Friday, September 17, 2010

Linus Pauling Institute - Micronutrient Research for Optimum Health

I've posted repeatedly over the years about my struggle to understand the role that nutrition may play in autoimmune health issues.

To be honest, I'm looking for a definitive study that links mango margaritas to a cure for Sjogren's syndrome. Haven't found it yet, but I'm certain that it's gotta be out there somewhere...

In the absence of such a study, I'm content to continue to explore information regarding the effect that food has on our health. Imagine my surprise to discover that the Linus Pauling Institute of Oregon State University, dedicated to ongoing research into micronutrients and health, is located practically in my backyard. As a matter of fact, John and I actually have contributed indirectly to the LPI via two years of tuition sent their way. This from the OSU website:

The Linus Pauling Institute was co-founded in 1973 by Linus Pauling, Ph.D., the only individual ever to win two unshared Nobel Prizes (Chemistry, 1954; Peace, 1962). More than 40 years ago, Dr. Pauling concluded that vitamins and other micronutrients play a significant role in enhancing human health and preventing chronic diseases, not just deficiency diseases. He founded his own institute to carry out research in this field that he believed would be of enormous importance to public health. The Institute moved from Palo Alto, CA, to the campus of Oregon State University (Dr. Pauling's undergraduate alma mater).

Researchers at the Linus Pauling Institute investigate the role that vitamins and essential minerals (micronutrients) and chemicals from plants (phytochemicals) play in human aging, immune function, and chronic diseases, especially heart disease, cancer, and neurodegenerative diseases. A major emphasis is to understand the role of oxidative stress and inflammation in disease etiology, and the preventive effects of dietary constituents with antioxidant or anti-inflammatory properties.

The goal of these studies is to understand the mechanisms by which diet, micronutrients, and dietary supplements affect disease initiation and progression and can be used in the prevention or treatment of human diseases, thereby enhancing lifespan and healthspan.

Their site is incredibly informative for anyone looking to learn more about nutrition and the management of disease. The Institute has made some recommendations based on their research for healthy diet and vitamin supplementation for average, healthy adults. You can read them all here, and don't skip the part about healthy eating and lifestyle. I've chosen to highlight their suggestions for supplements in this post. It's interesting reading, and click on their links for data supporting their recommendations. 

Linus Pauling Institute Recommendations for Supplements

  • Multivitamins:

    Take a multivitamin supplement with 100% of the Daily Value (DV) for most vitamins and essential minerals, keeping the following suggestions in mind: More on multivitamins
    • Iron: In general, men and postmenopausal women should take a multivitamin without iron. More on iron
    • Vitamin A: Look for a multivitamin containing no more than 2,500 IU of vitamin A, or, if unavailable, a multivitamin containing 5,000 IU of vitamin A, of which at least 50% comes from beta-carotene. More on vitamin A
  • Vitamin C:

    Aim for a daily intake of at least 400 mg. Multivitamins usually provide 60 mg of vitamin C, and five servings of fruits and vegetables about 200 mg. More on vitamin C
  • Vitamin D:

    The Linus Pauling Institute recommends that generally healthy adults take 2,000 IU (50 mcg) of supplemental vitamin D daily. Most multivitamins contain 400 IU of vitamin D, and single ingredient vitamin D supplements are available for additional supplementation. More on vitamin D
  • Vitamin E:

    Take an extra supplement of 200 IU of natural source alpha-tocopherol (d-alpha-tocopherol) daily with a meal. More on vitamin E
  • Calcium:

    No multivitamin supplement contains 100% of the DV for calcium. If your total daily calcium intake doesn't add up to 1,000 mg add an extra calcium supplement (with a meal) to make up the difference. More on calcium
The spring newsletter 2010 included an interesting interview with the current LPI director regarding his own personal use of vitamins and supplements. His daily regime is very similar to LPI suggestions:

Balz Frei, Ph.D.
LPI Director and Endowed Chair
Distinguished Professor of Biochemistry and Biophysics

As director of LPI, I am often asked what supplements I take—after all, thinking about and researching micronutrients every day, I should know what dietary supplements are most important. While I think eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, maintaining a healthy body weight, and avoiding tobacco are of utmost importance to maintain good health, I also think that some dietary supplements are critical for optimum health.

First, I take a daily multivitamin/mineral with 100% of the Daily Value (DV) or Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) of most vitamins and essential minerals. I take this multivitamin primarily as "health insurance"; that is, to make sure I get at least the recommended amounts of most vitamins and minerals in case I don't get each and every one of them from my daily diet. This multivitamin is not an excuse not to eat a healthy diet; instead, I consider taking a multivitamin part of a healthy lifestyle. Plus, it's dirt cheap—you can buy a year's worth of multivitamins for less than a nickel a day!

You can read the the rest of his interview and his rationale for supplementation here.

A reminder - these recommendations were formulated for healthy adults. Never begin using vitamins and supplements without a discussion with your health care provider, since many supplements can cause harm when interacting with prescription medications or in the presence of certain medical conditions.  

1 comment:

0s0-Pa said...

Interesting post about the Oregon State Beaver's sports medicine org. Glad they posted recommendations on things like a vitamin C supplement and other things like calcium intake.