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Period: May 1, 2017 to May 15, 2017
Comment & Opinion or Companies, Organizations or Consumers or Controversies & Disputes or Deals, M&A, JVs, Licensing or Earnings Release or Finance, Economics, Tax or Innovation & New Ideas or Legal, Legislation, Regulation, Policy or Market News or Marketing & Advertising or Other or People & Personalities or Press Release or Products & Brands or Research, Studies, Advice or Supply Chain or Trends

Company Recognized As Paragon Of Herbal Product Purity, Transparency

Gaia Herbs of North Carolina has been a stickler for ingredient purity and transparency from the beginning, and so has avoided controversies that have plagued the rest of the herbal supplement industry. Founder Ric Scalzo was more of an herbalist than a capitalist when he launched the company in 1987, before talk of regulation and enforcement. For Scalzo, efficacy of herbal supplements could only be based on purity. The company already uses DNA testing to make sure the raw ingredients it sources are the real thing. That stringency has won the company copious praise from customers and industry organizations, as well as an award from the Nutrition Business Journal (New Hope Network) for supply chain transparency.

"Gaia Herbs Makes Transparency a Part of the Corporate Identity", New Hope Network, April 21, 2017

Superfood Ingredients Provide Market Opportunity For FMCG Companies

Superfoods rich in nutrients (i.e., antioxidants, minerals, vitamins, etc.) include kale, quinoa, strawberries, blueberries and chia seeds. They are growing in popularity in the U.S., thanks to the growth in information about them, according to Nielsen. Moreover, access to superfoods is on the rise, both in farmers’ markets and on retail grocery shelves. Superfoods can be found in the fresh produce section of stores, but they are also increasingly found as ingredients in food products in other store departments. Chia seeds, for example, can be found in 23 percent of grocery store product categories. Nielsen says this provides a marketing opportunity for food and beverage makers, and other FMCG manufacturers (e.g., soap and diet aids).

"Spring Superpower, Brought to You by Superfoods across the Store", News release, Nielsen, April 24, 2017

Plant-Derived Blend Of Compounds Treats Inflammation As Well As An NSAID

A study to assess the anti-inflammatory effects of a polyphenol-rich spearmint extract mixed with rosmarinic acid found that it reduces swelling and inflammation as well as the synthetic non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) indomethacin, and works much better than the plant-derived compound rosmarinic acid by itself. The researchers tested the mixture on a rat model of paw swelling (edema). They said their findings showed there is a “potential synergy” between the compounds in the spearmint extract mixed with rosmarinic acid that targets inflammation. The study was sponsored by Kemin Industries, a nutritional ingredients manufacturer based in Iowa.

"Anti-Inflammatory Effects of a Polyphenol-Rich Spearmint Extract", The FASEB Journal, May 02, 2017

Scientists Find Significant Link Between Vitamin D, Exercise, And Heart Health

A new U.S. study examining the relationship between exercise and adequate vitamin D levels shows that exercise not only boosts vitamin D in the body, the two together seem to reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke more than either one alone. The researchers, who studied data collected from American adults for more than 20 years, were careful to say the findings do not show a cause-effect relationship, only a significant link. Long-term clinical trials are needed to determine a cause-effect relationship, they said. However, the researchers also said there was enough evidence to warrant suggesting that people need to “move more in the name of heart health,” get a few minutes a day of sunlight, and eat a well-balanced meal that includes oily fish and vitamin D-fortified foods like cereal and milk.

"Physical Activity, Vitamin D, and Incident Atherosclerotic Cardiovascular Disease in Whites and Blacks: The ARIC Study", The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, May 03, 2017

Alternate-Day Fasting Has No Advantage Over A Calorie-Restricted Diet

Dieters who switch to one of the popular alternate-day fasting schemes from a simple daily calorie restriction routine may be kidding themselves, a U.S. study finds. Researchers organized 100 participants into three groups for a year: one that tried alternate-day fasting (25 percent of calorie needs on fast days); daily calorie restriction (75 percent of recommended calories every day); or no diet at all. The trial showed that, compared to a simple calorie-restricted diet, alternate-day fasting did not keep people on the diet, did not result in better weight loss or weight maintenance, and did not improve risk indicators for heart disease.  

"Effect of Alternate-Day Fasting on Weight Loss, Weight Maintenance, and Cardioprotection Among Metabolically Healthy Obese Adults", JAMA Internal Medicine, May 03, 2017

Sunscreen Use Linked To Global Vitamin D Deficiency Problem

Sunscreen is widely used to protect skin from cancer-causing overexposure to ultraviolet rays. But a new “evidence based clinical review” by U.S. researchers finds that the use of sunscreen has a downside: it contributes to the vitamin D deficiency (or insufficiency) experienced by as many as a billion people worldwide. Meanwhile, chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes, kidney disease, Crohn's and celiac disease, greatly inhibit the body's ability to metabolize vitamin D from food sources. The researchers note that people spend less time outside; when they are out of doors, they often wear sunscreen. But, they note, it is possible to spend reasonable amounts of time in the sun while ensuring adequate vitamin D absorption.  

"Vitamin D Deficiency, Its Role in Health and Disease, and Current Supplementation Recommendations", The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, May 03, 2017

Compounds Left In Gut After Wine Digestion Protect Neuronal Cells

Scientists have known for years that drinking wine in moderation seems to delay the onset of brain disorders and cognitive impairment associated with aging. A multinational research team investigating the phenomenon has come up with some tentative insights into why this happens. They didn’t examine the wine itself, but took a close look at the compounds – they’re called wine-derived human gut metabolites – that remain after the wine exits the stomach and enters the gut. Wine metabolites with the right composition were found to protect neuronal cells from stress, but only if the composition of the gut microbiota (i.e., probiotic profile) was just right.

"Neuroprotective Effects of Selected Microbial-Derived Phenolic Metabolites and Aroma Compounds from Wine in Human SH-SY5Y Neuroblastoma Cells and Their Putative Mechanisms of Action", Frontiers in Nutrition, May 05, 2017

Osteoporosis Risk Drops When People Eat More Yogurt

A large study – 3,881 women, 2,053 men – by researchers at Trinity College Dublin has determined that people who eat more yogurt tend to have denser hip bones and thus a reduced risk of osteoporosis, a chronic condition leading to weaker bones and more bone fractures. The researchers looked at a wide array of possible risk factors, including BMI, kidney function, physical activity, servings of milk or cheese, calcium or vitamin D supplements, smoking, inactivity, and alcohol use. After adjusting for these, they found that a unit increase in yogurt intake in women was associated with a 39 percent lower risk of osteoporosis, and a 52 percent lower risk in men. Vitamin D supplements also helped reduce osteoporosis risk.

"Greater yogurt consumption is associated with increased bone mineral density and physical function in older adults", Osteoporosis International, May 11, 2017

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