Supplements In The News

New beta-carotene study may solve lung puzzle.

Beta-carotene belongs to the large group of compounds known as carotenoids, which are responsible for many of the green, yellow, orange, red, blue, and purple colors in fruits, vegetables, and flowers. Beta-carotene is thought to be an antioxidant, but its primary role in nutrition is as a source of vitamin A — the body converts beta-carotene into vitamin A as needed.

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Lutein and macular degeneration: keeping the public in the dark

On December 19, 2005, The U.S. Food and Drug Administration denied a petition by the Cognis Corporation. Cognis wanted to the right to make the following claim for their lutein product:

“Consumption of 12 mg of Xangold® lutein esters per day may reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration and cataract formation. FDA has determined that the evidence is supportive, but not conclusive, for this claim. This food/dietary supplement provides __ mg lutein esters per serving.”

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Leukemia patients flock to green tea extract after positive reports

A report by Mayo Clinic researchers in 2004 caused a run on green tea extract by leukemia patients. The report, based entirely on test-tube studies, revealed the effects of EGCG (a major active tea constituent) on a growth factor needed by leukemia cells.

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Manufacturers increase CoQ10 production in response to increased demand by Parkinson’s and cardiovascular patients.

Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is a vitamin-like substance used in the treatment of a variety of disorders primarily related to suboptimal cellular energy metabolism and oxidative injury.

Prices of CoQ10 supplements have skyrocketed recently because of increased demand and limited production capacity. The main surge in demand occurred as word got out that ‘statin’ drugs (used to decrease cholesterol in the blood) have a side effect of causing the depletion of CoQ10 throughout the body. Large numbers of cardiovascular patients began buying CoQ10 supplements.


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Intriguing actions of beta-carotene and lycopene shown in cancer, cardiovascular, athletic, and DNA studies

Carotenoids are highly colored substances in plants that have antioxidant actions when eaten by animals. They are widely studied by medical researchers for their potential as anti-cancer agents, and are thought to have other applications stemming from their ability to reduce the damage done to the body by free radicals.

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Hempseed oil proposed for protecting skin from aging

Hempseed oil, made from the seeds of the plant Cannabis sativa, is one of the best available sources of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids. It is particularly valued for its content of (omega-3) linolenic acid, which is considered to be useful for preventing cardiovascular problems.

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Green tea extract should be in your bird-flu survival kit

While we all hope that the looming pandemic of Avian Influenza (‘bird flu’) will limit itself to just looming and not actually happening, it makes sense to prepare for a worst-case scenario — a highly lethal disease that is very contagious and for which no vaccine is available. Of course, most people will make few or no preparations at all, and when the pandemic hits will look for governmental action to protect them. But others, less given to living in a fantasy world, are already making their own preparations.

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Grapefruit seed extract heals stomach ulcers in Polish study.

Researchers at Jagiellonian University Medical College recently reported that grapefruit seed extract (GSE), given orally to rats dramatically reduced the size of experimentally-induced stomach ulcers. The protective effect was dose-dependent; at a dosage of 32 mg extract per kg bodyweight, the area of ulceration was reduced to 14% of that in placebo-treated rats. The extract induced the growth of microcapillaries, which are associated with tissue healing.

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Contrasting histories of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration

An article by Kerry Howley on the Reason Online website presents a fascinating history of the U.S. FDA which documents the way in which the original intent of Congress in setting up this agency was subverted and perverted by the bureaucrats who have run the agency. Howley points out that prior to 1938 most drugs were available without prescription. Many people preferred to consult with physicians before buying drugs, but the choice was theirs.

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San Diego State University kowtows to dietary dingbats.

The athletic department at San Diego State University in California recently cancelled a $75,000 sponsorship arrangement with a supplement company because the company’s product contains a banned ‘performance-enhancing’ substance: glutamine. Glutamine is an amino acid widely used by athletes to ensure that their muscles do not get metabolized when their bodies are temporarily depleted of energy reserves.

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