HEALTH

Drugstore.com partners with E4X to provide international sales

BY Michael Johnsen

BELLEVUE, Wash. With no more than a click, suppliers will soon be able to extend their brands overseas with a second online retailer. Drugstore.com on Monday announced it has entered into a contract to utilize E4X’s FiftyOne Global Ecommerce Solution to power the expansion of sales internationally.

Drugstore.com expects to be able to provide a wide selection of over-the-counter products to customers in 34 countries before year end.

“Drugstore.com is one of the top 50 online retailers in the United States, the time is right to accelerate our growth by adding international markets,” stated Dawn Lepore, chief executive officer and chairman of drugstore.com.

Drugstore.com’s online competitor, Amazon.com, is already active in nine countries, each with an individual url. However, the kind of front-end products you’d see in a drug store are only available in Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States, according to Amazon.com’s web site.

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HEALTH

Red yeast rice, fish oil diet lowers cholesterol as well as drugs

BY Michael Johnsen

ROCHESTER, Minn. A study published in the July Mayo Clinic Proceedings determined that supplementation with red yeast rice and fish oil, combined with applicable lifestyle changes, were on par in lowering LDL levels as compared to taking a standard dose of simvastatin (Zocor).

In addition, the lifestyle modification arm of patients showed significant reductions in triglycerides and weight.

The authors noted, however, that one hurdle to this news may be the over-the-counter availability of red yeast rice. Manufacturers of red yeast rice supplements in the past have been requested by the Food and Drug Administration to reformulate products after determining the raw ingredients labeled as red yeast rice were in fact drugs and not supplements.

The randomized trial followed 74 patients with hypercholesterolemia, who were split either into an alternative treatment group or to receive 40 mg of simvastatin. The alternative treatment included therapeutic lifestyle changes, ingestion of red yeast rice, and fish oil supplements for 12 weeks. The simvastatin group received medication and traditional counseling. The primary outcome measure was the percentage change in low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C).

Approximately 42.4 percent of the alternative group experienced a statistically significant reduction in LDL cholesterol levels, versus 39.6 percent in the simvastatin group. The alternative group experienced a 29 percent lowering in triglycerides, versus 9.3 percent, and a 5.5 percent loss of weight, versus 0.4 percent.

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Study suggests soy intake could affect male fertility

BY Michael Johnsen

CARY Soy intake could impact sperm count in men, a new study published in the journal Human Production on July 23 found.

Researchers at Harvard University followed the intake of 15 soy-based foods over three months in 99 male partners of subfertile couples and found that there was an inverse association between higher soy intake and lower sperm counts that remained significant after accounting for several potentially confounding factors, including age, abstinence, body mass index, and caffeine and alcohol consumption.

Men who consumed the most soy had 41 million sperm/ml less than men who consumed no soy, the researchers found.

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