Purdue University

Important Info on US Sodium and Potassium Intakes and Their Ratio:

Sodium-to-potassium ratio (Na:K) is shown to be strongly associated with an increased risk of Cardiovascular disease (CVD) and CVD related mortality, more than either Na or K intake alone. Researchers from the NIH Office of Dietary Supplements, Department of Nutrition Science at Purdue University, and the USDA Agricultural Research Service set out to estimate the Na:K in the diet of US adults. Using data from the 2011-2012 NHANES, the National Cancer Institute method was used to estimate Na and K intakes, Na:K, and the percentage of those with Na:K < 1.0. What they found was that only 12.2% of US adults had a Na:K < 1.0, a ratio that while not necessarily ideal, would certainly be considered preferable to the 1.38 average seen for all adults, and is compatible with the WHO guidelines for reduced risk of mortality. On average, 90% consumed more than the 2300 mg/d recommended daily intake (3600 mg/d average intake) of Na, whereas less than 3% had K intakes above the recommended 4700 mg/d (2800 mg/d average intake). Their report illustrates that only about 10% of US adults have a Na:K consistent with preferred guidelines. In order to improve the risk of CVD related mortality, efforts to reduce sodium intake, with novel strategies to increase potassium intakes are warranted. These dietary modifications offer a cost-effective public health intervention strategy.

Bailey RL, et al. Estimating Sodium and Potassium Intakes and Their Ratio in the American Diet: Data from the 2011-2012 NHANES1-4. The Journal of Nutrition Apr 2016; Vol 146, No. 4; 745-750

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Vitamin A Directs Immune Cells to the Intestines!

We know that vitamin A deficiencies lead to increased susceptibility to disease and low concentrations of immune cells in the mucosal barrier lining the intestines. Researchers from Purdue University found that the vitamin A metabolite retinoic acid (RA), is necessary for two of the three types of innate immune cells residing in the intestine (ILC1 and ILC3) to find their proper place. Innate lymphoid cells (ILCs), which are present in barrier tissues, gather in the lymph nodes where RA activates specific receptors upon two of the three subsets, acting as homing devices for the intestines. These immune cells then travel through the circulatory system, the receptor grab onto and bind to molecules in the intestines and keep the cells in place. They need to be concentrated in mucosal barrier tissues, because they are the point of entry from many infections from bacteria, viruses and parasites. These innate immune cells reside under the epithelial cell barrier that lines the intestine in a healthy system. When a pathogen penetrates the epithelial barrier, innate immune cells respond, attacking the pathogen to keep it from penetrating farther into the tissue or reaching the bloodstream. Researchers concluded that distinct programs regulate the migration of ILC subsets to the intestine for regulation of innate immunity. Interestingly, Vitamin D has been shown to work in a similar way to guide immune cells to the skin.

MH Kin, EJ Taparowsky, CH Kim. Retinoic acid differentially regulates the migration of innate lymphoid cell subsets to the gut. Immunity Vol 43, Issue 1, p107-119, 21 July 2015
Purdue study finds vitamin A directs immune cells to the intestines. July 9, 2015. http://www.purdue.edu

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