HEALTH

Reality Coalition applauds FDA alert on weight loss product safety

BY Michael Johnsen

NEW YORK The Reality Coalition, a group of experts and organizations around overweight and obesity, on Tuesday applauded the Food and Drug Administration’s efforts to recall and warn consumers about dietary supplements that claim to provide weight loss and contain undeclared, active pharmaceutical ingredients.

“Consumers should avoid dietary weight loss products that pose serious health risks,” said Reality Coalition co-chair George Blackburn. “To the best of my knowledge, identifying 25 tainted weight loss products is the largest action by the FDA.”

“We have always argued that weight loss supplements are not effective and unregulated, and now that these products have been shown to contain undeclared ingredients [that] may endanger health, this action by the FDA is of great urgency,” added Reality’s other co-chair MRC Greenwood.

The announcement follows FDA action on Monday—the agency issued an alert to consumers not to purchase or consume more than 25 different products marketed for weight loss because they contain undeclared, active pharmaceutical ingredients that may put consumers’ health at risk.

The Reality Coalition is a group of experts and organizations on obesity, nutrition, diabetes and healthcare policy who share the common goal of advancing an agenda for realistic approaches to weight loss to achieve improved public health.  

The Reality Initiative was launched in 2006 and is supported by an educational grant from GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare, marketer of the over-the-counter weight loss drug alli (orlistat).  

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EyeScience releases eye health supplement line at CVS/pharmacy

BY Michael Johnsen

COLUMBUS, Ohio EyeScience Labs on Wednesday launched its advanced ocular nutrition line for age-related macular degeneration and dry eye syndrome at CVS/pharmacy stores nationwide.

EyeScience Macular Health Formula is a complete eye vitamin supplement specifically for AMD. Based on more than two decades of ocular research, EyeScience Macular Health Formula contains 14 clinically proven nutrients to support a healthy retina, the company stated, including omega-3, lutein, zeaxanthin, bilberry, grape seed extract, selenium, L-glutathione and alpha lipoic acid.

EyeScience Dry Eye Formula is a clinically proven supplement that addresses the underlying causes of dry eye syndrome. Unlike conventional eye drops that work from the outside in for immediate and temporary relief, EyeScience Dry Eye Formula targets the root causes of dry eye symptoms internally. The formulation contains a proprietary blend of an omega-3 essential fatty acid, flaxseed oil, lactoferrin, magnesium and vitamins B-6, C and E.

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HHS says ginkgo biloba may not be effective in helping treat dementia

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON The Department of Health and Human Services on Thursday suggested that the dietary supplement ginkgo biloba is not able to prevent the disease state of dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, through its HHS HealthBeat, a service launched in 2005 that provides health promotion and disease prevention tips five days a week in audio and text formats.

The Department cited a study of more than 3,000 people over the age of 75 who had normal thinking ability at the start who were either given a ginkgo supplement or a placebo. “The test results showed us that, under these circumstances, ginkgo don’t appear to have any effect of slowing down thinking changes in late life,” stated Steven DeKosky of the University of Virginia, who conducted the study while at the University of Pittsburgh.

The study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, was supported by the National Institutes of Health.

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