April 3 – April 16, 2014


champion services travel - group travel

Vitamin Supplements, Yes or No?

theo hodge jr“The message is simple: Most supplements do not prevent chronic disease or death, their use is not justified, and they should be avoided,” concluded the authors of an editorial summarizing new research on the use of multi-vitamins. The authors continued to advise that “health care professionals should counsel their patients to eat a healthy, well-balanced diet that is rich in nutrients.”

Vitamins are essential in small amounts for maintaining the normal workings of the body. The body cannot make vitamins (with the exception of Vitamin D) and so they must be ingested as part of a healthy diet.

Measurement of serum levels of several vitamins is widely available. Fueled by popular belief in the importance of vitamins and by commercial interests, testing is being promoted to screen for unrecognized deficiency and to tailor supplements to individual needs. Again, this practice is unwarranted in most individuals for two main reasons:

  1. There is inadequate information about the optimum blood levels of vitamins making it difficult to interpret subtle deficiency states.
  2. There is a lack of evidence that vitamin supplements prevent disease in many healthy adults with low blood levels of vitamins apart from those with specific dietary or medical conditions.
With the above in mind, let’s look at specific vitamins and answer the question as to whether or not to supplement. 

Folic Acid:  Folate is the natural form of the vitamin found in food and is present in green leafy vegetables, fruits, cereals, grains, nuts, and meats. The only well-established benefit of folic acid supplementation is the prevention of nervous system defects in the unborn baby. Bottom line, if you are not pregnant than folic acid supplementation is not recommended.

Vitamin A:  An antioxidant, vitamin A consists of retinol and the carotenoids such as B-carotene. Retinol is only found in animal products and supplements while the carotenoids that can be converted into Vitamin A are found in fruits and vegetables. Most diets in developed countries contain adequate amounts of retinol and carotenoids. Vegetarians including vegans do not need to take Vitamin A supplements. In general, if the diet contains adequate vitamin A then supplementation is not recommended.

vitamin cVitamin C:  Vitamin C is commonly found in citric fruits and many types of vegetables. Vitamin C may have a minor role in preventing the common cold specifically for persons involved in high-intensity physical activity in extreme cold climates. Contrary to some popular discourses, evidence does not support the use of vitamin C supplementation for the prevention of cancer or cardiovascular disease. Vitamin C supplements may increase the risk of kidney stones. In healthy individuals with an adequate diet (other than for those engaging in high-intensity physical activity in cold climates) Vitamin C supplementation is not recommended.

Vitamin E:  Vitamin E is a family of related chemicals. These compounds are commonly found in sunflowers, wheat germ oil, corn, and nuts.  Contrary to some public discussion, current evidence does not support a role of vitamin E supplementation in the prevention or treatment of cancers, cardiovascular disease, dementia, and infection. High dose Vitamin E may increase mortality from any cause. In general, for healthy individuals with a balanced diet (unless there are specific indications) Vitamin E supplementation is not recommended.

Vitamin B 12:  Vitamin B 12 is found in liver, milk, fish, and meat. Suboptimal vitamin B12 is most commonly caused by poor absorption and inadequate intake. Severe vitamin B 12 deficiency causes neurologic diseases (dementia) and anemia. Measuring vitamin B 12 levels may be indicated in individuals at increased risk for poor vitamin B 12 intake, including vegans, alcoholics, and people with little dietary variation.  There is no high quality evidence that supplemental vitamin B 12 is beneficial in healthy people eating a balanced diet. 

Popping a vitamin may well be a thing of the past for healthy individuals consuming a well-balanced diet.

Theo Hodge, Jr. M.D.

Jet Set Pets

 kelly and lucy
Dr. Gary Weitzman of WAMU – Washington’s Animal House will host a conversation with Kelly E. Carter, New York Times bestselling author, Founder of The Jet Set Pets®, and an Italophile, who globe trots with her posh pooch Lucy. As a speaker, Carter dazzles audiences with tales of her journey to award-winning sportswriter to celebrity reporter to pet travel expert.

On April 1, The National Geographic Society will release her newest book, The Dog Lover’s Guide to Travel, The Society will also host a cocktail event Wednesday, April 9 at 7:30p.

Peace Corp’s Top Volunteer-Producing HBCUs

peace corp logo 
For the third consecutive year, Howard University in Washington, D.C., claimed the top spot among HBCUs with 18 undergraduate alumni currently serving as Peace Corps volunteers. Howard made Peace Corps history earlier this year as the first-ever HBCU to appear on the agency’s national list of top volunteer-producing colleges and universities, ranking No. 16 among medium-sized undergraduate schools.  For the first time, Norfolk State University in Norfolk, Va. made the list.
Peace Corps 2014 top volunteer-producing Historically Black Colleges and Universities are:

  1. Howard University (18 currently serving volunteers)
  2. Spelman College (6 currently serving volunteers)
  3. Norfolk State University (5 currently serving volunteers) 
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Carolyn Malachi Sings at NCAA

carolyn malachi 
Grammy-nominated Jazz and R&B singer Carolyn Malachi will perform the national anthem before the 2014 NCAA Women’s Final Four national semifinal games in Nashville, TN. on April 6 at 5:30 p.m. CT. Malachi’s performance brings the artist full circle from her days playing college basketball at Shepherd University in West Virginia.

“Playing college basketball gave me the foundation for a successful music career. Now a recording artist, I employ the same values I learned as a student athlete: teamwork, precision, endurance, and vision,” Malachi said.

Malachi holds the unique distinction of being the first former NCAA women’s basketball player to have received a Grammy nomination. In addition to excelling in sports and entertainment, she maintains a tech column in Black Enterprise magazine.

The Washington, D.C. native released her critically acclaimed album “GOLD” in July of 2013.

National Black Memorabilia and Collectible Show – April 26 & 27

johnson hat 
The National Black Memorabilia and Collectible Show returns to Metro Washington, DC for the 30th year. The annual indoor event is Saturday and Sunday, April 26-27 at the Montgomery County Fairgrounds, 16 Chestnut Street, in Gaithersburg, Maryland. Show hours are Saturday, 10 am - 7 pm and Sunday, 10 am - 5 pm. Admission is $7 and students are admitted free.

black pipeAt the event, vendors from across the United States will display and sell historical Black items from civil rights memorabilia and coins to kitchen collectibles and entertainment memorabilia.  
The Lest We Forget Black Holocaust Museum of Slavery exhibition will include authentic items such as slave tags and whips similar to those seen in 12 Years a Slave. Also, there will be a lecture on the subject of slavery and Negro League Baseball players and other celebrities will be on hand for autographs. Food is available and off-street parking is free.

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 cr gibbs
C.R. Gibbs
Washington, DC
Gentrification and Black Lives
with Dr. Frances Welsing
Sankofa Video, Books & Café
2714 Georgia Ave, NW
Sat, April 5, 4p, $

New Africa Students of
Imam Mohammed Conference
Sheraton Hotel
8777 Georgia Ave
Silver Spring, MD.
Sat, Apr 5, 8a-3p, $
77th Anniversary Banquet, 6p–11p, $

Autism Fair & Zumba-Thon
South Bowie Community Center
1717 Pittsfield Lane
Bowie, MD
Sun, Apr 6, noon- 4p, free

Twelve Years A Slave:
Solomon Northup's Washington
Frederick Douglass Home
14th & W Sts SE
CR Gibbs
Fri, Apr 11, 2p, free

Washington –Coming
National Black Memorabilia & Collectible Show
Montgomery County Fairgrounds
16 Chestnut Street
Gaithersburg, MD
Sat, Apr 26, 10a-7p, 
Sun, Apr 27. 10a-5p, $7, students free

Akron, OH
Black Male Summit
Fri, Apr 11 - Sat, Apr 12, $

Andre Watts
Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall
1212 Cathedral Street
Thu, Apr 3, 8p, $

17th Annual Spring Benefit & Silent Auction
Maryland Art Place
218 West Saratoga St
Fri, Apr 4, 7p,$

Save the Dunes Wine and Dine
Miller Beach Café
555 South Lake Street
Gary, IN
Sun, Apr 13, 4p-8p, $ 

Memhis Commedy Festival
Landers Center
Southaven, MS
Fri, Apr 4, 8p, $

Women of Soul: In Performance
at the White House
featuring Aretha Franklin, Melissa Etheridge, Patti LaBelle, Janelle Monáe, Ariana Grande, Jill Scott and Tessanne Chin
Mon, Aprl 7, 9p. ET, free

Hassoum Ceesay: Colonized Africans and WWII

Hassoum CeesayHassoum Ceesay, a senior official at the National Center for Arts in Culture in Banjul, The Gambia has focused much of his written work on the contributions of Gambian women. My reading of his second book led me to a passage that left me wondering how the great World Wars affected colonized Africans. Our discussion centered on Gambia as an example of how World War II affected Africans ruled by Europeans.

“The majority of Gambians did not understand the war and therefore, did not at first show open support,” wrote Ceesay, as he describes how the Gambia Women War Workers group eventually supported the cause in Gambian Women:  Profiles and Historical Notes.

As we walked from the National Museum to the Gambia National Archives, Ceesay added, “But there was a general state of paranoia in the colonial government because Hitler’s people were in Dakar, Senegal, just 150 kilometers (93 miles) away.” 

He continued, “Dakar was the capital of French West Africa, therefore, when Paris fell to Hitler, overnight the whole of French West Africa became controlled by the Nazis and French West Africans became suspects to the Allies."

At the Archives, I looked at the original files of mostly Black people detained after being suspected of being Nazi sympathizers, though being a Black Nazi is an oxymoron with Hitler having disliked Blacks as much as he disliked Jews.

In 1942, two years after France surrendered to Germany, one detainee, Bah Faal, a Moor from Mauritania (then a part of French West Africa), claimed that that he was simply selling sheep when he was arrested after being accused of being a French spy. Faal never returned to his wife; he died in detention.

Another person, David Bell, a White man, was deported from British controlled Gambia because he lacked proper identification, was heard making anti-British statements, and was considered a nuisance. In describing his behavior, one entrant wrote he was “loafing about the town among Africans . . .  he is no credit to the White race.”

The well manicured Fajara Cemetery in The Gambia is a lasting symbol of the war’s impact on colonized Africa. Many of those buried there are not Gambians says Ceesay, but many are other West Africans, Brits, and Canadians who were on war duties while in the Gambia. Its perpetual care is in the hands of the British.

Like many soldiers, Gambian soldiers were buried where they were killed. The veterans says Ceesay, “got small pensions, but in my research, I have not come across instances where they got such benefits as health care for life.”

Ceesay’s research interest has led him to archives in Banjul; Freetown, Sierre Leone; and London. England. His book, Gambian Women: Profiles and Historical Notes, and his first book, Gambian Women: An Introductory History, are available through the Library of Congress.

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Coalition for Smarter Growth's Walking Tours & Forums

walking tours in dc 

Coalition for Smarter Growth's popular Walking Tours & Forums Series continues this year with tours as diverse as H Street, NE  - Washington, DC and East Falls Church, Virginia. Besides meeting an array of diverse people and learning what is planned for a community, walkers learn what makes a successful walkable, livable neighborhood.

long voting lines

Most Popular Page and Searched Word
on the Website for April, to Date 

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