Lab Report: vitamin D supplements, gene mutation, overweight and obese children

PUBLISHED : Monday, 14 October, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 23 October, 2013, 4:00pm

Vitamin D supplements not needed by healthy adults

You may be loading up on vitamin D supplements to maintain bone density and strength and prevent osteoporosis, but a new report published in The Lancet suggests that most healthy adults do not need these pills. Researchers from the University of Auckland in New Zealand conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of all randomised trials examining the effects of vitamin D supplementation on bone mineral density in healthy adults up to July 2012. From 23 studies involving more than 4,000 healthy adults (average age 59 years), no significant effects were found in people who took vitamin D for an average of two years.


Overweight and obese children face high risk of hypertension

Extremely obese children and adolescents are 10 times more likely to have hypertension than their normal-weight peers. In fact, according to a Kaiser Permanente Southern California study, any excess weight in youth is linked with the likelihood of hypertension: twice as likely for the overweight and four times for the moderately obese. The study included nearly 250,000 children aged six to 17, tracked over three years. High blood pressure can lead to heart and kidney disease. Because it may show no symptoms for years, the researchers advise paediatricians to be vigilant about screening overweight children for hypertension. The study appears in The Journal of Clinical Hypertension.


Beneficial gene variation proves to be a double-edged sword

A genetic variation commonly present in light-skinned people that could protect skin from sun damage has been found to fuel testicular cancer. In a study in the journal Cell, scientists from Ludwig Cancer Research at Oxford University discovered a gene mutation that affects the activity of a protein named p53, which is best known as the cell's most important defence mechanism against cancer. The mutation was found to be tightly linked to the risk of developing testicular cancer. At the same time, the detection of ultraviolet light damage from the sun activates p53 in certain skin cells to ramp up melanin production and produce a protective tan.