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Natural Products Foundation Blog

Monday, December 17, 2012
NPF Notifies FTC of Illegal Drug Claims

Self-Regulatory Effort Completes 100 Warning Letters in 2012

 

Marc Ullman, Legal Advisory Council Chairman of the Natural Products Foundation (NPF), met with Richard Cleland of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) on December 11, 2012 to present documentation highlighting 26 advertisers responsible for making drug claims on behalf of dietary supplements. The organizations referred to the FTC failed to amend marketing materials after being contacted by the NPF Truth in Advertising program. NPF requested that the regulatory agency take action against all non-compliant companies, including the current Truth in Advertising referrals.

“NPF is now completing its third full year working to rehabilitate industry advertising,” noted Mr. Ullman. “We are extremely gratified by the continued interest and feedback we have received from both the FTC and FDA regarding the Truth in Advertising initiatives. As our program progresses, the companies we are reaching out to have become increasingly receptive to our message.”

Truth in Advertising works to educate publishers, manufacturers, suppliers, and retailers to help ensure that the information presented to consumers concerning dietary supplements is truthful and not misleading. In 2012, NPF mailed 100 warning letters to companies marketing dietary supplements with illegal drug and disease claims. Over the course of the program, two-thirds of all advertisers contacted by NPF have brought their promotions into compliance.

“With guidance, advertisers often correct their materials and move on without issue. Most are grateful for the educational resources and advice NPF provides, and quick to make their promotions right,” stated Ullman. “Most ‘warning letter’ cases result in positive action and improved practices; however, when companies are unwilling or unable to bring advertising into compliance after they’ve been notified of a problem, then the only option left is regulatory action. It’s important for responsible industry to sit down with regulators like Rich Cleland to discuss the trends we’re seeing in the field as part of our self-regulatory initiative and to work through individually detailed case histories.”

“NPF aims to improve the overall standard of supplement advertising,” stated David Brown, Chairman of the NPF Board of Directors. “Working with federal regulators to minimize bad actors and eliminate egregious and non-compliant advertisers is a positive step forward. Truth in Advertising is at the forefront of industry education, alerting companies to illegal drug claims and irresponsible marketing practices. We continue our industry outreach knowing the absolute importance of honest advertising for both the well-being of consumers and the sustained integrity of all natural products.”

Since 2010, NPF has initiated more than 300 advertising case reviews and mailed 235 warning letters to companies responsible for marketing dietary supplements. During this period, NPF has referred a total of 73 cases to representatives from the FTC and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for further action.

The Truth in Advertising Review is overseen by the NPF Legal Advisory Council (LAC). The LAC is composed of attorneys who volunteer their time to help improve the dietary supplement industry’s advertising practices.Current council members include Mr. Ullman of Ullman, Shapiro & Ullman, Jackie Kuler of Gronek & Associates, Nicholas Licato of Nexgen Pharma, and Jim Prochnow and Justin Prochnow of Greenberg Traurig.

Have you seen a dietary supplement advertisement making drug or disease-related claims? Request a TIA Review for any advertisement: 
naturalproductsfoundation.org/review.

Thursday, December 13, 2012
NPF Science Update: Garlic Plus CoQ10

The NPF Science Update brings you news about scientific advances in the field of natural products. The Science Update features contributions from scientists, academics, doctors, healthcare professionals, industry veterans and other experts. To sign up to receive the monthly Science Update via email, please click here: NPF Science Update.

Garlic Plus CoQ10: Cardiovascular Protection for Stressed Men

By Maureen Williams, ND 

A study has found that men at high risk for heart attack had better blood vessel function after one year of taking a combination of aged garlic extract and coenzyme Q10, two supplements that have been found separately to have cardiovascular benefits.

Blood vessels are specially designed to respond to the ever-changing blood flow needs in different parts of the body. Healthy blood vessels are elastic, flexible, and strong, but many people unknowingly have low-level chronic inflammation in their blood vessel walls, causing the walls to become thicker and less flexible, and increasing heart attack risk. Supplements with anti-inflammatory properties, like aged garlic and CoQ10, are thought to help.

Signs of vessel disease in men with stressful work

Stress is well known to play a role in heart disease. The study, published in Nutrition, included 65 male urban firefighters. Firefighting is stressful work and firefighters have a much higher risk of heart attack and sudden cardiac death than the overall population. Participants were assigned to receive either 1,200 mg of aged garlic extract plus 120 mg of CoQ10 per day or placebo for one year. Tests that reflect the degree of thickening and loss of elasticity in blood vessels, which may be signs of atherosclerosis, were done at the beginning of the study and every three months.

Supplements support blood vessels

Based on these test results, the blood vessels of the firefighters who took garlic and CoQ10 had more elasticity and better responsiveness at the end of the study than at the beginning. These improvements were significant when compared to the slight worsening of blood vessel function seen in the firefighters in the placebo group.

In addition, blood levels of CRP (C-reactive protein) dropped in the garlic plus CoQ10 group but increased in the placebo group. CRP is a marker of inflammation in the cardiovascular system and high levels are associated with increased cardiac risk.

The link between blood vessel function and heart health

Although these results don’t tell us for sure whether aged garlic extract plus CoQ10 can prevent heart attacks, improvement in blood vessel function is a good sign that vessel damage from atherosclerosis—a known risk factor for heart attack—is being repaired.

“This is the first study to demonstrate a benefit with a combination of aged garlic extract and CoQ10 on atherosclerotic progression in intermediate-risk firefighters with high occupational stress,” the study’s authors said. “The present study demonstrates that, after one year of aged garlic extract plus CoQ10, the vascular elasticity and endothelial function in firefighters improved significantly.”

Other ways to improve vascular health

Taking an aged garlic extract plus CoQ10 supplement might be a good idea if you have or are at high risk for developing atherosclerosis. Here are some other things you can do to protect your blood vessels:

  • Learn to relax. Blood vessels are especially sensitive to stress, and studies show that having a daily relaxation practice can reduce your cardiac risk.
  • Exercise. Your blood vessels need a healthy workout every day. Make aerobic physical activity part of your regular routine.
  • Eat fruits and vegetables. The antioxidants in fruits and vegetables are essential for preventing inflammation that leads to damage and dysfunction in blood vessel walls.

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Story Source: Maureen Williams, ND, completed her doctorate in naturopathic medicine at Bastyr University in Seattle and has been in private practice since 1995. With an abiding commitment to access to care, she has worked in free clinics in the US and Canada, and in rural clinics in Guatemala and Honduras where she has studied traditional herbal medicine. She currently lives and practices in Victoria, BC, and lectures and writes extensively for both professional and community audiences on topics including family nutrition, menopause, anxiety and depression, heart disease, cancer, and easing stress. Dr. Williams is a regular contributor to Healthnotes Newswire. The above story is reprinted from materials provided by Aisle7. All rights reserved. 

References:  Nutrition 2012; doi:10.1016/j.nut.2012.03.016

Thursday, November 8, 2012
NPF Science Update: Stroke

The NPF Science Update brings you news about scientific advances in the field of natural products. The Science Update features contributions from scientists, academics, doctors, healthcare professionals, industry veterans and other experts. To sign up to receive the monthly Science Update via email, please click here: NPF Science Update.

Nutrition for Stroke Prevention

By Maureen Williams, ND

Healthy eating habits are important in preventing a wide range of health problems, including stroke. A new review of the science looking at nutrition and stroke found that eating certain healthy foods and an overall healthy diet effectively reduces stroke risk.

Certain foods can help prevent stroke

The review, published in Nutrition Reviews, included 34 studies that examined the relationship between diet and stroke risk. Drawing on the findings from these studies, the reviewers made the following conclusions about specific foods:

  • Fruits and vegetables: People who eat three to five servings of fruits and vegetables per day have a lower stroke risk than people who eat less than three.
  • Soy: Studies done in Japan suggest that eating soy foods can protect against stroke, but not enough research has been done to say whether soy foods have the same protective effect in other populations.
  • Fish: Eating a moderate amount of non-fried fish appears to be protective, but high levels may increase the risk of a type of stroke known as hemorrhagic stroke. Hemorrhagic stroke involves bleeding in an area of the brain, while the more common type of stroke, called ischemic stroke, involves loss of blood flow to an area in the brain.
  • Whole grains: The evidence so far points toward a protective effect for whole grains, but more research is needed to draw a firm conclusion.
  • Animal foods: Eating eggs does not change stroke risk, but the relationships between meat and dairy consumption and stroke risk are still unclear.

Eating a healthy diet is also protective

The reviewers made the following conclusions about overall dietary patterns:

  • Prudent vs. Western diet: A prudent diet, characterized by high amounts of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fish, is associated with a lower stroke risk, while a Western diet, which includes high meat, refined grain, and sweets consumption is linked to a higher stroke risk.
  • DASH: Following the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) guidelines has been found to lower blood pressure and stroke risk. DASH emphasizes fruits, vegetables, grains, low-fat dairy foods, nuts, chicken, and fish, and limits red meat, sweets, and refined grains.
  • Mediterranean diet: This diet is characterized by high amounts of fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes, and olive oil, moderate amounts of fish and wine, and low meat consumption. Eating a Mediterranean-style diet is associated with a reduced stroke risk.
  • Low-fat diet: Although it appears that shifting from saturated fats to poly- and monounsaturated fats may help prevent stroke, cutting down on all dietary fats has no effect on stroke risk.

Lower your stroke risk

Based on all of these findings, eating a diet that includes lots of fruits and vegetables is the best-supported nutritional method for preventing stroke. Here are some other things to do to reduce your stroke risk:

  • Don’t smoke. Smoking damages small arteries in the brain and increases the likelihood of forming a blood clot, dramatically increasing stroke risk.
  • Maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight is associated with dangerous changes in the blood vessels that supply the brain, and puts an extra burden on the heart, leading to higher stroke risk.
  • Stay active. Physical activity, even into the senior years, has a clear benefit for stroke risk. 

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Story Source: Maureen Williams, ND, completed her doctorate in naturopathic medicine at Bastyr University in Seattle and has been in private practice since 1995. With an abiding commitment to access to care, she has worked in free clinics in the US and Canada, and in rural clinics in Guatemala and Honduras where she has studied traditional herbal medicine. She currently lives and practices in Victoria, BC, and lectures and writes extensively for both professional and community audiences on topics including family nutrition, menopause, anxiety and depression, heart disease, cancer, and easing stress. Dr. Williams is a regular contributor to Healthnotes Newswire. The above story is reprinted from materials provided by Aisle7. All rights reserved. 

References:  Nutr Rev 2012;70:423–35 

Thursday, October 11, 2012
NPF Science Update: Aloe Vera

The NPF Science Update brings you news about scientific advances in the field of natural products. The Science Update features contributions from scientists, academics, doctors, healthcare professionals, industry veterans and other experts. To sign up to receive the monthly Science Update via email, please click here: NPF Science Update.

Aloe Vera and the Benefits of Polysaccharides

By Bill Pine

Aloe vera continues to be in the top two herbal ingredients the consumer recognizes and requests in the products they purchase. This succulent and a member of the lily family is known to the consumer market as an ingredient that relieves sun burn pain, aids in healing a wound and relieving dry irritated skin. These benefits have long been observed by users of topical product containing aloe vera.

Today more and more consumers are consuming aloe vera to see the same benefits internally. This the same concept of “beauty from within”. Why is it that this herb delivers these benefits? What is thought to deliver the beneficial activities we see in quality products that contain aloe?

It is the consensus of research that the polysaccharides in aloe vera are responsible for the benefits found in this herb. The polysaccharides are sometimes referred to as acemannan, the biologically active polysaccharide isolated from aloe vera in 1984 by Dr. Bill H. McAnalley at Carrington Laboratories. These polysaccharides have been shown to be predominately mannose with small amounts of glucose and galactose. They are stable and non-toxic. Carrington research has shown these polysaccharides stimulate the macrophage in the body’s innate immune system. Macrophages are phagocytic immune cells that ingest and destroy viruses, bacteria and tumor cells. These cells also secrete a number of important chemicals such as growth factors, enzymes and cytokines. The tumor necrosis factor (TNF) can destroy tumor cells and stimulate fibroblast cells for wound healing. Macrophages can release interleukins that can enhance inflammation against infection.

Macrophages, essential immune cells, act as directors of various immune responses and activities through the coordinated release of compounds like cytokines and chemokines. Several studies have demonstrated that the saccharide portions of several microorganisms and plant polysaccharides, like those in aloe vera, are powerful macrophage activators. Activated macrophages are deeply involved in self-regulated immunomodulation. This accounts for the broad range of benefits historically attributed to aloe like wound healing, infection control, immunomodulation, etc.

Acemannan (aloe polysaccharides), the active component in aloe vera, has been credited with a variety of benefits, which have usually caused disbelief or debate in people. However it is evident acemannan is able to provide these benefits by activating and modulating the activity of the macrophages. Once these cells are activated, they can produce the variety of immune compounds needed to manifest benefits such as, wound healing, infection control, etc. Again, nature has designed a mechanism to activate the immune system with self-regulating immunomodulation.  

For those interested in more information on aloe vera, one can contact the International Aloe Science Council (IASC) at iasc.org.

Story Source:  Bill Pine is the vice president of sales and marketing for Improve USA, headquartered in DeSoto, Texas. Mr. Pine is a board officer on the executive committee of the International Aloe Science Council (IASC). 

References:  The Science Behind Aloe: The Healing Plant, edited by Bill. H. McAnalley, PhD 

Monday, October 8, 2012
NPF Truth in Advertising Review Sends 200th Warning Letter

Dietary Supplement Self-Regulatory Program Reaches Milestone 

The Natural Products Foundation (NPF) Truth in Advertising Review is a pro-active effort that identifies non-compliant advertiser promotions for dietary supplements. Since 2010, NPF has sent 200 warning letters to companies marketing dietary supplements with illegal drug and disease claims, drawing attention to current regulatory guidelines. 

“The NPF Truth in Advertising (TIA) Review is vital to the integrity of dietary supplements and the overall well-being of consumers,” stated David Brown, Chairman of the NPF Board of Directors. “The TIA Review represents the vanguard for educating industry members about the pitfalls of illegal drug claims and irresponsible marketing practices. A small minority of marketers have the potential to undermine decades of progress made by natural health initiatives. Our industry outreach and education efforts highlight problematic advertising and labeling issues while working with marketers to ensure that they are fully compliant with current regulations.”   

Since the inception of the NPF Truth in Advertising Review, two-thirds of all warning letter recipients have acknowledged the issues outlined by NPF and worked to revise promotional content and advertising practices. Compliance rates continue to show improvement as the program moves forward, with 80% of 2012 warning letter recipients working to improve their ads. 

“Our message is getting through—if a product makes a disease claim, it is categorized as a drug. If marketers misrepresent such products as dietary supplements, they’ve clearly crossed a red line,” noted Marc Ullman, NPF Legal Advisory Council Chairman. “Every dietary supplement marketer should understand that compliance needs to be part of their corporate culture,” noted Ullman earlier this year. “This is a critical aspect of maintaining our industry’s credibility in the eyes of all consumers.”

The issue has been thrown into sharp relief by a recent report from the Office of Inspector General of Health and Human Services (HHS), highlighting non-compliant label language and disease claims. Responding to questions surrounding the HHS report, Ullman said: “As an industry we need to recognize—and we do recognize—that there is a problem.” 

“Over the past three years NPF has worked case by case to rehabilitate advertising standards within the dietary supplement industry,” stated Mr. Brown. “From the beginning of the Truth in Advertising program, NPF has been focused on the problem posed by drug and disease claims. The NPF Truth in Advertising program review process has addressed this issue head-on, and will continue to work toward full industry compliance.”

NPF has initiated 100 new review cases in 2012, and sent 65 warning letters. When organizations responsible for drug and disease-related claims fail to address the issues outlined by the TIA Review, the cases are referred to federal regulatory bodies. Over the past three years, NPF has referred 47 cases to representatives from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). 

The Truth in Advertising Review is overseen by the NPF Legal Advisory Council (LAC). The LAC is composed of attorneys who volunteer their time to help improve the dietary supplement industry’s advertising practices. Current council members include Mr. Ullman of Ullman, Shapiro & Ullman, Jackie Kuler of Gronek & Associates, Nicholas Licato of Nexgen Pharma, and Jim Prochnow and Justin Prochnow of Greenberg Traurig. 

Have you seen a dietary supplement advertisement making drug or disease-related claims? Request a TIA Review for any advertisement online: naturalproductsfoundation.org/review.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012
Cited: The Economic Contribution of the Dietary Supplement Industry

The most recent research funded by NPF, the Natural Products Foundation Economic Impact Study, examined the larger financial consequences produced by the natural products industry activities, beyond simple sales-related revenues.

Although the supplement industry generates more than $20 billion in consumer sales annually, sales of supplements are but a small part of the industry's overall financial contribution to the economy.

The Economic Impact Study was designed to discover the financial impact of all aspects of the industry, charting the importance of research, supply, and production monies, as well as retail sales.

Dietary supplement industry is focused on the health of individuals, but it also plays a critical role in the health of the national economy. Calculating the overall contribution of the dietary supplement industry demonstrates its important impact on the national economy in these difficult economic times and the importance of the industry to the economic recovery of the country.

Full Report: The Economic Contribution of the Dietary Supplement Industry (2009)

Cited: What is the Current Economic Contribution of the Dietary Supplement Industry to the U.S. Economy? (2009) 

NPA Update: What is the Current Economic Contribution of the Dietary Supplement Industry to the U.S. Economy? (2011) 

Monday, October 1, 2012
Foundation Expands Legal Advisory Council

NPF Welcomes Jim Prochnow and Justin Prochnow of Greenberg Traurig, LLP    

The Natural Products Foundation (NPF) have announced the addition of two new members to the NPF Legal Advisory Council: Jim Prochnow and Justin Prochnow of Greenberg Traurig, LLP. 

Jim Prochnow is a shareholder in the Denver office of Greenberg Traurig, LLP. He concentrates his practice primarily on regulatory affairs and litigation, focusing on food and drug law, advertising law and intellectual property issues. Jim works to defend companies and individuals in Federal Trade Commission investigations concerning false and misleading advertising and with respect to FDA enforcement efforts. He advises companies and individuals about safe and aggressive marketing practices that comply with the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, the FTC Act and related Guidelines. Mr. Prochnow earned his Juris Doctor degree from the William Mitchell College of Law in 1969. 

Justin Prochnow, a shareholder at Greenberg Traurig, LLP, focuses his practice on regulatory and business issues primarily in the food, medical device, drug and cosmetic industries. Justin works with dietary supplement, sports nutrition, beverage, conventional food, cosmetic, medical device and OTC drug companies to ensure regulatory compliance with statutes and regulations enforced by the Food and Drug Administration, the Federal Trade Commission and other regulatory agencies. He also defends companies from both governmental agencies and private litigants with claims ranging from breach of contract and false advertising to RICO and Lanham Act violations. 

The NPF Legal Advisory Council (LAC) is composed of attorneys who volunteer their time to help improve the dietary supplement industry’s advertising practices. LAC members are instrumental in NPF’s Truth in Advertising work, supervising the highly successful review component of the program. Current council members include Marc Ullman (Ullman, Shapiro & Ullman), Jackie Kuler (Gronek & Associates), and Nicholas Licato (Nexgen Pharma). 

“We are pleased to have the opportunity to join the NPF Legal Advisory Council and work with fellow members in the continuing effort to promote compliance with the laws and regulations governing dietary supplements,” noted Justin Prochnow. “We believe that self-regulation of companies is an important step to ensure the long-term success of the dietary supplement industry.”

Truth in Advertising Review is a pro-active effort that identifies non-compliant advertiser promotions. Since 2010, NPF has mailed 200 warning letters to companies marketing dietary supplements with drug and disease-related statements, drawing attention to current regulatory guidelines. For further info on the review program and advertising guidelines, please visit: naturalproductsfoundation.org/truth.   

Thursday, September 13, 2012
NPF Science Update: Nutrient Recommendations

The NPF Science Update brings you news about scientific advances in the field of natural products. The Science Update features contributions from scientists, academics, doctors, healthcare professionals, industry veterans and other experts. To sign up to receive the monthly Science Update via email, please click here: NPF Science Update.

Nutrient Recommendations from Both Sides of the Atlantic

By Suzanne Dixon, MPH, MS, RD

The European Food Safety Authority has weighed in on the debate about how much vitamin Dcalcium, and essential fatty acids can be taken safely over the long term. These recommendations, which are issued by the Institute of Medicine in the United States as well, are known as tolerable upper intake levels (ULs). The science on nutrient safety isn’t always 100% clear, so it can be helpful to consider where different panels of health experts around the globe set these limits.

Compare and contrast

The upper end of safe intakes for most nutrients are not ordinarily reached or surpassed by people eating a typical diet in Europe or the US. For the majority, food alone will not put a person in danger of nutrient toxicity. But when adding dietary supplements and fortified foods, upper intake levels are needed to protect people against toxicity. We can use these numbers to guide our choices for safe use of dietary supplements and fortified foods.

Here’s how tolerable upper intake levels compare on both sides of the Atlantic:

Vitamin D

  • The UL for children 11 years old and up and adults is 4,000 IU per day in the US and in Europe.
  • The UL for 8- to 11-year-olds is 4,000 IU per day in the US, though in Europe, the UL for this age group is lower, at 2,000 IU daily.
  • The UL for 1- to 10-year-old children is 2,000 IU per day in Europe, though in the US this age group is broken down further. In the US the UL is 2,520 IU per day for 1- to 3-year-olds, 3,000 IU per day for 4- to 8-year-olds, and 4,000 IU per day for 9- to 13-year-olds.
  • The UL for infants—children under 1 year old—is 1,000 IU per day in Europe, though in the US, again, this age group is broken down further; the UL is 1,000 IU per day for newborns up to 6 months, and increases to 1,520 IU daily for infants 6 months to 1 year old.

Calcium

  • In Europe, the UL for calcium is simple: 2,500 mg per day for all adults.
  • For children, the European Food Safety Authority has indicated that, “Although available data do not allow the setting of a UL for infants, children, or adolescents, no risk has been identified with highest current levels of calcium intake in these age groups.”
  • In the US, the calcium ULs are broken down by age, with daily levels set at:
    • Newborns to 6 months: 1,000 mg
    • 6 months to 1 year: 1,500 mg
    • 1 year to 8 years: 2,500 mg
    • 9 to 18 years: 3,000 mg
    • Adults up to 50 years: 2,500 mg
    • Adults 51 years and older: 2,000 mg
    • Pregnant and breastfeeding women, 18 years and older: 2,500 mg
    • Pregnant and breastfeeding women, younger than 18 years: 3,000 mg

Essential fatty acids

  • The European Food Safety Authority states that there isn’t enough scientific evidence to set safe upper limit values for essential fatty acids, which include the long-chain omega-3 fats found in fish and seafood. However, they indicate that supplementing up to 5 grams per day appears to be safe, and recommend all adults get a minimum of 250 to 500 mg of these omega-3 fats daily for good health.
  • In the US, there are no official safe upper limits for essential fats, though the FDA indicates that intakes up to 3 grams per day are safe. The American Heart Association indicates that aiming for 900 mg per day of omega-3 fats—the amount that research suggests can lessen cardiovascular disease risk—is a good goal for all Americans.

Supplement with savvy, factor in fortification

There is much overlap between the safe upper limits for vitamin D, calcium, and essential fatty acids set by health agencies in Europe and in the US. Where these numbers diverge, you should consult your doctor or dietitian with any questions you have about how much of these nutrients are safe for you.

Also keep in mind the following points as you plan out your nutrition choices:

  • Use safe upper limits. These are set to provide guidance on appropriate nutrient intakes for the general population. There are always exceptions: for example, higher levels might be needed to address deficiency. Also, higher amounts may be needed to treat a particular medical condition. Consult your doctor or dietitian if you feel you need higher levels of any nutrient.
  • Keep track of all sources of nutrient intake. Many foods are now fortified with calcium, vitamin D, and/or essential fatty acids. If you use fortified foods, you may not need any dietary supplements of these nutrients at all.
  • Go to food first. Most nutrients are best absorbed, and occur in safe amounts, in their naturally occurring form in food. For example, our bodies do best with calcium from dairy, green leafy vegetables, beans, nuts, and seeds, rather than larger quantities of calcium taken all at once as a dietary supplement.
  • Remember balance. Sometimes, taking large quantities of one nutrient can make it harder for our bodies to absorb or use other important nutrients. Before you supplement single nutrients, talk with a knowledgeable healthcare provider about getting a good balance of all vital nutrients. 

Story Source: Suzanne Dixon, MPH, MS, RD, an author, speaker, and internationally recognized expert in chronic disease prevention, epidemiology, and nutrition, has taught medical, nursing, public health, and alternative medicine coursework. She has delivered over 150 invited lectures to health professionals and consumers and is the creator of a nutrition website acclaimed by the New York Times and Time magazine. Suzanne received her training in epidemiology and nutrition at the University of Michigan, School of Public Health at Ann Arbor. She is a regular contributor to Healthnotes Newswire. The above story is reprinted from materials provided by Aisle7. All rights reserved. 

References: European Food Safety Authority - “Upper intake levels reviewed for vitamin D and calcium
European Food Safety Authority - “EFSA assesses safety of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids

 

Wednesday, September 5, 2012
NPF Chairman Features at Nutrition Law Symposium

David Brown, Chairman of the Board of Directors at Natural Products Foundation (NPF), will represent the organization at the upcoming Nutrition Law Symposium in Lehi, Utah on September 14, 2012.

Mr. Brown will be appearing for a panel discussion Truth Stranger than Fiction: Recent Developments in Dietary Supplement Litigation, Regulation and Truth in Advertising. The panel will be led by John Villafranco (Kelley Drye & Warren LLP), and will include Loren Israelsen (UNPA) and Steve Mister (CRN).

The NPF Truth in Advertising Review program is a pro-active effort that identifies non-compliant dietary supplement promotions. Since 2010, NPF has mailed 185 warning letters to companies marketing dietary supplements with drug and disease-related statements, drawing their attention to current regulatory guidelines. NPF has initiated 80 new review cases in 2012. 

David Brown is the current President of LifeVantage Network. Prior to LifeVantage, Mr. Brown had been Managing Director and Co-Founder of Nutritional Business Advisors, President and CEO of Metabolife International, and President of Natural Balance, International. Mr. Brown earned his Juris Doctor degree from Cornell University, and began his career as a corporate attorney at the law firm Kindel & Anderson.

The 8th annual Nutrition Law Symposium is organized by Stoel Rives LLP and the Association of Corporate Counsel Mountain West Chapter. The event will also feature a discussion focusing on the future of Prop 65 defenses, an FDA enforcement update, and an optional golf scramble following lunch. To register for the symposium, please visit: http://www.stoel.com.

 

Thursday, August 9, 2012
NPF Science Update: Selenium

The NPF Science Update brings you news about scientific advances in the field of natural products. The Science Update features contributions from scientists, academics, doctors, healthcare professionals, industry veterans and other experts. To sign up to receive the monthly Science Update via email, please click here: NPF Science Update.

Selenium and Prostate Protection

By Maureen Williams, MD

What can men do to prevent prostate cancer, the most common type of cancer in men in the US, UK, and Europe? Be sure to get enough selenium, a new review says, after finding that men with high (but not excessively high) selenium levels have a lower risk of prostate cancer.

Pulling together the research

The review, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, used data from 12 studies with a combined total of more than 13,000 participants. The studies looked at the relationships between prostate cancer risk and blood selenium levels, selenium content of toenail clippings, and selenium intake.

The reviewers combined the data and analyzed it to identify whether a relationship existed. They looked at:

  • Blood levels: Men with higher levels of selenium in their blood had a lower risk of being diagnosed with prostate cancer and a lower risk of developing advanced prostate cancer.
  • Toenail clipping content: The selenium content of toenail clippings had what is known as a U-shaped relationship (because it is represented by a graph that is U-shaped) to prostate cancer risk: more selenium appeared protect against risk up to a point, but after that point, the risk began to rise again as selenium increased.
  • Dietary intake: In general, higher selenium intake through diet and supplements was linked to lower prostate cancer risk, but one study again found that at very high intakes, selenium was no longer protective. Differences in the ways the studies were done made it impossible for the researchers to recommend an ideal daily intake.

Selenium’s complicated considerations

Although some of the studies did not show this tapering off of protection from selenium, the reviewers speculated that selenium levels and intakes in these studies may not have been high enough to show the possible detrimental effects of having too much.

The results led the reviewers to comment on the complex nature of the relationship between selenium and prostate cancer, saying, “We showed in our dose-response meta-analysis that a decreased risk of prostate cancer appears to be associated with a relatively narrow range of selenium status.” They emphasized the importance of clearly identifying the ideal range in order to make safe recommendations about supplementing with selenium.

Get your selenium—but not too much

Selenium is a mineral micronutrient and a powerful antioxidant. Scientists believe it plays a role in cancer prevention and some studies have found that it protects against colon and lung cancers, as well as prostate cancer. It also keeps the immune system strong and appears to protect the heart and blood vessels.

Here are some ways to ensure that you get enough selenium every day:

  • Have a Brazil nut. Brazil nuts are the most highly concentrated source of selenium. Just one Brazil nut per day can provide enough selenium to maintain a healthy level in your body.
  • Add mushrooms. Crimini (button) and shitake mushrooms can be good sources of selenium if they come from selenium-rich soil.
  • Include seafood. Cod, tuna, halibut, shrimp, scallops, sardines, and salmon are excellent sources of selenium.
  • Consider the guidelines. The Recommended Dietary Allowance is 55 mcg per day for adults, and many healthcare providers recommend supplements with 100 to 200 mcg per day.

Story Source:  Maureen Williams, ND, completed her doctorate in naturopathic medicine at Bastyr University in Seattle and has been in private practice since 1995. With an abiding commitment to access to care, she has worked in free clinics in the US and Canada, and in rural clinics in Guatemala and Honduras where she has studied traditional herbal medicine. She currently lives and practices in Victoria, BC, and lectures and writes extensively for both professional and community audiences on topics including family nutrition, menopause, anxiety and depression, heart disease, cancer, and easing stress. Dr. Williams is a regular contributor to Healthnotes Newswire. The above story is reprinted from materials provided by Aisle7. All rights reserved. 

References: (Am J Clin Nutr 2012; doi: 10.3945/ajcn.111.033373)

 

Thursday, July 12, 2012
NPF Science Update: Choline

The NPF Science Update brings you news about scientific advances in the field of natural products. The Science Update features contributions from scientists, academics, doctors, healthcare professionals, industry veterans and other experts. To sign up to receive the monthly Science Update via email, please click here: NPF Science Update.

Choline: Little Know Nutrient Essential for Life

By Robert M. Levy, MD

Almost all mammal cells contain choline. Choline is required for production of phospholipids (major components of cell membranes), production of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, and is required for brain development and neural tube closure. Dietary choline occurs free or bound to phospholipids, but can be synthesized by the human body assuming the required precursor molecules (building blocks) are available. Human cells have an absolute requirement for choline without which they die.

Adequate intake level (AI) for women is 450 mg each day, and up to 550 mg during pregnancy and lactation. The level in neonates is 3-6 times higher than maternal blood. Current data suggest that most pregnant and lactating women do not achieve the AI and most prenatal vitamins do not contain choline. Human milk contains about 160-210 mg choline/l, a level that falls toward the end of pregnancy, presumably because of increased need of the developing fetus. The AI for infants in the first 6 months of life is about 25 mg/day rising to 150 mg/day for months 6-12. Animals fed choline deficient diets during pregnancy may have offspring with growth retardation and developmental abnormalities of bone, kidneys and other organs. 

Choline metabolism is intimately connected to levels of folate and vitamin B12. Choline deficiency is associated with neural tube defects in humans. Women in the lowest 25% of choline intake have approximately a 4-fold greater risk of having a child with a neural tube defect than choline replete women. Animal experiments have shown that choline can reverse some of the effects of developmental folate deficiency. Several genetic defects affecting choline synthesis have been identified and it is thought that more than half the population carry at least one of the genetic variations. These people are at greater risk for choline deficiency in the absence of adequate dietary intake. This may be of particular importance in pregnancy where inadequate maternal and fetal levels of choline may affect neurological development. 

Choline and brain development

Many studies have shown that improved cognitive and special function induced by choline supplementation in the fetal and neonatal stages persists into adulthood. Conversely, prenatal choline deficiency is associated with effects in learning and memory that persist throughout life. Studies in rats suggest that adequate choline intake early in life may decrease or delay the onset of memory deficits in older animals. For example, using magnetic resonance spectroscopy, choline levels were found to be decreased in selected brain areas in infants with fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD). Similar results were found in teenagers and young adults with FASD. This is compatible with prior animal work in which choline was able to prevent many of the effects of prenatally administered alcohol even after alcohol induced brain damage and, possibly—although to a lesser extent—even when administered in the postnatal period.

The timing of supplement administration appears to be important and coincides with the time of peak development of learning and memory centers in the brain. At present it is not known if the effects of pre/perinatal choline are due to an augmentation of the number of neural cells, their number of connections, alteration in their organization, changes in membrane content or configurations, metabolic enhancement, or a phenomenon called metabolic imprinting. It seems most likely, however, that the underlying mechanism for the lifelong behavioral and cognitive effects of choline begin with modification of existing DNA, altered gene expression and changes in neural progenitor cells and neural organization that occur in prenatal learning, memory and visual centers in the brain beginning in the prenatal period and continuing until about age 3-4 years. 

In summary, choline is an essential, but little known nutrient, especially important for maintenance of neurologic and metabolic health. Maternal requirements increase significantly during pregnancy and lactation. Care should be taken to choose prenatal and postnatal vitamin preparation containing choline supplementation.

Story Source: Robert M. Levy, MD, is the Director of Clinical Development at Primus Pharmaceuticals. Dr. Levy is Board Certified in Rheumatology and Internal Medicine and was in private practice in the State of Washington for 30 years. He was the founder and president of the Olympia Arthritis Clinic and Olympia Osteoporosis Center, and the Medical Director of South Sound Clinical Research Center. Dr. Levy received his MD from the University of Chicago School of Medicine and completed his rheumatology fellowship at the Scripps Clinic & Research Foundation.

References: Astley SJ, Richards T, Aylward EH, et al. Magnetic resonance spectroscopy outcomes from a comprehensive magnetic resonance study of children with fetal alcohol spectrum disorders. Magn Reson Imaging. 2009.27:760-8.

Bremer J, Greenberg D. Methyl transferring enzyme system of microsomes in the biosynthesis of lecithin (phosphatidycholine). Biochim Biophys Acta. 1961. 16:205-16.

Caudill MA, Pre- and postnatal health: evidence of increased choline needs. J Am Diet Assoc. 2010.110:1198-206.

Craciunesco CN, Johnson AR, Zeisel SH. Dietary choline reveres some, but not all, effects of folate deficiency on neurogenesis and apoptosis in fetal mouse brain. J Nutr. 2010.140:1162-6.

da Costa KA, Kozyreva OG, Song J, et al. Common genetic polymorphisms have major effects on the human requirement for the nutrient choline. FASEB J. 2004.20:1336-44.

Fagerlund A. Heikkinen S, Autti-Ramo I. et al. Brain metabolic alterations in adolescents and young adults with fetal alcohol spectrum disorders. Alcohol Clin Exp Res. 2006.30:2097-104. 

Food and Nutrition Board: Institute of medicine, National Academy of Sciences. Dietary reference intake for Thiamine, riboflavin, vitamin B6, folate, vitamin B12, pantothenic acid, biotin and choline. Wash. DC. National Academy Press. 1988.

Meck WH, Smith RA, Williams CL. Pre- and postnatal choline supplementation produces long term facilitation of special memory. Dev Psychobiol. 1988.21:339-53.

Meck WH, Smith RA, Williams CL. Organizational changes in cholinergic activity and enhanced visuospacial memory as a function of choline administered prenatally or postnatally or both. Behav Neurosci. 1989.103:1234-41.

Meck WH, Williams CL. Characterization of the facilitative effects of perinatal choline supplementation on timing and temporal memory. Neuroreport. 1997.8: 2831-5.

Meck WH, Williams CL. Metabolic imprinting of choline by its availability during gestation: implications for memory and attentional processing across the lifespan. Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 2003.27:385-99.

Ryan SH, Williams JK, Thomas JD. Choline supplementation attenuates learning deficits associated with neonatal alcohol exposure in the rat: Effects of varying the timing of choline administration. Brain Res. 2008.1237:91-100.

Shaw GM, Carmichael SL, Yang W, et al. Periconceptual dietary intake of choline and betaine and neural tube defects in offspring. Am j Epidem. 2004.160:102-9.

Schenk F, Brandner C. Indirect effects of peri- and postnatal choline treatment on place learning abilities in the rat. Psychobiol. 1995.23:302-13.

Thomas JD, Garrison M, O’Neill TM. Perinatal choline supplementation attenuates behavioral alterations associated with neonatal alcohol exposure in rats. Neurotoxicol Teratol. 2004.26:35-45.

Tees RC. The influences of sex, rearing environment and neonatal choline dietary supplementation on spacial and non-spacial learning and memory in adult rats. Dev Psychobiol. 1999. 35:328-42.

Yen CL, Mar MH, Meefer RB, et al. Choline deficiency induces apoptosis in primary cultures of fetal neurons. FASEB J. 2001.15:1704-10.

Zeisel SH, Blusztajn JK. Choline and human nutrition. Ann Rev Nutr. 1994.14:269-96.

Zeisel SH. The fetal origins of memory: the role of dietary choline in optimal brain development. J Pediatr. 2006a.149 (5 suppl) S131-6.

Zeisel SH, Niculescu MD. Perinatal choline influences brain structure and function. Nutr Rev. 2006b.64:197-203.

Zeisel SH. Choline:critical role during fetal development and dietary requirements in adults. Ann Rev Nutr. 2006c.26:229-50.

Monday, June 25, 2012
NPF Elects New Executive Officers

Foundation Welcomes David Brown as Chairman, John Shaw as President

The Natural Products Foundation (NPF) announced the election of new executive officers from organization’s Board of Directors. David Brown has been elected Chairman of NPF, J.D. Weir has been elected Treasurer, and David Matteson has been elected Secretary. The Board of Directors also welcomed John Shaw, new Executive Director and CEO of the Natural Products Association as NPF’s President.

“I am looking forward to serving as Chairman of the Natural Products Foundation board,” said David Brown. “The new executive team is composed of dedicated professionals committed to helping NPF meet its mission of providing research and education related to natural products.”

David Brown is the current President of LifeVantage Network. Prior to LifeVantage, Mr. Brown had been Managing Director and Co-Founder of Nutritional Business Advisors, President and CEO of Metabolife International, and President of Natural Balance, International. Mr. Brown earned his Juris Doctor degree from Cornell University, and began his career as a corporate attorney at the law firm Kindel & Anderson.

J.D. Weir is the President and CEO of Primus Pharmaceuticals. In the past, Weir has led various prescription and OTC drug and medical device businesses for Procter & Gamble (P&G) and later The Kendall Company’s former home healthcare subsidiary, Kendall-Futuro. At Kendall-Futuro, Mr. Weir was the Vice President of Marketing & Product Development. He has extensive experience in entrepreneurial management, marketing, sales, and product development.  He graduated from Harvard Business School with an MBA and from Augustana College with a BS in Business and Accounting.

David Matteson has dedicated his career to advancing healthy ideas, services, and products into the marketplace. He is the co-founder of pH Sciences, and focuses his creative energy on his consulting practice, Early-Edge Solutions. Matteson serves on a variety of national advisory boards that strive to ensure consumer access and choice to effective healthcare services and healthy products. He holds academic degrees in biology/engineering, education, public health, and public policy and planning.

John Shaw is a longtime Washington, D.C., insider and a former top administration official. Prior to joining NPA, Shaw was Assistant Secretary for Environment Safety and Health at the Department of Energy, Senior Vice President of Government Affairs at the Portland Cement Association, Senate Investigative Counsel to Senator Fred Thompson, and a Public Policy Attorney with the Law Firm of Patton Boggs, LLP. 

“In my new positions as CEO of NPA and president of NPF, I look forward to helping the association and the foundation maximize the synergy between the two organizations,” said John Shaw. “The educational efforts of NPF are invaluable to members of NPA as well as to consumers and the industry overall.” 

Friday, June 15, 2012
NPF Scholarship Fund Awards 2012

NPF is pleased to announce three recipients of the 2012 NPF Scholarship: Lauren Au of Tufts University, Taylor Kaufmann of Bastyr University, and Vanessa Mardones of Memorial University.

Lauren Au is a doctoral student at Tufts University's Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy. Ms. Au earned a Bachelor in Science in Nutritional Sciences, Dietetics from University of California, Berkeley and completed her Dietetic Internship and Masters in Nutrition and Public Health from Columbia University. Ms. Au is currently examining the influences of adiposity and skin color to serum vitamin D.

“My research involves determining the vitamin D intakes needed to meet recommended serum vitamin D and understanding adherence to taking vitamin D supplements in ethnically diverse children,” noted Ms. Au. She plans to apply her supplement research and food policy background to a post-doctoral position in government. Ms. Au's research will provide insight into vitamin D supplement recommendations for vulnerable childhood populations.

Taylor Kaufmann is an anthropologist and certified medical herbalist recently graduated from the North American Institute of Medical Herbalism. She is now pursuing a doctorate in Naturopathic Medicine at Bastyr University. Ms. Kaufmann spent much of her college career in the field studying cultures, including research conducted in Rwanda, Uganda, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Kenya, and Tanzania. Among her current academic activities, Ms. Kaufmann plans research that aims to demonstrate the efficacy of natural products.

“I want to facilitate Medical Doctors and Naturopathic Doctors working together,” stated Ms. Kaufmann. “The simple addition or substitution of a natural supplement to a patient’s treatment plan can increase the efficacy of some medications, or even alleviate negative symptoms. I do not believe that a patient should have to choose between Allopathic and Holistic or Alternative medicine. I want to cultivate a collaboration, a joining of these life-saving forces, to create the best, most well-rounded care possible.”

Vanessa Mardones is a member of the doctoral program in Biology at Memorial University. Ms. Mardones is a medical herbalist and former fellow at the National Center for Natural Products Research. She is investigating the environmental and cultural parameters that affect the potency of Rhodiola rosea, an adaptogenic plant native to arctic regions of Europe, Asia, and North America. Her research will examine the effects of climate change on wild populations of the plant, broadening understanding of how environmental factors influence biosynthesis.

“It is my goal to conduct natural products research which contributes to a scientific understanding of the interrelationship between the phytochemical constituents of medicinal plant products and their growth conditions,” said Ms. Mardones. “Through my research I hope to achieve results which help to optimize the cultivation methods used to safely and sustainably procure potent medicinal plants, and to improve the quality of medicinal plants available in the natural products industry.”

All awards granted through the Scholarship Fund support ongoing natural education. By helping members of the community achieve their professional objectives, NPF continues to foster and support the advancement of natural health. NPF plans to again open applications to the Scholarship Fund at the end of 2012 through early 2013.

"Our scholarship program is part of the NPF's long-term commitment to the industry,” said David Matteson, Chairman of the NPF Scholarship Committee. “Supporting academics to deepen the research and more widely share the evidence behind our products is critical to ensuring that natural products are embraced by the market, endorsed by regulators, and accessible to consumers."

“The NPF Scholarship Fund has received strong applications from students across the country,” said NPF Chairman Derek Hall. “We were extremely impressed by the commitment we’ve seen from applicants, as well as the diversity of academic disciplines that students are pursuing to improve the natural health field. After reviewing so many excellent candidates, NPF is pleased to select Ms. Au, Ms. Kaufmann, and Ms. Mardones as the 2012 recipients of NPF Scholarship Awards.”

“This year's recipients illuminate the growing interest in natural products and the expanding career opportunities,” said Mr. Matteson. “Our goal is to grow the NPF Scholarship Program to support this welcomed interest. This is a great cause that is easily supported."

Please help NPF support natural health education for the coming year by contributing to the Scholarship Fund: Fund 2013

 

Thursday, June 14, 2012
NPF Science Update: Nrf2

The NPF Science Update brings you news about scientific advances in the field of natural products. The Science Update features contributions from scientists, academics, doctors, healthcare professionals, industry veterans and other experts. To sign up to receive the monthly Science Update via email, please click here: NPF Science Update.

Heart News: Nrf2

By David Brown

A few decades ago, scientists and doctors were working to educate the public about “new” information relative to health and longevity: cholesterol. These days, it’s difficult to find someone unaware of cholesterol and its impact on health. Cholesterol and its impact on health has almost become yesterday’s news.

Enter Nrf2. Nuclear factor (erythroid-derived 2)-like 2, also known as NFE2L2 or Nrf2, and its effect on health, is science’s latest breakthrough. If you haven’t heard about it yet, trust me, you will.

Nrf2 has so much potential it’s already being studied at virtually every major university and research institution in the world, as well as by several major pharmaceutical companies.

Nrf2 is of interest because it’s a protein messenger contained in every cell of the body. It sends information to the DNA, which is important because your genes make you who you are and what you are, giving you your unique personality and your physical traits.

In recent years, scientists have discovered Nrf2’s ability to up-regulate protective genes such as the antioxidant enzymes, as well as its ability to down-regulate genes that may have a negative effect on health, such as pro-inflammatory and pro-fibrotic genes that can lead to inflammation as well as scarring. Together, these abilities at the genetic level provide a remarkable potential for protection from many kinds of age-related health conditions.

Because Nrf2 acts as a molecular switch for the body’s own defense system, when activated it enters the nucleus of every cell in the body and turns up “survival genes.” Survival genes are stress response genes that enable cells to survive tough times and  to survive in the face of several different kinds of stress, particularly oxidative stress resulting from the over production of free radicals and other oxidants, but also traumatic stress, such as when cells, organs and blood vessels are injured.

So stay tuned. Keep an eye on the latest information scientists are gleaning and working to share, and it’s a given you’ll be hearing more about Nrf2 and the important role it plays in good health.

Story Source: David Brown is the President of LifeVantage Network. Mr. Brown earned his Juris Doctor degree from Cornell University, and is a current member of the Natural Products Foundation Board of Directors. 

Additional Info: Supplements for Heart Health

Monday, June 11, 2012
NPF Scholarship Fund Announcement at NPA MarketPlace

Foundation Awards Natural Education Students on June 15

The Natural Products Foundation (NPF) will name the recipients of the 2012 NPF Scholarship Fund at the Natural Products Association MarketPlace on June 15. The announcement is scheduled just before the keynote speech of Dr. Mimi Guarneri. The announcement will be made by Jim Prochnow of the Greenberg Traurig Law Firm and a member of the NPF Board of Directors.  

"Our scholarship program is part of the NPF's long-term commitment to the industry,” said David Matteson, Chairman of the NPF Scholarship Committee. “Supporting academics to deepen the research and more widely share the evidence behind our products is critical to ensuring that natural products are embraced by the market, endorsed by regulators, and accessible to consumers."  

This will be the second year the NPF Scholarship Fund has granted awards to students with a focus in the natural products field. The Foundation plans to once again open applications to the NPF Scholarship Fund at the end of 2012 through early 2013.

All awards granted through the Scholarship Fund support ongoing natural education. By helping members of the community achieve their professional objectives, NPF continues to foster the advancement of natural health.

Please help NPF support natural health education for the coming year by contributing to the Scholarship Fund: naturalproductsfoundation.org/Fund2013For additional information, please visit naturalproductsfoundation.org/scholarship.

If you have any questions about the Scholarship Fund or how you might become involved in NPF educational efforts, please contact NPF Executive Director Deb Knowles: (202) 223-0101 ext. 115. 

 

Tuesday, May 15, 2012
NPA Now May / June 2012

Thursday, May 10, 2012
NPF Science Update: Bilberry

The NPF Science Update brings you news about scientific advances in the field of natural products. The Science Update features contributions from scientists, academics, doctors, healthcare professionals, industry veterans and other experts. To sign up to receive the monthly Science Update via email, please click here: NPF Science Update.

Focus on the Bilberry

By Rebecca Schauer, RD

Bilberries are closely related to the North American blueberry and huckleberry and are in the same genus Vaccinium. These purple-blue berries get their pigmentation from compounds called anthocyanins, which have demonstrated potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.  

Considerable attention and research has focused on the health benefits of bilberry fruits, and the following is an overview of recent findings. Many of these studies employed mouse models because they are the most commonly used vertebrate species for health research, and are widely considered to be the prime model of inherited human disease and share 99% of their genes with humans. Human clinical studies typically follow once such animal studies produce strong evidence.    

Diabetes

In one study, researchers tested the effect of dietary bilberry extracts on hyperglycemia (high blood sugar) and insulin sensitivity in type 2 diabetic mice. They found that dietary bilberry extract supplementation significantly reduced blood glucose concentrations and enhanced insulin sensitivity in these mice. The authors suggest the findings provide a biochemical basis for the use of bilberry fruits, and have important implications for the prevention and treatment of type 2 diabetes.

Eye Health

Bilberry has been considered effective in helping boost circulation to the eyes, providing needed nutrients that protect eyes from eyestrain and fatigue.

In another mouse study, oral administration of bilberry extract showed protective effects against uveitis [inflammation of the uvea, the vascular layer of the eye sandwiched between the retina and the white of the eye (sclera)] by decreasing endogenous free radical compounds and increasing endogenous antioxidant compounds, and the effects of the bilberry extract were dose-dependent. The author’s results provide new evidence to help elucidate the beneficial effects of bilberry extract on eye health.

Inflammation and Cardiovascular Disease

The various and abundant polyphenols found in bilberries as well as several other plant foods have been associated with the ability to prevent and treat chronic inflammatory diseases.

In a human study, investigators looked at the effect of bilberry juice on serum and plasma biomarkers of inflammation and antioxidant status in subjects with elevated levels of at least one risk factor for cardiovascular disease. This was a randomized controlled trial where participants consumed either bilberry juice or water. Supplementation with the bilberry juice resulted in significant decreases in plasma concentrations of pro-inflammatory proteins that are crucial in orchestrating inflammatory responses. Plasma levels of polyphenols from bilberry, specifically quercetin and p-coumaric acid, were increased in the bilberry group. The authors suggest that supplementation with bilberry polyphenols may modulate inflammation processes, and recommend further testing of bilberry supplementation as a potential strategy in the prevention and treatment of chronic inflammatory diseases.

Pruritus (Itchy Skin)

Researchers examined whether bilberry extract would alleviate pruritus in a mouse model of chronic allergic contact dermatitis. Oral treatment with bilberry extract significantly attenuated scratching behavior, and the authors propose that anthocyanins from bilberry might be beneficial for the treatment of chronic pruritus, which can occur in patients with inflammatory skin diseases such as atopic dermatitis.

Obesity and Metabolic Syndrome

Another study examined the effects of anthocyanidin-enriched bilberry extracts on adipocyte (fat cell) differentiation. Treating the cells with bilberry extract strongly inhibited adipocyte differentiation via an insulin pathway. The authors propose bilberry extracts might be used as a potential complementary treatment for obese patients with metabolic syndrome - a cluster of conditions such as increased blood pressure, high blood sugar level, excess body fat around the waist, or abnormal cholesterol levels that occur together, and increase risk of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.

Summary

Bilberries are one of the richest sources of dietary anthocyanins. Given the already documented effects of these compounds and ongoing interest by scientists to discover and define roles for an array of health conditions, the potential expansion for use of bilberry extracts, and similar polyphenol-type plant extracts, is very strong. 

Story Source: Rebecca Schauer, RD, is the Supplement Technical Director for Vitamer Labs, a division of Nexgen Pharma, Inc.

Additional Info: Bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus)

Monday, April 16, 2012
SupplySide Regulatory Compliance Program: NPF Works with VIRGO on Launch of Innovative Self-Regulatory Effort

VIRGO announced the launch of the SupplySide Regulatory Compliance Program, the newest and most ambitious initiative by the company to ensure that all participants at SupplySide events are in compliance with important regulations covering claims and ingredients. The program includes education, monitoring and enforcement around both inappropriate claims and inappropriate ingredients.

The SupplySide Regulatory Compliance Program also empowers every member of the industry to report compliance issues in real time through the SupplySide MarketPlace App. This free App includes a “Compliance” button that allows anyone to enter the details of a compliance concern, which are then sent anonymously in real time to the SupplySide Compliance Team for immediate follow up and enforcement as needed. The App is available by searching “SupplySide MarketPlace” in the App Store, or by visiting http://m.core-apps.com/ssmarket12, and it works on the iPhone, Android, Blackberry and html platforms. Compliance concerns can also be reported to any member of the VIRGO staff for immediate follow up.

“Industry compliance with FDA and FTC regulations is a responsibility that we all share. It is about the entire community coming together to protect the integrity of the industry as a whole,” said Jon Benninger, Vice President of VIRGO’s Health and Nutrition Network. “After SupplySide West last year, we were notified that an individual was promoting a banned ingredient from the show floor. We realized that our best efforts weren’t enough and we needed to involve the entire community to make sure this never happened again. This innovative approach empowers all of us to help support industry self-regulation.”

The VIRGO Compliance Team will be walking the show floor before and during SupplySide MarketPlace to look for any compliance issues, along with representatives of the Natural Products Foundation (NPF).

VIRGO has partnered with the Natural Products Foundation (NPF) in development and implementation of the program. The NPF Truth in Advertising Program has led the way for industry self-regulatory efforts over the past several years, addressing erroneous drug and disease claims made about dietary supplements.

“We are thrilled to be working with VIRGO in this leading-edge program,” said Deb Knowles, executive director of NPF. “This innovative program provides on-target, substantive educational resources to industry advertisers.” All exhibitors will be asked to sign the NPF’s Truth in Advertising Pledge, promising to abide by current advertising standards.

VIRGO has taken a proactive role to ensure that exhibitors and advertisers comply with U.S. regulations for more than a decade, reviewing all print and online ad materials for inappropriate claims prior to running them, and removing exhibitors from the SupplySide show floor when serious compliance issues have warranted this action. VIRGO also provides compliance resources for industry through a long history of SupplySide training and education programs, webinars, online videos and resources, and editorial coverage and commentary. VIRGO has also exposed companies making illegal claims or selling banned ingredients and turned them in to both FDA and FTC for regulatory enforcement.

“We’ve been a contributor to and supporter of industry self-regulation and compliance efforts since we entered this industry 17 years ago, but much of our work has been behind the scenes,” said Benninger. “With this latest expansion of our compliance programs, we are upping the ante, taking a very public stance, and asking all of our industry colleagues to support this effort and the important efforts put forth by our industry associations.”

Thursday, April 12, 2012
NPF Science Update: Resveratrol

The NPF Science Update brings you news about scientific advances in the field of natural products. The Science Update features contributions from scientists, academics, doctors, healthcare professionals, industry veterans and other experts. To sign up to receive the monthly Science Update via email, please click here: NPF Science Update.

Resveratrol for Better Blood Sugar Control

By Maureen Williams, ND

Resveratrol—a colorful antioxidant found in red wine, grapes, peanuts, chocolate, and several other foods—has received plenty of recent attention, as previous research has found that it supports heart health. A preliminary study has also found that taking resveratrol led to improved blood sugar control, insulin sensitivity, and blood vessel function in older people with high blood sugar levels.

The study, published in the Journal of Gerontology, included ten people over 65 whose fasting and after-meal blood sugar levels were higher than normal, but not high enough to be diagnosed with diabetes. They took 1 gram, 1.5 grams, or 2 grams of resveratrol per day for four weeks, while maintaining their usual diet and activity level. The study is considered preliminary because there was no placebo group.

Better blood sugar control after resveratrol

At the end of the study, fasting blood sugar levels remained unchanged, but several other signs of improvement were noted:

  • Post-meal blood sugar levels were markedly reduced. This suggests that the participants had better blood sugar control.
  • Post-meal insulin levels were also reduced. When considered along with the fact that blood sugar levels were also down, this indicates an increase in insulin sensitivity.
  • There was a small but significant improvement in after-meal blood vessel function at the end of the study. This means blood vessels were better able to constrict and dilate in response to blood flow changes.

Early but promising findings

“Together, these results suggest that resveratrol shows promise as a new therapeutic strategy for an important and highly-prevalent metabolic disorder,” the study’s authors said. “This study provides the first evidence in humans that resveratrol may possess clinically relevant effects on glucose metabolism and vascular function.”

The researchers pointed out that their findings must be considered preliminary and need to be confirmed in placebo-controlled studies. They also noted that the study was too small to say whether there were different effects due to the different amounts of resveratrol used.

Eat your resveratrol

Resveratrol is found in a number of healthy foods, which may also be high in fiber, essential fatty acids, and other antioxidants that contribute to better insulin sensitivity, blood sugar maintenance, and vascular health. Here are some things to consider if you want to increase your resveratrol intake:

  • Consider a supplement. The amounts of resveratrol used in this and other studies are as much as 1,000 to 2,000 times higher than you can get from eating reasonable amounts of these foods. So, if you want to use resveratrol as a treatment, talk to your doctor about whether a supplement is a better idea for you.
  • Raise a glass of red wine. Red wine is the most concentrated source of resveratrol, and the longer the grape skins are left in during the fermentation process, the higher the resveratrol content. White wine has some, too, but much less.
  • Choose grape juice. Red grape juice has about half as much resveratrol as red wine, but without the alcohol. If your blood sugar levels have been high, however, you’re better off avoiding all juices.
  • Chew on some peanuts. Two ounces of peanuts is similar in resveratrol content to a fluid ounce of red wine. Sprouted peanuts have even more.
  • Pour on the berries. Blueberries, bilberries, cranberries, and mulberries all have some resveratrol. Eat them raw—heating depletes their resveratrol.
  • Enjoy some dark chocolate. Cocoa powder, baking chocolate, and dark chocolate provide small amounts of resveratrol. A small piece if dark chocolate is a nice treat, but pass on the more sugary chocolates if your blood sugar levels have been high.

Story Source: Maureen Williams, ND, completed her doctorate in naturopathic medicine at Bastyr University in Seattle and has been in private practice since 1995. With an abiding commitment to access to care, she has worked in free clinics in the US and Canada, and in rural clinics in Guatemala and Honduras where she has studied traditional herbal medicine. She currently lives and practices in Victoria, BC, and lectures and writes extensively for both professional and community audiences on topics including family nutrition, menopause, anxiety and depression, heart disease, cancer, and easing stress. Dr. Williams is a regular contributor to Healthnotes Newswire.The above story is reprinted from materials provided by Aisle7. All rights reserved.

References: (J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci 2012;doi:10.1093/gerona/glr235)

Monday, March 19, 2012
Jon Benninger Joins NPF Board of Directors

The Natural Products Foundation (NPF) is pleased to welcome Jon Benninger to the NPF Board of Directors. Jon joined the governing body at NPF’s annual Expo West board meeting this month, beginning a three-year term.


Jon Benninger is the vice president of VIRGO’s Health & Nutrition Network where he is responsible for SupplySide, Natural Products Insider, Food Product Design, and Inside Cosmeceuticals. He joined VIRGO in 1995 as founding editor of the company’s first magazine in the industry.


“Jon is a true thought-leader in the natural products industry and we welcome him to the NPF Board of Directors,” said Derek Hall, NPF Board Chairman. “Jon adds a unique perspective to the board from his vast experience with the natural products media and trade show industries. The NPF mission is to promote and facilitate research and education related to natural products, and we are very pleased to have Jon as a leader in our ongoing efforts.”


“In addition, Jon has a long commitment to maintaining advertising standards for natural products and will provide valuable guidance to the NPF Truth in Advertising program,” added Derek Hall.  “We look forward to working alongside Jon and Virgo as we continue to emphasize education on compliance with advertising standards.”


“The work that NPF is doing is critical to our industry and for our consumers,” said Benninger. “VIRGO is committed to supporting these initiatives, and in particular, those related to compliance and standards.”

Thursday, March 15, 2012
NPA Now March / April 2012

Wednesday, March 14, 2012
NPF Science Update: Flavonoids

The NPF Science Update brings you news about scientific advances in the field of natural products. The Science Update features contributions from scientists, academics, doctors, healthcare professionals, industry veterans and other experts. To sign up to receive the monthly Science Update via email, please click here: NPF Science Update.

Paint Your Heart Healthy with Flavonoids

By Kimberly Beauchamp, ND

Eating more colorful, flavonoid-rich fruits and vegetables may reduce the chance of dying from heart disease by up to 40%, says a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Fix it before it breaks

Preventing heart disease is easier than curing it. We already know a lot about how to keep the heart happy, like

  • not smoking,
  • maintaining a healthy weight,
  • keeping blood pressure in check, and
  • getting regular physical exercise.

Eating more fruits and vegetables is also key to preventing heart disease. These foods are rich in magnesium, potassium, and fiber that can help regulate blood pressure and blood sugar levels.

Brightly colored fruits and veggies are also high in flavonoids, plant compounds that give foods such as oranges, broccoli, and so on their characteristic hues. Flavonoids have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant actions in the body. They also inhibit the oxidation of LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and encourage blood vessel walls to relax, helping to lower blood pressure.

As part of the Cancer Prevention Study II Nutrition Cohort, researchers from the American Cancer Society and Tufts University investigated how different types of flavonoid compounds in the diet might protect against death from heart disease. In the study, 38,180 men and 60,289 women (average age 69 and 70, respectively) gave detailed information about their diets. The amount and types of dietary flavonoids were estimated for each participant. For the next seven years, the participants were followed and deaths due to heart disease were recorded.

  • Of the seven classes of flavonoids studies, five of them were associated with a lower risk of heart disease death.
  • Risk of fatal heart disease was 18% lower in men and women who had the highest amounts of total flavonoids in their diets those with the lowest. The risk of fatal stroke dropped by 37% in men with the highest total flavonoid intake.
  • The subclass of flavonoids called flavones was especially beneficial for women. Women with the highest flavone intake had a 26% reduction in risk of overall heart disease death and a 40% reduction in risk of death from heart attack.

“Even relatively small amounts of flavonoid-rich foods may be beneficial for reducing risk of fatal cardiovascular disease,” commented the researchers.

Brighten your plate for a happier heart

Getting more flavonoids into your diet is as easy as blueberry pie. Just aim for a rainbow of colors throughout the day. You don’t have to get them all in at every meal, but when you’re planning your five-a-day of fruits and vegetables, make sure they’re not all in the white family.

Raspberries, strawberries, apples, blueberries, green tea, black tea, dark chocolate, red grapes, purple cabbage, red wine, oranges, grapefruit, kale, broccoli, onions, and leeks are all loaded with heart-healthy flavonoids.

Parsley, thyme, oregano, celery, and green chili peppers are rich sources of the subclass of flavonoids called flavones. These are the ones that may be especially helpful for women.

Story Source: Kimberly Beauchamp, ND, received her doctoral degree from Bastyr University, the nation’s premier academic institution for science-based natural medicine. She co-founded South County Naturopaths in Wakefield, RI, where she practiced whole family care with an emphasis on nutritional counseling, herbal medicine, detoxification, and food allergy identification and treatment. Her blog, Eat Happy, helps take the drama out of healthy eating with real food recipes and nutrition news that you can use. Dr. Beauchamp is a regular contributor to Healthnotes NewswireThe above story is reprinted from materials provided by Aisle7. All rights reserved.

References: (Am J Clin Nutr 2012;95:454–64)

Thursday, February 9, 2012
NPF Science Update: Garlic and Immunity

The NPF Science Update brings you news about scientific advances in the field of natural products. The Science Update features contributions from scientists, academics, doctors, healthcare professionals, industry veterans and other experts. To sign up to receive the monthly Science Update via email, please click here: NPF Science Update.

Garlic and Immunity

By Lise Alschuler, ND, FABNO

Human immunity, far from being a static and fixed entity, is a dynamic and adaptive system. Our immune system is made up of diverse cells with elaborate communication networks. Numerous vitamins, minerals, herbs, and other nutrients impact this elaborate system. One of the unsung heroes of immune support is garlic.

Garlic is one of the most extensively eaten foods in the world. Although eaten for its culinary attributes, garlic has potent immune actions.  Garlic also has anti-microbial activities against bacteria, viruses, fungal organisms and parasites. Aged garlic extract increases the activity of several major immune cells including B-cells’ production of antibodies, macrophage activity, and the cell-killing actions of T-cells and natural killer cells. Studies have demonstrated that aged garlic extract protects lymphocytes (immune-supportive cells found in the blood and lymphatic system) from radiation destruction. Clinical studies have demonstrated that garlic shields beneficial bacteria in our intestines while destroying disease-causing fungal, viral, parasitic and bacterial organisms.

Regular consumption of garlic provides some measure of protection against infection. Garlic can also be used to support the body’s immune response to active infections, particularly sinusitis, bladder infections, digestive tract infections and the common cold. There are some additional benefits to garlic consumption and garlic supplementation. In addition to its immune-supportive actions, numerous studies have shown that aged garlic extract lowers multiple risk factors for heart disease. It helps to support healthy cholesterol levels, although it does not appear to have a significant cholesterol lowering effect in people with elevated cholesterol, reduces the risk of plaque formation (atherosclerosis), and exerts anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects, lowering certain markers of inflammation such as homocysteine. Garlic also improves blood flow dynamics and can help to maintain blood pressure within normal ranges. Additionally, aged garlic extract supports normal liver detoxification of heavy metals.

Raw garlic contains beneficial sulfur compounds. However, consuming raw garlic, while delicious, can be challenging due to the odorous nature of garlic. One way to obtain the health benefits of garlic without having to endure the odor is to take an odorless or aged garlic extract. Garlic can be aged without the use of heat for two years. The slow aging process transforms the volatile and odoriferous constituents in garlic into stabilized, sulfur-containing amino acids with antimicrobial benefits and with benefits to cardiovascular health. Aged garlic extract is by far the most widely studied garlic product available, although there are a variety of other potent garlic extracts including those standardized to allicin and alliin, considered two of the major antimicrobial constitutents of garlic.

Generally, standardized extract garlic and aged garlic capsules are taken in dosages ranging from 600mg to 1500mg daily. The safety of aged garlic extracts is well established, with more than 500 clinical studies on more than 1,000 subjects reporting no side effects with long term consumption. Although garlic extract is safe to take with most medications, in order to avoid drug-herb interactions, people taking daily medications should first consult with a licensed naturopathic or integrative healthcare provider.

Story Source: Lise Alschuler, ND, FABNO, is the Vice President of Quality and Education at Emerson Ecologics. Dr. Alschuler is board certified in naturopathic oncology and has been practicing naturopathic medicine since 1994. Dr. Alschuler is past-President of the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians and is a current member of the NPF Board of Directors.

Selected References: Gardner CD, Lawson LD, Block E, Chatterjee LM, Kiazand A, Balise RR, Kraemer HC. Effect of raw garlic vs commercial garlic supplements on plasma lipid concentrations in adults with moderate hypercholesterolemia: a randomized clinical trial. Arch Intern Med. 2007 Feb 26;167(4):346-53.

Ishikawa H, Saeki T, Otani T, Suzuki T, Shimozuma K, Nishino H, Fukuda S, Morimoto K. Aged garlic extract prevents a decline of NK cell number and activity in patients with advanced cancer. Source J Nutr. 2006 Mar;136(3 Suppl):816S-820S.

Josling P. Preventing the common cold with a garlic supplement: a double-blind, placebo-controlled survey. Adv Ther. 2001 Jul-Aug;18(4):189-93.

Lamm DL, Riggs DR. The potential application of Allium sativum (garlic) for the treatment of bladder cancer. Urol Clin North Am. 2000 Feb;27(1):157-62, xi.

Ried K, Frank OR, Stocks NP. Aged garlic extract lowers blood pressure in patients with treated but uncontrolled hypertension: a randomised controlled trial. Maturitas. 2010 Oct;67(2):144-50. Epub 2010 Jul 1.

Friday, January 27, 2012
NPA Now - January / February 2012


NPA Now - January / February 2012

Wednesday, January 25, 2012
Scholarship Deadline Extended to February 15

The Foundation has extended the deadline for applications to the NPF Scholarship Fund two weeks, through February 15, 2012.

The purpose of the NPF Scholarship Fund is to provide financial assistance for individuals who are committed to a career in the natural products industry. Specifically, the fund is targeted for students who have demonstrated leadership potential and are enrolled in academic programs to enhance their leadership skills and knowledge of the industry.

By assisting members of the community to meet their professional objectives, the Natural Products Foundation will continue to foster and support the advancement of natural products.

Finalists will be determined and assessed through an interview process to take place in the spring of 2012. Award winners will be announced at the 2012 Natural Products Association MarketPlace trade show.

To begin the application process, students may fill out a preliminary form online: naturalproductsfoundation.org/scholar2012 or return an application through fax or post mail: NPF Scholarship Fund Application.

The recipients of the 2011 NPF Scholarship Fund were Lauren Atwell of Oregon State University and Linda Sousse of the University of Texas Medical Branch. For further info on the NPF Scholarship Fund, please visit naturalproductsfoundation.org/scholarship.

Monday, January 23, 2012
NPF Alerts FTC to Illegal Drug and Disease Claims
Majority of Organizations Contacted by TIA Program Now Compliant

Marc Ullman, Legal Advisory Council Chairman of the Natural Products Foundation (NPF), met with Richard Cleland of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) on December 19, 2011 to present documentation regarding 22 non-compliant dietary supplement advertisers. The organizations referred to the FTC failed to amend marketing materials after being contacted by the NPF Truth in Advertising program. NPF requested that the regulatory agency take action against those companies.

Truth in Advertising works to educate publishers, manufacturers, suppliers, and retailers to help ensure that the information presented to consumers concerning dietary supplements is truthful and not misleading. In 2011, NPF mailed 85 warning letters to companies marketing dietary supplements with drug and disease claims. The majority of advertisers contacted through the Truth in Advertising program have brought their promotions into compliance. During the past year, NPF referred a total of 35 cases to representatives from the FTC and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for further action.

“We are, as always, grateful for the interest that the FTC and the FDA have taken in our self-regulatory initiative” Ullman noted.  “Any time that a senior representative of the FTC is willing to take time out of their incredibly busy schedule to review the work that we are doing within the TIA program we are getting the kind of feedback that underscores how important self-regulation is in today’s regulatory climate.  Every dietary supplement marketer should understand that compliance needs to be part of their corporate culture and that this is a critical aspect of maintaining our industry’s credibility in the eyes of all consumers.”

The Truth in Advertising review process is a pro-active effort targeting non-compliant dietary supplement ads. Reviews specifically investigate advertisements that claim to treat or mitigate disease. The companies responsible for these ads are contacted and informed as to how their marketing materials are illegal. Most companies promptly bring their promotional materials into compliance. When they refuse or fail to amend their practices, NPF passes the information to the FDA and the FTC.

The review process is initiated by Foundation staff members under the supervision of the NPF Legal Advisory Council. The current Legal Advisory Council members are Mr. Ullman (Ullman, Shapiro & Ullman), Jackie Kuler (Gronek & Associates), and Nicholas Licato (Nexgen Pharma). The program is overseen by Mr. Ullman and NPF Executive Director Deb Knowles.

“The goal is a level playing field for the responsible core of the industry,” said Ms. Knowles. “We are working to make sure that fringe companies do not mislead consumers. Unreliable and false advertisements about supplements are detrimental to everyone in the industry.”

The latest referrals to the FTC follow a recent meeting between the NPF Board of Directors and Dr. Daniel Fabricant, Director of the FDA Division of Dietary Supplement Programs, which focused on the continuing role NPF may play in industry education.

“The information about FDA’s dietary supplement program priorities and initiatives that Dr. Fabricant was able to share with the Board will be of great assistance in helping us make our programs even more effective,” said Mr. Ullman.

NPF provides educational information and resources for advertisers online to assist companies in need of guidance. For additional information about Truth in Advertising, please visit: naturalproductsfoundation.org/truth.


Thursday, January 12, 2012
NPF Science Update: Lipoic Acid

The NPF Science Update brings you news about scientific advances in the field of natural products. The Science Update features contributions from scientists, academics, doctors, healthcare professionals, industry veterans and other experts. To sign up to receive the monthly Science Update via email, please click here: NPF Science Update.

Lipoic Acid and Cardiovascular Health

By Giana Angelo, Ph.D.

What is Lipoic Acid?
Lipoic acid (LA), a compound synthesized in the body and obtained from food, is derived from a short-chain fatty acid. LA primarily serves as a critical cofactor, or assistant, in mitochondrial energy metabolism. At high concentrations, LA functions as an antioxidant, a metal-chelator, and in glucose metabolism.

Cardiovascular Disease
The antioxidant and metal-binding activities of LA may be particularly beneficial for diseases affected by oxidative stress and free-radical damage. Chief among such diseases is cardiovascular disease (CVD), referring to any abnormal condition affecting the heart and blood vessels that can progress to heart attack and stroke. CVD is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the U.S.

Damage to blood vessels that supply the heart and brain with vital nutrients and oxygen is a common early event in CVD. Depending on the balance between injury and repair, these lesions can accumulate further damage, become constricted, and eventually result in a stroke or heart attack.  

Research Findings
In cell culture and animal studies, LA exerts several positive effects on cardiovascular health. One benefit is LA’s metal-chelating capacity. By binding reactive iron and copper, LA interferes with the recruitment of immune cells to sites of injury in blood vessel walls, a crucial initiating event in atherosclerosis. LA can also influence blood lipid profiles in animal models. For example, feeding LA to rats prevented diet-induced abnormalities in triglycerides and HDL, thereby significantly modifying known risk factors for CVD. Very limited research in humans suggests that LA supplementation improves blood vessel function in high-risk CVD patients.

Recommendations
The levels of LA needed to exert metabolic effects are not commonly achieved dietarily because LA from food is not readily absorbed. Supplemental LA is absorbed with higher efficiency; on an empty stomach, 30-40% of doses over 50 mg are absorbed.

Because it is not considered an essential nutrient, there are no formal dietary requirements for LA. Scientists at the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University (LPI) are investigating the mechanisms underlying the observed benefits of LA and conducting clinical studies to evaluate the effects of LA in humans. In the meantime, the LPI Rx for Health suggests that healthy adults over age 50 may consider taking a daily LA supplement of 200-400 mg, doses that appear to be safe and without serious side effects. For more detailed information on lipoic acid, please visit the LPI Micronutrient Information Center at: http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/infocenter/othernuts/la.

Story Source: Giana Angelo, Ph.D. received her bachelor's degree in Biology from Cornell University, and her master's degree in Human Nutrition and doctoral degree in Cell and Molecular Nutrition from Tufts University. She performed her postdoctoral research in the Division of Basic Sciences at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, WA. Currently, Dr. Angelo is a Research Associate at the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University in Corvallis, OR.

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