HEALTH

Study: Low levels of vitamin D linked to depression symptoms

BY Michael Johnsen

DALLAS — Low levels of vitamin D have been linked to depression, according to UT Southwestern Medical Center psychiatrists working with the Cooper Center Longitudinal Study in a release issued Thursday.

This new study — published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings — helps clarify a debate that erupted after smaller studies produced conflicting results about the relationship between vitamin D and depression. Major depressive disorder affects nearly 1-in-10 adults in the United States.

“Our findings suggest that screening for vitamin D levels in depressed patients — and perhaps screening for depression in people with low vitamin D levels — might be useful,” stated Sherwood Brown, professor of psychiatry and senior author of the study, done in conjunction with the Cooper Institute in Dallas.

UT Southwestern researchers examined the results of almost 12,600 participants from late 2006 to late 2010. Brown and colleagues from the Cooper Institute found that higher vitamin D levels were associated with a significantly decreased risk of current depression, particularly among people with a prior history of depression.

Low vitamin D levels were associated with depressive symptoms, particularly in those with a history of depression, so primary care patients with a history of depression may be an important target for assessing vitamin D levels. The study did not address whether increasing vitamin D levels reduced depressive symptoms.

The scientists have not determined the exact relationship — whether low vitamin D contributes to symptoms of depression, whether depression itself contributes to lower vitamin D levels or how that happens chemically. But vitamin D may affect neurotransmitters, inflammatory markers and other factors, which could help explain the relationship with depression, Brown said.

 


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Vitamin Shoppe launches line of supplements certified for sport by NSF

BY Michael Johnsen

NORTH BERGEN, N.J. — The Vitamin Shoppe on Thursday announced the launch of a sports nutrition supplement line called True Athlete.

True Athlete is the only retailer line to become part of NSF International’s NSF Certified for Sport program, minimizing the risk of unwanted contaminants, according to Vitamin Shoppe. "We are proud to offer effective, high-quality, sports nutrition formulas that every athlete and health-conscious individual can trust and be confident in, without the addition of artificial ingredients," stated Marvin Barton, sports nutrition expert at The Vitamin Shoppe.

"With Vitamin Shoppe True Athlete products earning the NSF Certified for Sport designation, professional, amateur and student athletes will have a wider range of products to choose from that they know have been screened for athletic banned substances and contaminants," added Ed Wyszumiala, general manager of NSF International’s Dietary Supplement Certification Programs.

The True Athlete line will include five products, including a creatine powder, a whey protein and a multivitamin.

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Kaz ad campaign taps into Google Flu Trends to help drive purchase intent

BY Michael Johnsen

NORTHBROOK, Ill. — Kaz recently commissioned Blue Chip Marketing Worldwide for a new mobile campaign using location-based targeting that helps drive sales to retailers by name.

The campaign features Kaz’s Vicks Behind Ear thermometer. Ads are placed within popular mobile apps that only pop up during, in this case, a high incidence of flu through utilization of Google Flu Trends. In other words, the ad targets users who arguably have a higher need for the product — a factor that would presumably increase the purchase intent with that branded call to action.

Consumers who tap the ad are directed to a unique landing page that includes brand messaging, an instructional video, links to the mobile website and a list of nearby stores selling the thermometer, Blue Chip noted. With another tap, consumers are supplied driving directions to the nearest retailers, including Walmart, Target, Walgreens, Rite Aid and Babies "R" Us.

The New York Times last month featured the campaign in an article available here


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