HEALTH

Researchers correlate increased heart risk to high-sodium medicines

BY Michael Johnsen

LONDON — Researchers at the University of Dundee and University College London on Wednesday found that taking the maximum daily dose of some medicines would exceed the recommended daily limits for sodium, without any additional dietary intake and potentially become an added risk factor for heart disease.

They say the public "should be warned about the potential dangers of high sodium intake from prescribed medicines" and that sodium-containing formulations "should be prescribed with caution only if the perceived benefits outweigh the risks."

According to the researchers, many commonly prescribed medicines have sodium added to improve their absorption into the body.

They also call for the sodium content of medicines to be clearly labelled in the same way as foods are labelled.

Overall, the researchers found that patients taking the sodium-containing effervescent, dispersible and soluble medications had a 16% increased risk of a heart attack, stroke or vascular death compared with other patients taking the non-sodium versions of those exact medications, the researchers noted. Patients taking the sodium-containing drugs also were seven times more likely to develop high blood pressure, and overall death rates also were 28% higher in this group. 

The team, led by Jacob George, senior clinical lecturer and honorary consultant in clinical pharmacology at the University of Dundee, compared the risk of cardiovascular events (non-fatal heart attack, non-fatal stoke, or vascular death) in patients taking sodium-containing effervescent, dispersible and soluble medications with those taking non-sodium versions of the same drugs between 1987 and 2010.

More than 1.2 million U.K. patients were tracked for an average of just over seven years. During this time, more than 61,000 incident cardiovascular events occurred.

Factors likely to affect the results — such as body mass index, smoking, alcohol intake, history of various chronic illnesses and use of certain other medications —were taken into account, the researchers reported. 

The authors acknowledged that there is still some controversy regarding the relation between dietary sodium and cardiovascular events, but say their findings "are potentially of public health importance." 

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Shoppers Drug Mart launches new Life Brand products, debuts online ‘Vitamin Finder’

BY Antoinette Alexander

TORONTO — Canada’s Shoppers Drug Mart is expanding its Life Brand with the launch of Life Brand vitamins and supplements in store, and has introduced a new online tool, dubbed “Vitamin Finder,” to help Canadian’s find the products that best meet their health needs.

The company’s long-standing Life Brand now includes 150 new and reformulated vitamin and supplement products. New Life Brand products include krill oil, echinacea zinc throat spray, oregano oil 80% (softgels), vitamin D orange chews, folic acid/DHA formula and a hair, skin and nails formula that contains selenium, biotin, lutein, vitamins E and B1 and beta carotene.

New-age or gender-specific products include I-Care Adult 50+ with Lutein and Omega 3 (softgels) and a Women’s Probiotic with Cranberry to support digestive and urinary tract health. Launching in early 2014 are Life Brand Omega 3 Gummies, sugar-free Calcium Chews (chocolate), a Prenatal Kit (Prenatal Multi and Algae Omega) and Algae Omega 3 Prenatal (softgels). 

Shoppers Drug Mart founder, Murray Koffler, launched Life Brand in 1962. Today, Life Brand offers more than 1,400 health products — from pain relief to vitamins —and is Shoppers Drug Mart’s top-selling OTC health brand.

To help shoppers navigate the world of vitamins, Shoppers Drug Mart has designed new Life Brand Vitamin Finder, which gives consumers 24/7 access to online information about the growing range of vitamins, minerals, supplements and natural health products that are available at the retailer.

"Canadians have made Shoppers Drug Mart a top destination for their health needs, and innovative tools like the Vitamin Finder offer them new ways to rediscover Life Brand’s range of products," said Chong Bang, SVP merchandising at Shoppers Drug Mart. "When combined with the expertise of highly trained pharmacists at more than 1,200 Shoppers Drug Mart and Pharmaprix stores across Canada, this is truly a 360-[degree] approach to meeting the needs of Canadian consumers."

The Vitamin Finder is available at lifebrandvitamins.ca and can be used to search for information about vitamins and other supplements including benefits, ingredients, contraindications and dosage. It can be used to find products that support specific health concerns or conditions, such as arthritis, diabetes, asthma, pregnancy, cognitive function, immune system, heart health and eye health. In addition, the Vitamin Finder will also suggest complementary products.

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NAD refers Maxam Nutraceuticals to FTC

BY Michael Johnsen

NEW YORK — The National Advertising Division has referred advertising claims made by Maxam Nutraceuticals for its PCA dietary supplement to the Federal Trade Commission for further review, after the company declined to participate in a review of its claims.

The Council for Responsible Nutrition challenged claims made by Maxam in television and Internet advertising, including:

  • “PCA is the only product ever specifically developed to naturally help your body safely and effectively remove all toxins, poisons, chemicals or anything that is not part of a healthy living biological system.”;
  • “PCA has been used and proven over the last 15 years to be the most effective toxin remover available.”; and
  • “Through our SMART Selective Micro-Activated Response Technology, the ingredients remain in their natural form, which keeps the liver from repelling them, allowing them to effectively work with your body.”

NAD is an investigative unit of the advertising industry’s system of self-regulation. It is administered by the Council of Better Business Bureaus.

 

 

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