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The End of 2013 Research Review Comments Off on The End of 2013 Research Review

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.

Resveratrol
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!


Sources:
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
Nutra Ingredients.com: http://www.nutraingredients.com/content/view/print/704191.html
Nutra Ingredients.com: http://www.nutraingredients.com/content/view/print/766279.html
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

Live Long and Prosper! Comments Off on Live Long and Prosper!

Here’s a couple of interesting studies I’ve recently found.

Vitamin D supplements may help you live longer!
Vitamin D supplements may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes and boost survival for older people, suggests a new analysis.

The greatest benefits of the supplements were observed in people with vitamin D deficiency, researchers from the University of Kansas report in the American Journal of Cardiology. The findings could have implications for current guidelines, said the researchers, since supplements providing at least 400iu per day may be needed to avoid deficiency.

“Because vitamin D deficiency is widespread, strategies directed at population-based supplementation programmes could prove beneficial,” wrote the researchers.

Vitamin D refers to two biologically inactive precursors – D3, also known as cholecalciferol, and D2, also known as ergocalciferol. Both D3 and D2 precursors are transformed in the liver and kidneys into 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D), the non-active ‘storage’ form, and 1.25-dihydroxyvitamin D (1.25(OH)2D), the biologically active form that is tightly controlled by the body.

While our bodies do manufacture vitamin D on exposure to sunshine, the levels in some northern countries are so weak during winter months that our body makes no vitamin D at all, meaning that dietary supplements and fortified foods are seen by many as the best way to boost intakes of vitamin D. Vitamin D deficiency in adults is reported to cause osteopenia, osteoporosis, muscle weakness, fractures, common cancers, auto-immune diseases, infectious diseases and cardiovascuar diseases. There is now also more evidence that the vitamin may reduce the incidence of several types of cancer and type-1 and -2 diabetes.

Probiotic intake linked to fewer birth complications!
Regular consumption of probiotic formulations are associated with a 20% reduction in the risk of pre-eclampsia, suggests new data from the Norwegian Institute of Public Health.

The potential benefits were even more pronounced when researchers studied severe pre-eclampsia, with daily intakes associated with a 39% reduction, according to results published in the American Journal of Epidemiology.

“This large observational study indicates an independent protective association between intake or probiotic products and pre-elampsia, especially when severe, suggesting that probiotics might specifically ‘target’ and modify the type of inflammation underlying severe pre-eclampsia,” wrote the authors, led by Dr Anne Lise Brantsaeter.

The Norwegian researchers analysed data from 33,399 women participating in the Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort study. Results showed that a daily intake of strong probiotics was associated with a 20% reduced risk of pre-eclampsia, with even more pronounced effects for severe pre-eclampsia, showing a 39% reduced risk!

So, that’s four great studies across three great products, I hope you found this interesting!

Sources:
Nutra Ingredients.com: http://www.nutraingredients.com/content/view/print/624036.html
Nutra Ingredients.com: http://www.nutraingredients.com/Research/Probiotic-intake-linked-to-fewer-birth-complications.html

Probiotics Again Show Immune Boosting Activity! Comments Off on Probiotics Again Show Immune Boosting Activity!

With the way the weather has been over the past couple of weeks and the beginning of Autumn just around the corner I thought this study seemed quite fitting!

According to findings recently published in the British Journal of Nutrition, a daily supplement of beneficial probiotic bacteria may boost the immune system function by an average of 50%.

The results were based on a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel-group study involving 211 subjects over a six week period, with measurements of the IgG3 antibody being taken.

“The outcomes of this study, as well as data from previous studies, show that supplementation with these probiotic strains result in a strengthening of various parts of the immune system,” said Birgit Michelsen, director of scientific affairs, Health & Nutrition Division at Chr. Hansen. With IgG3 anti body levels increasing between 46% and 66% in those taking the probiotcs.

“This will very likely translate into a clinical benefit, such as reduced rates of infection.”

Probiotics are defined as ‘live micro-organisms’ which when administered in adequate amounts confer a health benefit on the host.

As well as these immune boosting properties, probiotics have long been associated with intestinal and digestive benefits and a positive effect on the body in general.

Sources:
Nutra Ingredients.com: http://www.nutraingredients.com/Research/Probiotics-again-show-immune-boosting-activity-Study

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