HEALTH

NFL players identify supplement as source of positive steroids test

BY Michael Johnsen

NEW YORK A trio of National Football League players have fingered the dietary supplement industry in their defense against a positive test for the banned prescription diuretic bumetanide, claiming that the ingredient was found in the Nikki Haskell’s StarCaps weight-loss supplement, which is sold in specialty outlets GNC, Vitamin Shoppe and Great Earth Vitamin Stores according to the StarCaps Web site.

The ingredient is not listed among the dietary supplement ingredients for StarCaps; and there appears to have been no warning letters to date issued by the Food and Drug Administration citing StarCaps for distributing a prescription drug in a nonprescription setting. There also appears to be no action taken by the Federal Trade Commission regarding the company.

However, David Cornwell, attorney for New Orleans Saints players Deuce McAllister, Will Smith and Charles Grant, in a statement issued Wednesday suggested that the NFL had prior knowledge as to StarCaps containing bumetanide. “John Lombardo, the Steroid Policy’s Independent Administrator, testified that he learned in late 2006 that StarCaps contain the diuretic, bumetanide. Dr. Lombardo did not inform NFL players because he feared that a specific warning regarding StarCaps could be used as a defense to alleged violations of the Steroid Policy that involved weight reduction products other than StarCaps,” Cornwell said, as reported on ESPN.com. “Lombardo’s failure to disclose what he knew about StarCaps may have exposed NFL players to the significant health risks associated with the unintentional ingestion of diuretics. If Lombardo had notified NFL players that StarCaps contained bumetanide, Will, Deuce and Charles would have never used the product to lose weight.”

On StarCaps’ Web site, the company has reported it has suspended shipping of StarCaps pending an investigation into its own product. “We’ve received notice of a problem with an NFL player,” the company said. “We have referred the matter to our counsel and are taking all necessary steps to ensure that our customers receive product that is safe and effective.”

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Trial shows aspirin doesn’t help protect Type 2 diabetes patients from heart disease

BY Michael Johnsen

CHICAGO A trial published last week in the Journal of the American Medical Association determined that low-dose aspirin as a primary prevention tool against heart disease was ineffective in patients with Type 2 diabetes.

The study followed 2,539 Japanese patients diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes from December 2002 through April 2008 who had no prior incidence of heart disease. A total of 68 heart-disease events occurred in the group taking low-dose aspirin, vs. 86 events among those not taking any aspirin therapy.

Accordingly, the authors of the study concluded that in patients with Type 2 diabetes, low-dose aspirin as a primary prevention did not reduce the risk of cardiovascular events.

The Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, in a consumer education post on its web site, states that low-dose aspirin has been shown to be helpful when used daily to lower the risk of heart attack, clot-related strokes and other blood flow problems, so long as consumers consult a healthcare professional to talk about the use of low-dose aspirin on a daily basis.

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Consumer group finds several Ginkgo biloba products don’t meet standards

BY Michael Johnsen

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. Recent tests performed by ConsumerLab.com of Ginkgo biloba supplements found that few products meet quality standards. Among the products selected for review, two appeared to contain adulterated material and two others contained less ginkgo than claimed on their labels.

A fifth product failed to identify the part of the ginkgo plant used, a Food and Drug Administration labeling requirement.

Only three ginkgo supplements passed ConsumerLab.com’s tests, the company reported Tuesday.

The results were reported today in ConsumerLab.com’s Product Review of Supplements for Memory & Cognition Enhancement which focuses on three ingredients that have shown some promise in improving memory – Ginkgo biloba, huperzine A and acetyl-L-carnitine. Among the huperzine products selected, two passed testing while a third provided only 14 percent of its claimed amount of the ingredient. All five acetyl-L-carnitine supplements passed testing.

“Ginkgo extract is a moderately expensive ingredient. Some companies put less of it in their products than they claim or use ingredient that has been adulterated with inexpensive material that can fool non-specific tests,” charged William Obermeyer, ConsumerLab.com’s vice president for research. “Highly specific test methods, such as HPLC, reveal these shortcomings, allowing us to direct consumers toward products of better quality.”

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