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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

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!

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One for the ladies! Comments Off on One for the ladies!

Hi, just a quick round up of a few things that caught my eye recently, all products we know and love but maybe not in the way they’re reported here!

Folate During Preganancy!
Now we all all know of the benefits on the growth and development of babies of women taking Folic Acid in the first three months of pregnancy (and before trying to conceive if possible). It can significantly reduce the instances of Neural Tube Defects, such as Spina Bifida and Anencephaly, which lead to recommendations by the Chief Medical Officer for 400µg of Folic Acid be taken daily for the first Trimester of pregnancy!

But, did you also know that resent research has suggested that adequate levels of Folic Acid taken during pregnancy can reduce the risk of emotional problems for the children as they develop, by as much as 57%.

Some researchers have reported that children of women who took Folic Acid supplements were better able to internalize and externalize problems, compared to those whose mothers did not take supplements.

The study analysed data for 3,209 children, where folate levels were measured in early pregnancy, and the use of Folic Acid supplements assessed using questionnaires. The children’s emotional and behavioral problems were assessed with the Child Behaviour Check-list at the average age of three. The results showed that the children of Mothers with a prenatal folate deficiency were at a 57% higher risk of emotional problems, as well as the mother themselves becoming more emotional.

Vitamins C & E may benefit women on oral contraceptives!
A daily dose of vitamins C and E of at least 200mg and 200iu respectively have been associated with significant decreases in the levels of a marker used to indicate oxidative stress in women receiving the oral contraceptive pill, according to findings published in the journal Contraception.

“These data suggest that low-dose oral contraceptives, by enhancing the stress oxidative lipid peroxidation, may represent a potential cardiovascular risk factor, and the use of vitamins E and C may be beneficial in ameliorating this side effect of oral contraceptives,” wrote researchers from the Shiraz University of Medical Sciences.

This was a controlled study with 120 women over a 4 week period. At the end of the period, only the group taking the vitamins had reduced levels of the MDA marker.

The pill aside we would always recommend a good vitamin C and vitamin E product!

Seaweed Extracts May Slim Waistlines in 12 Weeks!
Researchers from the University of Copenhagen have reported that obese people taking seaweed (Kelp) supplements lost on average 1.74kg more body weight than those on a placebo.

The additional loss of body weight was “mainly attributed to a reduction in the percentage of body fat”, they wrote in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

With the World Health Organisation (WHO) estimating that by 2015, there will be more than 1.5 billion overweight consumers, this double-blind, placebo-controlled 12 week study, provides some sort of insight on how we may be able to help and reduce this.

Hopefully you’ve found these interesting and look out for more news over the next coming weeks!

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Are you ready for the big freeze? Comments Off on Are you ready for the big freeze?

The sudden cold snap that has hit the UK seems to have taken many people by surprise, including us!

But to help try and keep you all in good health over the next coming weeks, I would recommend strengthening your immune system!

As always I would recommend a good basic vitamin & mineral nutritional foundation, heavy on the antioxidant to help stimulate the immune system. In the Health Plus range there are really two ways to go here, firstly Protection Plus for a one-a-day single tablet for men, or All Purpose Multivitamin for women, which contain antioxidant nutrients including vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin C, Selenium and Zinc.

Once you have this basic foundation there are many other supplements you can take on top of these to really boost your immune system and improve general health and fitness! These include Co Enzyme Q10, Echinacea, Mushroom Complex and many other products found in our Antioxidant website section. But, of course if you don’t want to take a multivit then we would always recommend Vit C and Zinc.

And in other news, not totally related!

Study Unlocks Pycnogenol®’s Skin Health Mechanism!
A daily supplement of an extract from the French Maritime Bark, called Pycnogenol, may boost skin elasticity by 25% and skin hydration by 8%, according to a new study!
Twelve weeks of supplementation with Pycnogenol was associated with increases in skin elasticity and hydration, and an increase in the production of hyaluronic acid in skin by 44%, according to findings published in Skin Pharmacology and Physiology. These increases have now been associated with a 3% reduction in skin wrinkles, said the researchers from Leibniz Research Institute for Environmental Medicine (IUF) in Dusseldorf, Germany.

This is not the first time that Pycnogenol has been linked with skin health benefits, with the study being carried out on a group of healthy women aged between 55 and 68.


Getting your 5 a day, might not be enough! Comments Off on Getting your 5 a day, might not be enough!

According to US researchers it may well depend on your choice of fruit and veg!

Apparently, the obvious choices are not necessarily the healthiest. Making simple swaps to the fruit and veg we eat can have a significant impact on the nutrients our bodies get.

This would seem to support the opinion that a balanced varied diet is essential for good health. ‘No one food can give you everything you need’ said Dr Emma Williams of the British Nutrition Foundation.

Plant foods are known to contain ‘phytonutrients’ as well as vitamins and minerals,  which together can help protect the body against heart diseases as well as prevent cancers. But the most popular selection may not be the best.

Carrots are the most common source of Beta Carotene, oranges and orange juice the most common source of Beta-Cryptoxanthin, whilst spinach supplies Lutein & Zeaxanthin. However, there are richer food sources available if you know what you’re looking for!

Switch from carrots to sweet potato and nearly double your Beta Carotene intake, from oranges to papaya and get fifteen times more Beta-Cryptoxanthin, whilst kale has three times more Lutein & Zeaxanthin than spinach.

What this study doesn’t seem to take into account is seasonality and the condition of the fruit or veg. If an item has been sitting on a shelf for a few days, having spent 2 weeks getting to its destination who knows what sort of nutrient content it has?

That’s why we would always recommend using seasonal, locally grown fruit and veg and encourage a healthy varied diet.

This being said, we would also recommend using supplements to add that extra guarantee that you are getting all the nutrients your body needs. Not just for winter, but for all year round, as your body’s needs change.

So have a look round Bio Nutrition’s website and see what your body might need!

Stay Healthy

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