HEALTH

New study suggests link between vasomotor symptoms, osteoporosis

BY Allison Cerra

BOONTON, N.J. A new study, published in the journal Menopause, found postmenopausal women with vasomotor symptoms — which include hot flashes and night sweats — had lower bone mineral density in the spine and hips.

Researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles, and colleagues analyzed data from over two thousand women between the ages of 42 and 52 who participated in the bone sub-study of the Study of Women’s Health Across the Nation. The authors of the UCLA study also found premenopausal women and early perimenopausal women who had vasomotor symptoms were found to have lower femoral neck bone mineral density than those without vasomotor symptoms.

According to bone expert, Warren Levy, PhD, although the extent of correlation varied depending on the stage of menopause and the frequency of vasomotor symptoms, the findings did support earlier studies by others that have suggested an association between low estradiol levels, vasomotor symptoms, and low bone density.

“The concept of assessing bone health via the amount or intensity of hot flashes is interesting and may provide another method for screening for osteoporosis,” suggested Levy, who is also CEO of Unigene Laboratories Inc., a biopharmaceutical company focused on peptide-based nasally and orally delivered osteoporosis treatments. “However, the gold standard today is a bone scan which is widely available and inexpensive for most patients. The study does help raise awareness about the importance of being vigilant about bone loss during this part of one’s life, and encourages regular bone scans, if possible, because even early perimenopausal women can experience significant bone loss.”

Some patients may opt to wait out their hot flashes so as not to take estrogen supplementation.

“We hope that the new findings will encourage physicians and patients to also consider the various treatment options that are available without the use of estrogen-based products,” said Levy, who believes that as life expectancy rates continue to rise, osteoporosis will have a greater impact on national health and quality of life. “If there are acceptable alternatives for patients with osteoporosis or low bone density, the side effect/safety profile of each drug should be considered carefully before treatment decisions are made.”

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First Boston Pharma acquires NutraMax Products

BY Michael Johnsen

GLOUCESTER, Mass. First Boston Pharma on Wednesday announced its acquisition of NutraMax Products, a contract manufacturer of solid dose and soft chew pharmaceuticals and supplements.

The company will now be known as First Boston Pharma. Leading the First Boston Pharma organization will be Mario Medri, the company stated.

 

“The acquisition by [Medri] and the First Boston Pharma Group will propel the company further and faster along the trajectory we are on, particularly with designer products for pharmaceuticals and supplement markets,” stated Rodney Plunkett, First Boston Pharma EVP. “To have the industry’s foremost innovator leading First Boston Pharma into the future is an exciting prospect for us and for our customers.”

The acquisition of NutraMax by First Boston Pharma will provide the necessary resources for the company to pursue its strategy of innovation in the over-the-counter drugs and supplements categories.

“One of our key strategies is to move to a supply base integrity model, which gives our customers the differentiated products they need, when they want them,” Medri said.

NutraMax Products should not be confused with the Maryland-based company with a similar name — Nutramax Laboratories — which distributes a number of supplement products, including the glucosamine/chondroitin product Cosamin DS.

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BSC, CRN join forces for Better Sleep Month

BY Michael Johnsen

ALEXANDRIA, Va. The Better Sleep Council and the Council for Responsible Nutrition last week joined forces for Better Sleep Month in May to help consumers enjoy a stress-less, good night’s sleep. In order to get the best rest possible and help relieve stress, the BSC and CRN suggested it’s essential for Americans to make a commitment to a healthy lifestyle.

“When you’re stressed, and similarly when you are tired, every aspect of your waking life is affected, from work to personal relationships and even concentration,” stated BSC spokesperson and lifestyle expert Lissa Coffey. “Controlling stress and getting a good night’s rest start by evaluating your lifestyle and creating a healthy daily regimen that you can stick to. This includes adequate sleep, balanced diet, daily vitamins and healthy exercise.”

New research from Oklahoma State University confirms that cyclically poor sleep can elevate stress. The OSU study, “Back Pain, Sleep Quality and Perceived Stress Following Introduction of New Bedding Systems,” published in the March 2009 Journal of Chiropractic Medicine, also suggests that improved sleep quality not only reduces stress, but also helps us manage everyday stress.

“Studies show that healthy individuals tend to engage in many healthy habits — eating a healthy diet, taking supplements, exercising regularly and getting adequate amounts of sleep — as an integrative approach to wellness,” stated Douglas MacKay, VP scientific and regulatory affairs, CRN. MacKay, a licensed naturopathic doctor, suggested certain supplements, including melatonin, magnesium and calcium, may help individuals relax or promote healthy sleep patterns.

“Herbals and other dietary supplements can be safe and effective ways to help individuals achieve quality sleep,” MacKay said. “You should consult a doctor or healthcare professional to determine which supplements are the best regimen for your lifestyle.”

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