subject: calcium

Dairy Foods Promote Calcium Absorption and Bone Mineralization

Dairy Foods Promote Calcium Absorption and Bone Mineralization

Nutrition pop quiz: Which food provides the most calcium for an adult human body, 10 cups of spinach (containing 300 mg of calcium) or 1 cup of milk (also containing 300 mg of calcium)? Whereas spinach contains an acid that binds calcium and renders it almost completely indigestible, the ingredients in milk—and other dairy products—work synergistically to enhance calcium absorption and its subsequent deposition into bones in a manner not seen in any other dietary source of calcium. Read More...

Happy Cows to Reduce Milk Fever

Happy Cows to Reduce Milk Fever

Serotonin is best known to us as a brain factor that affects mood, with high levels associated with euphoria. However, it has much wider effects in the body, influencing gut motility, blood vessels, and osteoporosis. To scientists, this points to an interaction with calcium, and as we all know, calcium is an important component of milk and dairy products. So does serotonin influence milk calcium, and could the mood of cows affect milk production? Recent research by scientists in Wisconsin suggests that serotonin has an effect on regulating calcium in the important transition period from late pregnancy through lactation. Read More...

Eating Whole-fat Yogurt Is Associated with Lower Obesity in an Elderly Population

Eating Whole-fat Yogurt Is Associated with Lower Obesity in an Elderly Population

For those on a diet, it might be natural to reach for low-fat rather than whole-fat yogurt. But the results of a new study might make that decision a little more complicated, at least in some populations. In the study, Carmen Sayón-Orea and her colleagues at the University of Navarra found that eating whole-fat yogurt was associated with a decrease in waist circumference and a greater probability of reducing abdominal obesity in an elderly population at high cardiovascular risk. The researchers didn’t find a similar association with low-fat or total yogurt consumption. Read More...

Prolactin Targets Intestines Too

Prolactin Targets Intestines Too

Prolactin (PRL) is a hormone that, as its name clearly indicates, PROmotes LACTation. Although it is best known for initiating milk production in the mammary glands, prolactin actually targets numerous other tissues throughout the body during lactation. One important target is the gut, where prolactin is believed to influence calcium absorption. A new study confirms this hypothesis, demonstrating that prolactin increases the ability of the intestines to absorb calcium and transfer it to the bloodstream. These important findings show that although PRL may have the important job of telling the mammary glands to make milk, it also plays a critical role in making sure that milk has all of the necessary ingredients. Read More...

Milk and Potatoes Made the World Go Round

Milk and Potatoes Made the World Go Round

Population growth, urbanization and, as a consequence, economic and political development owe much to humankind’s ability to make use of two humble foodstuffs: milk and potatoes. That is the theory put forward by development economist C. Justin Cook, of the University of California, Merced. Read More...

Why Mothers Should Boost Their Vitamin D Intake

Why Mothers Should Boost Their Vitamin D Intake

A mother's milk is the finest food her baby can get, but it's not perfect—or so it seems. It has become clear in recent years that most infants don't get enough vitamin D from breast milk—not by a long shot. Does this mean breast milk is inherently flawed, by some quirk of nature? A new study refutes this common belief by demonstrating that breast milk can indeed provide babies with enough vitamin D if their mother cranks up her vitamin D intake by more than 10 times the currently recommended amount. Read More...

Dairy Helps Dieters Maintain Muscle While Losing Fat

Dairy Helps Dieters Maintain Muscle While Losing Fat

If you have ever been on a diet, chances are you own a scale. From contestants on popular weight loss reality shows to at-home dieters, the scale is used as an indispensible tool for measuring dieting success. Unfortunately, those changing numbers on the scale only tell part of the story. Successful weight loss is not just about losing body mass, but about losing fat mass while preserving lean muscle mass. So, what is the secret to success? Dieters eating more protein and fewer carbohydrates have been shown to maintain muscle while dropping fat (1), and a growing number of studies are finding that increased consumption of whey proteins from dairy promotes even greater fat loss and lean muscle preservation (2-5). If you also take into account calcium’s positive effects on fat metabolism, there is great potential for dairy to really tip the scales in a dieter’s favor. Read More...

Children Who Avoid Cow’s Milk May Fall Short of Vitamin D

Children Who Avoid Cow’s Milk May Fall Short of Vitamin D

Rickets and vitamin D deficiency do not sound like 21st century issues. Yet nearly 100 years since the connection between the two was first identified, the U.S., Canada, and numerous other countries are facing a potential epidemic of vitamin D deficiency among children (1). The reasons for the resurgence are much the same as they were in the past: limited sunlight exposure and poor dietary intake of this essential nutrient. Vitamin D-fortified milk helped bring an end to the rickets epidemic in the early 1900s, and it remains the best dietary source of vitamin D for children today. However, a growing number of children do not drink cow’s milk. A handful of studies have found that children who avoid cow’s milk due to allergy, intolerance, or dietary preference for alternative milk beverages are at a greater risk for vitamin D deficiency (2-4). When coupled with medical advice to avoid the sun, these findings could help explain the increasing prevalence of vitamin D deficiency in otherwise healthy children. While scurvy may have gone the way of the pirate, rickets is still a modern concern. Read More...

Breastfeeding and Vitamin D Deficiency

Breastfeeding and Vitamin D Deficiency

Breastfed babies get all the nourishment they need from their mother's milk—right? Almost. One nutrient they don't get enough of from breast milk is vitamin D, a hormone essential for babies' growth and health. Instead, infants rely on vitamin D transferred from their mother via the placenta during early pregnancy; vitamin D produced in the baby's skin after sun exposure; or vitamin D supplied via infant formula. Recently, it's become clear that vitamin D deficiency in pregnant women is widespread in many parts of the world (1). This means that many babies who are exclusively breastfed and also kept out of the sun— as recommended by health authorities—are lacking in vitamin D. To tackle this global health problem, a new study (2) calls for greater attention to the vitamin D levels in pregnant mothers and newborns. Read More...

School Children Prefer Their Milk with Added Flavor

School Children Prefer Their Milk with Added Flavor

  Milk provides valuable nutrients for school children. Chocolate milk is favored by school children. Removal of chocolate milk from schools reduces total dairy consumption by children. The nutritional consequences of removing chocolate milk from schools should be studied in the context of total diet.   School lunches have been a focal point of childhood nutrition for almost a century. Many of my peers recall the school-based bottle-a-day approach to complement our dietary needs. In recent years, the composition of all foods that is offered in schools has attracted close scrutiny—especially regarding the consumption of high sugar drinks. Consideration of total caloric intake has led to a revision of available school beverages in many places around the world, and bans on the sale of drinks based on their sugar content are becoming widespread. This change includes flavored milk products, prompting a series of studies that have assessed the impact of chocolate milk withdrawal on total milk consumption by school children, and the consequence for nutrient intake. The latest to publish results on this effect is from a study conducted in Saskatoon Canada, by Henry et al [1]. Milk provides valuable nutrients to consumers, especially protein, vitamins, calcium, and other minerals [2]. Flavored milk contains these same nutrients and, despite the increased sugar, is not associated with increased weight gain in children and adolescents [2]. In efforts to reduce sugar consumption, the removal of flavored milk could be like “throwing out the baby with the bathwater.” Indeed, studies have demonstrated that removing chocolate milk from schools decreases school milk consumption and that there are additional nutritional effects that can follow [4]. When there is a fundamental change in the way milk is accessed by school children, nutritionists immediately think of the bigger picture, that is, what are the broader nutritional consequences […] Read More...