January 2020 Health Bulletin

What did researchers find in 2019?

Underactive thyroid – should it be treated?

Thyroid disease is common and manifests as an over active or underactive thyroid. Often early thyroid disease is identified by screening people with a blood test for a hormone called TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone). If the TSH is elevated but the blood levels of thyroid hormone are normal then people are said to have “subclinical” underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism). There has been debate over the years as to whether treating people with thyroxine would be beneficial. In 2019 the updated recommendation published in the BMJ is that there are no benefits in treating people with subclinical hypothyroidism.

Do vitamin D supplements prevent heart disease?

Studies have suggested low Vitamin D may elevate the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD). A careful analysis published in 2019 revealed vitamin D supplementation was not associated with reduced major adverse cardiovascular events, individual CVD end points (myocardial infarction, stroke, CVD mortality), or all-cause mortality.

JAMA Cardiol. 2019;4(8):765-776. doi:10.1001/jamacardio.2019.1870

Do I have to do 10,000 steps each day?

Firstly, where did the number 10,000 come from?

It appears that the reason we talk about "10,000 steps" is that this was the brand name of a Japanese pedometer called Manpo-kei, or "10,000 steps meter" which was marketed in 1965, not because this is a scientifically based number of steps.

A study of 16,741 women with an average age of 72 years, found that overall women took about 5500 steps per day and that the women who took over 4400 steps per day were less likely to die in the follow up (just over 4 years) than women who took less than 2700 per day, after taking into account other factors that increased mortality.

Although the study does not prove walking more will make you live longer, it does indicate activity is beneficial and you don’t have to do 10,000 steps per day to experience the benefit.

JAMA. 2019;322(6):492-493. doi:10.1001/jama.2019.10042

Is interval training the magic bullet for fat loss?

Researchers compared the effects of interval training and moderate-intensity continuous training on body fat.

Moderate intensity continuous training is continuous effort that elicits 55%–70% of the maximal heart rate. Interval training is intermittent periods of effort with recovery periods between efforts and includes high-intensity interval training (HIIT) and sprint interval training (SIT).

Although both forms of exercise reduced the percent of body fat, interval training provided almost 30% greater reduction in total absolute fat mass (kg) than moderate-intensity continuous training

BJ Sports Med June 2019

Information provided might not be relevant to a particular person's circumstances and should always be discussed with that person's own healthcare provider.