Vitamin C may reduce levels of lead in blood

Men who want to "get the lead out" might consider how much vitamin C they get each day. Men who don't take enough vitamin C have high levels of lead in their blood, according to a new study at the Harvard School of Public Health.

Published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, the study fixed the low daily intake of vitamin C at below 109 milligrams a day.

Vitamin C and iron were at their lowest in men who had the highest amounts of lead in their blood, and vitamin D was lowest in subjects with high levels of lead in their bones.

"Higher intakes of both vitamin C and iron were associated with lower blood lead level," the report said. The researchers noted that their findings "remained after adjustment for age, cumulative smoking and alcohol consumption."

Lead exposure has been associated with high blood pressure, kidney dysfunction and anemia in adults and with learning and behavioral problems in children.

Gum can pose risks to young children

Chewing gum can cause numerous health problems and should not be given to young children, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Pediatricians from Nemours Children's Clinic in Orlando, Fla., compiled case studies to illustrate the potential health hazards of chewing gum for young children.

According to the study, swallowing gum can cause many adverse effects, including diarrhea, abdominal pain, flatulence, mouth ulcers and dental and jaw problems. It can also block the esophagus and colon.

Tomato products may fight disease

A series of articles in the June 1998 Proceedings of the Society for Experimental Biology and Medicine strongly suggests that Americans should consume more processed tomato products. The research points to the disease-fighting capabilities of lycopene, a potent antioxidant found mainly in tomato products.

Lycopene is not produced by the body, and benefits can only be obtained from dietary sources. Furthermore, the study said, it is better absorbed by the body from processed tomato products than from fresh tomatoes.

One study of 47,894 men conducted at the Harvard School of Public Health found that consuming 10 or more servings a week of tomato products was associated with a 34 percent reduction in the risk of prostate cancer.

And a recent study at the University of Illinois shows that nutritional differences between fresh, frozen and canned vegetables are minor.