HEALTH

Natural Products Association questions study on use of multivitamin’s by postmenopausal women

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON A new study published Monday claiming that multivitamin use by postmenopausal women does little to improve their risk of mortality fails to take into account important dietary factors or accurately grasp how dietary supplements and health claims are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration, the Natural Products Association charged Monday afternoon.

According to the study, which was published in the Feb. 9 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, postmenopausal women who take multivitamins have the same risk of dying from “most common cancers, cardiovascular disease or of any cause as women who do not take multivitamin supplements.”

“While cohort and observational studies like these can be important, they in no way constitute convincing or conclusive evidence,” stated Daniel Fabricant, VP scientific and regulatory affairs for NPA. “This study fails to tell the whole story about the positive effect that vitamins and minerals can have on health. It also does not take into account important factors such as nutrients gained through diet.” 

Fabricant said it is “unprincipled” that the authors arbitrarily lumped supplement types into generalized categories that do not represent nutrient intake accurately.  And when coupled with the fact that nutrient intake through the diet was not accounted for, Fabricant explained, the study has no means of establishing a baseline for which to draw any comparisons or eliminate bias.

Also troubling was the author’s apparent lack of understanding about how dietary supplements are regulated, NPA stated.

“The authors seem to be confused or unaware of how supplements are regulated and exactly what constitutes a health claim authorized by the FDA,” Fabricant said. “For example, they cite that there is only one supplement, folic acid, worthy of a public health recommendation by way of a health claim. However, even a cursory visit to the FDA’s Web site would have revealed that other nutrients and dietary ingredients, including the very calcium and vitamin D that they studied, also have FDA-authorized health claims.”

“Taken as whole, the research on dietary supplements in the prevention of chronic diseases, is strong and consistent,” Fabricant said. “To suggest that taking vitamins and minerals with a demonstrated health benefit is unnecessary sends the wrong public health message.”

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Study finds no cancer risks from hormone replacement therapy within first two years

BY Michael Johnsen

ATLANTA The American Cancer Society last week announced that there may be a two-year “safe period” for the use of hormone replacement therapies estrogen and progesterone.

According to a recently published study, new findings on the role of hormone use on the risk of breast cancer confirmed that the use of estrogen plus progesterone increases the risk of both ductal and lobular breast cancer by far more than estrogen-only, but found that the increased risk for ductal cancers observed in long-term past users of hormone replacement therapy drops off substantially two years after hormone use is stopped. They also found the risk associated with use of estrogen and progesterone increases significantly and substantially within three years of beginning hormone use. The data showed no increased risk for women who used estrogen and progesterone for less than two years, potentially identifying a “safe” period for estrogen and progesterone use.

The study appears in CANCER, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society.

Previous studies have shown that hormone replacement therapy after menopause increases the risk of breast cancer and that use of a regimen that includes both estrogen and progesterone is more detrimental for the breast than the use of estrogen alone. But more data from large prospective studies are needed to fully characterize the impact of exogenous hormones on breast cancer incidence by type of hormone preparation and histology of the cancer.

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Hamacher Resource Group adopts ReadyTouch technology

BY Michael Johnsen

MILWAUKEE Hamacher Resource Group on Monday announced an exclusive alliance with in-store kiosk pioneer ReadyTouch, a provider of retail marketing systems designed to seamlessly bring the latest product expertise to consumers at the point of decision.

ReadyTouch’s technology was first deployed to wine and spirit retailers, and the unique browser-based search capabilities are also ideally suited for retail health care, Hamacher stated. The ReadyTouch System leverages content management technology on an NCR hardware platform to enhance the consumer shopping experience, to allow product promotions and ultimately to boost retail ROI and sales. 

“With increased focus on in-store influence and the overall shopping experience, we are extremely confident and excited about this new relationship that will allow innovative health, beauty and wellness retailers to step out of the shadow of conformity and into an era of leadership,” stated Dave Wendland, Hamacher VP. 

 “HRG is the ideal partner for us in retail healthcare,” stated Peter Bostwick, president and founder of ReadyTouch.  “They have a thorough understanding of the market, enjoy an unprecedented level of respect and have a robust library of content that will enhance the consumer’s experience with our technology,” he said. “This kiosk system will bring efficiency, excitement and cost savings to shoppers, retailers, distributors and manufacturers of health, beauty and wellness products.” 

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