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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Nutrition Bytes

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Vitamin C and Treating Coronary Artery Disease: More Hype than Hope?

Research over the years has shown that oxidative stress may be involved in the progression to coronary artery disease (CAD), suggesting a potential role for vitamin antioxidant therapy. Vitamin C was looked to as a potential treatment and epidemiological evidence seemed to indicate a protective cardiovascular effect. Data emerged from basic research that indicated that vitamin C positively regulated several components of the cardiovascular system, including restoration of antioxidant enzymes, improved arterial vasodilatation, reduction in inflammatory markers, and a better lipoprotein profile. Despite this initial optimism, subsequent analyses carried out in large clinical trials have shown that vitamin C supplementation has little therapeutic benefit. This paper reviews currently available evidence on the cardioprotective effect of vitamin C and the prospects for antioxidant treatment of CAD.

Riboflavin: An Alternative Approach to Managing Migrane Attacks in the Adult Population

Riboflavin may serve as a clinically important nutritional supplement in treating migraine attacks. But despite its potential therapeutic utility, riboflavin’s effects on patients with migraines have only been documented in four studies. Based on the results of these studies, comparing riboflavin with placebo demonstrated statistically significant improvements in many variables, among which included reduction of attack frequency, severity, and duration. However, these improvements were only noted in the adult population (Age > 18). Studies conducted on the pediatric population showed the opposite trend, with no statistically significant differences found between the placebo and riboflavin groups. Thus, riboflavin appears to have therapeutic value only when administered to adult patients suffering from migraine attacks.

Little in a Land of Plenty: Food Insecurity Among Latinos in the U.S.

Objective: To determine if there are common themes among the results of qualitative food insecurity studies of Latinos in the U.S. Methods: An electronic literature search was conducted via the PubMed database. The results from this search were filtered according to specific criteria and six qualitative studies were considered eligible for review. The results of each study were organized into themes, grouped into common categories and compared between studies. Results: The results of the reviewed studies may be organized into themes based upon (a) food availability, (b) types of food consumed, (c) food allocation in households with offspring, (d) emotional well-being, (e) sources of food and (f) economic strategies. These themes suggest that food availability occurs in a cyclic pattern based on income and employment. Fruits, vegetables and meats are typically too expensive for purchase and may lead to a reliance on staple foods. There is a strong desire among parents to protect household offspring from the effects of food insecurity. Food insecurity may produce significant, adverse psychological effects, such as stress and worry. During periods of insufficient income, food may be obtained from local churches, food pantries, social services or personal gardens. Food insecure Latinos may use numerous economic strategies to avoid food insecurity, such as traveling to stores with lower prices or using food stamps or loans to purchase food. Conclusions: There are common themes between the results of qualitative food insecurity studies among Latinos in the U.S. that describe the diverse manifestations of food insecurity.