Well, here we are rushing towards the end of 2013, and I must apologise for the lack of posts in the latter part of this year, but I’m pleased to say that it’s for good reasons and we’ve just been very busy!
This is the first one of these we’ve ever done so I’m not sure how the format will work, so I’ll start with the slightly annoying news and then pick some subjects and tell you about some interesting studies that didn’t quite make it to the blog posts throughout the year!
So, the annoying stuff first;
Which? Food Supplements Attack!
Back in August, Which? claimed that all health food manufacturers, including some pretty large players like Boots, were deliberately misleading consumers with unsubstantiated health claims. The industry came out all guns blazing, as this just simply isn’t true. As an industry we are controlled and regulated by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) and have to follow strict guidelines on what we are and are not allowed to say.
This being said, come 1st January 2014, we will be subject to a new EU law called the Nutrition and Health Claims Regulation (NHCR), which allows us, as an industry, to use prescribed claims for specific ingredients and products. This law has universally been slammed as it’s trying to make natural products fall under the same scrutiny as medicines, which is really a ‘hammer to crack a nut’ case of over-legislation, and seems to take no account of thousands of years of natural usage.
But, it’s here, so we will of course as always comply with the law, so you may over the next few months be seeing some subtle label changes, but rest assured it’s the same great value product in the pot!
That’s it for the negative stuff (thankfully). What follows are a few of the great pieces of research done over the last year, but which we didn’t quite have time to write about before!
Heart Health and the Cardiovascular System
This section covers quite a lot of research as it’s one of the biggest killers in the Western World, with about one death every 39 seconds, so it gets a lot of attention and funding, so here’s a brief synopsis of a few of the stories:
Vitamin C good for blood pressure!
Recent findings published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition combined several research studies and has come to several conclusions: Vitamin C supplementation has been associated with significant reductions in both systolic and diastolic blood pressure. When the data was limited just to people with high blood pressure the reduction was even greater, which has lead the researchers to consider a bigger and longer study on the positive effects of vitamin C on hypertension, one of the greatest causes of heart disease.
Flaxseed shows blood pressure lowering potential!
A daily dose of 30g Flaxseed (flour/ seeds) has been associated with a significant decrease in blood pressure, according to researchers from the Canadian Centre for Agri-Food Research in Health and Medicine (CCARM), based at St. Boniface Hospital.
“This is the largest decrease in blood pressure ever shown by any dietary intervention – including the Mediterranean Diet and low-sodium diets,” said lead researcher Dr Grant Pierce. “We expect that this kind of improvement in people with hypertension could reduce their incidence of heart attack and stroke by 50%.”
Mayo Clinic review links L-Carnitine to multiple heart health benefits!
A systematic review by the Mayo Clinic has said that L-Carnitine can reduce mortality, abnormal heart rhythms and angina development in patients experiencing a heart attack. The analysis reviewed 13 controlled trials involving 3,629 people and concluded that L-Carnitine had multiple cardiovascular benefits. “Compared with placebo or control, L-Carnitine is associated with a 27% reduction in all-cause mortality, a 65% reduction in ventricular arrhythmias, and a 40% reduction in anginal symptoms in patients experiencing an acute myocardial infarction.”
Selenium + CoQ10 supplements may slash cardiovascular mortality!
A new study from Sweden has indicated that long-term supplementation with a combination of selenium and co-enzyme Q10 may decrease cardiovascular mortality by about 6%. The study took place over four years supplementing with 200mg/day of co-enzyme Q10 plus 200µg per day of organic selenium yeast, with significant improvements in cardiac function. Generally throughout the word selenium intakes are below optimal levels because levels in the soil are low. Duffy MacKay, ND, VP of scientific and regulatory affairs for the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), said that this is the type of evidence that the industry needs to be producing to show how nutrition contributes to health and wellness.
Pregnancy and Baby Development!
This section covers just a few interesting items aimed at pregnant women:
EFSA (finally) backs folate supplements for neural tube defects!
The European Food Safety Authority (ESFA) has now joined other international authorities in backing the use of Folic Acid supplements to help prevent Neural Tube Defects like Spina Bifida and Hydrcephalus occurring during foetal development. Mandatory fortification has been promoted in about 75 countries around the world, but until now Europe have been somewhat behind.
NTDs are estimated to afflict about 300,000 births per year globally, with studies showing adequate folate intake can reduce these by about 70-75%, so this is very welcome news.
Maternal microbiota passes directly to newborns!
A mother’s gut microbiota may transfer and colonise newborn infants intestines in the first few days after birth. The data suggested that maternal bifido bacteria are an important component in the development of their baby’s microbiota during early infancy. “We found the exact same bifido bacterium strains from the mother’s intestines in the intestines of the neonate.” said, Dr Kenj Oishi, science director. This seems to be an important contribution to the new born’s digestive development as well as their immune system, further supporting the need for probiotics during pregnancy.
Pregnant women who take folic acid could reduce their child’s risk of autism by 40%!
Women who take folic acid supplements early in their pregnancy may reduce their child’s risk of autism by 40%, a recent study has found. But, mothers-to-be should start taking them four weeks before conceiving and up to 12 weeks afterwards to get the full benefit for their unborn child. The timing of taking prenatal supplements is critical, scientists warn.
Folic acid is required for DNA synthesis and repairs and while best known (as previously mentioned) for protecting against spina bifida and other neural tube defects, this new research proves its importance at other developmental stages.
And, finally a quick review of some of the research about a particular ingredient, Resveratrol:
Resveratrol may support healthy blood circulation in obese adults!
Daily supplements of resveratrol may boost blood flow and support a healthy heart, according to a new study reported in the Journal of Hypertension. This daily intake was associated with a 23% improvement in flow mediated dilation (FMD) of blood flow around the body. The effect immediately after taking the supplement was even greater with a 35% improvement observed. Resveratrol is a powerful polyphenol and anti-fungal chemical, found in grapes and red wine, which has often been associated with the so called ‘French Paradox’, which describes the low instance of heart disease and obesity amongst the French, despite their relatively high-fat diet and levels of wine consumption.
Resveratrol could help in cancer treatment!
US researchers have discovered that the antioxidant compound resveratrol, which is found in grape skins and red wine, makes certain tumour cells more susceptible to radiation treatment. The study, which was carried out at the University of Missouri, focused on melanoma cells. The scientists found that 44% of melanoma cells were destroyed when treated with resveratrol alone. However, when a combination of radiation and resveratrol was used together 65% of the cancer cells were destroyed, with the results being published in the Journal of Surgical Research.
So that’s it, that’s the end of my 2013 (no so) quick round up! Hopefully there’s something of interest to you in there, and all that remains for me to do is wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Nutra Ingredients.com: http://www.nutraingredients.com/Regulation/Academics-slam-medicine-based-eu-health-claims.html
Nutra Ingredients.com: http://www.nutraingredients.com/content/view/print/812807.html
Nutra Ingredients.com: http://www.nutraingredients.com/content/view/print/627442.html
Nutra Ingredients.com: http://www.nutraingredients.com/content/view/print/704191.html
Nutra Ingredients.com: http://www.nutraingredients.com/content/view/print/766279.html
Nutra Ingredients.com: http://www.nutraingredients.com/content/view/print/639831.html
Nutra Ingredients.com: http://www.nutraingredients.com/content/view/print/803130.html
Nutra Ingredients.com: http://www.nutraingredients.com/content/view/print/767186.html
Mail Online: http://www.dailymail.co.uk: Published 12/2/2013
Nutra Ingredients.com: http://www.nutraingredients.com/content/view/print/782788.html
Your Healthy Living Magazine: http://www.yourhealthyliving.co.uk: November 2013 issue