HEALTH

Study finds multivitamins reduce risk of low birth weight

BY Michael Johnsen

OTTAWA Prenatal multivitamin supplements are associated with a significantly reduced risk of babies with a low birth weight, compared with prenatal iron-folic acid supplementation, a study published last week in the Canadian Medical Association Journal found.

The World Health Organization currently recommends iron-folic acid supplements for all pregnant women. Previous studies have not shown an advantage from prenatal multimicronutrient supplementation over iron-folic acid supplementation, study authors noted.

“Low birth weight and related complications are considered the most common cause of global infant mortality under the age of 5 years,” wrote Prakash Shah of Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto. “With the possibility of reducing low birth weight rates by 17%, micronutrients supplementation to pregnant women … offers the highest possible return for the investment,” he added. The authors suggested that approximately 1.5 million babies born with a low birth weight could be avoided each year globally, out of the estimated 20.6 million low-weight births.

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Forbes Medi-Tech extends contract with Pharmavite

BY Michael Johnsen

VANCOUVER, Canada Forbes Medi-Tech on Wednesday announced it has extended its supply and licensing contract with Pharmavite until mid-2010 for the continued sale of Reducol, the branded cholesterol-lowering ingredient in one of Pharmavite’s line of dietary supplements, Nature Made CholestOff and CholestOff Complete.

The license is exclusive to Pharmavite for distribution through food, drug and mass outlets.

“Since the initial product launch in 2001, the Nature Made CholestOff product line has grown significantly, establishing a strong position in the U.S. ‘heart health’ dietary supplement market,” stated Laura Wessman, SVP operations at Forbes.

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OTCsafety.org launches OTC education tool

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON The Consumer Healthcare Products Association on Friday morning blasted an announcement to its OTCsafety.org e-mail list that its OTC.101 section is now live.

OTC.101 is the “new, one-stop shop for the tools and information your family needs to help you through allergy season and beyond,” the e-mail states.

But it’s not just about allergies. Included within the section is a quiz on the safe use of OTC medicines. Also, visitors to the site can learn about safety guidelines directly by visiting the new interactive Drug Facts label and find OTC information specific to different members of the family, including children, seniors, and pregnant or nursing moms.

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