Dietary calcium doesn’t make your bones stronger after all

Although it is current practice to prescribe vitamin D and calcium together, particularly in post menopausal women, a six year study shows that the added calcium has no value.

The women were all over the age of 65 and had osteopenia. This is the stage before osteoporosis. 1,994 women were randomised to take zolendronic acid or placebo.  Bone mineral density was measured at the spin, total hip, femoral neck and total body three times at intervals.

The baseline BMD was unrelated to dietary calcium after controlling for age, height, weight, physical activity, alcohol intake, smoking and past HRT use when a cross section of women were studied.

Loss of BMD over the next six years was not related to the amount of dietary calcium ingested.

Bristow SM et al. Dietary Calcium intake and bone loss over six years in osteopenic post menopausal women. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2019 Mar 21.

My comment: Maybe time to ditch the calcium?

And while we are on the subject of bones, I’m pleased to say that another study has shown that high dose vitamin D supplementation does NOT increase kidney stone risk.

Over just over 3 years of taking 100,000 iu of vitamin D3 each month did not increase excess calcium in the blood or the onset of kidney stones in adults aged between 50 and 84 years.

This dose is equivalent to 3300 iu vit D3 a day, similar to what many of us in the know take.

158 people took part in the randomised trial. The number of people developing kidney stones was similar in each group and no one in the intervention group developed hypercalcaemia.  The groups self reported stones. No ultrasound was done which the authors say could have been more accurate.

Malihi Z et al. Monthly high dose vitamin D supplementation does not increase kidney stone risk or serum calcium: results from a randomised controlled trial. Am J Clin. Nutr. 2019 Apr 21

 

Freestyle libre on NHS prescription at last!

My son has at last been given an NHS prescription for the Freestyle Libre sensors.

These make a big difference in the ease and frequency with which you can test your blood sugars. If you know how to adjust your insulin to meals, activity and sort out your basals, the added readings that you get help you stay in your target zone much more easily.

I bought the device and the sensors   for my son very soon after they launched and have been funding them at £100 every four weeks since. Ouch!

This was worth it for the added peace of mind. The worry of a child never ends and is more so if that child uses insulin, lives alone, is a driver, and is 5 hours drive away.

My son was actually expecting to wait another four months as he was told there was an eighteen month waiting list for the diabetic clinic. He got a short notice cancellation some four months earlier. I know from Emma and other people with type one that getting the device and sensors is a post-code lottery and that although Theresa May thinks everyone who would benefit from them should get them, this is far from practice at present.

I can only hope that there is an increase in funding to help those of  you who need them and that the scripts continue to be NHS funded, particularly when I retire.

Update: The Freestyle Libre System can now be used for drivers say the DVLA.

 

Diet doctor: Type one and women’s videos

A year ago I was interviewed by Diet Doctor and after quite a wait, I’m delighted so say that my video interviews are now available at their site.

The subjects are tips for self management for people living with insulin dependent diabetes  and addressing women’s issues with type one and type two diabetes.

The videos are in the MEMBERSHIP section.

You can access these by joining the site. You can take on a free months trial and decide if you wish to continue or not after that.

 

Katharine.

 

 

 

Matthew’s Friends: a lifeline for epileptic patients

The charity Matthew’s Friends was set up by Emma Williams whose son Matthew got a great improvement in his epilepsy which did not respond to drugs but did respond to a ketogenic diet.

The charity aims to promote the ketogenic dietary option as an adjunct or alterative to drugs in children or adults whose epilepsy control is sub optimal. The hassle of following the diet often becomes much more preferable to facing a daily struggle with unpredictable and dangerous fits.

The website, Matthew’s Friends#KetoKitchen You Tube channel gives free ketogenic recipes, demonstrations and tutorials, which can be a great help to those embarking on ketogenic or low carb diets, including many diabetics. 

Professor Helen Cross from Great Ormond Street Hospital writes: Epilepsy affects 1% of all children, and in 25% of cases  there are continued fits despite considerable effort with medication. This can affect physical and mental ability, learning and behaviour. This not only affects the child but their family. The ketogenic diet has been used for almost one hundred years to treat epilepsy. There are different versions of the diet. The long chain triglyceride diet, the more liberal medium chain triglyceride diet, the modified Atkins and Low Glycaemic index diet. The best diet for an individual will be developed with the help of qualified and trained ketogenic dieticians in conjunction with the family. Such help is essential. In 60% of people who are resistant to anti-epileptic drugs, they respond, at least  to some extent to a ketogenic diet.

A three month trial of the ketogenic diet is advised to see if there is a response or not.In many cases, the response is so marked that medication can be stopped entirely. Obviously, direct clinical supervision is mandatory.

Matthew’s Friends can advise parents or people who would like to improve their epilepsy and provide contacts and materials to get started on an appropriate ketogenic diet. They are always grateful for donations to further their work.

Jovina cooks Chinese: Szechuan Chicken stir fry

Asian Stir-Fry Dinner
by Jovina Coughlin

Szechuan Chicken Stir-Fry

Serves 4
Ingredients
Sauce Mixture
1 tablespoon dark sesame oil
1/2 cup chicken broth
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 tablespoon chile paste (such as sambal oelek)
1 tablespoon honey
2 teaspoons cornstarch
Stir-Fry
2 tablespoons peanut oil
2 cooked (poached) chicken breasts, shredded
Half of a large red bell pepper, cut into thin strips
2 cups broccoli florets, cut into small pieces
1 cup diagonally cut snow peas
1 tablespoon grated peeled fresh ginger
1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic
1/4 cup (1-inch) slices green onion
Directions
Combine the sauce ingredients in a small bowl. Set aside
Heat a wok or large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the peanut oil; swirl.
Add bell peppers and broccoli and stir-fry for about 2 minutes. Add the next 4 ingredients (through garlic); stir-fry 1 minute. Add the shredded chicken, stir-fry 1 minute.
Add the sauce mixture; cook 30 seconds or until thickened. Add the green onions. Cook until heated through. Serve with the Cauliflower Rice dish or regular rice if you are not low carbing.
Asian Flavored Cauliflower “Rice”

Serves 4
Ingredients
10 oz pkg frozen cauliflower rice, defrosted or use the same amount of regular leftover cooked rice (or grate your own)
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon minced ginger
Directions
Let the riced cauliflower drain in a colander for about 30 minute. Then place it on a paper towel.
In a wide-bottom skillet, heat the sesame oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and saute for about 1 minute.
Add the cauliflower rice. Stir-fry until the grains are dry and begin to crisp.
Stir in the rice vinegar, soy sauce and ginger. Stir-fry for another minute or two. Serve with the chicken.

My comment: I’m pleased to see that frozen cauliflower rice is available in the USA. I’m not aware that we have it yet in the UK. You can pulverize raw cauliflower in a food processor to get a similar product. Then you can have a taste of the orient with this lovely meal.

Simone Miller’s Paleo Pizza Crust

For step by step directions with pictures see the link below:

 

http://zenbellycatering.com/2013/08/20/ny-style-paleo-pizza-crust-yes-really/?_ke=a2F0aGFyaW5lLm1vcnJpc29uQGJ0aW50ZXJuZXQuY29t

 

Simone is a chef living in San Francisco and she had numerous attempts to perfect pizza crust. She was keen to have the sort of base that would rise just like the flour based version. 

She has some tips:

use a pizza stone if you have one

warm the bowl for the yeast mixture and measuring cup for the water by running hot water into it

You need to use high temperatures for this recipe to get the best result

You need to have the top almost completely cooked before you put your toppings on.

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon of gluten free yeast

1 tablespoon raw honey

1/4 cup of warm water

3/4 cup ground almonds

3/4 cup tapioca starch

3/4 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon olive oil or other melted fat

1 tablespoon egg white (this is less than one egg)

1 and 1/2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar

+ your favourite toppings eg mozzarella, cheddar, mushrooms, peppers, onion, rosemary, oregano etc

Directions:

In the warmed large mixing bowl combine the yeast, honey and warm water. Leave for 5 minutes to get frothy.

In another small bowl combine the olive oil, apple cider vinegar and egg white.

In another medium bowl combine the almond flour, tapioca starch and salt.

Once the yeast if foamy, add the wet and dry ingredients to the bowl and mix on medium/high for 30 seconds and scrape the bowl to mix it well.

Using a rubber spatula form the wet dough into as much of a ball as you can.

Cover the bowl with a tea towel and put in a warm (but not hot) place. All it to sit for 75 -90 minutes. Check it at 75 minutes. It doesn’t rise like conventional dough but it should have risen somewhat. If not leave it a bit longer.

Turn your oven to 500 F 250 C or regulo 10 (for many of us as high as our domestic ovens will go).

If you have a pizza stone put it in the oven.

Lightly oil a sheet of parchment paper and turn the sticky dough onto it.

Oil your hands and flatten the dough into a 9 or 10 inch circle or so.

Carefully transfer the parchment with the raw pizza base onto the stone or sheet pan.

Bake in the lower third of your oven for 6-8 minutes till it starts to brown at the edges.

Add the desired toppings and cook for another 2-3 more minutes. Allow to cool for a minute before slicing.

Enjoy!

 

 

Chief Medical Officer Scotland: Vitamin D supplementation

From letter from Dr Catherine Calderwood Chief Medical Officer Scotland 
24 November 2017

New Recommendations on Vitamin D Supplementation

Vitamin D plays an important role in maintaining bone health throughout life. Vitamin D deficiency impairs the absorption of dietary calcium and phosphorous. This can lead to:
 Infants having muscle weakness and bone softening leading to rickets;
 Adults having muscle weakness and osteomalacia, which leads to bone pain and tenderness.
The most recent National Diet and Nutrition Survey shows that a proportion of the UK population has low vitamin D levels, which may put them at risk of the clinical consequences of vitamin D deficiency.
Last year, the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) made new recommendations on vitamin D and health.  The full report is available at:
https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/537616/SACNVitamin_D_and_Health_report.pdf

SACN considered all relevant evidence suggesting links between vitamin D and various health conditions and concluded that the risk of poor musculoskeletal health (e.g. rickets, osteomalacia) is increased with low vitamin D levels. SACN found insufficient evidence to draw firm conclusions on the impact of low vitamin D levels for non-musculoskeletal health outcomes.
The Scottish Government has now updated its advice on vitamin D in line with the new SACN recommendations as follows:

Everyone age 5 years and above should consider taking a daily supplement of 10μg of vitamin D, particularly during the winter months (October – March). Between late March/early April and September, the majority of people aged 5 years and above will probably obtain sufficient vitamin D from sunlight when they are outdoors, alongside foods that naturally contain or are fortified with vitamin D.
From October to March, everyone aged 5 and over will need to rely on dietary sources of vitamin D. Since vitamin D is found only in a small number of foods, it might be difficult to get enough from foods that naturally contain vitamin D and/or fortified foods alone.

Children aged 1 to 4 years of age should be given a daily supplement containing 10μg vitamin D. We recommend Healthy Start vitamin drops for all children in health.

A new-born baby’s vitamin D level depends on their mother’s levels near the birth and will be higher if the mother took a vitamin D supplement during pregnancy. Some mothers and babies have a higher risk of vitamin D deficiency, including those born to mothers who habitually wear clothes that cover most of their skin while outdooors and those from minority ethnic groups with dark skin such as those of African, African-Caribbean and South Asian origin.
However, as a precaution, we are now recommending that all babies from birth up to one year of age should be given a daily supplement of 8.5 to 10μg vitamin D. Babies who are formula fed do not require a vitamin D supplement if they are having at least 500ml per day, as infant formula already has added vitamin D.
We recommend Healthy Start vitamin drops for infants. Neonatologists and paediatricians may recommend alternatives for premature infants, children with clinical conditions or clinical presentations of vitamin D deficiency.
Advice for parents on vitamin D supplementation for breastfed babies must be carefully considered as there is a risk that infant formula could be viewed as superior to breastmilk. Breastfeeding is the normal way to feed infants. It has an important and lasting impact on the public health of the population and it is vital that we protect and support breastfeeding. It is recommended that you emphasise that the potential problem is related to a lack of sunlight in the UK, and that it affects the whole 
population, not just breastfed babies.
It is recommended that those at greatest risk of vitamin D deficiency take a daily supplement all year round. These groups include:
pregnant and breastfeeding mothers
 children under 5 years of age
 people who are not exposed to much sunlight, such as frail or housebound individuals, or those that cover their skin for cultural reasons; and
 people from minority ethnic groups with dark skin such as those of African, African-Caribbean and South Asian origin, because they require more sun exposure to make as much vitamin D.
General information leaflets on vitamin D for both the public and healthcare professionals have been updated to reflect these new recommendations and are available online at: http://www.gov.scot/Topics/Health/Healthy-Living/Food-Health/vitaminD
New guidance has been developed for parents and healthcare professionals to support parents to follow this new recommendation. This includes advice on how to administer vitamin D drops to young babies. It is available at:
http://www.gov.scot/Topics/Health/Healthy-Living/Food-Health/vitaminD
From April 2017, Healthy Start vitamins for women (which provide Vitamin D, folic acid and Vitamin C) are provided free of charge to all pregnant women in Scotland for the duration of their pregnancy, regardless of their entitlement to the Healthy Start scheme.
Breastfeeding women and children up to age 4 who are eligible for Healthy Start can also get free supplements containing vitamin D. Further information on the Healthy Start scheme can be found at http://www.healthystart.nhs.uk
Healthy Start vitamin drops for babies and children currently contain 7.5μg per 5 drops of vitamin D, as well as vitamin A and vitamin C. The new recommended dose for vitamin D is 8.5-10μg and vitamins containing the new recommended dose will be available from October 2018. In the meantime, parents should be advised to continue to give the current dosage of 5 drops per day.
In Scotland, NHS Boards are responsible for supplying Healthy Start vitamin supplements universally to pregnant women and to breastfeeding women and children who are eligible for the Healthy Start scheme. NHS Boards are also able to sell Healthy Start vitamins to families who are not eligible for Healthy Start. Some Health Boards have chosen to provide additional free vitamins for infants.
We are not currently in a position to extend universal provision of vitamin supplements to the whole of the Scottish population or to additional at risk groups including the elderly, women in the pre-conception period, infants or young children.
Vitamin D supplements for adults and children are also available to buy from most major supermarkets, high street pharmacies and health food stores.

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