Researchers from the Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute at the Mount Sinai
Hospital in Toronto show that increased Vitamin D levels during youth may reduce
the risk of breast cancer by 30% later in life. 972 women newly diagnosed with
breast cancer were compared to 1,135 cancer free women. Vitamin D obtained
through exposure to sunlight, from food, or from supplementation, all decreased
the risk significantly. Sources ranged from dairy, to sunlight, to cod liver
oil. The study is published in the March 1st, 2007 issue of Cancer Epidemiology,
Biomarkers, and Prevention, a journal of the American Association for Cancer
Lacking iron, or worse, being anemic, strongly impacts cognitive function and
At any time of life, a lack of iron affects mental function and behavior. Women
of reproductive age are among the most vulnerable to iron deficiency which can
lead to cognitive decline.
In this blinded, placebo-controlled study, 113 women between the ages of 18 to
35 were randomly assigned to receive iron supplements or placebo in a random
fashion for 16 weeks. Cognitive function was assessed using 8 cognitive
performance tasks which represented a broad range of tasks.
At the start of the study, iron sufficient women performed better on cognitive
tasks and completed them faster than women who were iron deficient but not to
the point of anemia, and these women in turn did better than the women with
full-blown iron deficiency anemia. After treatment with an iron supplement, a
significant improvement in iron status as measured by ferritin levels was
associated with a 500% to 700% improvement in cognitive performance. A
significant improvement in hemoglobin was related to improved speed in
completing the task. The research was performed at the Department of Nutritional
Sciences, Pennsylvania State University, and is published in the March 2007
issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
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