HEALTH

NPA challenges findings on vitamins C, E and cardio health

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON In response to new findings to be published Tuesday in The Journal of the American Medical Association on whether long-term vitamin E or vitamin C supplementation decreases the risk of major cardiovascular events among men, the Natural Products Association Monday evening challenged the findings.

“On the second page of the study, it references nine pooled studies that when using 700 milligrams per day of vitamin C showed a 25-percent reduction in the occurrence of cardiovascular disease; yet this study only used 500 milligrams per day. Why wasn’t the 700 milligrams per day amount used when that has been correlated with a reduction in occurrence in prior studies?” asked Daniel Fabricant, vice president of scientific and regulatory affairs at NPA.

“Additionally, while the study did control for multivitamin intake to prevent overlap, intake of vitamin C and E from food was not controlled. With a population of health care professionals at an increased risk for CVD, these subjects most likely know the benefits of a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, and thus rich in vitamins C and E, and may adjust their intake accordingly. This would most certainly confound the study,” he said. “It is essentially a drug study but one without a positive control, which is necessary to ensure the experimental design can produce a positive result even if the intervention was unable to.”

The Council for Responsible Nutrition was less critical. “Although the results did not demonstrate an overall benefit, the results also do not discount the earlier epidemiological data showing that people with high intakes of vitamins E and C may have a lower risk of cardiovascular disease,” stated Andrew Shao, vice president, scientific and regulatory affairs, CRN. “Nutrition research is extremely complex, and doesn’t always provide clear cut answers. This study raises an interesting set of scientific challenges as to why the benefits found in observational studies have not been confirmed in this kind of trial,” he said. “The truth is, we don’t have conclusive scientific evidence in the form of randomized, controlled trials that demonstrate exactly how to prevent cardiovascular disease. We do know there are some well known practical approaches—like not smoking, maintaining a healthy weight, consuming a diet with a variety of foods, regular exercise, seeing your physician, and responsible use of vitamin supplements.”

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NIH funded study in search of hearing loss supplement

BY Michael Johnsen

ANN ARBOR, Mich. The University of Michigan Kresge Hearing Research Institute on Monday announced they will be testing the use of vitamins and magnesium in the prevention of hearing loss caused by loud noises.

“When we can’t prevent noise-induced hearing loss through screening programs and use of hearing protection, then we really need to come up with some way of protecting people who are still going to have noise exposure,” said Glenn Green, assistant professor of otolaryngology at the U-M Health System and director of the U-M Children’s Hearing Laboratory.

The combination of vitamins A, C and E, plus magnesium, will be given in pill form to patients who are participating in the research. Developed at the U-M Kresge Hearing Research Institute, the combination, called AuraQuell, is designed to be taken before a person is exposed to loud noises. In earlier testing at U-M on guinea pigs, the combination of the four micronutrients blocked about 80 percent of the noise-induced hearing impairment.

Now, AuraQuell is being tested in a set of four multinational human clinical trials: military trials in Sweden and Spain, an industrial trial in Spain, and a trial involving students at the University of Florida who listen to music at high volumes on their iPods and other PDAs, funded by the National Institutes of Health. This is the first NIH-funded clinical trial involving the prevention of noise-induced hearing loss.

“If we can even see 50 percent of the effectiveness in humans that we saw in our animal trials, we will have an effective treatment that will very significantly reduce noise-induced hearing impairment in humans,” remarked Josef Miller, co-lead researcher.

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Exergen files suit against Kidz-Med, alleges patent infringement

BY Michael Johnsen

WATERTOWN, Mass. Exergen recently filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court of Massachusetts against Kidz-Med, the suppliers of the Thermofocus thermometer, alleging that the defendants have infringed five U.S. patents governing non-invasive temperature sensors owned by Exergen.

“I began working on heat-sensing technology back in 1980,” said Francesco Pompei, president of Exergen. “Since then [we] have developed non-invasive temperature sensors that are used in a multitude of applications, from home and professional medical thermometers to heat sensors used by NASA.”

According to the company, Exergen’s patented award-winning TemporalScanner temporal artery thermometers are used in more than 30 percent of hospitals and more than one million homes, with retail models being sold in Wal-Mart, Walgreens, Costco, Sam’s Club, Babies ‘R’ US and Toys ‘R’ Us.

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