Well, here we are rushing towards the end of 2013, and I must apologise for the lack of posts in the latter part of this year, but I’m pleased to say that it’s for good reasons and we’ve just been very busy!
This is the first one of these we’ve ever done so I’m not sure how the format will work, so I’ll start with the slightly annoying news and then pick some subjects and tell you about some interesting studies that didn’t quite make it to the blog posts throughout the year!
So, the annoying stuff first;
Which? Food Supplements Attack!
Back in August, Which? claimed that all health food manufacturers, including some pretty large players like Boots, were deliberately misleading consumers with unsubstantiated health claims. The industry came out all guns blazing, as this just simply isn’t true. As an industry we are controlled and regulated by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) and have to follow strict guidelines on what we are and are not allowed to say.
This being said, come 1st January 2014, we will be subject to a new EU law called the Nutrition and Health Claims Regulation (NHCR), which allows us, as an industry, to use prescribed claims for specific ingredients and products. This law has universally been slammed as it’s trying to make natural products fall under the same scrutiny as medicines, which is really a ‘hammer to crack a nut’ case of over-legislation, and seems to take no account of thousands of years of natural usage.
But, it’s here, so we will of course as always comply with the law, so you may over the next few months be seeing some subtle label changes, but rest assured it’s the same great value product in the pot!
That’s it for the negative stuff (thankfully). What follows are a few of the great pieces of research done over the last year, but which we didn’t quite have time to write about before!
Heart Health and the Cardiovascular System
This section covers quite a lot of research as it’s one of the biggest killers in the Western World, with about one death every 39 seconds, so it gets a lot of attention and funding, so here’s a brief synopsis of a few of the stories:
Vitamin C good for blood pressure!
Recent findings published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition combined several research studies and has come to several conclusions: Vitamin C supplementation has been associated with significant reductions in both systolic and diastolic blood pressure. When the data was limited just to people with high blood pressure the reduction was even greater, which has lead the researchers to consider a bigger and longer study on the positive effects of vitamin C on hypertension, one of the greatest causes of heart disease.
Flaxseed shows blood pressure lowering potential!
A daily dose of 30g Flaxseed (flour/ seeds) has been associated with a significant decrease in blood pressure, according to researchers from the Canadian Centre for Agri-Food Research in Health and Medicine (CCARM), based at St. Boniface Hospital.
“This is the largest decrease in blood pressure ever shown by any dietary intervention – including the Mediterranean Diet and low-sodium diets,” said lead researcher Dr Grant Pierce. “We expect that this kind of improvement in people with hypertension could reduce their incidence of heart attack and stroke by 50%.”
Mayo Clinic review links L-Carnitine to multiple heart health benefits!
A systematic review by the Mayo Clinic has said that L-Carnitine can reduce mortality, abnormal heart rhythms and angina development in patients experiencing a heart attack. The analysis reviewed 13 controlled trials involving 3,629 people and concluded that L-Carnitine had multiple cardiovascular benefits. “Compared with placebo or control, L-Carnitine is associated with a 27% reduction in all-cause mortality, a 65% reduction in ventricular arrhythmias, and a 40% reduction in anginal symptoms in patients experiencing an acute myocardial infarction.”
Selenium + CoQ10 supplements may slash cardiovascular mortality!
A new study from Sweden has indicated that long-term supplementation with a combination of selenium and co-enzyme Q10 may decrease cardiovascular mortality by about 6%. The study took place over four years supplementing with 200mg/day of co-enzyme Q10 plus 200µg per day of organic selenium yeast, with significant improvements in cardiac function. Generally throughout the word selenium intakes are below optimal levels because levels in the soil are low. Duffy MacKay, ND, VP of scientific and regulatory affairs for the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), said that this is the type of evidence that the industry needs to be producing to show how nutrition contributes to health and wellness.
Pregnancy and Baby Development!
This section covers just a few interesting items aimed at pregnant women:
EFSA (finally) backs folate supplements for neural tube defects!
The European Food Safety Authority (ESFA) has now joined other international authorities in backing the use of Folic Acid supplements to help prevent Neural Tube Defects like Spina Bifida and Hydrcephalus occurring during foetal development. Mandatory fortification has been promoted in about 75 countries around the world, but until now Europe have been somewhat behind.
NTDs are estimated to afflict about 300,000 births per year globally, with studies showing adequate folate intake can reduce these by about 70-75%, so this is very welcome news.
Maternal microbiota passes directly to newborns!
A mother’s gut microbiota may transfer and colonise newborn infants intestines in the first few days after birth. The data suggested that maternal bifido bacteria are an important component in the development of their baby’s microbiota during early infancy. “We found the exact same bifido bacterium strains from the mother’s intestines in the intestines of the neonate.” said, Dr Kenj Oishi, science director. This seems to be an important contribution to the new born’s digestive development as well as their immune system, further supporting the need for probiotics during pregnancy.
Pregnant women who take folic acid could reduce their child’s risk of autism by 40%!
Women who take folic acid supplements early in their pregnancy may reduce their child’s risk of autism by 40%, a recent study has found. But, mothers-to-be should start taking them four weeks before conceiving and up to 12 weeks afterwards to get the full benefit for their unborn child. The timing of taking prenatal supplements is critical, scientists warn.
Folic acid is required for DNA synthesis and repairs and while best known (as previously mentioned) for protecting against spina bifida and other neural tube defects, this new research proves its importance at other developmental stages.
And, finally a quick review of some of the research about a particular ingredient, Resveratrol:
Resveratrol may support healthy blood circulation in obese adults!
Daily supplements of resveratrol may boost blood flow and support a healthy heart, according to a new study reported in the Journal of Hypertension. This daily intake was associated with a 23% improvement in flow mediated dilation (FMD) of blood flow around the body. The effect immediately after taking the supplement was even greater with a 35% improvement observed. Resveratrol is a powerful polyphenol and anti-fungal chemical, found in grapes and red wine, which has often been associated with the so called ‘French Paradox’, which describes the low instance of heart disease and obesity amongst the French, despite their relatively high-fat diet and levels of wine consumption.
Resveratrol could help in cancer treatment!
US researchers have discovered that the antioxidant compound resveratrol, which is found in grape skins and red wine, makes certain tumour cells more susceptible to radiation treatment. The study, which was carried out at the University of Missouri, focused on melanoma cells. The scientists found that 44% of melanoma cells were destroyed when treated with resveratrol alone. However, when a combination of radiation and resveratrol was used together 65% of the cancer cells were destroyed, with the results being published in the Journal of Surgical Research.
So that’s it, that’s the end of my 2013 (no so) quick round up! Hopefully there’s something of interest to you in there, and all that remains for me to do is wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Nutra Ingredients.com: http://www.nutraingredients.com/Regulation/Academics-slam-medicine-based-eu-health-claims.html
Nutra Ingredients.com: http://www.nutraingredients.com/content/view/print/812807.html
Nutra Ingredients.com: http://www.nutraingredients.com/content/view/print/627442.html
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Nutra Ingredients.com: http://www.nutraingredients.com/content/view/print/639831.html
Nutra Ingredients.com: http://www.nutraingredients.com/content/view/print/803130.html
Nutra Ingredients.com: http://www.nutraingredients.com/content/view/print/767186.html
Mail Online: http://www.dailymail.co.uk: Published 12/2/2013
Nutra Ingredients.com: http://www.nutraingredients.com/content/view/print/782788.html
Your Healthy Living Magazine: http://www.yourhealthyliving.co.uk: November 2013 issue
Since my last post there have been a couple of European changes to RDA (Recommended Daily Allowance) levels, which has made me think that the UK really should be following suit if it truly is interested in the health of its residents!
Both Norway and Italy had up until recently Vitamin D RDA levels set at 10µg (double the current 5µg set for the UK!), but earlier this year they have both at least doubled these levels, with Norway increasing to 20µg and Italy moving to a fantastic 25µg. Now I’m sure there will be lots of people saying that Norway get much less sun than the UK, so these increases are necessary, but can they make the same argument for Italy, I think not! I just see this as a great recognition of the importance of good nutrition!
So let’s remind ourselves why vitamin D is so important:
Vitamin D pills linked to better heart health for diabetics!
According to researchers from Wolfson Medical Centre and Tel Aviv University in Israel, daily doses of vitamin D at 1000iu, (25µg) for one year can significantly decrease the central aortic augmentation index, a predictor of adverse cardiovascular events.
“The findings of the present study may have clinical implications for the usual recommended daily allowance for vitamin D in diabetic patients,” they wrote in Clinical Nutrition. “Since the levels of vitamin D are extremely low in this population, more appropriate daily supplementation doses of >1000iu/day might be recommended to achieve optimal levels of vitamin D.”
The study backed up a study published in Diabetes Care last year. The Israeli researchers recruited type-2 diabetic patients to participate in their randomised, placebo-controlled study.
Vitamin D supplements may yield immune benefits in healthy people!
Improving the blood levels of vitamin D via supplementation could help fight disease by affecting gene expression and boosting the immune system.
The study published in PLoS ONE, reveals for the first time that improvement in the vitamin D status of healthy adults significantly impacts with a number of biological pathways associated with cardiovascular disease, infectious disease and autoimmune diseases.
A randomised double-blind trial conducted at the Boston University School of Medicine, USA, which went a step further than previous research, has suggested vitamin D may be associated directly with improving immune response and lowering the risk for many diseases.
The participants received between 400iu and 2000ius per day for a period of two months, with samples of immune cells being taken before and after the study, showing increases for both groups, but significantly so for the higher vitamin D takers!
Vitamin D helps beat symptoms of asthma!
Vitamin D could help people suffering with asthma breath more easily, claim British researchers. Scientists at King’s College London have discovered vitamin D has the potential to significantly cut the symptoms of sufferers. They say it may one day be prescribed as a treatment alongside conventional steroids, but reducing the need for medication. The study found the vitamin resulted in lower levels of a natural chemical in the body that aggravates symptoms in asthma patients and cuts the effectiveness of steroids.
The results demonstrated that vitamin D could potentially provided an effective treatment for all asthma sufferers, as it significantly cut the production of IL-17A in cells, which is known to reduce the effectiveness of steroid based treatments.
And finally, just to show that whilst we may look at individual nutrients a good balanced approach is always preferred!
Probiotics may help boost vitamin D levels!
A daily supplement of probiotics may boost circulating vitamin D levels in the blood by 25%, according to a published randomised controlled trial. The study, published in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, is the first to show that oral probiotic supplements may increase circulation levels of the sunshine vitamin.
“Although it has long been known that the gastrointestinal tract plays an active role in the absorption of vitamin D, these findings showing improved vitamin D status in response to an orally delivered probiotic are a first, and will inform the development of new products that may be beneficial for people with low vitamin D levels.”
So, make sure you get your probiotics as well as your vitamins and minerals, including vitamin D.
I think that’s about enough for this post, but you never know maybe someone in the relevant government department will read this and consider another look at our current RDA levels!
Nutra Ingredients.com: http://www.nutraingredients.com/content/ view/print/753788.html
Nutra Ingredients.com: http://www.nutraingredients.com/content/view/print/747774.html
Nutra Ingredients.com: http://www.nutraingredients.com/content/view/print/747975.html
Nutra Ingredients.com: http://www.nutraingredients.com/content/view/print/756655.html
Mail Online: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2327241/vitamin-d-helps-beat-symptoms-of-asthma.html
Nutra Ingredients.com: http://www.nutraingredients.com/content/view/print/779396.html
Nutra Ingredients.com: http://www.nutraingredients.com/content/view/print/783640.html
There’s been a lot of press coverage over the last few months on Vitamin D, so much in fact that even the UK Government has acted and allowed supplement manufacturers to put awareness advice on their products informing at risk groups of the dangers of being vitamin D deficient! The at risk groups at present seem to include pregnant or breast feeding women, infants, the elderly and people who have low or no exposure to the sun (whatever that means!). We are allowed to use specific wording for each of the groups rather than one all encompassing statement, but the sentiment for all of them is as follows:
“all pregnant women/ adults aged over 65/ people who are housebound/ infants should take a vitamin D supplement.”
I actually applaud the government for this move as the health issues associated with vitamin D have been known for many years, but it does appear that either we are now not getting enough from our food or the recent bad weather and just general over protection from the sun we now encourage is having an effect on our health!
Below are a few of the recent stories that have been published:
Study finds obesity can ‘lead to lack of vitamin D’
The report, in the journal PLOS Medicine, analysed genetic data from 21 studies – a total of 42,000 people. It found that every 10% rise in body mass index (BMI), led to a 4% drop of available vitamin D in the body. This is very strange as vitamin D is stored in fatty tissue, but the authors suggested that the larger storage capacity in obese people may prevent it from circulating in the bloodstream.
Lead author Dr Elina Hypponen, from the University College London Institute of Child Health, said the study “highlights the importance of monitoring and treating vitamin D deficiency in people who are over weight.”
Vitamin D backed to boost diabetic heart disease risk.
Low levels of vitamin D may be responsible for the increased risk of heart disease that comes from diabetic people developing clogged arteries, according to new research!
The study published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry reports that diabetic people who receive good levels of vitamin D are less likely to develop atherosclerotic plaques, which clog up blood vessels, while low vitamin D levels can cause a higher risk of developing blood vessel clogging plaque.
Led by Carlos Bernal-Mizrachi from Washington University School of Medicine, the research team suggested that their findings indicate low vitamin D levels may be to blame for the higher risk of heart disease often seen in people with diabetes.
“As obesity rates rise, we expect even more people will develop diabetes,” said Bernal-Mizrachi. “Those patients are more likely to experience heart problems due to an increase in vascular inflammation, so we have been investigating why this occurs.”
The study investigated the vitamin D levels in people with Type 2 diabetes compared with people of a similar age and build but did not have diabetes, and their levels of vitamin D in the blood were significantly lower, which made macrophage cells more likely to adhere to the walls of blood vessels, triggering them to load with cholesterol and eventually causing the vessels to stiffen and then block blood low.
Significant link between daytime sleepiness and low vitamin D!
A new study has found that there is a significant correlation between excessive daytime sleepiness and low vitamin D levels.
The research team said that the findings are the first to demonstrate a significant relationship between sleepiness and vitamin D.
Vitamin D levels were measured by blood sampling and sleepiness was determined using the Epworth Sleepiness Scale, and those patients with low vitamin D could be correlated with sleepiness!
Low maternal vitamin D again linked to low birth weights!
Women deficient in vitamin D early in their pregnancies are twice as likely to deliver babies with lower birth weights, say researchers in a collaborative Prenatal project conducted in 12 medical centres.
“A mother’s vitamin D level early in pregnancy may impact the growth of her baby later in pregnancy,” said lead author Dr Alison Gernand from the University of Pittsburgh – who led the study. Writing in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism Dr Gernand and her team reveal that mothers with low levels of vitamin D in the first 26 weeks of pregnancy delivered babies an average of 46 grams less than their peers.
“This is one of the largest studies to examine a mother’s vitamin D levels and their relationship with birth weights,” said Dr Lisa Bodnar, senior author of the research.
The study included babies only delivered at full-term across a sample of 2,146 pregnant women.
This shows the importance of vitamin D, especially in an era when modern women weigh more, have less sun exposure and as a general populous we are more vitamin D deficient!
So there you have a few of the recent studies that may well have contributed to the Government’s recommendation for nearly everyone to take a vitamin D
BBC Health News: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-21339107
Nutra Ingredients.com: http://www.nutraingredients.com/content/view/print/712146.html
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Nutra Ingredients.com: http://www.nutraingredients.com/content/view/print/700602.html
This is just a link to an interesting story!
Bio Nutrition have always been quite vocal about our belief that nutrition plays a very important role in pregnancy! From pre-conception, right the way through to the end of breast feeding and beyond for the health of the mother!
Well, hopefully these two studies will show that we were not wrong!
Study Calls for Maternal Vitamin D Supplementation!
A recent study led by Dr Ruth Dobson, of the Queen Mary University of London, has suggested that new data ‘strongly implicates’ maternal levels of vitamin D with the risk of multiple sclerosis (MS) in children. This study shows that there is a strong case for supplementation of this vitamin for pregnant women in countries where sunlight levels are low between October and March.
The team cite the significant increased risk among those born in April and May in addition to a significantly lower risk among those born in October and November, as reason enough to call for supplementation with vitamin D during winter months.
The study compared data on nearly 152,000 people with MS with expected birth rates for the disease in a bid to find out if there was any link between country of birth and risk of developing MS. In latitudes greater than 52 degrees from the equator, insufficient ultraviolet light reaches the skin between October and March to enable the body to produce enough vitamin D.
Maternal Vitamin C Backed for Baby’s Brain Development!
Maternal deficiency in vitamin C during pregnancy could have serious consequences for the development of the foetal brain that cannot be reversed after birth, warn researchers.
“Even marginal vitamin C deficiency in the mother stunts the foetal hippocampus, the important memory centre, by 10-15%, preventing the brain from optimal development,” said research leader Professor Jens Lykkesfeldt – from the University of Copenhagen, Denmark. He also added that because many population studies have shown that between 10-20% of all adults in the developed world suffer from vitamin C deficiency, pregnant women should think twice about neglecting to take a daily vitamin supplement.
“Because it takes so little to avoid vitamin C deficiency, it is my hope that both politicians and authorities will become aware that this can be a potential problem,” he said.
I hope these two studies can show how important nutrition is for both the developing foetus and the health of the mother, on which the baby relies so much!
Health Plus have a full range of vitamin and minerals, including the mentioned vitamin D and vitamin C, but really we would recommend a more considered approach when it comes to pregnancy and would heartily promote our Pregnancy Formula from the Women’s Health section!
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