Nutrition Supplement: News for Healthy Living

Vitamins minerals and more: Antioxidants, linoleic acid, iron restrictions for infants and zinc to get you through the cold and flu season.

| July/August 1997

Potent blueberries

A preliminary U.S. government study shows that blueberries possess greater antioxidant activity than any of forty fruits and vegetables tested. In fact, a little less than two-thirds of a cup of blueberries showed more antioxidant capacity than the generally recommended daily doses of vitamins E or C, according to the study, which was reported in a federal newsletter earlier this year.

Antioxidants defend the body against cell damage caused by oxygen free radicals that can lead to cancer, heart disease, and other illnesses. In the study, blueberries were followed in antioxidant strength by Concord grape juice, strawberries, kale, and spinach.

The study was conducted by the Agricultural Research Service, a division of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and reported in the USDA’s January 1997 issue of Food and Nutrition Research Briefs. Animal studies are now under way to determine if the test-tube results will carry over to humans.

Offsetting the impact of cystic fibrosis

Linoleic acid may reduce the impact of cystic ­fibrosis on infants’ growth rates, according to a ­recent study. Cystic fibrosis, an inherited disease of the exocrine glands that affects the pancreas, sweat glands, and respiratory system, can result in malnutrition and chronic respiratory problems. Linoleic acid, an essential fatty acid found in vegetable oils, nuts, and seeds, helps the body digest and fully ­utilize nutrients.

In the study, seventy-six infants with cystic fibrosis were divided into two groups. For a year, the first group took an infant formula containing 12 percent linoleic acid and the second group took for­mula containing 7 percent linoleic acid. For a year after the babies took the formulas, researchers scored their height and weight by age. At the end of the year, the first group of infants displayed significantly higher height and weight scores than the second group.(1)

Iron warnings

Labels on iron supplements will soon warn adults to keep them away from children. Accidental iron overdose is a leading cause of fatal poisoning in children younger than six years old, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which issued the new labeling requirements. It also ordered that supplements containing more than 30 mg of iron per dose be packaged in single-unit blister packs.

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