HEALTH

Sierra Research Labs licenses distribution of SeroVital-hgh through GNC to Novex Biotech

BY Michael Johnsen

NEW YORK — Demand for SeroVital-hgh — a proprietary amino acid compound developed by Sierra Research Labs — has spiked in the past month, in part due to recent exposure on news channels like CNN and on news programs like "The Today Show," the company announced last week. To help meet demand, the company on Dec. 21 announced distribution expansion through GNC. 

According to the company, the dietary supplement encourages the pituitary gland to increase growth hormone production at a more youthful rate, naturally, without drugs or synthetic hormone injections. The product is distributed through prestige retailers Ulta and Sephora. The supplement is available through GNC under the brand name Growth Factor-9. 

"With all the recent media coverage, sales have gone through the roof and our suppliers have been having trouble keeping up," stated Kerry Pack, a communications specialist with Sierra. "So we’re thrilled to announce that we’ve recently issued a … license to sports supplement company Novex Biotech, which will sell the compound as Growth Factor-9 exclusively at GNC," she said. "This will give consumers an extra avenue to get their hands on our proprietary formula." 

Responding to skeptics suggesting the claims behind the Sierra formula sound too good to be true, Pack said, "You can’t sit on the couch eating French fries all day and expect this formula to work like a ‘magic pill.’ It’s designed to be one part of a healthy lifestyle. Plus, it needs to be taken on an empty stomach so the amino acids in food can’t interfere with the way the proprietary formula works."

 

 

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Study: Stroke survivors lacking antioxidant carotenoids in their gut flora

BY Michael Johnsen

GOTHENBURG, Sweden — Researchers at the University of Gothenburg along with the Chalmers University of Technology earlier this month demonstrated that an altered gut microbiota in humans is associated with symptomatic atherosclerosis and stroke. 

These findings were presented in a study published in Nature Communications on Dec. 4.

The researchers compared a group of stroke patients with a group of healthy subjects and found major differences in their gut microbiota. In particular, they showed that genes required for the production of carotenoids were more frequently found in gut microbiota from healthy subjects. The healthy subjects also had significantly higher levels of a certain carotenoid in the blood than the stroke survivors.

Carotenoids are a type of antioxidant, and it has been claimed for many years that they protect against angina and stroke. Thus, the increased incidence of carotenoid-producing bacteria in the gut of healthy subjects may offer clues to explain how this affects disease states.

Carotenoids are marketed today as a dietary supplement. The market for them is significant, researchers noted, but clinical studies of their efficacy in protecting against angina and stroke have produced varying results.

Jens Nielsen, professor of systems biology at Chalmers, suggested that it may be preferable to take probiotics that contain types of bacteria that produce carotenoids.

"Our results indicate that long-term exposure to carotenoids, through production by the bacteria in the digestive system, has important health benefits," Nielsen noted. "These results should make it possible to develop new probiotics. We think that the bacterial species in the probiotics would establish themselves as a permanent culture in the gut and have a long-term effect."

 

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Study: Babies born to vitamin D-deficient mothers more likely to have lower birth weight

BY Michael Johnsen

PITTSBURGH — Women deficient in vitamin D early in their pregnancies are more likely to deliver babies with lower birth weights, according to research released last week by the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health.

The study, funded by the National Institutes of Health, will be reported in the January print edition of the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

"A mother’s vitamin D level early in pregnancy may impact the growth of her baby later in pregnancy," stated lead author Alison Gernand, post-doctoral associate in Pitt Public Health’s Department of Epidemiology. "Also, if the mother was deficient in vitamin D during the first trimester, her baby had twice the risk of suffering from growth restriction in utero."

Gernand and her co-authors discovered that mothers with levels of vitamin D in their blood of less than 0.015 parts per million (37.5 nmol/L) in their first 26 weeks of pregnancy delivered babies who weighed an average of 46 grams less than their peers. Only full-term babies — those delivered between 37 and 42 weeks of pregnancy — were included in the study.

In addition, women who were vitamin D-deficient in the first trimester of pregnancy — 14 weeks or less — were twice as likely to have babies who fell in the lower 10th percentile for weight when compared to other full-term babies born in the same week of pregnancy, a condition known as "small for gestational age."

Babies born small for gestational age are at five to 10 times greater risk for death in their first month and have a higher risk of such chronic diseases as heart disease, hypertension and Type 2 diabetes later in life.

"This is one of the largest studies to examine a mother’s vitamin D levels and their relationship with birth weights," noted senior author Lisa M. Bodnar, assistant professor in Pitt Public Health’s Department of Epidemiology. "It shows that clinical trials to determine if you can improve birth weights by giving women of reproductive age vitamin D supplements may be warranted."

The Pitt Public Health study used a random sample of 2,146 pregnant women who participated in the Collaborative Perinatal Project, which was conducted in 12 U.S. medical centers from 1959 to 1965. The blood samples collected by the project were well-preserved and able to be tested for vitamin D levels half a century later.

"Although the blood samples were in remarkably good condition, it would be beneficial to repeat our study in a modern sample," Bodnar said. "Today women smoke less, weigh more, have less sun-exposure and get more vitamin D in their foods — all things that could impact their vitamin D levels and babies’ birth weights."

 

 

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