Dr. Rath Health Foundation

Dr. Rath Health Foundation

Responsibility for a healthy world Dr. Rath Research Institute 100+ Studies Published In PubMed

Other Health-Related News

Health news and comment from around the world.

December 22, 2008

EC shifting against high-dose vitamins and minerals: HFMA
The UK-based Health Food Manufacturers Association (HFMA) has warned the European Commission may severely restrict maximum levels of vitamins and minerals in food supplements, after an industry meeting with the European Commission.
Read article at nutraingredients.com

December 22, 2008

Vitamin D Deficit in Pregnancy Tied to Caesarean Risk
Vitamin D deficiency greatly increases a pregnant woman's likelihood of having a Caesarean delivery, U.S. researchers report.
Read article in the Washington Post (USA)

December 22, 2008

Tree man 'who grew roots' may be cured
An Indonesian fisherman who feared that he would be killed by tree-like growths covering his body has been given hope of recovery by an American doctor - and Vitamin A.
Read article in the Daily Telegraph (UK)

December 21, 2008

Massive crackdown on the use of scores of toxic pesticides
New EU rules, opposed by Gordon Brown, will phase out use of cancer-causing compounds in Britain
Britain is to get its toughest crackdown on toxic substances in food and the environment, despite determined resistance to the safety measures from Gordon Brown. Scores of pesticides suspected of causing cancer, DNA damage and "gender-bender" effects are to be phased out under new EU rules, which are being hailed as a revolution in the way the public is protected against poisonous chemicals. The use of all pesticides in public places is to be dramatically reduced, with aerial spraying banned anywhere in the country.
Read article in The Independent (UK)
Comment: Given that almost half of all food eaten throughout Europe has been discovered to be contaminated by pesticides, this development is undoubtedly a step in the right direction.

December 20, 2008

ANH Feature: Focus on Ayurveda – part 1
Two members of ANH’s core team, Dr Robert Verkerk and Meleni Aldridge, have almost finished a 10-day information gathering, network strengthening tour of India , as part of ANH’s ongoing campaign to protect traditional medicinal cultures. Their tour took in the historic city of Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, which many argue is the birth place of modern civilisation itself, as well as being the origin of India’s overriding philosophical and health care system, Ayurveda.
Read article on the website of the Alliance for Natural Health (ANH) (UK)

December 18, 2008

New anti-cancer components of extra-virgin olive oil revealed
Good quality extra-virgin olive oil contains health-relevant chemicals, 'phytochemicals', that can trigger cancer cell death. New research published in the open access journal BMC Cancer sheds more light on the suspected association between olive oil-rich Mediterranean diets and reductions in breast cancer risk. Javier Menendez from the Catalan Institute of Oncology and Antonio Segura-Carretero from the University of Granada in Spain led a team of researchers who set out to investigate which parts of olive oil were most active against cancer. Menendez said, "Our findings reveal for the first time that all the major complex phenols present in extra-virgin olive oil drastically suppress overexpression of the cancer gene HER2 in human breast cancer cells".
Read article at physorg.com

December 18, 2008

ANH Review: EFSA—are you trying to poison us?
Europe ’s supreme authority on food safety— and fluoride: Bad science, twisted rules or corporate manipulation?
Read article on the website of the Alliance for Natural Health (ANH) (UK)

December 16, 2008

Vitamin D deficiency in infants and nursing mothers carries long-term disease risks
Once believed to be important only for bone health, vitamin D is now seen as having a critical function in maintaining the immune system throughout life. The newly recognized disease risks associated with vitamin D deficiency are clearly documented in a report in the December issue (Volume 3, Number 4) of Breastfeeding Medicine, a peer-reviewed journal published by Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., and the official journal of the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine.
Read article at physorg.com

December 15, 2008

Nearly three-quarters of youths with diabetes insufficient in vitamin D
Three-quarters of youths with type 1 diabetes were found to have insufficient levels of vitamin D, according to a study by researchers at the Joslin Diabetes Center – findings that suggest children with the disease may need vitamin D supplementation to prevent bone fragility later in life.
Read article at physorg.com

December 11, 2008

Doctors reveal supplement recommendation priorities
Bone, joint and heart health are some of the top reasons for doctors to recommend supplements to their patients, according to a new study. The Healthcare Professionals (HCP) Impact Study, released by the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), surveyed around 1,200 orthopedic specialists, cardiologists and dermatologists. The findings reveal that the majority of doctors recommend supplements both for overall health and for areas associated with their specialties. Most doctors also believe supplement usage is mainstream, and more popular today than five years ago.
Read article at nutraingredients-usa.com

December 10, 2008

Lack of vitamin D causes weight gain and stunts growth in girls
Insufficient vitamin D can stunt growth and foster weight gain during puberty, according to a new study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism. Even in sun-drenched California, where scientists from the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) and the University of Southern California conducted their study, vitamin D deficiency was found to cause higher body mass and shorter stature in girls at the peak of their growing spurt.
Read article at physorg.com

December 10, 2008

Omega-3, probiotics, plant extracts not ruled by Supplements Directive, says EC
Adding nutrients such as some herbal extracts, omega-3s, probiotics, glucosamine and more to the Food Supplements Directive (FSD is impractical and unworkable, the European Commission has stated. In a long-awaited document on the matter sent to Member States and the European Parliament last week, the EC said nutrients other than the vitamins and minerals already regulated by the FSD did not enjoy the same consistency of use throughout the bloc. They should therefore continue to be governed under varying national and EU regulations and institutions.
Read article at nutraingredients.com
Comment: Nobody living in the European Union should be fooled into thinking that substances other than vitamins and minerals are not now going to be affected by the European Commission’s ongoing anti-supplement campaign. In reality, and as the small print of this report makes very clear, the Commission believes that other existing European legislation – such as its regulations on novel foods and the addition of vitamins and minerals and certain other substances to foods – already now constitutes “a sufficient legislative framework for regulating this area.” To read this European Commission document, click here.

December 8, 2008

How Victorian diseases are sweeping back
DISEASES more often associated with Victorian slums are taking hold again in Britain. Infections such as measles, mumps, tuberculosis and syphilis have spread rapidly in recent years. And the re-emergence of conditions such as gout, rickets and scurvy – disabling illnesses sparked by poor diet and social conditions – is alarming doctors.
Read article in the Daily Express (UK)

December 3, 2008

IOM to review vitamin D and calcium DRIs
The US and Canadian governments are sponsoring a review of vitamin D and calcium that may lead to the establishment of higher recommended daily intakes. The review, which is to be conducted by the Institute of Medicine (IOM), will involve an examination of all available science to date.
Read article at nutraingredients-usa.com

December 2, 2008

Exercise builds small blood vessels in brain, study says
Exercise is known to help prevent cognitive decline and maintain the brain as people age, and now researchers think they know one reason why. People who engaged in long-term, regular exercise had substantially more small blood vessels in their brains and more blood flow than people who performed little exercise over the years, according to a study presented Monday. "Exercise increases the number of blood vessels in other parts of the body," said lead researcher Feraz Rahman of Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia. "What we didn't know is that it also affects the brain."
Read article at physorg.com

December 1, 2008

Lack of vitamin D could spell heart trouble
Vitamin D deficiency—which is traditionally associated with bone and muscle weakness—may also increase the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD). A growing body of evidence links low 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels to common CVD risk factors such as hypertension, obesity and diabetes, as well as major cardiovascular events including stroke and congestive heart failure. In their review article, published in the December, 9, 2008, issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology (JACC), the authors issue practical recommendations to screen for and treat low vitamin D levels, especially in patients with risk factors for heart disease or diabetes.
Read article at physorg.com

November 25, 2008

Some cancers disappear untreated, study finds
Cancer researchers have known for years that it was possible in rare cases for some cancers to go away on their own. There were occasional instances of melanomas and kidney cancers that just vanished. And neuroblastoma, a very rare childhood tumor, can go away without treatment. But these were mostly seen as oddities - an unusual pediatric cancer that might not bear on common cancers of adults, a smattering of case reports of spontaneous cures. And because almost every cancer that is detected is treated, it seemed impossible even to ask what would happen if cancers were left alone. Now, though, researchers say they have found a situation in Norway that has let them ask that question about breast cancer. And their new study, to be published Tuesday in The Archives of Internal Medicine, suggests that even invasive cancers may sometimes go away without treatment and in larger numbers than anyone ever believed.
Read article in the International Herald Tribune

November 25, 2008

New Cases of Cancer Decline in the U.S.
The incidence of new cancer cases has been falling in recent years in the United States, the first time such an extended decline has been documented, researchers reported Tuesday. Cancer diagnosis rates decreased by an average of 0.8 percent each year from 1999 to 2005, the last year for which data are available, according to an annual report by the National Cancer Institute, the American Cancer Society and other scientific organizations. Death rates from cancer continued to decline as well, a trend that began some 15 years ago, the report also noted.
Read article in the New York Times (USA)
Comment: The vast bulk of the decline in the death rate from cancer has taken place since the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA) was passed by the U.S. Congress in 1994. DSHEA classifies supplements as foods and places the burden of proof on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to show that any particular dietary supplement is unsafe. The text of DSHEA makes specific reference to Congress having found that there is a link between the ingestion of dietary supplements and the prevention of chronic diseases such as cancer, heart disease, and osteoporosis. It also states that preventive health measures, including appropriate use of safe nutritional supplements, will limit the incidence of chronic diseases, and reduce long-term health care expenditures. Significantly therefore, 52 percent of Americans now identify themselves as regular users of dietary supplements.

November 25, 2008

Is the FDA trying to end-run DSHEA—again?
Today, the American Association for Health Freedom (AAHF) and its international affiliate, the Alliance for Natural Health (ANH), jointly submitted comments to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in response to its request for comments from industry and consumers to help them interpret recent changes to Section 912 of the Amendments Act of 2007 (FDAAA). The submission was accompanied by comments from 700 concerned citizens and practitioners exasperated over the latest threat to supplements from the FDA. The FDA’s unprecedented, controversial, and ambiguous changes to Section 912, specifically the addition of Section 301 (ll), may mean that all food products, including dietary supplements, could be barred from being marketed if they have been the subject of published clinical studies. AAHF and ANH point out that this provision is so far-reaching that a very large number of commonly consumed foods could be impacted by the new regulation and hence barred from interstate trade.
Read press release on the website of the Alliance for Natural Health (ANH) (UK)

November 25, 2008

Experts call for mass trials of vitamin D supplement
Vitamin D supplements for Scots should be tested “sooner rather than later” to demonstrate whether they can improve the nation's health, international experts told the Scottish government yesterday. A conference organised by Harry Burns, the Chief Medical Officer, was told that there should be large, randomised trials as there was strong evidence that increased daily intake of vitamin D could prolong the lifespan of 7 per cent of the population.
Read article in The Times (UK)

November 22, 2008

Hairspray exposure may increase birth defect risk
Scientists have found preliminary evidence that exposure to hairspray during the first three months of pregnancy increases the risk of a common genetic deformity in baby boys. The team found that the risk of hypospadias - a defect in which the urinary opening forms on the underside of the penis - increased from 4 in 1,000 boys to 9.6 in 1,000 when the mother was exposed to hairspray during her work. The team also found that folic acid, which mothers are advised to take during early pregnancy to avoid neural tube defects, seems to prevent hypospadias. Taking the supplement led to a 36% decrease in risk.
Read article in The Guardian (UK)

November 20, 2008

Can the EU traditional herbal medicines directive be amended?
Momentum to amend Europe’s botanicals directive is growing despite the European Commission stating no part of the controversial legislation will be altered before May, 2011, when thousands of products without appropriate registrations may be wiped from store shelves across the bloc. Come 2011, any herbal products seeking to make non-medicinal claims in any of the EU’s 27 Member States will require registration under the Traditional Herbal Medicinal Products Directive (THMPD).
Read article at nutraingredients.com

November 19, 2008

Low Vitamin D may lead to cardiac death
Sunshine is indeed the key to a long and healthy life, for a new study has found that vitamin D deficiency can harm cardiovascular health and also result in death due to heart failure.
Read article in the Times of India

November 18, 2008

'Call to action' issued for raising vitamin D levels
Recommended daily intakes of vitamin D should be raised to 2,000 International Units, says a group of 18 scientists from the University of California. The “call to action” by the UC scientists, led by Anthony Norman, echoes a number of others from leading academics across the globe, and may increase the need for policy makers to review current guidelines for the vitamin. Such increases could also open opportunities for food fortification and supplements. Current recommended daily intakes (RDIs) of vitamin D are 200 IU for people up to 50 years of age, 400 IU for people between 51 and 70, and 600 IU for over the 70s years. “The consensus among UC scientists who signed this statement is that 2000 IU per day of vitamin D3, a form of vitamin D, is the appropriate intake for most adult Americans,” said Norman.
Read article at nutraingredients.com

November 18, 2008

JAMA: synthetic low dose vitamins—of course they don't work!
Around 40% of people in western countries, and a growing proportion in developing countries, consume vitamin and mineral supplements. Those who know most about how nutrients work in the body—integrative medicine/functional medicine/nutritional medicine practitioners—know that you aren't going to be able show that cheap, supermarket-style, synthetic vitamins are going to reduce the risk of heart disease. Well, that's exactly what Dr Howard Sesso and colleagues at the Brigham & Women's Hospital at Harvard did. And they seemed surprised that after 10 years of tudying nearly 15,000 people, these supplements didn't work?
Read article and press release on the website of the Alliance for Natural Health (ANH) (UK)

November 17, 2008

Toxic Chemicals Blamed for Gulf War Illness
Gulf War illness, dismissed by some as a psychosomatic disorder, is a very real illness that affects at least 25 percent of the 700,000 U.S. veterans who took part in the 1991 Gulf War. Its likely cause was exposure to toxic chemicals that included pesticides that were often overused during the war, as well as a drug given to U.S. troops to protect them from nerve gas, a frequent weapon of choice of former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.
Read article in the Washington Post (USA)

November 17, 2008

Study helps clarify role of vitamin D in cancer therapy
A colon cancer cell isn't a lost cause. Vitamin D can tame the rogue cell by adjusting everything from its gene expression to its cytoskeleton. In the Nov. 17 issue of the Journal of Cell Biology, Ordóñez-Morán et al. show that one pathway governs the vitamin's diverse effects. The results help clarify the actions of a molecule that is undergoing clinical trials as a cancer therapy.
Read article at physorg.com

November 17, 2008

Magnesium may be key to calcium’s cancer benefits: study
The anti-colon cancer effects of calcium may be linked to magnesium levels, suggesting a need for both minerals in reducing the risk of the disease, says a new study. Researchers from Vanderbilt University found that low ratios of the minerals were associated with reduced risk of colorectal cancer, according to findings presented at the Seventh Annual American Association for Cancer Research International Conference on Frontiers in Cancer Prevention Research.
Read article at nutringredients.com
Comment: More evidence of the important role that nutrient synergy plays in maximizing the health benefits of micronutrients.

November 15, 2008

Campaigner wins seven-year battle to force rethink on use of pesticides
•Defra must reassess health risks and policy, says judge
•Victim suffered 24 years of illness from crop spraying
An environmental campaigner yesterday won a landmark victory against the government in a long-running legal battle over the use of pesticides. The high court ruled that Georgina Downs, who runs the UK Pesticides Campaign, had produced "solid evidence" that people exposed to chemicals used to spray crops had suffered harm. The court said the government had failed to comply with a European directive designed to protect rural communities from exposure to the toxins. It said the environment department, Defra, must reassess its policy and investigate the risks to people who are exposed.
Read article in The Guardian (UK)

November 13, 2008

This year, the Codex Committee on Nutrition and Foods for Special Dietary Uses (CCNSFDU) took place in Cape Town, South Africa, from November 3-7, 2008, at the Southern Sun Cape Sun Hotel; and the National Health Federation (NHF) sent its voice - the only voice - for health freedom there to insert a note of reason as hundreds of bureaucrats with little, if any, love of liberty sketched out global food guidelines that will impact billions of human beings.
Read press release on the website of the National Health Federation (USA)

November 12, 2008

Ministers agree food colour ban
Ministers have agreed that six artificial food colourings should be phased out after research found a link with hyperactivity in children. The Food Standards Agency called for the voluntary removal earlier this year while European regulators work to agree a continent-wide ban. The food colourings should now be phased out by 2009.
Read article on the BBC News website (UK)

November 11, 2008

Vitamin K Deficiency Found to Increase Arthritis Risk
As a condition that affects more than 21 million Americans, Osteoarthritis (OA) is the #1 cause of disability in the U.S., limiting everyday activities for 16 million Americans. It results in 750,000 hospitalizations and costs our healthcare system over $51 billion each year. Now a new study has found another supplement that may help with Osteo Arthritis- vitamin K. In this trial, researchers studied patients who participated in the Framingham Offspring Study and analyzed the association of vitamin K with OA. They looked at vitamin K levels measured between 1996 and 1998 and looked at hand and knee x-rays taken between 2002 and 2004. They found that the presence of arthritis in both the hand and knee “decreased significantly” with increasing blood levels of vitamin K. These results led the researchers to conclude that “persons with higher vitamin K levels…have a significantly lower risk of [arthritis] than do persons with low vitamin K levels.”
Read article on the Natural Health Research Institute website (USA)

November 10, 2008

The "Expensive Urine" Myth
What About Those "Wasted" Vitamins?
Ever heard this one before? "Your body doesn't absorb extra vitamins. All you get from taking vitamin supplements is expensive urine." Sure you have. And you still will, at websites such as http://www.dietitian.com and http://www.americanchronicle.com/articles/67769. Even the BBC has reported it http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/109881.stm. Some people will tell you that any vitamin consumption higher than the lowly RDA is simply a "waste of money." "Expensive urine." It is an old saw, and one terrific sound byte. Too bad it is also false. Urine is what is left over after your kidneys purify your blood. If your urine contains, say, extra vitamin C, that vitamin C was in your blood. If the vitamin was in your blood, you absorbed it just fine. It is the absence of water-soluble vitamins in urine that indicates vitamin deficiency. If your body excretes vitamins in your urine, that is a sign that you are well-nourished and have nutrients to spare. That is good.
Read news release from the Orthomolecular Medicine News Service at orthomolecular.org

November 9, 2008

Low potassium linked to high blood pressure
As a risk factor for high blood pressure, low levels of potassium in the diet may be as important as high levels of sodium—especially among African Americans, according to research being presented at the American Society of Nephrology's 41st Annual Meeting and Scientific Exposition in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Read article at physorg.com

November 6, 2008

MEPs back toxic pesticide ban despite industry pressure
In the face of strong opposition from agribusiness and industry, MEPs have backed a ban on toxic pesticides. On Wednesday (5 November) deputies in the European Parliament's environment committee voted on two legislative proposals from the commission, one on approval of pesticides and the other aiming to reduce their use across the EU. The committee backed 39 to 20, with six abstentions, a cross-party compromise that would see a list of chemical ingredients - or 'active substances' - that are approved drawn up at the EU level. Certain highly toxic substances - those that cause cancer, are toxic to reproduction or negatively affect the hormonal, nervous or immune systems - are to be banned where they pose a significant risk. Nevertheless, even these substances may be used in cases of serious danger to plant health.
Read article at euobserver.com
Comment: Whilst there is clearly a very long way to go before European consumers can be assured that the food on their plates is safe to consume, this development is at least a small step in the right direction. Nevertheless, the fact that so many highly toxic substances may still be used, and that little or no attention is being paid to how they react in combination with each other, remains deeply worrying.

November 5, 2008

ANH Press Release: European Commission recognises need for amending herbals directive
Irish MEP Marian Harkin, together with a delegation from the Alliance for Natural Health (ANH) and the Irish Association of Health Stores (IAHS), met with senior European Commission officials yesterday to express concerns over the threat to a diverse range of traditional medicinal cultures posed by a key European directive. The delegation claimed that the European Directive on herbal medicines (Directive 2004/24/EC), which is due to come fully into force in April 2011, will not adequately cater for many products associated with both western and non-western herbal and natural medicine traditions.
Read press release on the website of the Alliance for Natural Health (ANH) (UK)

November 4, 2008

Labour’s Silence Is Deafening - Eroding Trust
Prime Minister Helen Clark announced to a group of Hamilton Students that “we will push ahead with this Bill (The Anti-Vitamin Bill). We need a trans-Tasman regulator. We intend to proceed ” but has remained deafeningly silent to the media, considering this was a favourite Bill of the Government who failed to get numbers for its passing at second reading. “This Bill has been unpopular from it’s inception with the majority of New Zealanders, political parties and select committees opposing it. The Prime Minister’s party is campaigning on trust this election yet has omitted to make a clear stand on what has been one of the party’s pet Bills over the past 9 years. One has to ask what is going on in the background and can we really trust her government on this issue?” Nicola Grace spokeswoman for Health Freedom NZ says.
Read press release on the Health Freedom New Zealand website
Comment: Health Freedom New Zealand (HFNZ) is a non-partisan, non-profit, consumer health rights advocacy and action group dedicated to reinstating, protecting and defending the rights of consumers in New Zealand to make their own health decisions. To learn more about HFNZ, click here. To make a donation, click here.

November 2, 2008

CRN Sticks It to the Industry!
At today’s meeting of a Physical Working Group of Codex delegates in Cape Town, South Africa, the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN) managed – in just a few short minutes’ time – to transform a relatively innocuous Codex paragraph into one that could badly harm the health-food industry. How did this happen when CRN is supposed to be representing the best interests of its own health-food industry members, who pay large sums of money to CRN to protect their interests?
Read press release on the website of the National Health Federation (USA)

October 31, 2008

Low vitamin D common in kids with cystic fibrosis
Vitamin D deficiency is prevalent in children with cystic fibrosis (CF) and current treatment recommendations for correcting the deficiency are "inadequate," conclude clinicians from The Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions in Baltimore, Maryland.
Read news report at reuters.com
Comment: The Hopkins team found that 50,000 IU per week of ergocalciferol (a form of vitamin D) for 8 weeks was effective in restoring healthy vitamin D levels in only 33 percent of the children with vitamin D deficiency, while increasing the dose to twice a week was effective in only 26 percent of children. Delivering the same dose 3 times a week corrected the deficiency in just 43 percent of children. As a result of the findings, Johns Hopkins has amended its treatment protocol and now treats both adult and pediatric CF patients who have vitamin D deficiency with 50,000 IU ergocalciferol everyday for 4 weeks.

October 29, 2008

Brazil secretly attempting to sink its natural products industry
It is increasingly looking like the Brazilian government's current attempt to medicalise natural products could be one of the most damaging regulatory changes for a natural products industry to occur in any country. To some, the strength of the Brazilian pharmaceutical industry, and Brazil's incredibly rich natural product heritage, especially linked to the rainforests, makes Brazil an ideal target for hugely draconian legislation. The proposed changes, unless stopped, will put the control of natural products ultimately in the hands of the pharmaceutical industry.
Read article on the website of the Alliance for Natural Health (ANH) (UK)
Comment: At the meeting of the Codex Committee on Nutrition and Foods for Special Dietary Uses (CCNFSDU) that took place in Bonn, Germany, in November 2003, the Brazilian delegation’s official policy position was that “The maximum level of each vitamin and/or mineral contained in a vitamin and mineral supplement per daily portion of consumption as suggested by the manufacturer should not exceed 100% of the recommended daily intake”. Moreover, the Brazilian delegation repeatedly stressed its opposition to a “without-control-consumption” by consumers and stated that “there are no benefit evidences by ingesting over what is recommended”. Clearly therefore, based upon this latest development, it would appear that Brazil’s position – unscientific and irrational though it is - remains essentially unchanged.

October 28, 2008

Raw broccoli best for anti-cancer potential: study
Consuming cooked or processed broccoli may result in less of the potential anti-cancer compounds being available for absorption, suggests a new study from TNO Quality of Life. Consumption of the cooked vegetable led to lower levels of a compound called sulforaphane being measured in the blood and urine, compared to consuming raw broccoli, according to findings published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. The bioavailability of sulforaphane was calculated to be 37 per cent from the raw vegetable, and only 3.4 per cent from cooked broccoli, reported Martijn Vermeulen and co-workers from TNO Quality of Life.
Read article at nutraingredients.com

October 28, 2008

Omega-3 needs of pre-term infants higher than thought: study
The requirements of the omega-3 fatty acid DHA may be higher for pre-terms infants than previously thought, according to a new study from Australia. The optimal dose of DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) to ensure correct visual development and clarity was one gram – over double that commonly used currently - according to results of a double-blind randomised controlled trial. Writing in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Lisa Smithers and co-workers from the University of Adelaide report that it is known that the visual outcomes of preterm infants are improved when fed a formula containing between 0.2 and 0.4 per cent (DHA) compared with no supplementation with DHA
Read article at nutraingredients.com

October 27, 2008

ANH calls for new paradigm in healthcare
Dr Robert Verkerk, ANH's scientific and executive director, addressed a large audience at the CAM Expo, London, on October 25 2008, explaining the need for a new paradigm in healthcare. The paradigm, he said, should be based around the ecological and economic principles of sustainability.
Read article on the website of the Alliance for Natural Health (ANH) (UK)

October 22, 2008

The Full Monty on Food
The paradigm of food security has shifted back to self-sufficiency and local food production; celebrated organic gardener Monty Don says we must grow our own food to save us from the global economic and food crisis that no governments can fix.
Read article on the Institute of Science in Society (ISIS) website (UK)

October 22, 2008

Organic farming 'could feed Africa'
Traditional practices increase yield by 128 per cent in east Africa, says UN
Organic farming offers Africa the best chance of breaking the cycle of poverty and malnutrition it has been locked in for decades, according to a major study from the United Nations to be presented today. New evidence suggests that organic practices – derided by some as a Western lifestyle fad – are delivering sharp increases in yields, improvements in the soil and a boost in the income of Africa's small farmers who remain among the poorest people on earth. The head of the UN's Environment Programme, Achim Steiner, said the report "indicates that the potential contribution of organic farming to feeding the world maybe far higher than many had supposed".
Read article in The Independent (UK)

October 22, 2008

A real discussion about healthcare reform isn’t going to take place until natural health is included as part of the discussion. And natural health has got to be a major part of the discussion at that, rather than referred to as a marginalized “alternative.” All the information we see today about natural health – wellness & lifestyle practices, dietary supplements and autonomous healing methods - is just the beginning.
Read article on the Citizens for Health website (USA)

October 19, 2008

Think tank: Toothless policy on fluoride
MEP says additive in our water is a menace
Every day, Irish sanitary authorities add hexafluorosilicic acid to public water supplies under the terms of the 1960 Fluoridation Act. Unlike the naturally occurring, poorly absorbed and therefore safer calcium fluoride found in toothpaste and mouthwash, hexafluorosilicic acid is an industrial waste by-product which is an active and highly absorbed molecule when swallowed. Over a lifetime of drinking small quantities of this fluoride, substantial amounts accumulate in the body, especially in hard tissue such as teeth and bone.
Read article by Kathy Sinnott, MEP, in The Times (UK)

October 16, 2008

Bipolar Kids Need Nutrition, Not Junk Food and More Drugs
The NY Times Magazine's cover story, "The Bipolar Kid" (September 14, 2008), is a very bleak article. While emphasizing the miseries of living with such a child, Jennifer Egan's article offers little hope except for ever-increasing doses of lithium. Long on discussions of definitions and diagnoses, it is remarkably short on treatment alternatives. Not a word about diet. Not a word about vitamins. Indeed, in this 9,500 word feature, describing the daily life of an out-of-control, beyond-ADHD boy, the word "nutrition" is not mentioned at all.
Read news release from the Orthomolecular Medicine News Service at orthomolecular.org

October 15, 2008

Highest ever levels of pesticides in foods
Fruits, vegetables and cereals sold throughout the European Union contain record levels of pesticides – according to an official report to be published later this month. Almost half of fruits, vegetables and cereals are now contaminated with pesticides – a substantial increase on the level seen just 5 years ago. Five of the pesticides most common in the food chain are classified as carcinogenic, mutagenic, or disruptive to the hormonal system. The findings come just days before politicians in Brussels are set to debate new EU pesticide legislation – including a proposal to eliminate the most hazardous pesticides from use in food production. But despite evidence of widespread food contamination, efforts to reduce dietary exposure to hazardous pesticides are being fiercely contested by the pesticides industry. ‘These are the worst pesticide results we’ve ever seen’, said Elliott Cannell, Coordinator of PAN Europe. ‘A record proportion of fruits and vegetables are contaminated, while 23 pesticides were detected at levels high enough to present an acute risk to public health – according to the EU’s own risk calculations.’
Read article on the Pesticide Action Network Europe website

October 15, 2008

Blocking vitamin K can harm kids' bone health: Study
Blocking vitamin K activity in the body via the use of anticoagulants can have a detrimental effect on bone health in children, according to researchers. They found children who took anticoagulants long-term for thromboembolic events could inhibit vitamin K recycling, disturbing the equilibrium between bone formation and resorption.
Read article at nutraingredients.com

October 14, 2008

Pediatricians group doubles recommended vitamin D dose for children
New guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics call for 400 international units a day, beginning in the first few days of life, for lasting health benefits.
CHICAGO -- The American Academy of Pediatrics has doubled its recommendation for children's daily dose of vitamin D in the hopes of preventing rickets and reaping other health benefits, the group said Monday. "We are doubling the recommended amount of vitamin D children need each day because evidence has shown this could have lifelong health benefits," said Dr. Frank Greer of the American Academy of Pediatrics, which released the new recommendations at a meeting in Boston. The new guidelines from the nation's leading group of pediatricians call for children to receive 400 international units of vitamin D per day, beginning in the first few days of life.
Read article in the Los Angeles Times (USA)

October 13, 2008

Lack Of Vitamin D Linked To Parkinson's Disease
A majority of Parkinson's disease patients had insufficient levels of vitamin D in a new study from Emory University School of Medicine. The fraction of Parkinson's patients with vitamin D insufficiency, 55 percent, was significantly more than patients with Alzheimer's disease (41 percent) or healthy elderly people (36 percent). The finding adds to evidence that low vitamin D is associated with Parkinson's, says first author Marian Evatt, MD, assistant professor of neurology at Emory.
Read article at sciencedaily.com

October 10, 2008

Freedom of Choice in Health Care and Truman Tuck files an updated lawsuit against Stephen Harper, Tony Clement and others
Stephen Harper, Tony Clement and others are named Defendants in a civil action filed in the Superior Court of Ontario as Court File No. CV-08-0296-00. The Plaintiffs are Freedom of Choice in Health Care Inc and Trueman Tuck and the Statement of Claim was filed in Belleville on Friday October 10th 2008. The lawsuit is a continuation of the massive grassroots' uprising that occurred as a direct result of Harper's and Clement's introduction of Bills C-51 and C-52 in April 2008 and the Conservative Party of Canada's ongoing broken promises made to the Health Freedom Movement with regards to the Liberal's July 1st 1997 and January 1st 2004 ongoing initiatives. The Plaintiffs seek a declaration that the Natural Health Products Regulations, SOR/2003-196 are invalid as they have not been approved by the Joint Parliament and Senate Subcommittee on Agenda and Procedure pursuant to the Statutory Instruments Act, R.S. 1985 c. s-22, and cannot be because of the jurisdictional and authority issues raised since 1997 by the Plaintiffs.
Read news story at canadianbusiness.com (Canada)

October 9, 2008

FDA Claims "Food Supplement" Deaths; Hides Details from the Public
"Dietary supplements cause 600 'adverse events'", reported USA Today on 22 Sept, 2008. In an article that looks much like an official US Food and Drug Administration press release, it said that "Serious side effects from the use of food supplements resulted in 604 "adverse-event" reports - a list that includes at least five deaths - through the first six months that such accounts have been required by law." Good grief! Looks like all those supplement-popping health nuts really are nuts after all. Food supplements simply must be dangerous! Or are they? Later on in the article, far from the headline, USA Today conceded that "An adverse event can be anything from a concern that a supplement isn't working to a serious illness that follows consumption." And, FDA spokesman Michael Herndon admitted that of the five deaths and 85 hospitalizations reported, "Some of these deaths were likely due to underlying medical conditions." FDA's method of gaining data is suspect at best and biased at worst.
Read news release from the Orthomolecular Medicine News Service at orthomolecular.org

October 7, 2008

Chemotherapy Doesn't Work, So Blame Vitamin C
When Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center announces that vitamin C may interfere with chemotherapy, the news media trumpet it far and wide. But before cancer patients throw away their vitamin C supplements, they need to know rest of the story. Most of the media dutifully reported the researchers' claim that the equivalent of 2,000 mg of vitamin C "blunted the effectiveness of the chemotherapy drugs." But only some of the media included a study author's incredible statement that "If you take an oral dose even as low as 100 milligrams a day" even "that could be harmful" during chemotherapy. 100 mg "could be harmful"? That's the amount of vitamin C in a few glasses of orange juice.
Read news release from the Orthomolecular Medicine News Service at orthomolecular.org

October 1, 2008

France set to liberate herbal products
France has taken a step to liberalise its highly restrictive herbal regulations by issuing two national decrees that should allow for greater access to botanical supplements. One of the decrees will provide a distribution benefit by allowing a broad range of botanicals to be sold in non-pharmacy outlets such as supermarkets and health food stores for the first time. The other recognises that botanical products have a somewhat unique status and can be sold as both food supplements and medicines. Until now almost all botanical products except basic ‘spice rack’ herbs and a few others could only be sold in France as medicines in pharmacies.
Read article at nutraingredients.com

September 30, 2008

Most Cancer Patients Eating Wrong
Hot Dogs Promote Cancer; Vitamins Prevent Cancer
75% of all Americans do not even eat five servings a day of fruits or vegetables. That is bad enough. It is even worse with cancer patients. A study of over 9,000 survivors of six different types of cancer showed that only 15% to 19% were meeting the "5-A-Day" recommendation. That means that 81% to 85% were not. The researchers commented that these findings indicate that even a cancer diagnosis may fail to improve fruit and vegetable consumption. Better nutrition helps cancer patients live longer. This may seem too obvious to state, but its significance is still hidden from the people who most need to know it: the cancer patients themselves. Another study found that "The majority of new patients with cancer presenting to a medical oncologist are at risk of malnutrition or malnourished." Specifically, 66% of patients were either at risk for malnutrition or malnourished. In other words, two out of three new cancer patients are eating wrong. Perhaps very wrong. The best solution is prevention, and prevention has to start long before cancer.
Read press release from the Orthomolecular Medicine News Service at orthomolecular.org

September 29, 2008

Soil Association urges ban on pesticides to halt bee deaths
The Soil Association has urged the government to ban pesticides linked to honeybee deaths around the world. The chemicals are widely used in UK agriculture but have been banned as a precaution in four other European countries. Last week the Italian government issued an immediate suspension after it accepted that the pesticides were implicated in killing honeybees, joining France, Germany and Slovenia.
Read article in the Guardian (UK)
Comment: Germany suspended sales of the pesticides in May of this year after 700 beekeepers along the Rhine reported that two-thirds of their bees had died following the application of clothianidin. In France, imidacloprid has been banned on sunflowers since 1999 and as a sweetcorn treatment since 2003, after a third of honeybees were wiped out. Imidacloprid and clothianidin are produced by a division of the chemical manufacturer Bayer.

September 28, 2008

Return to the Good Life is the solution to the food crisis
People should dig up their gardens and start growing their own fruit and vegetables in the face of a looming world food crisis, according to the man who coined the phrase 'food miles'. Tim Lang, professor of food policy at City University, urged people to follow the example of the 1970s sitcom The Good Life starring Felicity Kendal and Richard Briers, by cultivating their own food in their back gardens or in allotments. Prof Lang, who advises the Government on the crisis, said that people who relied on the large supermarkets for their food did so at their peril.
Read article in the Daily Telegraph (UK)

September 23, 2008

Study finds antioxidant deficiency linked to pulmonary hypertension
A recent study shows that a loss of antioxidants in the endothelial cells that line blood vessels in the lungs contributes to the loss of vasodilator effects and, ultimately, to the development of pulmonary hypertension.
Read article at physorg.com

September 23, 2008

ANH participates in emergency task force amidst international natural health crisis
Scientific and Legal Emergency Response Task Force Established to Address International Natural Health Crisis
Toronto, Canada – On the heels of the recent attempts to severely restrict and further regulate natural supplements and remedies through legislative Bill C-51 in Canada, the increased concerns regarding the US Food and Drug Administration’s revisions of the cGMP (Current Good Manufacturing Practices regulations) and ongoing concerns over the severely restrictive European regulatory regime on natural health products, an unprecedented two-day conference concluded last Friday with the formation of an international scientific and legal task force. The mandate given to the task force was to intervene strategically to preserve the public’s right and access to natural health, including vitamin and mineral supplements, traditional herbal medicines and the healing arts.
Read press release on the Alliance for Natural Health (ANH) website (UK)

September 22, 2008

Vitamin D deficiency link to multiple sclerosis in children
Compelling evidence that children with early symptoms of multiple sclerosis have low levels of vitamin D has emerged from a study by scientists in Canada. The study of children suffering the first occurrence of the disease - often eye or sight problems - has found that those with insufficient amounts of the vitamin are far more likely to develop a full-blown case of MS than those who have normal levels.
Read article in The Times (UK)

September 19, 2008

Charges against Pan's Selim dropped
THE Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions has dropped four criminal charges against former alternative medicine tycoon Jim Selim. Mr Selim, the founder of Pan Pharmaceuticals, had been charged with failing to disclose material information relating to four separate board meetings. Last month, Mr Selim won a $55 million compensation payment from the Federal Government over the collapse of his company. Pan Pharmaceuticals went into liquidation in 2005 after a decision in 2003 by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) to suspend its licence and withdraw 219 of its products. Outside the court, Mr Selim said he felt vindicated by today's decision and he would push ahead with preparations for a $200 million class action against the TGA over the collapse of the company in 2003.
Read article at news.com.au (Australia)
Comment: To learn the full story behind what was arguably the largest, quickest and most comprehensive recall of health care products in world history, read Eve Hillary’s in-depth article.

September 18, 2008

Four out of five physicians recommend supplements: CRN poll
The dietary supplements industry has been boosted by a Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN) survey results that show 79 per cent of physicians and health care professionals recommend dietary supplements to their patients. Bone, joint and heart health are among the main health conditions for which US health professionals recommend dietary supplements to patients. Maintaining overall health and wellness and a healthy cholesterol level also figured highly in the survey that polled around 900 physicians and 300 registered nurses and nurse practitioners.
Read article at nutraingredients-usa.com
Comment: Just as significantly, the survey also found that 72 percent of the 900 U.S. physicians polled use dietary supplements themselves.

September 15, 2008

Poor health 'due to wet climate'
Scotland's poor health record could be directly linked to a lack of sunshine, a scientist has said. Dr Oliver Gillie linked the "extreme" weather to vitamin D deficiency, which is caused by low exposure to sunlight. He has called for "urgent" government action to encourage people to take a daily dose of vitamin D to help tackle diseases such as cancer and MS. Scotland's chief medical officer said the Scottish Government was already considering the evidence on vitamin D.
Read article at BBC News (UK)

September 15, 2008

Britons missing 'five-a-day' fruit and veg target, study claims
British people are failing to eat the recommended five portions of fruit and vegetables per day, new research shows.
According to a study of the consumer habits of the nation, just 12 per cent of the population manages to hit the target recommended by experts. A further 12 per cent do not eat any fruit and vegetables at all, the research found.
Read article in the Daily Telegraph (UK)

September 9, 2008

Prisoners given supplements in new trial
An Oxford University study being conducted in three UK prisons is investigating the link between nutrition and behaviour. It follows a 2002 UK trial that found consumption of food supplements could reduce anti-social behaviour in teenagers as well as 30 years inquiry into the subject by one of the lead researchers, professor Alexander Schauss, PhD, FACN, senior director of natural and medicinal products research at natural products consultancy, AIBMR Life Sciences. Schauss noted more than 20 controlled clinical trials carried out in state and county juvenile and adult institutions confirmed that diet could be used to reduce the incidence of antisocial behavior by up to 60 percent.
Read article at nutraingredients.com

September 8, 2008

Manto: children need vitamin A
Health Minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang called on parents and caregivers on Monday to take children to public health facilities for vitamin A drops. Children aged between one and five years were at risk of suffering from vitamin A deficiency, Tshabalala-Msimang said at the launch of a National Vitamin A campaign at the Dumane Clinic in Vosloorus. She said a 2005 National Food Consumption Survey revealed that vitamin and mineral deficiency still existed in the country.
Read article on the Independent Online website (South Africa)

September 3, 2008

MEP Sinnott calls on the Irish Government to amend EIA laws
Kathy Sinnott, MEP for Ireland South and Member of the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety Committee, and Dr Vyvyan Howard recently met with the European Commission's Public Health and Consumer Protection directorate on the dangers to human health posed by water fluoridation in Ireland.
Read article in Waterford Today (Ireland)
Comment: Kathy, who is hosting MEP to two petitions on fluoridation and Vice President of the Petitions Committee, said: "Over the last 20 years the Chinese have done extensive research on the effects of fluoride on brain development in children. Those studies which are already accessible to us in English, should cause us to be very concerned that public water supplies in Ireland are deliberately fluoridated for the simple reason that this fluoridated water may be affecting expectant mothers here."

September 2, 2008

The FDA and Vitamin B-6
In recent issues, we have told you about Medicure Pharma's so-called Citizens Petition to the FDA to ban any dietary supplements containing the natural and active form of vitamin B-6 called pyridoxal 5'-phosphate (P5P). A reader has asked: what is the difference between pyridoxine, the most common form of B-6, and P5P? Most supplements contain synthetic pyridoxine. Synthetic pyridoxine won't be banned -- why worry? Good questions! The short answer: we can't live without the P5P form. P5P is the active as well as natural form of B-6. Our lives absolutely depend on it.
Read article on the American Association for Health Freedom (AAHF) website
Comment: If you live in the USA, please write to the FDA and Congress to insist that the FDA says no to Medicure Pharma's outrageous demand to ban P5P, the natural and active form of vitamin B6.

September 1, 2008

Africa urged to protect traditional medicines
Health Minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang has called for greater protection of the intellectual rights of Africa's traditional medicines. She was speaking at the 6th commemoration of The African Traditional Medicine Day in Cameroon's capital of Yaounde yesterday. Tshabalala-Msimang says the continent should benefit more from this ancient traditional knowledge. More than 80% of the African population make use of medicines like these.
Read article at sabcnews.com (South Africa)

August 29, 2008

UK group formed to defend ‘divine weed’ from THMPD
A group has been formed in the UK to pressure regulators into “lightening” the impact of the Traditional Herbal Medicinal Products Directive (THMPD) which requires all herbal medicines within the European Union to attain THMPD registrations before 2011. The group, called Herba Sacra (Latin for ‘divine weed’), argues that while herbal products should be able to demonstrate their safety like any other product legally available for public purchase, the THMPD is “excessive and disproportionate” and should be amended. Herba Sacra, which is backed by a number of supplements manufacturers including G&G Vitamins, Viridian Nutrition, Pukka Herbs, the UK lobby group, Consumers for Health Choice, as well as the UK National Association of Health Stores, is calling for an extension of the 2011 registration deadline. It also seeks an easing of the pharmaceutical-style testing requirements it says are inappropriate for herbal products and financially prohibitive.
Read article at nutraingredients.com
Comment: In our opinion, this is a classic case of too little, too late. As such, whilst we obviously wish Herba Sacra the very best of luck in its endeavours, we find it a real shame that its members didn’t listen to those of us who were expressing these very same concerns way back in 2002 when the THMPD was first under consideration in the European Parliament. Had they listened, and engaged more fully in these issues instead of waiting until now, many more herbs might have been saved from being banned by the EU than is now likely to be the case.

August 28, 2008

Africa to commemorate African Traditional Medicines Day
Cameroon - Health Minister Dr Manto Tshabalala-Msimang is expected to attend the sixth commemoration of the African Traditional Medicine Day in Cameroon on Sunday. African Traditional Medicine Day is celebrated on 31 August every year to promote the use of traditional medicine in everyday health care.
Read article at BuaNews Online (South Africa)

August 27, 2008

Study Finds Postmenopausal Women Still at Risk for Calcium and Vitamin D Deficiency
Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the human body, contributing to muscle contraction, the secretion of hormones and enzymes, and colon cell health, helping control blood sugar and blood pressure and even helping recovery from thyroid surgery. However, the most well-known role for calcium is for bone health, since 99% of all the calcium in the body resides in the skeleton. But despite these known health benefits of calcium, particularly for bone health, a new study has found that most postmenopausal women are still at risk for both calcium and vitamin D deficiency.
Read article on the Natural Health Research Institute website (USA)

August 24, 2008

Vitamin deficiency affecting millions worldwide
Millions of people have been suffering from various diseases like anaemia, cretinism, blindness, and goitre worldwide for decades due to deficiency of vitamins and minerals (VM deficiency). This proves the true significance of these ingredients in our daily intakes.
Read article at gorkhapatra.org.np (Nepal)

August 23, 2008

Govt may face class action over Pan collapse
A natural health care consultant says at least 100 people have expressed interest in suing the Commonwealth Government for compensation over the collapse of Pan Pharmaceuticals. Earlier this month, the Government agreed to settle with Pan's former head Jim Selim. Mr Selim claimed that the Therapeutic Goods Administration acted vindictively in the 2003 recall of hundreds of complementary medicine products and the removal of Pan's manufacturing licence.
Read article at ABC News (Australia)

August 22, 2008

Hands up! Back slowly away from the vitamins!
Feds crack down on reports of natural remedy healings
The Goliath-sized Federal Trade Commission and U.S. Food and Drug Administration have launched an attack on a small radio program and its accompanying website for recommending natural remedies to health problems, but in this case, David is fighting back. Daniel Chapter One, a national Christian radio program and natural healing ministry, told WND today it may end up going to court against the FTC and FDA over the agencies' attempts to censor the information the ministry releases regarding "natural alternatives" to chemical and drug medications.
Read article at worldnetdaily.com

August 20, 2008

Vitamin D deficiency increases hip fracture risk: researchers
US researchers have concluded lower blood concentrations of vitamin D increase the likelihood of hip fracture among menopausal women by up to 70 per cent.
Read article at nutraingredients.com

August 20, 2008

Drug body's bitter pill
IN late April 2003, days after the Therapeutic Goods Administration ordered the world's biggest recall of complementary medicines, consumers were busily throwing out their bottles of Pan Pharmaceuticals' vitamins and packets of pain relievers and pharmacists were clearing their shelves. Pan products could not be trusted, the TGA warned; test results had been manipulated and manufacturing processes were not up to scratch. But in New Zealand, Europe and the US, regulatory bodies were perplexed. The TGA had issued a red alert, informing its international counterparts of the risk of Pan products. Except that many of those countries did not think there was sufficient evidence to recall Pan's products and, as it turned out, not one European country or the US withdrew Pan's products from sale.
Read article in The Australian

August 19, 2008

Annette King Called Upon to Resign Immediately
In 2003 the then Health Minister Annette King ordered a class 1 recall (death eminent) of all Pan Pharmaceuticals natural products in alignment with the Australian TGA recall. This recall, instantly recognised as illegal by industry, has now been confirmed as illegal by the NSW Supreme Court in Australia in a court case between Jim Selim, the owner of Pan Pharmaceuticals and the TGA. Jim Selim then sued the TGA for $141 million dollars according to the documents lodged at the Federal Court. Friday 18th of August the ‘Australian’ reported that Selim was awarded $55 million in damages, a figure the Australian taxpayer will have to pay. The Australian Government does not plan to investigate the TGA’s illegal behaviour despite demands for an inquiry. A class action suit against the TGA involving some 100 businesses that went under because of this recall, is likely to ensue and the ticket may just include Minister Annette King. “We are glad for the New Zealand taxpayers and natural product users that we were able to halt our Government’s plans to allow our regulator to be absorbed into this unaccountable and out of control agency. The fact that the TGA is able to emerge unscathed without even an inquiry after their malfeasance, which has landed the Australian taxpayers with a $55 million dollar penalty, speaks volumes to the ‘sacred cow’ status it enjoys. One has to ask why the Australian Government is happy to give away $55 million dollars without asking why,” says Health Freedom spokesperson Nicola Grace.
Read press release on the Health Freedom New Zealand website
Comment: Health Freedom New Zealand (HFNZ) is a non-partisan, non-profit, consumer health rights advocacy and action group dedicated to reinstating, protecting and defending the rights of consumers in New Zealand to make their own health decisions. To learn more about HFNZ, click here. To make a donation, click here.

August 15, 2008

Pan chief's $50m settlement
JIM SELIM, the founder of Pan Pharmaceuticals, who yesterday settled his court case against the Federal Government for $50 million, wants a public inquiry into the withdrawal of Pan's licence by the Therapeutic Goods Administration in April 2003. The complementary medicines manufacturer went into liquidation after the TGA's decision, four months after concerns that its anti-travel sickness drug Travacalm had caused hallucinations in some people. The case had alleged the TGA abused its power in withdrawing Pan's licence, and misled the company and the Government about its plans and the dangers to the public.
Read article in the Canberra Times (Australia)
Comment: Many commentators believe that the real reason why Jim Selim’s company had its license withdrawn was because it supplied around 75% of Australia’s complementary healthcare products such as nutritional supplements in the form of vitamins, minerals, omega oils, and herbal products. To learn the full story behind what was arguably the largest, quickest and most comprehensive recall of health care products in world history, read Eve Hillary’s in-depth article.

August 12, 2008

Push to Amend the FDA Globalization Act Now
Dietary supplements and most nutritional foods are currently regulated under the provisions of the Dietary Supplement Health and Education (DSHEA) law. As proposed, the Globalization bill would eliminate the distinction from conventional food products. If treated as conventional foods, for example, every time a small supplement or nutritional food manufacturer changed or added a new ingredient, they would be required to get advanced FDA approval under the New Dietary Ingredient regulations applying to conventional food products, as opposed to the less-regulated DSHEA provisions.
Read press release on the National Health Federation (NHF) website (USA)

August 11, 2008

Pain 'linked with low vitamin D'
Low levels of the sunshine vitamin, vitamin D, may contribute to chronic pain among women, scientists believe.
Read article on the BBC News website (UK)

August 11, 2008

Lack of vitamin D linked to higher death risk: study
Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to 26 percent greater risk of death in men and women, according to a study published Monday that appears to confirm the importance of this essential nutrient. Researchers from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, in Baltimore, Maryland, studied 13,000 initially healthy men and women from 1994 to 2000, comparing the mortality rate between those with low and normal levels of vitamin D in the blood. They found that of the 1,800 people who died by December 31, 2000 -- 700 from cardiovascular diseases -- 400 were deficient in vitamin D, which translated to a 26 percent increased risk of death.
Read AFP news report at google.com

August 8, 2008

Codex Alimentarius: Globalizing Food
Codex Alimentarius, according to its website, was created in 1963 by the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO) to develop food standards, guidelines and related texts such as codes of practice under the Joint FAO/WHO Food Standards Program. The stated purposes of this Program are protecting the health of consumers, ensuring fair trade practices and promoting coordination of food standards. At first sight, that seems a worthwhile goal. Unfortunately, the nice words hide a more sinister reality.
Read article by Sepp Hasslberger on the Health Supreme website

August 7, 2008

The real story of vitamin C and cancer
What was all the fuss about?
Tuesday 5th August saw worldwide media headlines claiming that intravenous vitamin C is the new wonder drug for destroying cancer cells. Exciting stuff and hopeful too for the millions of cancer sufferers out there, but is it new and is it the full story?  We would have to say no to both questions.
Read article by Dr Steve Hickey and Dr Hiliary Roberts on the Alliance for Natural Health (ANH) website (UK)

August 1, 2008

NHS spends £750m on drugs to treat lifestyle diseases: official figures
The NHS is spending more than £750m on drugs to treat conditions brought on by unhealthy lifestyles, official figures show. Prescriptions for drugs to combat obesity, diabetes, alcoholism and smoking have all increased. For the first time ever, more money is being spent on treating diabetes than any other single disease. It is now one of the biggest health problems facing the UK as increasing obesity levels have caused an explosion in the type 2 form of the disease.
Read article in the Daily Telegraph (UK)

July 28, 2008

Organic food 'good for you' says EU
The European Commission has launched a campaign to inform consumers of the benefits of organic food and support those involved in the ever-growing organic market. The promotional campaign focuses on increasing awareness of organic produce among young people to ensure a future market for organic, under its main slogan: "Organic farming: Good for nature, good for you." Professionals in the industry can use the slogans for marketing purposes. But despite undertones that imply health benefits from organic produce, the European Commission is denying its support for organic farming over conventional, saying is merely seeking to help the organic sector.
Read article at foodnavigator.com
Comment: The European Union is well known to have been designed to protect patents and corporate control – not the health and interests of its citizens. So could the launch of this campaign signal that it is finally beginning to pay proper attention to the health and interests of its citizens? Or will the interests of multi-billion euro European corporations and their patents on health-endangering products such as GMO seeds, pharmaceutical drugs, artificial food additives and pesticides remain its primary focus? Only time will tell…

July 25, 2008

California bans restaurants from using trans fats
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - California on Friday became the first state to ban trans fats from restaurant food, following several cities and major fast-food chains in erasing the notorious artery-clogger from menus. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed legislation that will ban restaurants and other retail food establishments from using oil, margarine and shortening containing trans fats. In a statement, Schwarzenegger noted that consuming trans fat is linked to coronary heart disease.
Read Associated Press news report at google.com

July 23, 2008

Toxic chemicals found in common scented laundry products, air fresheners
A University of Washington study of top-selling laundry products and air fresheners found the products emitted dozens of different chemicals. All six products tested gave off at least one chemical regulated as toxic or hazardous under federal laws, but none of those chemicals was listed on the product labels.
Read article at physorg.com

July 14, 2008

Natural health industry wins fight against government
Health Minister Tony Clement changes his mind about including alternative products in new legislation
OTTAWA -- In a surprising about-face, Health Minister Tony Clement has agreed to key demands of the natural health products industry after the sector launched a grassroots campaign against restrictions on homeopathic medicines and herbal remedies in new legislation. When Clement proposed amendments to the Food and Drugs Act in April, natural medicines were lumped in with pharmaceutical drugs, raising concerns they would be subject to the same type of oversight. He now admits it was a mistake not to create a separate category under the law.
Read article in The Vancouver Sun (Canada)

July 7, 2008

Health Freedom Calls on Labour to Bury the "Anti-Vitamin" Bill
Health Freedom New Zealand (HFNZ) calls on Labour to do the right thing by the New Zealand voting public and get rid of the Anti-Vitamin Bill (Therapeutic Products and Medicines Bill) from the legislative agenda, thereby removing the threat of untold misery for New Zealand citizens.  "The government needs to admit that the Bill is dead and must be finally buried," says HFNZ spokesperson Nicola Grace. The exceedingly unpopular "Anti-Vitamin Bill" has failed to attain the numbers for parliament support.  It has been rejected by two Health Select Committees, an Administration Select Committee, Maoridom, National, Greens, Maori Party, Act, New Zealand First and independents Taito Phillip Field and Gordon Copeland as well as hundreds of thousands of New Zealand voters. Deplorably, instead of dumping the bill, Labour are claiming the Bill has been "put on hold" until they can coerce voting levels to its favour.  Health Minister, David Cunliffe has confirmed Labour will go ahead with ANZTPA and are currently in negotiations with the Australian Government.
Read press release on the Health Freedom New Zealand website

July 4, 2008

Mother's vitamin D status during pregnancy will affect her baby's dental health
Low maternal vitamin D levels during pregnancy may affect primary tooth calcification, leading to enamel defects, which are a risk factor for early-childhood tooth decay.
Read article at physorg.com

July 1, 2008

ANH and Irish delegation urge European Commission to rethink its policy on natural health
A delegation from the Irish Association of Health Stores (IAHS), the Alliance for Natural Health (ANH) and Irish member of the European Parliament (MEP), Marian Harkin, met with senior European Commission officials yesterday to voice their concerns over the severity of likely imminent restrictions on natural health.
Read full press release on the Alliance for Natural Health (ANH) website (UK)

June 25, 2008

Native Essence Herb Company Sues FTC
TAOS, N.M. -- For the first time, the Federal Trade Commission is being sued over the use of history. A New Mexico herb company says the First Amendment gives it the right to tell customers the historical use of herbs in treating serious diseases. The FTC says this violates its guidelines. Now the issue is headed to court. Native Essence Herb Company, and its owners Mark and Marianne Hershiser, has sued to strike down the FTC's guidelines.
Read article on the BNET website

June 25, 2008

Canadian's beat Bill C-51 – but watch the back door!
Around a million Canadians made their feelings known about Bill C-51, an amendment introduced by the Harper government to the Canadian Food & Drugs Act. The mass opposition to this Bill forced the Canadian Parliament to call off the second reading last Friday. The Bill, having been successfully through first reading on 8 April 2008, is now dead.
Read article on the Alliance for Natural Health (ANH) website (UK)

June 23, 2008

Study shows more benefits of sunshine vitamin
People with a vitamin D deficiency are as much as twice as likely to die compared to people whose blood contains higher amounts of the so-called sunshine vitamin, Austrian researchers said on Monday. Their study -- the latest to suggest a health benefit from the vitamin -- showed death rates from any cause as well as from heart-related problems varied greatly depending on vitamin D.
Read news report at reuters.com

June 18, 2008

Calls to copy as island stops fluoride plan
HAMPSHIRE campaigners have hailed a decision by the Isle of Man government to scrap plans to add fluoride to tap water - and called on the county's health chiefs to follow suit. Manx residents torpedoed the proposals after a poll of 1,000 residents found a majority were opposed. Activists say Southampton health chiefs should back down now before the launch of a £178,000 public consultation in August.
Read article in the Daily Echo (UK)

June 17, 2008

100s of UK herbals face ban as registration deadline looms
Hundreds of botanical products face removal from the UK market if their manufacturers do not submit applications to have them registered under the European Union Traditional Herbal Medicinal Products Directive (THMPD) directive. The British Herbal Medicines Association (BHMA) has urged companies to begin the registration process or allow products to face market extinction come the April 2011 deadline. At that point all herbal products not deemed foodstuffs such as 'spice rack' herbs like garlic or rosemary or, at the other end of spectrum, those that are deemed medicines, must be registered under the THMPD. In the UK, this process is being conducted by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) which has approved 14 applications since 2005 and has another 21 applications in lieu.
Read article at nutraingredients.com
Comment: The high financial cost of preparing the application dossiers required for the registration of herbal medicines under this European Union legislation is clearly now proving to be prohibitive for the vast majority of herbal manufacturers, just as we have always said it would be. Significantly, therefore, of the 14 approvals that have been granted in the UK, half of them have been being handed to a German pharma group-owned company. Unless something changes very soon, therefore, the vast majority of herbal alternatives to the pharmaceutical industry's toxic patented chemical drugs will be banned after April 2011 - not just in the UK, but right across Europe. To find out what you can do to help prevent this happening, click here.

June 16, 2008

Irish health group welcomes 'no' to Lisbon treaty
Ireland's rejection of the European Union Lisbon Treaty has strengthened the resolve of the country's independent health store retailers as well as food supplement manufacturers and wholesalers in their campaign against EU regulations. The Irish Association of Health Stores (IAHS) has for many years been campaigning against what it perceives as "highly restrictive" laws that have been implemented - or are in the process of being implemented - across the 27-member state bloc in regard to food supplement and functional foods.
Read article at nutraingredients.com
Comment: If you live in Europe, click here to sign the European Referendum Initiative petition demanding a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty.

June 15, 2008

Bastyr University's St. John's Wort Article in JAMA: CAM Research Breakthrough Or Big Pharma Sell Out?
The biggest health story in the United States media during the second week of June 2008 involved a major study published June 11, 2008 in the Journal of the American Medical Association - JAMA - one of the most prestigious mainstream medical journals in the world. The study was the subject of hundreds of print articles, television and radio broadcast reports, and Internet items. The title of the Washington Post's article published June 11, 2008 was typical: "St. John's Wort Doesn't Work for ADHD."
Read article by Peter Barry Chowka at google.com
Comment: It is notable that one of the co-authors of this study was Dr. Joseph Biederman, a Harvard child psychiatrist who reportedly earned at least $1.6 million in consulting fees from numerous drug companies from 2000 to 2007 but did not report much of this income to university officials. As Peter Barry Chowka's article describes, this laundry list of Big Pharma financial affiliations by a principal author of an herbal nutritional supplement study should raise major alarms by itself.

June 9, 2008

The Irish Association of Health Stores has announced its opposition to the Lisbon Treaty. Heeding the words of one of the main architects of the Lisbon Treaty, Giscard d'Estaing, that 'If people understood it they would vote against it', the IAHS unanimously agreed to endorse a No vote in Thursday's referendum, following a meeting of its National Council today. "While not against the EU in principle, it is patently clear that Europe has not been good for the natural products industry, or for freedom of choice in healthcare," said Jill Bell, IAHS President. "The Lisbon Treaty seems set to further facilitate erosion of individual rights and choices," she added. "All EU regulations which have affected our industry over the past six years have originated with the Commission itself, rather than with our elected political representatives," said Ms. Bell. "Increasing EU efficiency may mean a more smoothly-run Europe, but at what price?" she asked. The introduction of harmonising measures, such as the Food Supplements Directive and the Traditional Herbal Medicinal Products Directive, is further evidence that, within the EU, trade regulations are drawn up to favour big business, at the expense of small enterprises. These regulations are so onerous, that for the natural products sector, which is made up almost exclusively of small enterprises, compliance presents an almost impossible task. Ms. Bell commented, "Efficiency and democracy are unhappy bedfellows." She continued, "The future viability of health stores is seriously under threat as a direct result of EU regulation which, we are told, is to facilitate the smooth workings of the internal market." Ms. Bell concluded, "The David and Goliath situation within the EU, where the commercial regulatory environment is biased in favour of large corporations, looks set to continue, and even worsen, under this Treaty."
Read press release on the website of the Irish Association of Health Stores (IAHS)

June 9, 2008

Emergency Pesticide Ban for Saving the Honeybee
Prof. Joe Cummins' warning against neonicotinoid pesticides in the killing of honeybees was dramatically confirmed, resulting in swift action on the part of the German Government.
The German Federal Office of Consumer Protection and Food Safety (BVL) suspended the registration of eight neonicotinoid pesticide seed treatment products used in oilseed rape and sweetcorn a few weeks after honeybee keepers in the southern state of Baden Württemberg reported a wave of honeybee deaths linked to one of the pesticides, clothianidin.
Read press release on the website of the Institute of Science in Society (ISIS) (UK)
Comment: Produced by the pharmaceutical and chemical giant Bayer, the incriminating evidence against clothianidin was so convincing that a press release from the Julius Kuehn Institute (JKI), the German federal agricultural research agency, stated: "It can unequivocally be concluded that a poisoning of the bees is due to the rub-off of the pesticide ingredient clothianidin from the corn seeds."

June 6, 2008

Teen Refused Chemo, Beat Cancer With 'Alternative' Therapies
Starchild Abraham Cherrix has plenty of reason to celebrate his 18th birthday Friday. His latest blood results show no indication of the Hodgkin's disease he's battled since 2005, and for the first time in two years he doesn't have to report those results to the Accomack County court. Cherrix won a court battle against state officials who tried to force him to undergo chemotherapy for his lymphatic cancer. He was allowed to treat the disease using alternative therapies, but his family was required to keep the court updated as to his progress.
Read article at foxnews.com (USA)

June 6, 2008

Niacin's cholesterol-lowering mechanism proposed
The cholesterol-lowering effects of niacin may by located in the liver, suggests new research that fills in the gaps in our understanding of the heart healthy benefits of the B vitamin. The cell study indicates that niacin may reduce the removal of HDL 'good' cholesterol by about 35 per cent, according to findings published in the Journal of Lipid Research.
Read article at nutraingredients.com

June 5, 2008

Study links vitamin D, type 1 diabetes
Sun exposure and vitamin D levels may play a strong role in risk of type 1 diabetes in children, according to new findings by researchers at the Moores Cancer Center at University of California, San Diego (UCSD) and the Department of Family and Preventive Medicine. This association comes on the heels of similar research findings by this same group regarding vitamin D levels and several major cancers. In this new study, the researchers found that populations living at or near the equator, where there is abundant sunshine (and ultraviolet B irradiance) have low incidence rates of type 1 diabetes. Conversely, populations at higher latitudes, where available sunlight is scarcer, have higher incidence rates. These findings add new support to the concept of a role of vitamin D in reducing risk of this disease.
Read article at physorg.com

June 4, 2008

Personal Genomes May Lead To Personalized Vitamin Supplements
As the cost of sequencing a single human genome drops rapidly, with one company predicting a price of $100 per person in five years, soon the only reason not to look at your "personal genome" will be fear of what bad news lies in your genes. University of California, Berkeley, scientists, however, have found a welcome reason to delve into your genetic heritage: to find the slight genetic flaws that can be fixed with remedies as simple as vitamin or mineral supplements.
Read article on the Medical News Today website
Comment: The scientists found that there are many genetic differences that make people's enzymes less efficient than normal, and that simple supplementation with vitamins can often restore some of these deficient enzymes to full working order.

June 4, 2008

Brief, intense exercise benefits the heart
Short bursts of high intensity sprints -- known to benefit muscle and improve exercise performance -- can improve the function and structure of blood vessels, in particular arteries that deliver blood to our muscles and heart, according to new research from McMaster University. The findings support the idea that people can exercise using brief, high-intensity forms of exercise and reap the same benefits to cardiovascular health that can be derived from traditional, long-duration and moderately intense exercise.
Read article at physorg.com

June 4, 2008

Long-term pesticide exposure may increase risk of diabetes
Licensed pesticide applicators who used chlorinated pesticides on more than 100 days in their lifetime were at greater risk of diabetes, according to researchers from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The associations between specific pesticides and incident diabetes ranged from a 20 percent to a 200 percent increase in risk, said the scientists with the NIH's National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) and the National Cancer Institute (NCI).
Read article at physorg.com

June 4, 2008

Mercury teeth fillings may harm some: U.S. FDA
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Silver-colored metal dental fillings contain mercury that may cause health problems in pregnant women, children and fetuses, the Food and Drug Administration said on Wednesday after settling a related lawsuit. As part of the settlement with several consumer advocacy groups, the FDA agreed to alert consumers about the potential risks on its website and to issue a more specific rule next year for fillings that contain mercury, FDA spokeswoman Peper Long said. Millions of Americans have the fillings, or amalgams, to patch cavities in their teeth. "Dental amalgams contain mercury, which may have neurotoxic effects on the nervous systems of developing children and fetuses," the FDA said in a notice on its Web site.
Read Reuters news story at yahoo.com
Comment: After decades of denials of the adverse health effects of dental amalgams containing mercury, this admittance by the U.S. FDA of their neurotoxic effects is clearly highly significant. Whilst it is expected that the FDA is not yet likely to outright ban the fillings but will instead call for restrictions upon their use, it would seem reasonable to presume that an eventual outright ban is no longer a matter of "if" but a matter of "when."

June 4, 2008

Emergency Alert: Bill C-51 – Canada
Today, June 4th 2008 Bill C-51 was quietly sneaked onto the Order List for the House of Commons in Ottawa.
Read alert at ymlp.com

June 3, 2008

Supplement breast-fed babies with vitamin D: study
US researchers have found more than 12 per cent of 365 healthy infants and toddlers in the Boston area had vitamin D deficiency, some of which were breast-fed, and recommended supplementation to compensate. Forty per cent of the 8-24 month-old infants had "suboptimal" vitamin D levels - responsible for the onset of conditions like rickets.
Read article at nutraingredients.com

June 3, 2008

Farmers bringing message to the Food Crisis Summit in Rome expelled
"Stop corporate control over food!"
Farmer and civil society leaders carrying out a peaceful action today in Rome, Italy at the FAO Summit on the Food Crisis were forcefully removed from the premises. At around 1:30pm farmers and representatives of civil society organisations staged an action at the press room to deliver a message that millions of additional people are joining the ranks of the hungry as the corporations that control the global food system are making record profits.
Read article at grain.org

June 2, 2008

Low vitamin D levels appear common in healthy children
Many healthy infants and toddlers may have low levels of vitamin D, and about one-third of those appear to have some evidence of reduced bone mineral content on X-rays, according to a report in the June issue of Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine. Reports of a resurgence of vitamin D deficiency and rickets, the resulting bone-weakening disease, have emerged in several states, according to background information in the article. Vitamin D deficiency also appears to be high in other countries, including Greece, China, Canada and England.
Read article at physorg.com

June 2, 2008

First study to examine vitamin D insufficiency in pediatric patients with low bone density
Vitamin D insufficiency is common in adults and is emerging in the world of pediatrics. A mild degree of vitamin D deficiency, also known as vitamin D insufficiency, causes rickets in children and can be treated with increased amount of nutritional vitamin D intake as well as increased sun exposure. A new study conducted by physicians and researchers at Nationwide Children's Hospital, is the first study to investigate vitamin D insufficiency in pediatric patients with low bone density. According to the study, published in the June issue of Pediatrics, among the 85 patients studied, 80 percent had a vitamin D insufficiency.
Read article at physorg.com

May 30, 2008

Copenhagen Consensus 2008
The world's best investment: Vitamins for undernourished children, according to top economists, including 5 Nobel Laureates.
Over two years, more than 50 economists have worked to find the best solutions to ten of the world's biggest challenges. During the last week of May, an expert panel of 8 top-economists, including 5 Nobel Laureates, sat down to assess the research. The result: A prioritized list highlighting the potential of 30 specific solutions to combat some of the biggest challenges facing the world. Combating malnutrition in the 140 million children who are undernourished reached the number one spot, after economist Sue Horton of Wilfrid Laurier University in Canada made her case to the expert panel. Providing micronutrients for 80% of the 140 million children who lack essential vitamins in the form of vitamin A capsules and a course of zinc supplements would cost just $60 million per year, according to the analysis. More importantly, this action holds yearly benefits of more than $1 billion. In effect, this means that each dollar spent on this program creates benefits (in the form of better health, fewer deaths, increased future earnings, etc) worth more than 17 dollars.
Learn more at copenhagenconsensus.com

May 30, 2008

British Cabinet had warning of cancer-smoking link
The British Cabinet discussed the early warnings about a link between smoking and lung cancer more than 50 years ago, but viewed the threat as minor and did little for fear of losing tax revenue, according to documents released Friday. The grim portrait is drawn from previously secret reports of an April 19, 1956, Cabinet meeting.
Read article at physorg.com
Comment: Evidence that public health care decisions are often driven by money rather than by the health needs of the people. Yet another example of the business with disease.

May 28, 2008

Vitamin D levels should be multiplied by ten for children: study
Raising current vitamin D levels from 200 International Units (IU) to 2,000 IU could boost bone health amongst children and have long-term health benefits, says new research. Only children given the equivalent of 2,000 IUs a day of vitamin D3 increased their blood levels of the vitamin to the level considered optimal for adults, according to results of a placebo-controlled study to be published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism. "Our research reveals that vitamin D, at doses equivalent to 2,000 IUs a day, is not only safe for adolescents, but it is actually necessary for achieving desirable vitamin D levels," said lead researcher Ghada El-Haff Fuleihan from the American University of Beirut-Medical Center, Lebanon.
Read article at nutraingredients.com

May 27, 2008

FDA Dietary Supplement Disease Claim Petition
Dietary Supplement Disease Claims
The American Dietetic Association, the American Diabetes Association, the Obesity Society, and pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) have filed a Citizen Petition with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to reclassify all dietary-supplement weight-loss claims as disease claims. It should be noted that in the Petition, GlaxoSmithKline freely states that it has and provides unrestricted grants to all of these groups.
Read press release on the website of the National Health Federation

May 26, 2008

The Truth About Homeopathy
By Louise Mclean, Editor, Zeus Information Service.
Read article at zeusinfoservice.com (UK)

May 23, 2008

Make additive removal usual for hyperactive kids, says professor
Cutting out colours and preservatives from the diets of hyperactive children should be standard part of dealing with the disorder, says a professor who takes a more stringent view than the FSA following the Southampton study publication. Certain artificial colours and the preservative sodium benzoate have been under the spotlight in the last year since a study conducted at Southampton University and funded by the UK's Food Standards Agency (FSA) found an adverse link between certain cocktails of additives and behaviour in children drawn from the general population. In its initial advice following the study's publication in The Lancet, the FSA issued mildly worded advice to parents - that eliminating the suspect additives from the diet could have some benefits for hyperactive kids or those with ADHD.
Read article at nutraingredients.com

May 22, 2008

Firms assume increased longevity
Many UK companies are now assuming their male pensioners will live, on average, one year longer than they assumed in 2006. The figures were drawn from a survey of 270 company reports carried out by the accountants KPMG. The assumed life expectancy has steadily risen in recent years to 86. However KPMG warned this might not satisfy the Pensions Regulator which wants employers and pension schemes to assume that men will live to 89.
Read article at BBC News (UK)
Comment: According to KPMG, the assumed life expectancy of pensioners in these firms' pension schemes has now risen by one year in each of the past four years. It was 83 in 2004, 84 in 2005 and 85 in 2006.

May 21, 2008

Canadian industry continues supplements bill protests
The Canadian natural foods industry has embarked on a major lobbying campaign, calling for an overhaul to legislation that could place pharmaceutical controls on dietary supplements. The campaign is aimed at addressing amendments to the Food and Drugs Act (Bill C-51).
Read article at nutraingredients-usa.com

May 21, 2008

Supplements a solution for B6 deficiency, says study
Researchers at Tufts University have suggested deficient vitamin B6 levels across large sections of the US population which could be reduced via supplementation. The results contradict National Institutes of Health (NIH) findings that B6 deficiencies are rare in the US. It is one of the largest epidemiological studies to evaluate B6 levels. The study identified four groups as being particularly deficient in the nutrient: women of reproductive age especially current and former users of oral contraceptives; male smokers; non-Hispanic African-American men; and over-65s. "Across the study population, we noticed participants with inadequate vitamin B6 status even though they reported consuming more than the Recommended Daily Allowance of vitamin B6, which is less than two milligrams per day," said Martha Savaria Morris, PhD, an epidemiologist at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts.
Read article at nutraingredients.com

May 19, 2008

DNA damage 'caused by pesticides'
New research in India suggests exposure to pesticides could have damaged the DNA of people in farming communities, leading to higher rates of cancer. Scientists at Patiala University, Punjab state, did the study, tracking a group of farmers for several months.
Read article at BBC News (UK)
Comment: Many pesticides are manufactured by some of the same pharmaceutical and chemical companies that would like to ban vitamin supplements and force GM foods onto our dinner plates.

May 19, 2008

ANH founder recognized for natural health campaign
Dr Robert Verkerk, founder and director of the Alliance for Natural Health, has been awarded for his work to protect natural healthcare across Europe. The award, presented at the 39th Anniversary of the Citizens Commission on Human Rights United Kingdom (CCHR), was awarded in recognition of Verkerk's "work to expose the multinational pharmaceutical interests and giant food companies to limit the public's access to herbs". In the presence of ambassadors and high commissioners representing their countries from around the world, as well as the mayor of East Grinstead, fraud expert Bill Trueman made the presentation to Verkerk at Saint Hill Castle in East Grinstead for "taking the lead in challenging fundamental rights to take vitamins and minerals, and for having brought a landmark legal challenge to the EU Food Supplements Directive".
Read article on the Natural Products online website (UK)

May 14, 2008

NAFDAC bans 30 agrochemical products
THE National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has banned the sale and supply of 30 different agrochemical products in the country. NAFDAC Director-General, Professor Dora Akunyili, explained in Abuja that the ban became necessary when it was discovered that the pesticides were causing food poisoning that had resulted in the death of many after they consumed food crops preserved with the chemicals.
Read article in the Vanguard newspaper (Nigeria)

May 13, 2008

A short video to highlight the fact that the Irish government and E.U. want to ban all vitamin supplements.
Watch video on youtube
Comment: Is it fair or logical that whilst we have the choice to destroy our own health and be a burden on our national health services by smoking, binge drinking and eating fatty foods, national governments and the European Union do not want us to have the choice to stay healthy by supplementing our diet with vitamins? Click here to learn more.

May 10, 2008

Natural health products unfairly hit, critics say
Drug legislation before Parliament has the potential to destroy the industry, say opponents, who plan a Vancouver rally today to protest the bill
Legislation making its way through parliament has the potential to destroy the natural health product industry, say critics, many of whom plan to attend a rally today at the Vancouver Art Gallery to oppose the bill.
Read article in the Vancouver Sun (Canada)

May 4, 2008

Multinationals make billions in profit out of growing global food crisis
Speculators blamed for driving up price of basic foods as 100 million face severe hunger
Giant agribusinesses are enjoying soaring earnings and profits out of the world food crisis which is driving millions of people towards starvation, The Independent on Sunday can reveal. And speculation is helping to drive the prices of basic foodstuffs out of the reach of the hungry. The prices of wheat, corn and rice have soared over the past year driving the world's poor - who already spend about 80 per cent of their income on food - into hunger and destitution.
Read article in The Independent (UK)

April 30, 2008

Canada's C-51 Law To Outlaw 60% of Natural Health Products
Don't Let Big Pharma Do This To Canada
A new law being pushed in Canada by Big Pharma seeks to outlaw up to 60 percent of natural health products currently sold in Canada, even while criminalizing parents who give herbs or supplements to their children. The law, known as C-51, was introduced by the Canadian Minister of Health on April 8th, 2008, and it proposes sweeping changes to Canada's Food and Drugs Act that could have devastating consequences on the health products industry.
Read article at globalresearch.ca

April 30, 2008

Europe may ban 120 food nutrients
The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has rejected dossiers backing 120 nutrient sources for ongoing use within the European Union because they were deemed "not to be adequate".
Read article at nutraingredients.com
Comment: EFSA's rulings may lead to the removal of nutrients including forms of boron, selenium, magnesium and calcium from supplements. As such, whilst we were accused of scaremongering in 2002 when we said that the passing of the European Union's Food Supplements Directive would lead to some supplements and supplement ingredients being banned completely, this latest development proves once again that we were right all along.
Further information: To read EFSA's press release, click here. To read the statement of EFSA's Scientific Panel on Food Additives, Flavourings, Processing Aids and Materials in Contact with Food (AFC), upon which EFSA's rejection of these nutrient sources was based, click here.

April 29, 2008

A Too-Good-to-Be-True Nutrient?
Imagine a nutrient that could help prevent cancer, heart disease and tuberculosis, preserve bones, and thwart autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis and juvenile diabetes. Sounds too good to be true, doesn't it? But that's the potential now being attributed to Vitamin D, whose usefulness was once thought to be limited to prevention of rickets in children and severe bone loss in adults. Known as the sunshine vitamin because it is produced when the skin is exposed to ultraviolet light, Vitamin D has been garnering increasing attention recently, because of what it may be able to do and because many people appear to be getting too little of it.
Read article in the Washington Post (USA)

April 28, 2008

Beijing-The Codex Food Additives Committee Meeting
Seventeen hours after the tires of my Air China jet settled comfortably onto the runway at Beijing International Airport, I was sitting at the National Health Federation's place in the 40th Session of the Codex Committee on Food Additives (CCFA) week-long meeting at the Asia Hotel in downtown Beijing on Monday morning, April 21st. The weather had not cooperated as it rained incessantly, making available taxis as scarce as condom dispensers in the Vatican. Nor did it help that I could not speak a word of Mandarin Chinese; English, French, and bad German can only get you so far, even in this international city. But, I made it, sliding into NHF's seat in time to hear CCFA Chairman Dr. Junshi Chen's opening remarks.
Read press release on the website of the National Health Federation (NHF) (USA)

April 28, 2008

Organic industry attacks "farcial" and "dictatorial" Euro logo
Leading figures within the UK organic sector have criticized the "farcial" and "dictatorial" situation surrounding the EU's plans to impose mandatory use of a Europe-wide logo on all organic food products. Last month the EU announced it was shelving its original 'Bio' logo after the discount supermarket chain Aldi claimed it was too close to its own organic logo. The Bio logo was meant to have appeared on all organic packs by January 2009. Leading UK certifying bodies and manufacturers have strongly opposed the EU initiative claiming that the word 'Bio' is meaningless to UK consumers and would create unnecessary confusion. Industry also accuses the EU of acting undemocratically and riding roughshod over its concerns.
Read article at Natural Products Online (UK)

April 25, 2008

CAM criticism not justified, says ANH
A pan-European healthy food and supplements trade group has criticised the UK's "first professor of complementary medicine", Edzard Ernst, for taking an "unscientific" approach in a new book.
Read article at nutraingredients.com

April 24, 2008

Antioxidants and Cancer: Researcher admits she got it wrong
It was news when it was first revealed three years ago - and it was news again last week: antioxidant vitamins can speed up the development of cancer. But the researcher who first published the study has now admitted that she got it wrong.
Read article on the What Doctors Don't Tell You (WDDTY) website
Comment: In a week that has seen numerous headlines worldwide making the absurd claim that vitamins 'may shorten your life', it is notable that Big Media has thus far steadfastly refused to draw any attention to this story...

April 24, 2008

Is it time to give up the search for an Aids vaccine?
After 25 years and billions of pounds, leading scientists are now forced to ask this question
Most scientists involved in Aids research believe that a vaccine against HIV is further away than ever and some have admitted that effective immunisation against the virus may never be possible, according to an unprecedented poll conducted by The Independent.
Read article in The Independent (UK)
Comment: Given that the prospects for an HIV vaccine are so low, and that drug treatments for AIDS are highly toxic, the need to take advantage of Cellular Health research in the fight against AIDS has never been higher.

April 23, 2008

Vitamin D Important In Brain Development And Function
In a definitive critical review, scientists at Children's Hospital & Research Center Oakland ask whether there is convincing biological or behavioral evidence linking vitamin D deficiency to brain dysfunction. Joyce C. McCann, Ph.D., assistant staff scientist and Bruce N. Ames, Ph.D., senior scientist at Children's Hospital Oakland Research Institute (CHORI) conclude that there is ample biological evidence to suggest an important role for vitamin D in brain development and function, and that supplementation for groups chronically low in vitamin D is warranted. Their conclusions will be published on April 22, 2008 in the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) Journal.
Read article at sciencedaily.com

April 22, 2008

A leading Harley Street physician, also President of the British Society for Ecological Medicine and Medical Director of the Alliance for Natural Health, claims that Professor Ernst, the UK's first professor of complementary medicine, is unscientific in his approach. Dr Damien Downing, responding to a flood of media last week in advance of a new book by Professor Ernst, which slams the vast majority of complementary medicine modalities, said, "Professor Ernst must know how bad, how unscientific, is much of the literature on which he relies. After all he wrote some of it. He should speak out against the deliberate bias in many studies - but that might not boost sales of his new book."
Read press release on the website of the Alliance for Natural Health (ANH) (UK)

April 18, 2008

GM-Free Organic Agriculture to Feed the World
International Panel of 400 Agricultural Scientists Call for Fundamental Change in Farming Practice.
Read article on the website of the Institute of Science in Society (ISIS) (UK)

April 18, 2008

Celebrities join industry experts in speaking out against alarmist vitamin story...
Some of Britain's most popular celebrities have spoken out against this week's alarmist and grossly misleading vitamin story, which wrongly questioned the safety of the antioxidant supplements that benefit millions of consumers in this country. Sir Cliff Richard, Gloria Hunniford, Jenny Seagrove and Carole Caplin have joined health industry experts in rejecting the widely publicised antioxidant review and reassuring consumers that concerns over these supplements are unfounded.
Read press release at responsesource.com

April 16, 2008

Low vitamin D levels associated with an increased risk of peripheral arterial disease
Low levels of vitamin D may be associated with an increased risk for peripheral arterial disease (PAD), researchers reported at the American Heart Association's Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology Annual Conference 2008.
Read article at physorg.com

April 16, 2008

ANH rebuts latest anti-vitamin meta-analysis
Today has seen headlines around the world which claim that vitamin supplements can cause more harm than good. Find out here how bad science together with bad media can confuse and mislead consumers - possibly intentionally.
Read article on the website of the Alliance for Natural Health (ANH) (UK)

April 16, 2008

Dutch vegetables have fewer vitamins
Over the past 20 years, the amount of essential vitamins in Dutch vegetables has fallen by over 50% in some cases, the Telegraaf reports on Wednesday. The main reason is the use of manure, the paper says, quoting an alliance of environmentally-active farmers and scientists. The over-use of manure means too many dangerous substances are being pumped into the ground, destroying natural organisms, the paper says. Research by the consumers association shows that vegetables grown in the Netherlands contain so few essential minerals such as selenium that they can barely be recorded, the Telegraaf says.
Read article at dutchnews.nl (Netherlands)
Comment: According to the researchers, the average Dutch person is now short of zinc, iron, selenium, copper and magnesium. Moreover, a lot of food grown in fields no longer contains any vitamin C. Significantly, therefore, this research echoes the findings of similar studies conducted in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and other countries which, taken together, suggest that the nutrient content of the global food supply has fallen substantially over the past few decades. To learn more, click here.

April 14, 2008

Vitamin D, calcium's colon benefits pinpointed?
Epidemiological studies supporting vitamin D and calcium for protection against colorectal cancer may be biochemically and biologically plausible, suggests new research.
Read article at nutraingredients-usa.com

April 10, 2008

Shifting health claim criteria may provoke legal challenge
A pan-European industry group has criticised the European Commission for issuing guidance that it will reject scientific health claim dossiers that do not contain clinical data. The Alliance for Natural Health (ANH) says the EC has "moved the goalposts" in regard to article 13 health claims of the Health and Nutrition Claims regulation and called for a revision of the guidelines. The ANH has submitted a 16-page document outlining its concerns to the UK Food Standards Agency (FSA), after it joined other groups such as the UK Health Food Manufacturers Association (HFMA) at an FSA-chaired meeting on March 27.
Read article at nutraingredients.com

April 10, 2008

Europe-wide food colour ban call
A food safety watchdog has called for a Europe-wide ban on six artificial food colourings after research found a link with hyperactivity in children. A total ban on the use of the colours would have to be agreed by the EU. So the Foods Standard Agency wants UK ministers to enforce voluntary removal of the colours by next year.
Read article at BBC News (UK)

April 8, 2008

Study links magnesium deficiency to faster aging
A lack of magnesium accelerates aging in human cells, which may explain the link between any long-term deficiency and a higher risk of aging-related diseases, a study released Monday said. Magnesium is essential for hundreds of biochemical reactions in the body. It helps maintain normal muscle and nerve function, keeps heart rhythm steady, and keeps bones strong. Yet research has shown that, at least in the United States, more than half the population is lacking in magnesium due to deficiencies in their diet, potentially increasing their risk of cardiovascular disease, hypertension, diabetes, osteoporosis and some cancers.
Read article at physorg.com

April 7, 2008

ANH Press Release: European Commission moves goalposts on health claims
It would appear that despite calls for the EC to abandon its 'black box' approach, they've done it again and moved the goalposts on health claims months after the closing date for applications.
European-based consumer and natural health industry group, the Alliance for Natural Health (ANH), claims today that the European Commission has moved the 'goalposts' on the procedure that aims to standardise allowed generic health claims on foods in the European Union by 2010. In addition, the ANH claims that the Commission has not met its obligations with regard to sound administration in providing adequate guidance to interested parties making applications for health claims, which are to be evaluated by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) over the next two years.
Read press release on the website of the Alliance for Natural Health (ANH) (UK)

April 5, 2008

Food additives 'could be as damaging as lead in petrol'
Artificial food colours are set to be removed from hundreds of products after a team of university researchers warned they were doing as much damage to children's brains as lead in petrol. Academics at Southampton University, who carried out an official study into seven additives for the Food Standards Agency (FSA), said children's intelligence was being significantly damaged by E-numbers. After receiving the advice last month, officials at the FSA have advised their directors to call for the food industry to remove six additives named in the study by the end of next year.
Read article in The Independent (UK)
Comment: The researchers suggested that some colourings, including tartrazine and sunset yellow, could also affect children's intelligence by up to five IQ points.

April 4, 2008

Conventional wine "systematically contaminated with pesticides"
Many leading brand wines on sale in the European Union are "systematically contaminated with pesticide residues, concludes a new report published by Pesticide Action Network (PAN) Europe. PAN Europe, together with NGOs from Austria, France and Germany, recently carried out an investigation of 40 different wines purchased inside the EU - including some premium wines from world famous vineyards. 100% of conventional wines in the analysis were found to contain pesticides, with one bottle containing 10 different pesticides. On average each wine sample contained over four pesticides. Of the 24 different pesticide contaminants found in the samples tested, five are classified as being carcinogenic, mutagenic, reprotoxic or endocrine disrupting by the European Union.
Read article on the Natural Products Online website (UK)

April 3, 2008

Micronutrients, education keys to end hunger: study
Governments could take a big step towards ending world hunger by spending just $1.2 billion a year in developing nations on dietary supplements and education about the food needs of babies, a study showed on Friday. Such targeted spending to help a billion of the poorest people in Africa and Asia could save millions of lives and bring annual economic benefits of more than $15 billion in lower health bills and longer and more productive lives, it said.
Read article at reuters.com

April 3, 2008

Review raises questions over aspartame and brain health
Excessive intake of aspartame may inhibit the ability of enzymes in the brain to function normally, suggests a new review that could fan the flames of controversy over the sweetener. The review, by scientists from the University of Pretoria and the University of Limpopo and published recently in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, indicated that high consumption of the sweetener may lead to neurodegeneration.
Read article at foodqualitynews.com

April 3, 2008

EU parliament urged to tackle chemicals' link to breast cancer
Campaigners have called on MEPs to tighten chemicals legislation in the wake of a new report warning that some substances could be linked to the rise in breast cancer. MEPs were told on Wednesday that the rise in new breast cancer cases across Europe cannot be attributed solely to factors such as genetic disposition or when in life women have children. According to Professor Andreas Kortenkamp, head of toxicology at the University of London, there is strong evidence that the rise in breast cancer is linked to environmental influences, such as exposure to hormone-disruptive chemicals - including synthetically produced hormone replacement therapy (HRT) drugs.
Read article at theparliament.com

March 28, 2008

Pesticide Parkinson's link strong
There is strong evidence that exposure to pesticides significantly increases the risk of Parkinson's disease, experts believe. It comes as another study, published in the BMC Neurology journal, has made the link to the neurological disease. The US researchers found those exposed to pesticides had a 1.6 times higher risk after studying 600 people.
Read article at BBC News (UK)
Comment: Many pesticides are manufactured by some of the same pharmaceutical and chemical companies that would like to ban vitamin supplements and force GM foods onto our dinner plates. Surprised? If so, check out the March 14 story about food additives, below…

March 24, 2008

California Targeting Safe Supplements
Don't Let Them Succeed
California - ever known for its luscious beauty, endless energy, and general wackiness - is on the verge of stepping off the edge of the cliff yet again.  A trial balloon is being floated by California's Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) to limit the potency of vitamin-and-mineral supplements under California's Proposition 65 as cancer-causing agents.
Read press release on the website of the National Health Federation (NHF) (USA)

March 17, 2008

Poland panel considers borderline supplements
Poland has established a government-backed group briefed with developing criteria relating to the classification of a range of nutrients under either food or medicine law. The Panel on Dietary Supplements will spend 4-6 months drawing up an electronic database of all on-market supplements and passing opinion on how they should be regulated.
Read article at nutraingredients.com
Comment: In Europe , just as in many other areas of the world, the future availability of natural alternatives to the pharmaceutical industry’s toxic patented chemical drug medicines has never been under greater threat. If you live in Europe, click here to learn how you can help to guarantee free access to scientifically based natural health remedies for all European Union citizens, via the holding of a 'Referendum for Natural Remedies' in all 27 European Member States.

March 14, 2008

Campaigners outraged over EFSA's refusal to ban food additives
Food campaigners are up in arms following the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) ruling against Food Commission's calls for a complete ban on food additives. The call for a complete ban was made last week when the Food Commission identified Cadbury as having the most products that contain one or more of the seven food additives that contribute to increased hyperactivity in children. This includes products such as Cadbury Creme Egg, which is coloured with Sunset Yellow (E110), one of the additives that the Action on Additives says should be banned from children's food. The EFSA says that the UK study provides limited evidence that the additives "had a small and statistically significant effect on activity and attention in some children selected from the general population."
Read article in Marketing Week magazine (UK)
Comment: As is also the case with pesticides, many artificial additives are manufactured by some of the same pharmaceutical and chemical companies that would like to ban vitamin supplements and force GM foods onto our dinner plates. If you're now asking yourself whether these companies make any safe products at all, you're on the right track…

March 14, 2008

Ozone Rules Weakened at Bush's Behest
EPA Scrambles To Justify Action
The Environmental Protection Agency weakened one part of its new limits on smog-forming ozone after an unusual last-minute intervention by President Bush, according to documents released by the EPA. EPA officials initially tried to set a lower seasonal limit on ozone to protect wildlife, parks and farmland, as required under the law. While their proposal was less restrictive than what the EPA's scientific advisers had proposed, Bush overruled EPA officials and on Tuesday ordered the agency to increase the limit, according to the documents.
Read article in the Washington Post (USA)

March 10, 2008

Irish retailers win EC investigation on vitamin levels
A petition coordinated by Irish health food retailers, aimed at exposing the dangers of cutting vitamin and mineral supplements to RDA levels, has been ruled ‘admissible’ by the European Parliament. This means it will now have to be investigated by the European Commission. The petition, taken by Jill Bell on behalf of the Irish Association of Health Stores, is being hosted by Independent MEP for Ireland South, Kathy Sinnott.
Read article at Natural Products online (UK)

March 7, 2008

Typical North American diet is deficient in omega-3 fatty acids
New research from the Child & Family Research Institute shows the typical North American diet of eating lots of meat and not much fish is deficient in omega-3 fatty acids and this may pose a risk to infant neurological development.
Read article at physorg.com

March 6, 2008

Royal decree threatens Belgian botanicals
The Belgian government has drafted a law that threatens to reclassify as medicines up to 150 botanicals commonly used as food supplements. The draft Royal decree issued by the Belgian Medicines Agency (AFMPS) seeks to introduce the 2004 European Union Traditional Herbal Medicinal Products Directive (THMPD) into the Belgian legislature but its "medicinal tone" has raised fears among Belgian industry that an anti-supplements program may result.
Read article at nutraingredients.com
Comment: EU legislation such as the Traditional Herbal Medicinal Products Directive, and the Food Supplements Directive is strongly anti-supplements and should be opposed by anybody who has an interest in natural health and freedom of choice. If you live in Europe and would like to help guarantee free access to scientifically based natural health remedies for all European Union citizens, click here.

February 29, 2008

U.S. Imprisons One in 100 Adults, Report Finds
For the first time in the nation’s history, more than one in 100 American adults are behind bars, according to a new report. Nationwide, the prison population grew by 25,000 last year, bringing it to almost 1.6 million, after three decades of growth that has seen the prison population nearly triple. Another 723,000 people are in local jails. The number of American adults is about 230 million, meaning that one in every 99.1 adults is behind bars.
Read article in the New York Times (USA)
Comment: Results emerging from studies at the cutting edge of the debate on crime and punishment increasingly suggest that criminal behavior may be attributable at least in part to nutritional deficiencies. To learn more, click here.

February 28, 2008

Vanadium deemed unsafe in Europe
The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has rejected vanadium as an ingredient that can safely be used in foods and food supplements because of overexposure fears to the general population.
Read article at nutraingredients.com
Comment: Back in 2002, when the EU’s Food Supplements Directive was being passed by the European Parliament, we were accused of scaremongering when we said that it would lead to some supplements and supplement ingredients being banned completely. This latest development proves that we were right all along.

February 25, 2008

BBC removes complementary medicine web pages
The BBC last week removed all the complementary medicine pages from its BBCHealth website. The corporation has denied allegations that it was reacting to a co-ordinated letter-writing campaign from senior doctors and opponents of “unproven” CAM treatments. It says it removed the CAM section of its health site because it was “editorially unsatisfactory” and “disproportionately time-consuming”. The forty-page complementary health section of BBCHealth included coverage of all the major CAM therapies, their pros and cons, evidence for their effectiveness and how to find a qualified practitioner. In turn, it formed part of one of the most widely accessed websites in the world. Senior representatives of the CAM community are concerned that public access to such balanced and accessible coverage has suddenly been denied.
Read article at Natural Products online (UK)
Comment: If you wish to complain about the BBC’s decision to remove all the complementary medicine pages from its website, you can do so by clicking here.

February 23, 2008

Manto speaks out about traditional medicine
African traditional medicines should not become "bogged down in clinical trials" when being subjected to research and development, Health Minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang said in Pietermaritzburg on Saturday. Addressing members of the presidential task team on African traditional medicine, Tshabalala-Msimang said: "We cannot use western models of protocols for research and development. We should guard against being bogged down with clinical trials."
Read article on the Independent Online website (South Africa)

February 20, 2008

Study shows effects of vitamin D and skin's physiology
Researchers from Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) have found that previtamin D3 production varies depending on several factors including skin type and weather conditions. The study will appear in the March 2008 issue of the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research.
Read article at physorg.com
Comment: Vitamin D is produced in the body through the exposure of skin to sunlight. However, increased skin pigmentation, application of a sunscreen, aging and clothing can all dramatically reduce its production. Whilst the US Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) of vitamin D is 400 IU, and that for the EU a mere 200 IU, most experts now agree that a minimum of 1000 IU per day is necessary.

February 18, 2008

Greening Ethiopia for Food Security & End to Poverty
A remarkable project reversing the ecological and social damages of the past 100 years that have locked the country in poverty. The world's largest single study of its kind now shows that composting increases yields two to three-fold and outperforms chemical fertilizers by more than 30 percent.
Read press release on the Institute of Science in Society (ISIS) website (UK)

February 7, 2008

Manto still talking to traditional healers
Health Minister Manto Tshabalala Msimang today vowed to continue engaging traditional healers on health issues, saying they were important partners in the fight against HIV and Aids. "Some people might be resisting traditional healers but I believe we are on the right track," she said. Speaking during a meeting in Cape Town between the Health Department and traditional leaders on initiations and circumcision, Tshabalala-Msimang said no amount of pressure would discourage her from engaging with traditional leaders on crucial issues such as HIV and Aids. "We will not be pushed around for the sake of money and resources," she said.
Read article in The Times (South Africa)

February 5, 2008

Compulsory water fluoridation is dangerous and immoral, says Green Party health spokesperson
While we continue to feed refined sugar to our children in schools, efforts to reduce tooth decay will be in vain. Green Party health spokesperson Stuart Jeffery today slated controversial Government plans to fluoridate national water supplies, claiming that medicating people without permission breaches European Human Rights conventions.
Read press release on the website of the UK Green Party
Comment: British Health Secretary Alan Johnson has recommended that fluoride should be routinely added to UK water supplies. However, consumption of fluoridated water has been linked to a wide range of medical afflictions including severe skeletal problems, fluorosis (discoloration of the teeth), osteosarcoma (a rare form of bone cancer) in boys, and problems affecting the central nervous system.

February 5, 2008

Folic acid 'dementia risk link'
Dementia is three times more common in people whose blood is low in folates, a form of vitamin B particularly found in green vegetables, a study suggests.
Read article at BBC News (UK)

January 31, 2008

Member states agree on minimum vitamin and mineral levels
A working party drawing up levels for supplements and fortified foods have reached a "general agreement" that the lowest levels should be 15 per cent of the recommended daily allowance (RDA) - but questions remain on maximum levels. According to the trade group European Health Product Manufacturers, which attended the meeting, said: "There was general agreement that 15 per cent was the appropriate figure, not 30 per cent." The suggestion came from the Commission, which added that 15 per cent should be considered unless any evidence is submitted supporting another level.
Read article at nutraingredients.com
Comment: What this article doesn't say, and what the European working party won't admit, is that because of the existence of the Codex Guidelines for Vitamin and Mineral Food Supplements – which were adopted at a meeting of the Codex Alimentarius Commission held in 2005 – it is now effectively mandatory for all countries to set their minimum permitted levels for vitamins and minerals in supplements at 15 per cent. As such, the European Union is misleading consumers by pretending that there is somehow a choice in this matter. More importantly, however, these same Codex Guidelines also stipulate that maximum levels for vitamins and minerals in supplements shall be set. The European Commission is currently expected to submit proposals for maximum amounts to be set in Europe by January 2009. Because Codex guidelines and standards carry binding authority in the WTO system, and act to restrict and structure the policy choices of states, other countries around the world can be expected to follow suit over the next few years. To learn more about Codex, and how it affects you and your health, click here.

January 31, 2008

E-numbers should be banned in food and drink, say MPs
All artificial colourings in food and soft drinks should be banned, a parliamentary committee urged yesterday in a report on the effect of diet on the brain. The associate parliamentary food and health forum - a grouping of parliamentarians and outside experts such as nutritionists, doctors and the food industry - says at the end of a year-long inquiry that the Food Standards Agency should be taking a tougher line on E-numbers and additives, which some studies suggest may over-stimulate children's brains and make them hyperactive.
Read article at in The Guardian (UK)

January 30, 2008

Researchers investigate links between prostate, cadmium, zinc
Cadmium exposure is a known risk factor for prostate cancer, and a new University of Rochester study suggests that zinc may offer protection against cadmium. In an article published in the February 2008 journal, The Prostate, epidemiologist Edwin van Wijngaarden, Ph.D., reports that PSA levels were 22 percent higher among American men who had zinc levels below the median (less than 12.67 mg/daily) and cadmium levels above the median. (PSA is a protein produced by the cells of the prostate gland. The higher a man's PSA level, the more likely cancer is present.) In contrast, among men with a greater than median zinc intake, little evidence of an association between cadmium and PSA was found.
Read article at physorg.com

January 30, 2008

Cancer in EU at 'epidemic' levels
Cancer is at epidemic levels with a million people dying of the disease across the EU every year, according to British MEP John Bowis. The UK Tory deputy was speaking after parliament's environment committee voted in favour of a resolution on combating cancer. Bowis, EPP-ED spokesman on health, said, that "a million of our fellow citizens in the EU die each year from cancer. An average of only three per cent of health budgets are spent on cancer prevention. The links are clear. We have a major epidemic. We could save 330,000 lives a year. We need to get our act together and invest in cancer prevention."
Read article at theparliament.com
Comment: Scientific and clinical evidence shows that the use of vitamins and other essential nutrients are of paramount importance in the battle against cancer and, moreover, that this disease could be largely unknown to future generations if these findings were implemented into public health policies. The biggest obstacles preventing the building of a world without cancer are the multi-trillion dollar pharmaceutical drug cartel and its "Investment 'Business With Disease'."

January 29, 2008

Sedentary lifestyles associated with accelerated aging process
Individuals who are physically active during their leisure time appear to be biologically younger than those with sedentary lifestyles, according to a report in the January 28 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals. Regular exercisers have lower rates of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, cancer, high blood pressure, obesity and osteoporosis, according to background information in the article. "A sedentary lifestyle increases the propensity to aging-related disease and premature death," the authors write. "Inactivity may diminish life expectancy not only by predisposing to aging-related diseases but also because it may influence the aging process itself."
Read article at physorg.com

January 17, 2008

Fluoride: Top 10 Scientific Developments of 2007
2007 was yet another important year in fluoride research, with studies not only questioning long-held views about fluoride's benefits, but raising new concerns about its impact on human health. To give an indication of this recent research, the Fluoride Action Network (FAN) has selected the "Top 10" scientific developments of the year.
Read summaries of these scientific developments on the Fluoride Action Network website (USA)

January 25, 2008

Science stacks up for B vitamins and pregnancy
Low maternal vitamin B12 levels in combination with certain genes may have detrimental knock-on effects to the offspring, suggests a new Dutch that reports higher risk of heart problems. A combination of low vitamin B12 levels and certain genotypes for the methionine synthase reductase (MTRR) and transcobalamin II (TC) genes were found to increase the risk of CHD by about 35 and 100 per cent, respectively, report the researchers in the journal Molecular Genetics and Metabolism. "Therefore, it might be favorable to advise women to use a diet rich in vitamin B12 and eventually a vitamin B12 supplement in addition to a folic acid supplement in the periconception period to achieve an optimal vitamin B12 status," wrote Anna Verkleij-Hagoort from Erasmus MC, University Medical Center in Rotterdam.
Read article at nutraingredients.com

January 17, 2008

Poor diets 'kill 3.5m children'
A third of child deaths globally are caused by poor nutrition, experts warn. Around 3.5 million children die every year because of lack of food or poor quality food, a problem which starts in the womb, studies show. Yet 25 per cent of these deaths could be prevented with simple steps such as breastfeeding and vitamin A supplements, the Lancet reports.
Read article at BBC News (UK)
Comment: Research shows that zinc and vitamin A supplements, in tandem with encouraging women to breastfeed for at least six months, would cut deaths and the loss of years through disability by a quarter.

January 16, 2008

Saving the World with Biodynamic Farming
The importance of marginal farmers in India using an emergent agricultural knowledge system against the corporate takeover of farms
What if the world were an apple? One quarter of the apple is land and the rest is water. Cut the land in half and put aside that which is deserts and mountains. Quarter what is left and the peel of one of those quarters represents the topsoil that must feed the whole world. This analogy illustrates how important it is to get the best out of the available soil to provide abundant and nutritious food for everyone on the planet.
Read article on the Institute of Science in Society (ISIS) website (UK)

January 15, 2008

Zimbabwe: Zinatha Seeks Assistance in Traditional Medicine Researches
GOVERNMENT should help traditional healers to conduct research on traditional medicines and herbs that can be used to treat ailments related to HIV and Aids, the Zimbabwe National Traditional Healers Association has said.
Read article at allafrica.com

January 14, 2008

Vitamins plan 'to cut prison violence'
Prisoners will be given vitamins and mineral supplements in an attempt to improve their behaviour and cut down on violence behind bars, The Daily Telegraph has learned. The Ministry of Justice will fund pioneering research into the connection between the diet of young offenders and their behaviour. The pilot scheme comes as a cross-party group of MPs and peers prepares to publish a study showing how greater use of nutritional supplements could improve the education and criminal justice systems.
Read article in the Daily Telegraph (UK)
Comment: The research will be carried out by Natural Justice, a UK-based charity that has been studying the link between nutrition and behaviour for over 20 years. Previous research carried out by the charity found that prisoners given nutritional supplements committed on average 26% fewer disciplinary offences compared to those on placebos, while the reduction was 37% for the most serious offences. These findings have now been replicated in a study by the Dutch Ministry of Justice, who found a 47% reduction in disciplinary offending. To visit the Natural Justice website, click here.

January 8, 2008

We all need a little dose of sunshine, says scientist who sounded alert on skin cancer
Enjoying a little sunshine may not be as bad for you as people think. Research from the scientist who alerted the world to its role in skin cancer has suggested that its health benefits may outweigh the risks. The hazards of moderate sunbathing have probably been exaggerated, according to a study that shows how sunlight's effect of boosting vitamin D production may actually protect the body against cancer.
Read article in The Times (UK)
Comment: Remember the cigarette brand that "more doctors smoke"? The advice to avoid the sun that we have all been subjected to in recent years is increasingly looking to have been just as unwise.

January 7, 2008

Lack of vitamin D may increase heart disease risk
The same vitamin D deficiency that can result in weak bones now has been associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, Framingham Heart Study researchers report in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association. "Vitamin D deficiency is associated with increased cardiovascular risk, above and beyond established cardiovascular risk factors," said Thomas J. Wang, M.D., assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School in Boston, Mass. "The higher risk associated with vitamin D deficiency was particularly evident among individuals with high blood pressure." In a study of 1,739 offspring from Framingham Heart Study participants (average age 59, all Caucasian), researchers found that those with blood levels of vitamin D below15 nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL) had twice the risk of a cardiovascular event such as a heart attack, heart failure or stroke in the next five years compared to those with higher levels of vitamin D.
Read article at physorg.com

January 7, 2008

PM unveils health screening plan
Patients in England will be offered screening for early signs of heart disease, stroke and kidney disease, Prime Minister Gordon Brown has said. Such conditions affect about 6m Britons and patients in at-risk groups will be invited to be screened by their GP. Mr Brown said in future NHS care should focus on prevention and not just cure.
Read article at BBC News (UK)
Comment: If Prime Minister Brown was really serious about focusing on the prevention of disease then he would obviously be directing the British National Health Service (NHS) to immediately take advantage of the wealth of scientific evidence showing the paramount importance of micronutrients and nutrition in maintaining optimum health. Instead, however, what will almost certainly happen is that his health screening plan will simply result in more patients being prescribed toxic patented synthetic chemical drug medicines and the pharmaceutical industry's multi-trillion dollar "business with disease" making even higher profits.

January 5, 2008

New laws to govern alternative medicine
Aromatherapy, homoeopathy and other popular complementary therapies are to be regulated for the first time under a government-backed scheme to be established this year. The new Natural Healthcare Council – which is being backed by the Prince of Wales – will be able to strike off errant or incompetent practitioners. It will also set minimum standards for practitioners to ensure that therapists are properly qualified. Patients will be able to complain to the council about practitioners and the new body will be modelled on the General Medical Council and other similar statutory bodies.
Read article in The Times (UK)
Comment: The practices to be covered by this British government scheme include nutrition and naturopathy. As such, if public access to these therapies would be increased by these laws, the implementation of this scheme could potentially be a positive development. However, if public access to these therapies would be decreased - as currently appears would be the case for higher dose food supplements under regulatory proposals by the European Commission - then these laws should be opposed, as the main beneficiaries from their enactment would be the pharmaceutical industry and its "business with disease".

January 3, 2008

Dr Allinson's health essays to be re-published
Essays by a Victorian doctor, who was struck off for claiming that smoking was bad for the health, are to be published again. Dr Thomas Allinson's letters, first published in 1893, were so controversial that the General Medical Council struck him off a year later.
Read article in the Daily Telegraph (UK)
Comment: The story of Dr Allinson - who was also against many of the medical drugs of his day - shows us that the medical establishment's opposition to anybody who threatens the scientific status quo is anything but new. However, just as it now seems laughable that doctors once recommended a cigar as a way to clear the lungs, to future generations it will one day seem just as absurd that doctors in the 20th and early 21st centuries attempted to use the pharmaceutical industry's patented synthetic chemical drug medicines to treat diseases that are caused by nutritional deficiencies.