December Healthnotes
Posted Thursday, December 4, 2014

The new NPF Healthnotes Newsletter for December is now available online!

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Science Update: Sunscreen
Posted Thursday, October 30, 2014

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. 

What's Worse for Health: Sun or Sunscreen?

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. The above story is reprinted from materials provided by Aisle7. All rights reserved. 

References: Journal of Internal Medicine, 2014, 276; 77-86

 
Science Update: Vitamin D
Posted Thursday, July 17, 2014

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. 

D or No D

 

 

Story Source: The above story is reprinted from materials provided by Aisle7. All rights reserved.  

References: Marcarelli, Rebekah; “Vitamin D Deficiencies Linked To High Blood Pressure,” HNGN, www.hngn.com/articles/34668/20140626/vitamin-d-deficiencies-linked-to-high-blood-pressure.htm, [accessed 26 June 2014].  

Sonawane, Vishakha. Calcium and Vitamin D Supplements Improve Metabolism in Women with Gestational Diabetes: Study, www.hngn.com/articles/34458/20140624/calcium-vitamin-d-intake-improves-metabolism-women-gestational-diabetes-study.htm [accessed 30 June 2014].  

Starling, Shane. Vitamin D not helpful for adult asthmatics, www.nutraingredients-usa.com/Trends/Vitamin-D/Vitamin-D-not-helpful-for-adult-asthmatics [accessed 30 June 2014].

 
NPF Science Update: Saturated Fats
Posted Thursday, May 8, 2014

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.

Saturated Fats and Heart Disease: Corrections Highlight Study Flaws

Remember the recent headlines proclaiming saturated fats didn’t contribute to heart disease? In the aftermath, health and nutrition experts have called the research validity into question, since days after the original publication the study authors issued a correction, which affects the conclusions drawn from the results.

Addressing potential study errors

The original scientific paper was a meta-analysis of 72 individual studies, including a mix of clinical trials and observational (epidemiological) research. The media widely portrayed the meta-analysis results as an invitation to step up saturated fats in the diet, but the study showed no such thing: it originally found that saturated and polyunsaturated omega-6 fats appeared neutral for heart health, while omega-3 fats provided some heart health benefits.

Some of the studies considered dietary fat intake alone, and others included blood measures of fatty acids. Given the range in type and quality of study included in the meta-analysis, the results depend upon how carefully and properly the data are combined.

Many health experts who took exception with the paper raised questions about the validity of some assumptions made when the pooled data were analyzed, hence the subsequent corrections issued on the paper:

  • The authors originally assumed one study included in the meta-analysis found a negative effect of omega-3 fats on heart disease risk. Most experts agree that study showed a heart-health benefit from omega-3s. This error alone calls into question the conclusion that polyunsaturated fats offer no protection against heart disease.
  • The authors didn’t address how total diet may change for people who eat less saturated fat. If saturated fat calories are replaced with an abundance of simple carbohydrates (sugar) and processed foods, this isn’t likely to minimize heart disease risk. Replacing saturated fat with the omega-3, omega-6, and omega-9 fats in nuts, seeds, olive oil, and fish is supported by decades of research in a variety of adult populations.

Clarifying the confusion

Dr. Emanuele Di Angelantonio of the University of Cambridge, one of the authors of the meta-analysis, believes the paper’s conclusions remain valid. He believes the main problem is how the results were “wrongly interpreted by the media.” While media misrepresentation of scientific papers is a valid concern for many researchers, Dr. Walter Willett, Chair of the Harvard School of Public Health Nutrition Department believes the paper has done damage. Dr. Willett noted, “A retraction [of the original paper] with similar press promotion should be considered.”

Back to basics

This brings us back to the basics: a heart-healthy diet means eating real food, and limiting the amount of processed and packaged foods in the diet. Many health experts feel small amounts of high-fat animal products are okay, but only in the context of a totally healthy diet.

In terms of heart disease, and just about any other chronic disease one can name, the best nutritional insurance comes from eating unprocessed, whole foods, including nuts, legumes (beans and peas), vegetables and fruit, whole grains, vegetable and olive oils, and small portions of animal products, if desired.

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. The above story is reprinted from materials provided by Aisle7. All rights reserved. 

References: Ann Intern Med. 2014;160:398-406

 

 
NPF Science Update: D-Mannose
Posted Thursday, April 10, 2014

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.

D-Mannose May Prevent Common Urinary Tract Infections

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: BJU Int 2014;113:9-10

 
NPF Science Update: Allergies
Posted Thursday, March 13, 2014

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.

Pregnant? Eat Nuts Now to Lower Your Child's Allergy Risk

About Natural Products FoundationNPF is a 501 (c) 3 not-for-profit corporation. For more information visit the Foundation online: naturalproductsfoundation.org.

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 Newswire. The above story is reprinted from materials provided by Aisle7. All rights reserved. 

References: JAMA Pediatrics;doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2013.4139

 
NPF Science Update: Green Tea
Posted Thursday, February 13, 2014

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.

Don't Mix Green Tea and This Blood Pressure Medication

Drug-nutrient interactions occur when a nutrient or other natural substance—from a food, beverage, herb, or dietary supplement—alters the effects of a medication in the body. It’s important to better understand when and how these interactions arise, because they can be harmful. Researchers have uncovered a drug-nutrient interaction with the blood pressure medication nadolol (brand name Corgard) and a popular beverage: green tea.

The how & why

The study authors invited ten healthy adult volunteers to drink approximately 24 ounces of green tea or water daily, for two weeks. After the two-week period, the green tea group took 30 mg of nadolol with 12 ounces of green tea, while the water group took 30 mg of nadolol with 12 ounces of water. Participants drank another 12 ounces of green tea or water 30 minutes after taking nadolol.

This was followed by a two-week washout period of no green tea, after which the participants switched groups. In this way, all ten volunteers participated in both the water and the green tea phases of the study.

Compared with the two-week water phase of the study, participants in the green tea phase experienced significantly:

  • lower blood concentrations of nadolol
  • lower urinary excretion of nadolol
  • less blood pressure–lowering effect from nadolol

Savvy consumers make good patients

This study found that consuming about 3 cups of green tea daily for two weeks, followed by taking the blood pressure medication nadolol with green tea, significantly reduced both the amount of medication circulating in the body and the ability of the medication to lower blood pressure.

Use these tips to better understand how these study results apply to you.

  • Be consistent. If you take prescription or over-the-counter medications to manage a health condition, take your medication at the same time each day with the same beverage and meal.
  • Be alert. If you notice that a medication that normally works well for you isn’t working so well anymore, consider recent changes to your diet, exercise habits, or the dietary supplements you are using. For example, maybe your blood sugars are running higher despite taking your diabetes medications as usual, or your blood pressure is creeping up even though you’re taking the same blood pressure medication. This might be a clue that something new in your diet or routine is interfering with your medication. Or it may be an “off” batch of medication, which also needs to be addressed.
  • Consult an expert. If you do notice changes in how your medications are working, discuss this with your pharmacist or doctor. He or she can help you sort out what changes in your daily habits may be contributing to the change in your medication efficacy.
  • Be curious. For any new medication you’re prescribed, specifically ask your doctor and your pharmacist if there are any dietary or other precautions you need to follow. For example, grapefruit juice interacts with many different medications, yet you may not learn this if you don’t ask which foods, beverages, or other substances are of concern.
  • Read regularly. Periodically read the materials that come with your usual prescriptions. Information changes, and you’ll pick up new precautions that may not have been known or noted when you first began taking the medication.

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 theNew 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. The above story is reprinted from materials provided by Aisle7. All rights reserved. 

References: Clinical Pharmacology & Therapeutics; online 13 January 2014; doi:10.1038/clpt.2013.241

 

 
NPF Science Update: Supplement Research
Posted Thursday, January 16, 2014

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.

"Stop Wasting Money" Editorial Ignores Full Body of Supplement Research

An editorial published in the Annals of Internal Medicine urges people to “stop wasting money on vitamin and mineral supplements” and concludes, “the case is closed.” While the particular studies in question did show negative findings for a short list of health conditions in certain populations, this opinion provides a narrow view of the depth and breadth of supplement research. It also ignores the complex relationship between nutrition and health and potentially leaves many people unnecessarily confused about supplements.

Overview of the overview

The editorial discusses three papers published in the same issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine that evaluate the effects of multivitamin and mineral supplements on new and recurrent cases of heart disease, and on the risk of cancer and mental (cognitive) decline:

  • Study 1. Exploring whether vitamin supplements prevent heart disease and cancer in healthy older adults, this paper reviewed 3 multivitamin trials and 24 single or paired vitamins trials that included over 400,000 randomly assigned participants. Though the editorial authors concluded there was no evidence of reduced chance of death from any cause, cardiovascular disease, or cancer, the review actually did find that supplements significantly reduced cancer risk—by 6%—in men.
  • Study 2. Looking at how well a daily multivitamin might prevent cognitive decline among participants in the Physicians’ Health Study II (5,947 men aged 65 years or older), this paper found no differences in thinking (cognitive) function between the vitamin and nonvitamin groups. However, other published findings from this very same study population have demonstrated that multivitamins may reduce the risk of cancer and cataracts.
  • Study 3. Considering whether taking multivitamins and minerals after a heart attack (myocardial infarction) might reduce risk of further heart attacks, this study did not show a benefit. However, the study authors themselves concluded that “nonadherence to the study regimen” rendered the results inconclusive.

Taking the broader viewpoint

With high healthcare costs and the risks of side effects from many common drugs, consumers are well advised to consider all safe potential health resources available, including supplements. Here are some variables not factored into the editorial:

  • Other studies have found a positive association between supplements and reduced heart disease and cancer risks, including well-designed double-blind research.
  • Plenty of studies have shown therapeutic support for many other conditions not considered by the editorial, including osteoporosis, macular degeneration, anemia, high cholesterol, mood disorders, and many more.
  • Supplements have been found to help correct common deficiencies, proactively protecting against conditions that often accompany deficiencies.
  • Supplement effects are also influenced by intake amount and product quality, which were not taken into account.
  • Research has shown that certain therapeutic effects of nutrients require higher intake amounts than a person would ordinarily get with food or in a multivitamin.
  • Taking a multivitamin helps safeguard against dietary gaps.

Consider the full body of research

By ignoring the positive and inconclusive results in these studies and not considering other research showing well-established benefits, this editorial presents an incomplete view to the public and suggests a biased assessment of the research not shared even by doctors involved in the studies in question. Dr. Howard Sesso, MD, a lead researcher on the Physicians’ Health Study II, noted that, “because of the possible cancer-related benefits tied to multivitamins, they are still worth considering, in particular for people who may not get enough vitamins in their diet.” Dr. J. Michael Gaziano, a Physician at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, is a lead researcher on the Physicians' Health Study, and a co-author on one of the papers prompting the editorial. Dr. Gaziano told USA Today, “It drives me crazy that they say 'enough is enough,' when there's only been one large study of (standard) multivitamins and it's ours.”

No single analysis of the research can uncover the full complexity of the effects of nutrients—from dietary supplements or food—on total health. In the end, rather than close the book on dietary supplements solely on the basis of one questionable editorial opinion, it makes sense to consider the full body of evidence as well as your own personal health needs. Eat healthfully, exercise regularly, and work with a qualified healthcare practitioner to create a health plan that works for you.

About Natural Products FoundationNPF is a 501 (c) 3 not-for-profit corporation. For more information visit the Foundation online: naturalproductsfoundation.org.

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 theNew 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. The above story is reprinted from materials provided by Aisle7. All rights reserved. 

References: Ann Intern Med 2013;159:850-1

 
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