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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

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.


We’re still Pro Biotics! Comments Off on We’re still Pro Biotics!

As you may have seen today, the Advertising Standards Authority has ruled that a TV advert for Actimel was misleading and could not be scientifically supported by evidence.

Now, I’ve seen these adverts on TV for a while, and whilst I’ve winced because Danone (who produce Actimel) are in my opinion making medical claims (which you’re not allowed to do, if it’s not a medicine!), I find it quite refreshing that at last someone is recognising the fantastic health benefits of these often forgotten bacteria.

They play important roles in the digestion of our food, to allow us to absorb the nutrients. They help fight infection and support the immune system and most importantly they help police the intestine from unwanted nasty bacteria and other unwanteds, such as yeast, which then can turn into thrush or candidiasis.

There has been much discussion about whether or not you can get the full benefits of these marvellous bacteria when taken in yoghurt form, but we know for sure that taking a capsule or tablet can deliver them directly to where they’re needed to give your body that great natural protection.

Bio Nutrition have two great probiotics that we would recommend to everyone. Acidophilus with Oatbran and Lactobacillus Acidophilus. Both being free from, dairy, lactose, sugar and gluten, making them suitable for many allergy sufferers!

So make sure you keep your natural defences in tiptop condition with Bio Nutrition.

BBC News:
BBC News:

Digestive Delights! Comments Off on Digestive Delights!

For about the last year, Probiotics, or so called ‘Friendly Bacteria’ have been the subject of many discussions. How do the yoghurt type drinks work with so much sugar in them? How can the even billions of bacteria products, have any effect on the already trillions of bacteria present in the guts? and so on!

They Really Do Work!
Well, dieticians at Imperial College London, have shown that they do work (still not sure about the amount of sugar in some of the drinks!). Dr Jeremy Nicholson says “We have established that introducing ‘friendly’ bacteria can change the dynamics of the whole population of microbes in the gut”. The screening of blood, urine, faeces and livers, revealed that levels of several key chemicals related to important processes in the body were altered in those who were probiotic-treated. One of the ways the probiotics helped was in the breakdown of bile acids in the gut, therefore allowing more fat to pass undigested through the body, rather than being absorbed. This may well have a significant effect on cholesterol and body weight.

A spokeswomen for the British Dietetic Association said that there were too few studies of probiotics to actually show real benefits, but our understanding of how they work is changing and this should benefit everyone.

Probiotic Performance!
Australian research has found that Probiotic supplements can reduce the number and length of infections suffered by athletes. Strenuous training can affect the immune system and make athletes both amateur and professional vulnerable to coughs and colds.

The British Journal of Sports Medicine study found that taking probiotics more than halved the number of days the athletes had symptoms. Although it is not entirely known why, it is becoming increasingly evident that the ‘friendly bacteria’ have an effect on the immune system.

A small study conducted at the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra, focused on 20 top-level endurance runners during their intensive winter training programme. Over the four months, all 20 received 2 two month long course of pills – the first containing Lactobacillus, and the second containing no active ingredients. All the athletes then recorded any days they were suffering from symptoms such as coughs and runny noses. The total toll of illness across the group was then recorded, finding a total of 72 days of illness when the dummy pills were taken, as opposed to 30 days when the probiotics were being taken. Suggesting that the probiotics might somehow help the body protect itself.

Critical Protection!
A recent Swedish study concluded that probiotics may inhibit the colonisation of airways by dangerous bugs, performing just as well as normal antiseptics, in the prevention of pneumonia, and being more natural could also pose fewer side-effects. Although they did admit that much larger studies are required.

So there we are, three very good reasons to consider the use of probiotic products like Lactobacillus Acidophilus and Acidophilus with Oatbran.

Source: Various articles BBC News

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