In mid-April, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) “urged” the addition of selenium as a required nutrient in infant formulas. Selenium has been known to be an essential nutrient for humans since Dr. J.T. Rotruck et al., discovered in 1973 that it is a component of a key body compound. However, research into the roles of selenium in the body continues to grow. Nearly every week, a new study is published elucidating one or more biochemical pathways in which selenium compounds in the body are vital to human health.

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Will the public ever realize that it has been misled about cholesterol? Many people in the health food arena and, hopefully, most of our readers are aware of the misleading information about cholesterol. It has been the subject of many interviews in this column over the years such as in the December 2009 issue of WholeFoods Magazine, where we discussed many of the errors in the flawed studies that are used to promote the cholesterol theory in “The Cholesterol Paradigm: The Greatest Health Scam of the Century,” with Sheldon Zerden.

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Vitamin D slows the progression of cells from premalignant to malignant states, keeping their proliferation in check. A team of researchers at McGill University has discovered a molecular basis for the potential cancer-preventive effects of vitamin D (1). The team, led by McGill professors John White and David Goltzman, of the Faculty of Medicine’s department of physiology, discovered that the active form of vitamin D acts through several mechanisms to inhibit both the production and function of a protein that drives cell division and is active at elevated levels in more than half of all cancers.

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During these trying economic times, more and more people have either chosen or been forced to become more involved with overseeing their own healthcare. As Andrew W. Saul, Ph.D., says on his Web site (www.doctoryourself.com), “If you want something done right, you have to do it yourself. This especially includes your health care.”

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“The teachings of this book can save the lives of millions worldwide,” I stated on the cover of Frank Murray’s new book, Vitamin A and Beta-Carotene Are Miracle Workers. Since the early 1970s, I have had the greatest admiration for Mr. Murray, his books and his many contributions to the health industry. Murray has been a soldier in the battle to preserve the health industry and make people healthier.

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Despite thousands of supportive studies spanning more than 40 years showing dietary omega-3 fats EPA and DHA protect against heart disease, the recent publication of a study on the effectiveness of fish oil in heart patients has confused many. One confounding factor was that most of the media sensationalized the story with totally incorrect headlines.

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We frequently receive requests for an update column on women’s health problems. This month, we will chat with Helen Saul Case, the author of The Vitamin Cure for Women’s Health Problems.

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For 90 years, vitamin E research has produced prolific and notable discoveries, including isolation from plants, chemical identifications and total syntheses. Until the last few decades, however, attention has been given mostly to the biological activities and underlying mechanisms of alpha-tocopherol, while more than one-third of all vitamin E tocotrienol research over the last 30 years was published in the last three years (2009–2011).

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Warning! Some readers may have their vitamin E knowledge foundation seriously “adjusted” by this provocative discussion. A few readers may be disturbed or even shocked by the “growing gorilla in the room,” suggesting that the most common form of vitamin E in supplements (alpha-tocopherol) may detrimentally interfere with other natural forms of vitamin E. As the body of science grows about the forms of vitamin E, surprises occur. Dogma must adapt to discovery. The objective is to utilize the new information to obtain even greater health benefits.

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Last month, we discussed the tocotrienol form of vitamin E and cancer prevention with Dr. Barrie Tan. We talked about the differences between the tocotrienol and tocopherol forms of vitamin E and that tocotrienols have proven to contain some exceptional properties that are not shared by tocopherols. This month, we will examine additional specific roles of tocotrienol compared to the tocopherol forms of vitamin E with Dr. Barrie Tan, Ph.D. These roles include reducing heart disease risk and controlling inflammation, as well as supporting nerve health and protecting against radiation and bacteria.

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