Natural Foods Merchandiser


Supplements safety center created
The University of Minnesota is bringing supplements data out of the cold and under one roof. Researchers at the U of M?s College of Pharmacy have founded the Center for Dietary Supplement Safety, which ?will collect, analyze and disseminate scientific information about dietary supplements,? according to a release.

The center?s goals include serving as a clearinghouse for data on safety-related issues; publishing reports on product safety; developing a national product database of ingredients; and promoting dialogue between manufacturers, health care providers, the public and regulators, including the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

?We want to provide data to answer questions in a more systematic and ongoing basis and provide day-to-day monitoring of safety issues,? center director Richard Kingston, Pharm.D., says.

Strong bones, less fat
Calcium, builder of bones and teeth, may help reduce something else—weight. A study published in the March International Journal of Obesity found that high calcium intake paired with a normal protein diet increased fecal fat excretion by approximately 2.5 times. The results were compared with a low-calcium, normal-protein diet and a high-calcium, high-protein diet. Ten volunteers participated in the randomized, crossover study of three one-week diets with equal caloric intake. The high-calcium diets included 1,800 mg calcium, while the low-calcium diets included 500 mg, mainly from low-fat dairy products. Researchers found no effects on blood cholesterol, free fatty acids, triacylglycerol, insulin, leptin or thyroid hormones.

Herbal use plateaus
According to the Feb. 14 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine, the percentage of people using dietary supplements increased from 14.2 percent in 1998 to1999 to 18.8 percent in 2002, with a low of 12.3 percent in 2000 and a high of 19.8 percent in 2001. Americans spent $4.2 billion on herbs and other botanical remedies in 2001.

The study of 8,470 adults was conducted from 1998 through 2002. The percentage of people 45 to 64 years old who took supplements increased by about half between 1998 and 1999 and between 2001 and 2002. Overall, supplement users were older and more likely to be female and white.

The use of Ginko biloba and Panax ginseng declined during the study period; however, the use of lutein increased in both men and women.

?Approximately one-quarter of adults in the United States use multivitamins, and this prevalence may increase following the recent recommendation that all adults take a multivitamin daily,? the authors write. ?Although the deliberate use of herbal products may have reached a plateau in the last few years, exposure to individual herbal ingredients may continue to rise as more of them are added to mainstream multivitamin products.?

Natural Foods Merchandiser volume XXVI/number 4/p. 38

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