HEALTH

Study: Vitamin D helps maintain bone density

BY Michael Johnsen

CHICAGO — In a clinical trial that explored the effectiveness of exercise training and vitamin D supplementation for reducing falls in older women, neither intervention affected the overall rate of falls, according to an article published online Monday by JAMA Internal Medicine. However, vitamin D did help to maintain bone density in the femoral neck (a segment of the femur most likely to break with osteoporosis) and increased tibial trabecular density in the shinbone. 
 
Only exercise improved muscle strength and balance, while vitamin D did not enhance the effects of exercise on physical functioning.
 
“Given the fact that fall risk is multifactorial, exercise may be the most effective and feasible strategy for preventing injurious falls in community-dwelling older adults replete with vitamin D," said Kirsti Uusi-Rasi, researcher with the UKK Institute for Health Promotion Research, Tampere, Finland. "Herein, vitamin D increased bone density slightly, and exercise improved physical functioning. While neither treatment reduced the rate of falling, injurious falls more than halved among exercisers with or without vitamin D. Our participants were vitamin D replete, with sufficient calcium intake. Future research is needed to elaborate the role of vitamin D to enhance physical functioning in elderly women.” 
 
"This new study confirms the established role of vitamin D for bone health, but there are many other beneficial reasons for people to supplement with vitamin D," said Duffy MacKay, SVP scientific and regulatory affairs for the Council for Responsible Nutrition. "Other studies have pointed to a role for vitamin D in helping with cognitive function and reducing the risk of heart disease, diabetes and other chronic diseases; however, it is important to manage expectations for vitamin D’s role in isolation and to remember that optimal nutrition is just one component of many needed to prevent chronic disease."
 
Falls are the leading cause of unintentional injuries and fractures in older adults. However, reviews of clinical trials on the role of vitamin D in reducing falls and fractures in community-dwelling older adults and in improving physical functioning have been inconclusive, according to the study background.
 
In an accompanying commentary to the study, the commentary authors noted that although this new study didn’t find benefit for vitamin D in preventing falls among older women, updating the recent USPSTF meta-analysis to include this trial " … does not change the overall conclusion that vitamin D remains associated with an 11% decreased risk of falls." 
 
The authors pointed to some of the possible confounding factors to consider with this positive conclusion for vitamin D, including whether calcium was also administered. Further, the commentary authors reminded doctors that given its low cost and low risk, vitamin D should remain in the physician’s collection of resources while more research continues. "As those authors pointed out, taking a person’s vitamin D status into account may be useful in determining recommendations for helping prevent falls," MacKay said. 
 
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FDA warns against homeopathic asthma products

BY Michael Johnsen

SILVER SPRING, Md. — The Food and Drug Administration on Thursday issued a warning to consumers to avoid use of over-the-counter asthma products labeled as homeopathic as "the products have not been evaluated for safety and effectiveness." 
 
The agency directed consumers to talk to their healthcare provider about a prescription asthma remedy or a nonprescription solution that is marketed OTC in accordance with an FDA monograph. 
 
The American Association of Homeopathic Pharmacists, representing the principal manufacturers and distributors of homeopathic medicines in the United States, said it fully supports the Food and Drug Administration’s position that consumers should seek the advice of their health care provider if they suspect they or their children are experiencing symptoms of asthma, which includes, but is not limited to, shortness of breath, chest tightness, wheezing and/or coughing. The AAHP supports the concern that self-treatment of suspected or diagnosed asthma without the advice of a health care provider may place consumers at risk.
 
"Consumers with diagnosed asthma should seek regular advice from their health care provider for management of intermittent and chronic asthma symptoms," the association stated. "If consumers wish to include homeopathic medicines in their asthma treatment plan, the AAHP suggests consumers seek evaluation by a homeopathic physician who has completed post-graduate medical training in the selection of homeopathic medicines for individual cases."
 
However, there aren't many OTC medications for asthma on the market. Nephron Pharmaceuticals has a recepinephrine solution on shelves called Asthmanefrin that generated $18.4 million for the 52 weeks ended Dec. 28, 2014, according to IRI data for total U.S. multi-outlets. Sales were relatively flat with a slight 0.8% lift. 
 
And it doesn't look likely that the one-time $100 million asthma-relief brand Primatene Mist will make a comeback to the marketplace. Primatene Mist had been withdrawn from the market in December 2011 when the agency removed all inhalers containing chlorofluorocarbons from the market. And a pair of FDA advisory panels in February of last year did not recommend a petition by Armstrong Pharamceuticals to approve Primatene HFA, an epinephrine inhalation aerosol indicated for the temporary relief of mild symptoms of intermittent asthma for people ages 12 years or older. 
 
Healthcare professionals and patients are encouraged to report adverse events or side effects related to the use of these products to the FDA's MedWatch Safety Information and Adverse Event Reporting Program, the agency stated. 
 
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C&D expands its First Response brand into multivitamins

BY Michael Johnsen

EWING, N.J. — Church & Dwight is leveraging its First Response brand into the dietary supplement set with the launch of First Response multivitamin gummies which target reproductive health and prenatal/post-natal need states. 
 
“First Response has been a trusted resource for women for more than 25 years, delivering her the innovative tools she needs to be prepared and knowledgeable throughout her reproductive health journey – a journey that extends well before pregnancy through post-pregnancy,” said Stacey Feldman, VP marketing, Church & Dwight. “As the category leader, First Response remains committed to reducing the anxiety faced throughout the family planning process by giving women a full breadth of products needed to make informed, healthy decisions. Expanding our portfolio to include women’s health vitamins allows us to meet yet another crucial need, extending our support throughout a woman’s reproductive years. ”
 
First Response multivitamin gummies were developed to provide women with the recommended amount of folic acid in an easy-to-consume gummy form. 
 
The two new vitamin SKUs, First Response Reproductive Health Multivitamin Gummies and PreNatal & PostNatal Multivitamin Gummies, will be available in drug, grocery and mass retailers across the country starting in April for $14.99. The First Response Reproductive Health Multivitamin Gummy is a multivitamin with essential nutrients needed for overall health and to help prepare for pregnancy (including 400 mcg of folic acid and 50mg of Omega-3 DHA).

One serving is an excellent source of iodine to support pre-pregnancy health. And the First Response PreNatal & PostNatal Multivitamin Gummy is a multivitamin that contains essential nutrients important to pregnant and nursing women (including 800 mcg of folic acid and B vitamins for energy metabolism support) and one serving is a good source of calcium for nursing mothers.

 
The supplements were developed in conjunction with C&D's Vitafusion, one of the leading gummy vitamin brands. 
 
“All women trying to get pregnant or who don’t use effective contraception 100% of the time during sex, should take a daily multivitamin with 400 mcg of folic acid,” said Mary Jane Minkin, clinical professor of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive sciences at the Yale School of Medicine. “Folic acid has been found to be instrumental in helping to prevent neural tube defects, which often develop before a woman knows she is pregnant. The nutrients and vitamins in the First Response women’s health gummy vitamins are important for preparing a woman's body for a healthy pregnancy, even before they consider trying to conceive.”  
 
The full portfolio of First Response products includes at-home pregnancy test kits (including the Gold Digital Pregnancy Test), ovulation kits (including the Daily Digital Ovulation Test) and Pre-Seed, a sperm-friendly fertility lubricant. 
 
In addition, the First Response Tracker smartphone app offers personalized period and ovulation trackers, as well as a due date calculator.
 

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