Saw palmetto may assist with the type of hair loss called male pattern baldness. This type of hair loss results from the destruction of hair follicles by the androgen hormone, dihydrotestosterone. While male pattern baldness is usually found in men, it can also occur in women. The fatty acids in Saw Palmetto help to block the formation of dihydrotestosterone and thus may help to prevent this type of hair loss in both men and women. The dosage of fatty acids from Saw Palmetto is 270-300 mg daily. This can be obtained from 320 mg of a standardized extract or 3 grams of dried Saw Palmetto berry. These doses have been found to be safe in many studies. However, Saw Palmetto is contraindicated in women who are pregnant, nursing or trying to conceive due to its effects on hormones.
It is important to determine the cause of your hair loss. Since male pattern baldness is not common in women, you will want to make sure there is not another cause. Low thyroid, low pituitary hormones, excess vitamin A, some medications, fever, severe illness, lupus, and fungal infections can all cause hair loss. Even the process of normal aging can result in thinning and increased fineness of the hair. The hair loss resulting from any of these won’t be helped by Saw Palmetto. Rather the condition itself should be treated and hair will regrow.
The cells of multivitamin users may have a younger biological age than cells from non-users, according to new research from the US.
Researchers led by Honglei Chen, MD, PhD from National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences looked at the length of telomeres, DNA sequences at the end of chromosomes that shorten as cells replicate and age.
The ageing and lifespan of normal, healthy cells are linked to the so-called telomerase shortening mechanism, which limits cells to a fixed number of divisions. During cell replication, the telomeres function by ensuring the cell’s chromosomes do not fuse with each other or rearrange, which can lead to cancer. Elizabeth Blackburn, a telomere pioneer at the University of California San Francisco, likened telomeres to the ends of shoelaces, without which the lace would unravel.
With each replication the telomeres shorten, and when the telomeres are totally consumed, the cells are destroyed (apoptosis). Previous studies have also reported that telomeres are highly susceptible to oxidative stress.
Dr Chen and his co-workers noted that telomere length may therefore be a marker of biological ageing, and that multivitamins may beneficially affect telomere length via modulation of oxidative stress and chronic inflammation.
According to results published in the new issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the telomeres of daily multivitamin users may be on average 5.1 per cent longer than in non-users.
“To our knowledge, this was the first epidemiologic study of multivitamin use and telomere length,” wrote Dr Chen and his co-workers. “Regular multivitamin users tend to follow a healthy lifestyle and have a higher intake of micronutrients, which sometimes makes it difficult to interpret epidemiologic observations on multivitamin use.
“Further investigations would be needed to understand the role of multivitamin use and telomere length and its implication in the etiology of chronic diseases.”
According to a National Institutes of Health (NIH) State-of-the-Science Panel, half of the American population routinely use dietary supplements, with their annual spend estimated at over $20 billion.
Recent results of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey showed that 35 per cent of the US adult population regularly consumes one or more types of multivitamin product (Am. J. Epidemiol., 2004, Vol. 160, Pages 339-349).
Dr Chen and his co-workers analysed multivitamin use and nutrient intakes, as well as telomere length of 586 women aged between 35 and 74 in the Sister Study. A 146-item food-frequency questionnaire was used to determine multivitamin use and nutrient intakes.
Compared to non-multivitamin users, the researchers noted that that telomeres were on average 5.1 per cent longer for daily multivitamin users.
In an attempt to identify specific nutrients that could be behind the observations, a positive relationship between telomere length and intakes of vitamins C and E from foods was observed.
“Whereas the evidence is not sufficient to conclude that these 2 dietary antioxidants mediated the observed relation, the results are consistent with experimental findings that vitamins C and E protect telomeres in vitro,” wrote the researchers.
Being the first study to report such an association, Dr Chen and his co-workers emphasized that the evidence is only preliminary and that additional epidemiologic studies are required to further explore the association. The implications of the findings in terms of ageing and the etiology of chronic diseases should be carefully evaluated.
Source: American Journal of Clinical Nutrition
June 2009, Volume 89, Number 6, Pages 1857-1863, doi:10.3945/ajcn.2008.26986
“Multivitamin use and telomere length in women”
Authors: Q. Xu, C.G. Parks, L.A. DeRoo, R.M. Cawthon, D.P. Sandler, H. Chen
The investigators concluded, “These novel findings seem to indicate that chronic ingestion of acrylamide-containing products induces a proinflammatory state, a risk factor for progression of atherosclerosis.”
By Lorraine Heller, 05-Jun-2009
FDA is investigating the only over-the-counter weight loss drug – Alli – following signals that it could be linked to liver damage.
FDA yesterday updated drug surveillance information on its website, which lists all products that are identified as potentially harmful. Amongst the new products added to the list was orlistat, a weight loss drug sold by GSK’s under its Alli brand and by Roche as the prescription product Xenical.
The potential risk was identified via an adverse event reporting system for drugs, which highlighted possible liver problems (hepatotoxicity) linked to the products.
FDA says that the addition of a drug to this surveillance list does not mean that a causal relationship between the drug and the listed risk has been identified. “It means that FDA has identified a potential safety issue.”
“FDA is continuing to evaluate this issue to determine the need for any regulatory action,” states the agency.
To view the list on FDA’s website, click here .
GSK told NutraIngredients-USA.com that the reporting of adverse events for Alli was standard procedure.
“Very few adverse events have been reported, which is significant when you consider that more than six million people have used Alli since we launched [it] in 2007,” said a company spokesperson.
“Most of these reports have been mild and have not provided evidence for clinical concern; none have been causally linked to Alli. Liver changes (specifically elevation in liver function tests) are common and can have many causes.”
The health signal comes just over a month after a leading national weight loss dietary supplement brand was recalled in the US due to liver damage.
On May 1, 14 different products in the Hydroxycut line, which sold over nine million units in 2008 alone, were voluntarily recalled by their manufacturer Iovate Health Sciences after 23 adverse event reports recorded instances of serious liver damage, as well as one death.
The recall prompted a flood of attacks on the supplements industry in the mainstream press, which still continue today. Amongst other accusations, the one recurring criticism is that supplements are not properly regulated in the US.
Indeed, the anti-obesity group Reality Coalition was amongst the first to call for a review of the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA). The Reality Coalition was set up in 2006, supported by a grant from GSK.
Alli vs Supplements
The battle for market share between Alli and supplement weight loss products took a sharp turn in April last year, when a petition filed by GSK sought to wipe out supplements from the weight loss category.
Filed together with the American Dietetic Association, The Obesity Society and Shaping America’s Health, the citizen petition requested that all weight loss claims be considered disease claims. This would effectively prevent dietary supplement products from claiming they can promote, assist or otherwise help in weight loss.
However, although the petition generated heated industry debate at the time, FDA has made no response as yet, and most supplement players feel the issue has been buried and forgotten in a mount of legislative bureaucracy.
The safest way to lost weight is to reduce calorie intake and monitor the types of foods eaten.
I’m writing this a my mother is in the hospital facing life threatening condition which can be directly linked back to simple daily dietary choices she has made over her lifetime.
Today she is has one or several veins in her small intestine which are bleeding, not bleeding a lot, but these seldom heal on their own. So let me go back 20, 30, or 40 years to see what led her to this point.
My mom loved to eat and always battled a weight problem since I was a young child. Of course in the 60’s and 70’s we didn’t know what we know today, but we ate good – white bread, pancakes, Captain Crunch (with an extra spoon of sugar) potatoes, etc. We had lots of good high glycemic foods. My brother and and I have kept our weight in line, but mom was always overweight. Today we call this Metabolic Syndrome.
So fast forward to the 90’s. She developed type 2 diabetes. Though she’s never been insulin dependant she watched what she ate, but unfortunately still had a sweet tooth and at the wrong foods which spiked her blood sugar daily – her favorite breakfast was a bowl of instant oatmeal which spiked her blood sugar first thing in the morning and then started the day long sugar/insulin roller coaster. So even though her pancreas continued to produce some insulin (so she never needed more than oral medication)
We all know diabetes is a bad disease, but it isn’t a disease, it is directly caused by dietary choices. Each time the blood sugar spikes it causes inflammation and damage throughout your body – you don’t feel bad, but you are being burned up internally.
So for Mom one of the complications of the the continual spiking of her blood sugar was repeated damage to her kidneys which eventually in the late 90’s led to renal failure (kidney disease) and eventually spending 4 hours every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday hooked up to a kidney dialysis machine.
They have made great strides in dialysis. it used to be that once you started dialysis your life expectancy was just a few years, but now people can live much longer, but it isn’t a good life. The dialysis machine is a poor substitute for our kidney’s and there are many minerals (potassium and phosphorus for example) which the machine can’t remove, so your diet is extremely limited as to what you can eat. One of the medications which must be taken costs $800 per month!!!
Now fast forward to 2003 when she began to develop ischemic colitis, this is where the bowl becomes inflamed and bleeds. 82% of dialysis patients will develop this or other vascular problems. Sometimes it could be ruptured blood vesicles in the eyes, under the skin, or other organs. So over the next few years she had multiple trips to the hospital and eventually most of her colon removed to control the bleeding. All was good then for the last couple of years, but now blood vesicles are rupturing in her small intestine and she is bleeding at a rate that she requires one to two units of blood every other day or so.
So back to today. She is almost 90, mentally she is sharp as a tack, and enjoys life. but surgery isn’t an option because of her weak heart (another side effect of poor dietary choices and diabetes) so if they can cauterize the bleeding spot with an endoscope (it can reach the first few feed of the small intestine) then she’ll be good for a while, if not, then she can’t live on continuous blood transfusions because of the dangerous iron build up. so the only option will be to make her comfortable (i.e. loaded full of pain meds and made nearly unconscious) and stop the blood transfusions and she will bleed to death in a few days. Not the way leave this life.
So for mom it is too late to make changes, but what can you do? Look at every bite of food which you put in your mouth. Comfort food is not comforting as this is the uncomfortable end it causes. It is simple choices, eat the 5-9 servings of vegetables a day. A simple rule of thumb is don’t eat anything white – white bread, white rice, potatoes, etc. As one expert said “If it doesn’t look the way it did when it came out of the ground or it didn’t have a mother – Don’t eat it!” so Cheetos don’t grow on trees and I’ve never seen a Cheetos being born.
For an excellent presentation Click here and click on the “Listen Now” link for a recorded webcast which explains what you can do to make sure you don’t end up on this path as well.
There isn’t a newscast which doesn’t talk about the spread of the swine flu and the mounting death tally. There is a lot of scare, but what can you do to protect yourself beside locking yourself up in your house?
There are the usual recommendations which every other newscast recommends: Washing your hands, not traveling to areas of Mexico, not coming into contact which someone who is infected, etc. But if you do catch the swine flu, or any other infectious disease including the common cold, then it is up to your own body to wage war against the invading virus, at best the antiviral drug Tamaflu can help.
It was said on the news several days ago that the best defense against the Swine flu is to strengthen your immune system, but they didn’t say how. The how is actually pretty straight forward. If your body is as healthy as it can possibly be, then your immune system will be very strong. So eat well, exercise, and follow all the other recommendations for leading a healthy lifestyle, but you also need optimal amounts of all the vitamins, minerals, and phyototchemicals that your body needs to build strong cells and a strong defense system. Unfortunately you just can’t get optimal amounts from food. It has been estimated to get the optimal amounts from food alone you’d have to consume about 22,000 calories per day. That is just unreasonable – You probably couldn’t eat that much in a day, let alone ever day! You’d be the next contestant on the Biggest Loser!
Taking a full spectrum top quality multivitamin can provide the optimal levels of nutrition though – without the extra 20,000 calories a day!
Reuters Thu Apr 9, 10:54 am ET
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – More than 30 percent of multivitamins tested recently by ConsumerLab.com contained significantly more or less of an ingredient than claimed, or were contaminated with lead, the company reports.
ConsumerLab.com, based in White Plains, New York, is privately held and provides consumer information and independent evaluations of products that affect health and nutrition. According to the company, it is neither owned by nor has a financial interest in any companies that make, distribute or sell consumer products.
Several multivitamin products tested, including three for children, exceeded tolerable upper limits established by the Institute of Medicine for ingredients such as vitamin A, folic acid, niacin and zinc, according to the report posted on www.ConsumerLab.com.
For example, the Institute of Medicine sets a recommended daily allowance (RDA) of 1,300 international units (IU) of vitamin A for children ages 4 to 8 years and an upper tolerable limit of 3,000 IU. However, one multivitamin tested provided 5,000 IU of vitamin A.
In the short term, too much vitamin A may cause nausea and blurred vision, and, in the long-term, may lead to bone softening and liver problems.
Upper tolerable limits for niacin and zinc were also exceeded by some of the supplements for young children tested. Excess niacin may cause skin tingling and flushing and high levels of zinc may cause immune deficiency and anemia.
Tests turned up problems with some men’s multivitamin products as well. Two of three men’s multivitamins failed to pass testing. One contained too much folic acid, which may increase the risk of prostate cancer, while another was contaminated with lead.
Among four women‘s multivitamins tested, one provided only 66 percent of its claimed vitamin A; one of five seniors’ multivitamins selected contained only 44 percent of its vitamin A; and among three prenatal vitamins, one was short on vitamin
Two out of five general multivitamins were short on ingredients: one provided only 50 percent of its claimed folic acid and the other was missing 30 percent of its calcium.
A vitamin water tested by ConsumerLab.com had 15 times its stated amount of folic acid, so drinking one bottle would exceed the tolerable limit for adults; less than half a bottle would put children over the limit, the company warns on its website.
SALT LAKE CITY – April 1, 2009 – USANA Health Sciences, Inc. (NASDAQ: USNA) announced today that its USANA Essentials™ Chelated Mineral and Mega Antioxidant have been evaluated and approved by ConsumerLab.com, LLC. A leading provider of independent product test results and information, ConsumerLab.com helps consumers and healthcare professionals evaluate health and wellness products.
In a recent study, ConsumerLab.com evaluated USANA’s Chelated Mineral and Mega Antioxidant, as well as multivitamin products from various nutritional supplement manufacturers to determine whether they contained the amounts of the compounds as is stated on their labels. Upon completion, ConsumerLab.com announced that both of USANA’s Essentials met their label claims. The review can be found on the company’s Web site at www.consumerlab.com.
“Receiving approval from ConsumerLab.com yet again illustrates USANA’s commitment to quality and safety,” said USANA Executive Vice President of Research & Development Tim Wood. “A reputable organization, ConsumerLab.com provides consumers with trusted research to make safe decisions. USANA is proud to have the Essentials approved and is proud to be providing people with nutritionals they can trust.”
According to its Web site, ConsumerLab.com receives more than 3 million visits per year. Since the organization’s inception in 1999, ConsumerLab.com has tested more than 2,100 products, representing hundreds of different brands and nearly every type of popular supplement.
Every day you see ads on TV, online, and in print touting some joint product. Walk down the supplement aisle and you’ll see dozens of different products. All will have Glucosamine, but look closely 99% use Glucosamine Hydrochloride or (HCL). A very few will use Glucosamine Sulfate. If you look at the human trials of the two different forms, the huge majority used and found positive results with glucosamine sulfate, unfortunately Glucosamine HCL is very ineffective in human trials when taken by mouth, but it is also much cheaper than the sulfate form. (see research note below.)
Many companies are very good at marketing hype and making money, they take an inferior product add MSM and chondroitin to help a little, but still the medical research shows that glucosamine sulfate alone is more effective than the other three ingredients combined!
Steven Vlad published a study in the Journal of ARTHRITIS & RHEUMATISM, Vol. 56, No. 7, July 2007, pp 2267-2277 titled: Glucosamine for Pain in Osteoarthritis,Why Do Trial Results Differ? The authors conclusion is “However, we believe that there is sufficient information to conclude that glucosamine hydrochloride lacks efficacy for pain in OA.(Osteoarthritis)” Click here to read the report (You’ll have to create an account with Wiley Intl)
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – A diet high in omega-3 fatty acids offers protection against advanced prostate cancer, even in men who carry a particular variant in the COX-2 gene that is known to raise the risk of the disease.
“Previous research has shown protection (by omega-3 fatty acids) against prostate cancer, but this is one of the first studies to show protection against advanced prostate cancer and interaction with COX-2,” Dr. John S. Witte of the University of California, San Francisco noted in a statement from the American Association for Cancer Research.
Witte and colleagues studied 466 men diagnosed with aggressive prostate cancer and 478 healthy matched controls. They assessed diet using a “food frequency” questionnaire and genotyped the men for nine COX-2 variants.
The researchers report in the journal Clinical Cancer Research that increasing intake of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids — the kind found in dark fish, like salmon, and shellfish — was strongly associated with a decreased risk of aggressive prostate cancer.
Men who consumed the most long-chain omega-3 fatty acids had a 63 percent reduced risk of aggressive prostate cancer compared to men who consumed the least.
“Importantly,” Witte and colleagues say, this protective effect was even stronger in men who carried the COX-2 variant, rs4647310, which is a risk factor for prostate cancer.
Specifically, men with low intake of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids and this particular variant had a more than fivefold increased risk of advanced prostate cancer. But men with high intake of omega-3 fatty acids had a substantially reduced risk, even if they carried the COX-2 rs4647310 variant.
In other words, the increased risk of prostate cancer associated with the COX-2 rs4647310 variant was “essentially reversed by increasing omega-3 fatty acid intake by a half a gram per day,” Witte said.
“If you want to think of the overall inverse association in terms of fish, where omega-3 fatty acids are commonly derived, the strongest effect was seen from eating dark fish such as salmon one or more times per week,” he added.
SOURCE: Clinical Cancer Research, online March 24, 2009.
Have you ever wondered why, if nutritional supplements are so good, why don’t doctors recommend them more? There are thousands of published medical studies which show that nutritional supplements can be extremely effective in preventing and treating many diseases, even some types of cancer can be killed by antioxidants. So why don’t doctors use these instead of drugs which often have dangerous side effects?
Lets first look at the FDA. The FDA says that “Diseases are treated by drugs…” And only doctors can prescribe drugs. So a pharmaceutical company can create a drug, get FDA approval that it is effective against some disease or condition, then they can say that drug X is approved to treat this disease. Doctors can then prescribe that drug for that disease. Conversely, you can not say that a nutritional supplement can treat a disease since they are not drugs.
Next lets look at the pharmaceutical companies. They have worked very hard with the FDA to get all sorts of condition’s classified as a disease. Obesity once was just because you were fat and ate too much. But now obesity is classified as a disease, now you can only treat obesity with a drug. So now that the big pharmaceutical companies have many conditions classified as diseases they can create drugs to treat them. A pharmaceutical company will spend millions on developing are getting FDA approval for a drug. Then they get a patent on that drug and have a lock on that drug for 11 years and can recoup their R&D investment, plus make a nice profit.
So now we have a drug to treat a disease, how do the doctors find out about it? Well sit in a doctors waiting room for a while, especially just before lunch. You’ll see a stream of drug sales reps parading in to pitch their drugs to the doctors. I spoke to one doctor who said that is how he finds out about what is new. So why don’t drug companies market nutritional supplements to the doctors? Simple, they can’t get a patent on a vitamin, mineral, or herb, so there is no money in it.
It is interesting, the drug companies will take a vitamin or herb which is effective against a condition and will try to develop a similar molecule, but different enough to get a patent on it. One example was Saw Palmetto which is very effective against men’s prostrate issues, one drug company came up with a drug which is very similar to the active ingredient in saw palmetto. But it isn’t nearly as effective as saw palmetto and it also has some dangerous side effects – but they got a patent and they now have a drug for doctors to prescribe.
You will also hear of studies which find that a certain vitamin or mineral has no effect against some drug. Dig into these studies and you’ll find that they were often funded by pharmaceutical companies as a way to throw doubt on the effectiveness.
What is difficult for those of us in the nutritional supplement business is that we know there are more effective and more affordable alternatives to many drugs, but since they aren’t drugs we can’t say they can treat a disease. Many companies have been shut down or sanctioned by the FDA for making disease treatment claims. What we can do though is point to published scientific research which shows the effectiveness of some supplement against a disease or condition, and, by the way our product has 100mg of this nutrient in it. For example:
León H, Shibata MC, Sivakumaran S, Dorgan M, Chatterley T, Tsuyuki RT. at the Epidemiology Coordinating and Research (EPICORE) Centre, Edmonton, AB, Canada. found that:
“Fish oil supplementation was associated with a significant reduction in deaths from cardiac causes…“
Now I can’t say fish oil capsules treat cardiac disease because it is only fish oil – a food, but an intelligent person could make the connection.
Unfortunately big pharma is too big and is too tight with the FDA to ever change this, so it is up to the consumer to search for the truth.
Women who get plenty of mushrooms and green tea in their diets may have a lower risk of developing breast cancer, new study findings suggest.
SOURCE: International Journal of Cancer, March 15, 2009
At a Glance
In a group of adults experiencing regular knee pain, a daily dose of 2,000 mg of glucosamine sulfate reduced pain, improved function, and enhanced quality of life in as little as eight weeks.
A study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine examined the effects of glucosamine supplementation on functional ability and chronic knee pain in individuals with previous cartilage damage or osteoarthritis.
Subjects were randomly supplemented with either glucosamine or placebo for 12 weeks at a dose of 2,000 mg per day. Four testing sessions were conducted during the study. Changes in knee pain and function were determined by clinical and functional tests (joint line palpation, a 3 meter “duck walk,” and a repeated walking stair climb). Additionally, two different questionnaires were used to evaluate changes in pain.
The glucosamine group was found to have significantly better quality of life scores at weeks 8 and 12 than the placebo group. Based on self-report evaluations of changes during the 12 week supplementation period, 88% of the glucosamine group reported some degree of improvement in their knee pain versus only 17% in the placebo group.
These results suggest that glucosamine supplementation can provide some degree of pain relief and improved function in individuals who experience chronic knee pain due to previous cartilage damage or osteoarthritis. The results also suggest that at a dosage of 2,000 mg per day, the majority of improvements are apparent after eight weeks.
Br J Sports Med 2003 Feb;37(1):45-9
Note in the above study that glucosamine sulfate is referenced. The overwhelming majority of the studies which have shown the effectiveness of glucosamine have used glucosamine sulfate. But if you go to your local vitamin store you’ll see that 99% of the joint products contain glucosamine hydrochloride (HCL). This is a much cheaper and much less effective form. Many products will also add chondroitin and MSM. But even the combination of glucosamine HCL plus chondroitin plus MSM still doesn’t show the clinical benefits of just glucosamine sulfate alone.
There are many joint supplements available today. The better formulations contain one or more of the nutrient cofactors required for cartilage formation: vitamin C, manganese, and silicon in addition to glucosamine sulphate.
Below are the names of two of the pharmaceutical companies who were some of sponsors that funded the study I wrote about yesterday that Multivitamins are not effective against cancer and heart disease.
The study I wrot about in yesterday post was partially funded by a couple big pharmacutical companies. Below is fr
At the bottom of the abstract there was a clinical trials Identifier Number: Trial Registration Number NCT0000611.
Ages Eligible for Study: 50 Years to 79 Years
Genders Eligible for Study: Female
Accepts Healthy Volunteers: No
Postmenopausal women ages 50 to 79.
The Trial Criteria allowed for Postmenopausal Women Ages 50 – 79 BUT excluded healthy volunteers! http://www.clinicaltrials.gov/show/NCT00000611/
The women were asked if they took multivitamins, and a detailed record of their vitamin of choice was kept. The Data regarding their vitamin use was accepted even if they took their multivitamin as infrequently as once a week!
He further stated: “ Taken as whole, the research on dietary supplements in the prevention of chronic diseases, is strong and consistent. To suggest that taking vitamins and minerals with a demonstrated health benefit is unnecessary sends the wrong public health message.”
There are literally thousands of research studies which have shown the benefits of many nutrients, from food and/or supplements. To ignore such a large body of research and depend solely upon our food supply to provide the level of nutrition that can keep us healthy makes absolutely no sense.
We can trust in the science and integrity of a company like Usana; the longer we maintain the health of our cells on a regular basis, the greater the benefit as we age.
Joan E. Baumann