Nutrition Bytes - October 2019

New study shows that choosing organic is an easy way to avoid pesticide, antibiotic, and synthetic growth hormone residues in milk

Residues of growth hormones in conventional milk were 20 times higher than in organic.

Milk is an important contributor to a healthy human diet. It provides important protein, fat, calcium, and vitamin D. Equivalents can be found in all dairy products including yogurt and cheese. But not all milk is created equal. A large body of research has shown for nearly 15 years that organic milk has a stronger profile of important fatty acids, antioxidants, and mineral nutrients than conventional milk, making organic milk healthier for families. Now a new study published in the journal Public Health Nutrition shows that drinking organic milk provides an option to avoid pesticide, antibiotic, and synthetic growth hormone residues too.


Researchers at Emory University, in collaboration with The Organic Center, tested conventional and organic milk from store shelves across nine regions of the U.S. and found that a majority of conventional milk samples tested positive for residues of antibiotics and currently used controversial pesticides. Two of the detected antibiotics have been entirely banned from dairy production in the U.S., while one sample contained levels of amoxicillin that exceeded the FDA allowable limits. Pesticide residues of chlorpyrifos, atrazine, permethrin, and more were found in 26 to 60 percent of conventional samples and none of the organic samples. Many of the detected chemicals are linked to serious and adverse effects on human and environmental health. Organic milk showed no such contaminants. Finally, residues of growth hormones in conventional milk were 20 times higher than in organic. The results of this important study indicate that organic milk is a clean and safe choice for the family.


Information provided by The Organic Center. For more information and resources, please visit their website at

Vitamin D Reduces Risk of Respiratory Tract Infections

Vitamin D supplementation reduced the risk of respiratory tract infection among all participants

A recent analysis published in the British Medical Journal found that vitamin D has a protective effect against acute respiratory tract infections like the common cold. The analysis examined a total of 25 randomized controlled trials that included more than 11,000 participants. All participants in the studies were administered oral vitamin D3 and their baseline vitamin D levels were recorded.


After examining the data, the researchers found that vitamin D supplementation reduced the risk of respiratory tract infection among all participants, with the strongest effect seen in those with vitamin D deficiency (less than 25 nmol/L) at baseline. Additionally, daily or weekly vitamin D supplementation was protective while large single doses were not. Daily doses ranged from 880 IU to 2,000 IU.


To date, this is the largest study of its kind examining vitamin D3 levels and respiratory tract infections and the results highlight the important role that vitamin D3 supplements play in immune support. The researchers concluded by saying that the results of this study add to the body of evidence that support public health measures to improve vitamin D status, particularly in those with vitamin D deficiency.

Elderberry Effective Against Cold & Flu Symptoms


A recent meta-analysis of randomized-controlled clinical trials assessed the effectiveness of black elderberry for cold or flu symptoms. After reviewing the studies, the researchers concluded that elderberry supplementation at the onset of symptoms can significantly reduce the duration and severity of upper respiratory symptoms. The effects of elderberry were more beneficial for the flu, but benefits were also seen for those with the common cold. Black elderberry, also known as Sambucus, contains plant compounds known as anthocyanins which have been shown to have antiviral activity and to support healthy immune function.


Every year millions of people in the U.S. are infected with influenza, also known as the flu. Additionally, the average adult experiences two to three cases of the common cold while the average child experiences five to seven cases each year. Colds and flu are commonly treated with over-the-counter (OTC) drugs, but questions about safety and efficacy of these drugs has been called into question, especially for children. Prescription drugs like antibiotics are also routinely given, despite warnings that antibiotics are not effective for viral infections like colds and the flu. The prevalence of cold and flu cases, in addition to concerns regarding medications, present the need for safe and effective options for upper respiratory symptoms. With the current concerns regarding OTC drugs and antibiotic misuse, elderberry offers a safe and effective alternative for upper respiratory cold and flu symptoms.


References available upon request