Vitamin D2 supplement does damage to athletes.
The lack of light in winter months can be a serious setback for intense athletes. Vitamin D is crucial for building muscle strength, so it's only natural that anyone looking to get a physical edge would decide to pump up on the crucial supplement. However, a recent study published in the journal Nutrients found that D2 supplements, widely popular among powerlifters, actually causes muscle damage, not growth. Taking D2 seemed to deplete D3 (the natural vitamin created by sunlight), causing greater muscle injury after exercising. The study's authors said that D2's detrimental effects were quite significant, and recommended that it be avoided. [ScienceDaily]
The cure for baldness is getting closer.
Watch out toupees, your days are numbered. Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania say they've been able to thicken and replenish thinning hair (in mice, at least) with reprogrammed adult stem cells that can regenerate hair follicles. The development of these adult stem cells could also be potentially useful in cosmetics and the treatment of wounds. [WebMD]
With bird flu on the rise, Chinese government takes action.
Anxiety and fear are spreading in China as cases of the H7N9 bird flu continue to spread. With the Chinese New Year—a time when poultry consumption spikes—fast approaching, officials have announced that many major poultry markets will be closed starting February 15th. There have been 53 cases of the bird flu in Zhejiang so far this year, with 12 deaths reported. It's unclear whether the increase in illness is due to seasonal factors or an actual mutation in the virus. [Time]
Is caffeine addiction dangerous?
Nobody really thinks twice about that morning joe—or the five cups after that, finished off with a diet whatever later in the day—but psychology professor Laura Juliano, coauthor of the study "Caffeine Use Disorder: A Comprehensive Review and Research Agenda," says little is understood about the most socially accepted form of addiction. Dependency, withdrawal, and interference with daily functioning could be some of the many worrisome effects of caffeine. More research is to come, but for the moment Juliano recommends limiting your daily caffeine intake to 400 mg (one cup of coffee has about 90mg). [EurekAlert]