Posts tagged vitamins
Personal Genomics and N=1 Experiments

Hats off to Misha Angrist over at Genome Boy for bringing this fascinating story about personal genomic experiments that ran in Nature Medicine to my attention. Raymond McCauley and a small team of DIY-researchers wanted to know how effective different types of vitamins were for clearing "undesirable" amino acids from their bodies.   One of the supplements they investigated was a standard, over-the-counter vitamin B tablet.  But the other, was a more highly active B vitamin, called L-methylfolate.  McCauley's genetic profile differed from the rest of his team in two particular SNPs (he was homozygous at both locations).

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Viva la Vitamin?

I think many of us assume that if  experts say that Vitamin C can boost the immune system, then grabbing a 500mg bottle at your local health nutrition store must be a good idea.  I know I've been guilty of this mindset.  But it turns out that if you exercise, taking antioxidant vitamins might not be in your best interest.  There was a good summary by Derek Lowe at 'In The Pipeline' about a new PNAS paper that argues against popping vitamins while engaged in an exercise routine.  The study found that the experimental group that took a combination of Vitamin C and Vitamin E actually lost some of the inherent benefits of exercise, such as changes in insulin sensitivity and formation of natural antioxidants. My only criticism of the study is that Vitamin C is capable of regenerating Vitamin E, so I wonder whether this phenomenon will carry through for all supplemental antioxidants, or if it's limited to the particular vitamins used in this study.

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