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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.

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!

Mail Online: Published 12/2/2013
Your Healthy Living Magazine: November 2013 issue

Vitamin D – Are you getting enough! Comments Off on Vitamin D – Are you getting enough!

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 supplement!

BBC Health News:

Sorry, just interested me for some reason! Comments Off on Sorry, just interested me for some reason!

This is just a link to an interesting story!

Foetal Development, Down to Pregnancy Health and Nutrients! Comments Off on Foetal Development, Down to Pregnancy Health and Nutrients!

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!

Stay healthy!

Nutra Ingredients:

The Stats have it and other recommendations! Comments Off on The Stats have it and other recommendations!

Hello, in this little blog post I’m not going to talk about specific products or indeed a specific nutrient, but a couple of things news wise that caught my attention, so I thought I would share!

Pharmaceutical Drugs are 62,000 times more likely to kill you than supplements!
I love a good statistic, you can use then to prove all sorts of things! When I read that headline I was hooked, I had to keep reading! Now that particular heading at first seemed a bit dramatic and over bearing and yes, maybe even designed to shock, but reading on a bit further, that combined with some of the other (tongue in cheek, or not!) statistics really got me thinking. So below I’m going to give you quite a highlights list:

These key points are all from a recent report released by the ANH (Alliance for Natural Health), who do a lot of good work lobbying on our and your behalf in Europe.

  • You are 797,940 times more likely to die from smoking than from taking a food supplement
  • A person resident in the UK is an incredible 293,006 times more likely to die from a preventable medical injury!
  • A spell in a UK hospital poses a similar risk of death to active military service in Iraq or Afghanistan
  • The risk of death from pharmaceutical drugs in the UK is 62,000 times that of taking nutritional supplements
  • Pharmaceutical drugs pose nearly double the risk of death than motorcycle accidents on UK roads
  • The uses of herbal medicines and nutritional supplements can both be regarded as ‘supersafe’, posing no significant risk of death. The risk of death is less than 1 in 10,000,000 (10 million) people exposed to nutritional supplements
  • UK residents are about as likely to be hit by lightning or to be killed on the London Underground than to die from taking herbal remedies or nutritional supplements
  • Now, I know these are great statistics and make a good read, but it did get me to thinking that the reason the government and EU brought in a lot of its recent legislation, including the controversial Herbal Medicine restrictions, was in the interest of consumer safety. Is it just me, or would we have been safer before the giant pharmaceutical companies got their claws into our industry and started influencing government policy? There aren’t many industries that have a vested interest in you being ill, we’d rather keep people healthy! Visit the Bio Nutrition website

    Vitamin and Dietary Supplements: Too much of a good thing? The science would suggest not….
    At the end of July the Euromonitor blog asked some very probing questions on the efficacy, safety and marketing of food supplements. This post was met with some discord but, being fair and reasonable people, Euromonitor allowed a lot of debate and eventually a right of reply to their post. The overwhelming outcome of this reply has been in no uncertain terms in the favour of the use of nutritional supplements, with many internationally respected researchers quoting many research papers and studies showing the huge benefits of consistent nutritional supplement use in the prevention and halting of many common ailments!

    Vitamin C RDA should be doubled, says Linus Pauling Institute researcher!
    Finally someone clever is saying something we’ve been saying for years!
    According to a new article in Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, recommended levels of vitamin C should be raised from the current 80mg per day, to 200mg per day for adults. Professor Balz Frei, director of the Linus Pauling Institute says, “there is growing evidence that more of this vitamin could help prevent chronic disease.”, also stating that, “a 200mg intake of vitamin C on a daily basis poses absolutely no risk, but there is strong evidence it would have multiple and substantial health benefits!”

    Even with the current (low!) RDAs, it is being found that many adults are deficient in this important vitamin, which is leading to many health problems!

    I know I said at the beginning of this post I wouldn’t make it about a specific nutrient or product, but when a piece of research pushing an increase in RDAs (which let’s face it were set over 50 years ago when the world was a different place, and only prevented a deficiency!) comes along I can’t help but support it! In fact I don’t think it goes far enough! We should be looking for 500mg daily at least, to promote good health, and 1000mg to start getting optimum levels, but that’s for another day.

    I hope you enjoyed the stats and that I’ve also made you think about RDAs and vit C levels!

    Stay Healthy!

    Alliance for Natural Health:

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