When More is Less

25 06 2010

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We recently discussed some very well done studies demonstrating cardiovascular benefit to diets rich in vitamin B12 and folic acid. In fact, although the study looked at complete diets rich in the vitamins, the implication was that these two vitamins were the causative agents. Some of the thought was that these compounds served to lower levels of homocysteine in the body, a compound known to cause cardiovascular problems when present in excess. Well, a recent study of over 12,000 heart attack survivors (Journal of The American Medical Association, June 2010; [JAMA. 2010;303(24):2486-2494]) showed that although “the supplementation lowered the amount of the amino acid in patients’ blood 28%, it had no effect on rates of heart events or stroke compared with people taking placebo pills.” So although there was much higher concentrations of vitamin B12 and folic acid in the supplementation group, this did not translate into a benefit (although there was no harm). Foods are complex, with many known and unknown compounds interacting in a potentially dizzying combination. The permutations quickly lead to a huge number of possibilities. What is clear  is that there are many compounds found within our foods that we are unaware of, that we are aware of but do not understand how they interact with us, that we are aware of but do not understand how the act together-not just in one and another combination but in combinations of many. The juxtaposition of these two studies leads me to the same conclusion that occurred to Hamlet as he pondered the mysteries of the Universe; “there are more things in heaven and hell Horatio, then are dreamt of in your philosophies.” And in your dinner as well.




3 responses

25 06 2010

This is a (brief) discussion I had with my cardiologist brother as well; he told me that it is impossible to replicate what is found in nature, including food-wise (that was in answer to my question to him as to whether I should or should not consume a bunch of vitamins)
I like to read your posts because you don’t make me feel like an utter ignoramus, as he sometimes does! (lol)

28 06 2010

@TOB: You are clearly a culinary genius as well as very erudite., but that’s what brothers are for I guess (being one myself)!
@Rebecca: Thanks!
@PIW: If we only knew and could invest!

25 06 2010

yep eat whole foods all the best for the move

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