from wild fish, and increasing its use of plant-based ingredients (soy, corn and wheat) in its feed.  Findings of a study published in the journal Environment International by Fry et al. from the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future (CLF) at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health has indicated this could impact the health benefits of eating certain types of seafood. The researchers, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Minnesota's Institute on the Environment and McGill University, reviewed aquaculture and public health literature, and conducted a new analysis to estimate the environmental footprint for the top five crops used in commercial aquaculture feed. The scientists report half of the seafood consumed globally now comes from aquaculture, or farmed seafood. Fry et al. note farmed fish get their health-promoting omega-3 fatty acids, EPA and DHA, from their feed, and specifically from fish oil. The review found the use of vegetable oils instead of fish oil may interfere with the nutritional value of farmed seafood by reducing the levels of certain omega-3 fatty acids. Fry et al. state that while fish-based ingredients are seen as acutely limited, so are the resources used to produce feed crops. Aquaculture's environmental footprint is now likely to include increased nutrient and pesticide runoff from the industrial crop production needed to supply fish food. This runoff is a key driver of water pollution globally, and can negatively impact public health. (Science Daily)

RSSL's has expertise in all aspects of fat analysis and fatty acid profiling, including the determination of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.   For more information please contact Customer Services on +44 (0) 118 918 4076 or email enquiries@rssl.com

**Climate related changes in food production could cause an extra half million deaths by 2050
According to a study published in The Lancet, it is estimated that climate change could kill more than 500,000 adults in 2050 worldwide due to changes in diet and bodyweight from reduced crop productivity. Springman et al. used a modelling study to assess the impact, noting that a lot of research has examined food security and climate change but few studies have assessed the wider health effects of agricultural production.   Food availability can affect dietary and weight-related risk factors for example low fruit and vegetable intake, high red meat consumption and high bodyweight, which can in turn increase incidence of non-communicable disease such as heart disease, stroke and cancer.  Springman et al. state “that even modest reductions in availability of food per person could lead to major changes in the energy content and composition of diets”.  The study found that “models project that by 2050, climate change will lead to per-person reductions of 3·2% (SD 0·4%) in global food availability, 4·0% (0·7%) in fruit and vegetable consumption, and 0·7% (0·1%) in red meat consumption.” Of the 155 countries studied the low and middle income countries were reported to be worst affected, with high incomes countries being impacted by changes in fruit and vegetable intake.  Southeast Asia and Africa top the list for underweight related-deaths in adults.  

**PHE launch new Eatwell Guide
Public Health England have launched the new Eatwell Guide, replacing the Eatwell plate, which says that a healthy diet should now include more fruit, vegetables and starchy carbohydrates and have fewer sugary foods and drinks.  The guide has been refreshed to include updated dietary recommendations, including those on sugar, fibre and starchy carbohydrates from the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) report on Carbohydrates and Health in 2015. Recommendations from PHE include consuming 30g of fibre a day and limiting the consumption of sugar from foods such as sugary drinks and confectionery.  The advice that only a 150ml serving of fruit juice counts as 1 of the recommended 5 portions of fruit and vegetables a day is now extended to include smoothies and that these should be drunk with a meal as they are high in sugar.  The guide also states that adults should be aiming to have 6 to 8 glasses of fluids per day ideally from water, lower fat milks, and unsweetened tea or coffee.

RSSL endeavours to check the veracity of news stories cited in this free e-mail bulletin by referring to the primary source, but cannot be held responsible for inaccuracies in the articles so published. RSSL provides links to other World Wide Web sites as a convenience to users, but cannot be held responsible for the content or availability of these sites. This document may be copied and distributed provided the source is cited as RSSL's Food e-News and the information so distributed is not used for profit.

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RSSL endeavours to check the veracity of news stories cited in this free e-mail bulletin by referring to the primary source, but cannot be held responsible for inaccuracies in the articles so published. RSSL provides links to other World Wide Web sites as a convenience to users, but cannot be held responsible for the content or availability of these sites. This document may be copied and distributed provided the source is cited as RSSL's Food e-News and the information so distributed is not used for profit.

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