HEALTH

GNC raises $2.79 million to benefit St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital

BY Allison Cerra

PITTSBURGH — GNC raised nearly $2.8 million during its seventh annual fundraising campaign designed to benefit St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

Through the Thanks and Giving campaign, GNC raised 40% more over the amount raised in 2010 for a total of $2.79 million, the retailer said. The program raises awareness and funds for the lifesaving research and treatment done at St. Jude to help children fighting cancer and other deadly diseases.

"We are so proud of our customer’s generosity this year as we exceeded last year’s contribution by a remarkable 40%," GNC EVP, chief merchandising officer and general manager Tom Dowd said. "It is truly an honor to be associated with St. Jude. GNC believes that donating to the Thanks and Giving campaign is one of the best ways that customers and employees can take a moment and contribute to something important — helping these children and their families "live well" throughout the holiday season."

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ACS researchers attempt to develop standardized vitamin D testing

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON — Vitamin D deficiency or insufficiency may be even more common than previously thought and a risk factor for more than just bone diseases, according to new research published Friday in the American Chemical Society journal Analytical Chemistry.

In an effort to help identify vitamin D deficiency, the authors of the report developed a Standard Reference Material called SRM 972, the first certified reference material for the determination of the metabolized vitamin D in human serum (a component of blood). According to the report, researchers attempting to determine vitamin D deficiency by measuring vitamin D itself doesn’t work because it is rapidly changed into another form in the liver. Current methods detect levels of a vitamin D metabolite called 25(OH)D. However, the test methods don’t always agree and produce different results.

The researchers developed four versions of the standard, with different levels of the vitamin D metabolites 25(OH)D2 and 25(OH)D3 in human serum. They also determined the levels of 3-epi-25(OH)D in the adult human serum samples. They found that this metabolite — previously thought to only exist in the blood of infants — was present in adult serum. “This reference material provides a mechanism to ensure measurement accuracy and comparability and represents a first step toward standardization of 25(OH)D measurements,” the researchers stated.

Between on-half and three-quarters of people in the United States may not have enough vitamin D, and low levels of vitamin D have been linked to the development of several conditions, including rickets (soft and deformed bones), osteoporosis, some cancers, multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease.

The authors acknowledged funding from the National Institutes of Health’s Office of Dietary Supplements.


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P&G and Dr. Oz couple on fan contest featuring Metamucil

BY Michael Johnsen

CINCINNATI — Procter & Gamble on Monday announced a partnership between its Metamucil brand and the syndicated "The Dr. Oz Show" to help raise awareness around fiber supplementation during Heart Health Month in February.

Fans of the show can enter a sweepstakes at DoctorOz.com/heart2heart for a trip to New York along with two tickets to "The Dr. Oz Show," that includes meeting Dr. Oz. The sweepstakes will be open Jan. 27 through May 7.

During February Heart Health Month, Dr. Oz will be focused on heart health, including offering such tips as taking a psyllium fiber supplement.

In 2011, more than 80,000 Dr. Oz fans had entered for the chance to win a trip to New York culminating in a "heart-to-heart" with the host of that show, Mehmet Oz.


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