HEALTH

Study: Fish oil may aid dental health

BY Michael Johnsen

ST. LOUIS, Mo. Supplementing with fish oils could help improve gum health, according to research published in the November issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association. Researchers from Harvard Medical School and Harvard School of Public Health found that dietary intake of polyunsaturated fatty acids like fish oil, known to have anti-inflammatory properties, shows promise for the effective treatment and prevention of periodontitis, otherwise known as gum disease.

"We found that n-3 fatty acid intake, particularly docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), are inversely associated with periodontitis in the U.S. population," said researcher Asghar Naqvi. "To date, the treatment of periodontitis has primarily involved mechanical cleaning and local antibiotic application. Thus, a dietary therapy, if effective, might be a less expensive and safer method for the prevention and treatment of periodontitis. Given the evidence indicating a role for n-3 fatty acids in other chronic inflammatory conditions, it is possible that treating periodontitis with n-3 fatty acids could have the added benefit of preventing other chronic diseases associated with inflammation, including stroke as well."

 

The study involved more than 9,000 adults who participated in NHANES between 1999 and 2004 who had received dental examinations. Dietary DHA, EPA and LNA intake were estimated from 24-hour food recall interviews, and data regarding supplementary use of PUFAs were captured as well. The NHANES study also collected extensive demographic, ethnic, educational and socioeconomic data, allowing the researchers to take other factors into consideration that might obscure the results.

 

 

The prevalence of periodontitis in the study sample was 8.2%. There was an approximately 20% reduction in periodontitis prevalence in those subjects who consumed the highest amount of dietary DHA. The reduction correlated with EPA was smaller, while the correlation to LNA was not statistically significant.

 

 

Foods that contain significant amounts of polyunsaturated fats include fatty fish like salmon, as well as peanut butter, margarine and nuts.

 

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Cirrus’ ClearEars can relieve glue ear

BY Michael Johnsen

COLD SPRING HARBOR, N.Y. Cirrus Healthcare Products recently announced the launch of ClearEars, earplugs that contain a polymer to draw water from the ears after water activities. Consumers with glue ear, a condition in which thick, sticky fluid collects behind the eardrum, discovered that ClearEars helps to alleviate this condition, the company said.

 

Glue ear is common in children but also may affect adults. Left untreated, glue ear can cause temporary hearing loss and may affect a child’s behavior and educational process. Adults with glue ear also find it difficult to use regular earplugs to reduce noise or for water protection while swimming. Consumers with glue ear have reported that soft and comfortable ClearEars may be used while sleeping to reduce noise and also alleviate the moist, sticky glue ear feeling.

 

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Natural Products Association responds to TV segment regarding black cohosh

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON The Natural Products Association on Monday wrote a letter to the producers of a PBS NewsHour report that last week ran a segment critical of the herbal supplement industry.

Specifically, the segment attacked black cohosh supplements, citing research funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. Researchers David Baker, professor of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive medicine at SUNY Stony Brook School of Medicine, and Dennis Stevenson, a staff scientist at the New York Botanical Garden, procured 26 random samples of black cohosh from the Internet and random, unnamed retailers across New York City and Long Island, N.Y., and found that 30% — or between seven and eight — of the samples did not contain black cohosh.

The research is part of to the Sloan Foundation’s “Barcode of Life” research grant, which is exploring “the development of DNA bar codes for plants by operating an international research network and by leading the effort for the 100,000 tree species of the world.” Specifically, Stevenson has been mapping a DNA bar code for black cohosh.

PBS correspondent Paul Solman noted that the DNA-bar-coding had been getting some “high-profile press” of late, stating that “a couple of years ago, two high school students used it to uncover the fishy truth about New York sushi.”

“The Natural Products Association urges you to release the product names you tested and all accompanying relevant data on the material, including how it was sampled and the test methodology, to the Food and Drug Administration so that proper action can take place,” the association wrote in its letter addressed to Solman.

Solman opened the PBS segment with, “Though we rarely do consumer stories, at the New York Botanical Garden not long ago, we happened on one we just couldn’t resist: that in one of America’s fastest-growing and least-regulated industries, medicinal herbs, what you see may not be what you get.”

Tagging the dietary supplement industry as “least regulated” isn’t the only inaccuracy within the report; Solmon also identified black cohosh as one of the “fastest-growing” supplements, joining “ginkgo and ginseng as America’s dietary supplement best-sellers.” However, according to recent SymphonyIRI Group data, sales of each of these supplements were on the decline for the 52 weeks ended June 13 across food, drug and mass (minus Walmart) outlets, and none of these supplements cracked the top-three best-sellers within the herbal category — gingko biloba ranked No. 5, black cohosh No. 9 and ginseng No. 10.

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