CDC advises flu shots and caution as ILI rate continues decline
For the second straight week, the rates of influenza-like illnesses as tracked by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention dropped precipitously. Rates of ILI fell to approximately 5% for the week ended Feb. 24 from a record high two weeks ago.
“While influenza activity continued to decrease in the latest FluView report, it remains high across much of the United States,” the CDC reported. “ILI dropped from 6.4% reported last week to 5.0%, and is now similar to ILI observed at the peak of last season. Current data indicate that the 2017-2018 flu season peaked at 7.4% in early February (during weeks 5 and 6) and is now on the decline, however 45 states plus Puerto Rico continue to report widespread flu activity and 32 states plus New York City and the District of Columbia continue to experience high influenza-like illness activity.”
CDC continues to recommend influenza vaccination for all persons 6 months of age and older as flu viruses are likely to continue circulating for weeks. While H3N2 viruses remained predominant overall this season, the proportion of B viruses versus A viruses is now almost even. In recent weeks, B viruses have been increasing while H3N2 viruses have been decreasing.
Early vaccine effectiveness estimates show that flu vaccine has reduced the risk of having to go to the doctor due to flu by 36% overall through Feb. 3. Vaccine effectiveness against H3N2 viruses was 25%. However, vaccine effectiveness against H1N1 was 67% and against B viruses was 42%.
In addition, in the context of widespread influenza activity, CDC clinicians and the public are reminded of importance of prompt treatment with influenza antiviral medications in people who are severely ill and people who are at high risk of serious flu complications who develop flu symptoms.
Nature’s Bounty: Dieters are losing key nutrients along with the weight
Nature’s Bounty has learned that dieting consumers may be effectively shedding pounds just a few months away from beach season, but at what cost? The Ronkonkoma, N.Y.-based supplier confirmed in a recent study that three popular weight loss diet plans did not provide recommended levels of essential micronutrients, such as Vitamin D, B12 and Calcium.
“It is our commitment to wellness to provide consumers with objective, fact-based resources that help them make informed decisions regarding nutrition,” Mark Gelbert, chief scientific officer at Nature’s Bounty, said. “As this study shows, even diets designed for specific groups and purposes, such as weight loss, can benefit from some level of dietary supplementation in order to fill nutrient gaps and help prevent important micronutrient deficiencies.”
Weight-loss diets restrict intakes of energy and macronutrients but overlook micronutrient profiles, Nature’s Bounty reported, and commercial diet plans may provide insufficient micronutrients. Nature’s Bounty analyzed nutrient profiles of three plans and compared their micronutrient sufficiency to Dietary Reference Intakes for male U.S. adults. Hypocaloric vegan (Eat to Live-Vegan), high-animal-protein low-carbohydrate (Fast Metabolism Diet) and weight maintenance (Eat, Drink and Be Healthy) diets were evaluated.
Without adjustment for energy intake, the hypocaloric vegan diet failed to provide 90% of recommended amounts for B12, B3, D, E, calcium, selenium and zinc. The FMD diet was low in B1, D, E, calcium, magnesium and potassium. And the EDH diet met less than 90% DRIs for all but vitamin D, calcium and potassium.
The study, “Micronutrient Gaps in Three Commercial Weight-Loss Diet Plans,” was recently published in an open access human nutrition journal, Nutrients. The work was conducted by Nature’s Bounty in collaboration with its Scientific Advisory Council member, Thomas Brenna of Cornell University.
Data affirmed previous studies that micronutrient deficits are prevalent in weight-loss diet plans. To fill nutrient gaps among dieters, the addition of micronutrient rich foods or appropriate dietary supplements should be considered to reduce the risk of micronutrient deficiencies among dieters.
i-Health introduces Culturelle Baby
To help support the growth of good bacteria in a baby’s tummy, Cromwell, Conn.-based i-Health recently introduced Culturelle Baby, a line of probiotic products specifically formulated for babies 0–24 months.
“New parents have enough to think about when it comes to creating a healthy foundation for their newborn. Culturelle Baby gives them the peace of mind that comes with a clinically studied probiotic strain, in an easy-to-use format,” Nicole Bourdeau, senior brand manager for Culturelle Kids and Baby, said. “That way, parents can spend more time enjoying their baby’s other milestones in those first few years.”
“A healthy microbiome can have a positive effect on baby’s digestive and immune functioning,” Jen Trachtenberg, a pediatrician and Culturelle spokesperson, said. “Restoring the balance of good bacteria can be beneficial in the short term by reducing digestive issues that may be causing baby’s fussiness, while also helping to build up their natural immune defenses to promote long-term health.”
Culturelle Baby products contain Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG, the most clinically studied probiotic strain in infants and are free of GMOs, gluten, dairy and dyes.
Culturelle Baby Calm + Comfort probiotic drops with chamomile help reduce crying and fussiness due to occasional digestive upset, by restoring the balance of healthy bacteria in a baby’s digestive system. Culturelle Baby Grow + Thrive contains both LGG and Bifidobacterium lactis BB-12 probiotic strains to help support the healthy development of a baby’s digestive and immune systems. It supplements the good bacteria naturally found in breast milk and contains vitamin D for strong bones.
Culturelle Baby is available now at Amazon.com, and will be introduced in-store at major retailers beginning this month with a suggested retail price of $25.99.