Natural Foods Merchandiser


Scientists Diss Disease Theory
A group of scientists has put forth a new disease theory that turns the existing model on its head. Currently, an excess of free radicals is held responsible for causing many ailments such as cancer and arthritis. But a group of scientists at University College, London, are now saying that it may be enzymes that are doing the damage. Their research, published in the February issue of Nature, found that although free radicals were created in response to microbes, it was enzymes that gave white blood cells their destructive power. If further research concurs with these findings, the implications for the nutraceuticals industry could be tremendous, the scientists say.

Interaction Not Always a Big Deal
Most drug-herb interactions are nothing to worry about, according to a recent study. When scientists surveyed 458 outpatients from two different medical centers, one in Los Angeles and one in Pittsburgh, they found that 94 percent of dietary supplement-prescription medication interactions were not serious. The survey participants were asked about their use of common supplements, including St. John?s wort, echinacea, ginkgo, chondroitin and vitamins. The data were cross-referenced with prescription medications, and potential interactions were noted. The survey found that 197, or 43 percent of the patients, were taking at least one dietary supplement, with the average being three daily; all were taking prescription medications. The supplements with the most potential for interactions were Co-Q10, gingko, ginseng and garlic. Because the study is preliminary and the sample is small, scientists still urge caution when taking supplements with drugs, because a small percentage of supplements still can have serious side effects.

Herbs by the Book
The Handbook of Clinically Tested Herbal Remedies (Haworth Press, 2004) is a recommended reference book for health and beauty aids staff who want to offer customers the latest scientific information on herbs and supplements. The book provides an overview of 160 herbal products—with manufacturer contact information provided—that have stood the test of clinical trials. More than 350 are cited. Also included are 20 individual botanicals and 10 multi-ingredient formulas. The information is organized in an at-a-glance format that quickly lets the reader know how strong the clinical evidence for each item is. The book retails for $159.95. For more information, contact 800.HAWORTH.

Natural Foods Merchandiser volume XXV/number 5/p. 34

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