Natural Foods Merchandiser

Supplements & Personal Care Briefs

Stiff results from GAIT
The National Institutes of Health Glucosamine/chondroitin Arthritis Intervention Trial results are in—and they are mixed. The multicenter, double-blind, placebo-and celecoxib-controlled study evaluated glucosamine and chondroitin efficacy and safety as a treatment for knee pain from osteoarthritis. The researchers sought at least 20 percent improvement in knee pain from baseline to completion of the 24-week study. Sixty percent of people in the placebo group achieved that minimum. Patients treated with glucosamine scored

  • 9 percentage points higher in pain improvement than those who received placebo, chondroitin sulfate scored
  • 3 percentage points higher than placebo, and combined treatment was 6.5 percentage points higher. The group taking celecoxib (marketed under the brand name Celebrex) had relief 10 percentage points higher or about 70 percent improvement in knee pain. One bright spot for glucosamine/chondroitin was in the moderate-to-severe pain subgroup. The rate of improvement was significantly higher with combined therapy (79.2 percent) than with placebo (5
  • 3 percent.) However, according to the researchers, "because of the small size of this subgroup these findings should be considered preliminary and need to be confirmed in further studies."

    Phthalates make mice lupus-y
    The December 2005 issue of Environmental Health Perspectives published a news piece that should scare mice—and humans—and give naturals retailers another great reason to promote natural personal care. Citing an earlier study by researchers at Indiana State University, EHP reported, "No one knows to what degree genetics or environmental agents cause lupus, an autoimmune disorder that affects the skin, joints and internal organs." However, an earlier study by researchers at Indiana State University "may have strengthened the environmental evidence by discovering that phthalates trigger lupus antibodies in a mouse model." Researchers plan to study whether there is a phthalates-lupus link in lupus patients.

    Cutting on saw palmetto
    A study published in the February New England Journal of Medicine concluded, "Saw palmetto did not improve symptoms or objective measures of benign prostatic hyperplasia." The study looked at men who had moderate to severe symptoms of an enlarged prostate gland. But some have questioned the study. In a letter to the editor, Neil Levin, nutrition education manager for NOW Foods, compared the study with an earlier one that found no benefits from St. John's wort for depression. "The patients chosen to participate in this study were significantly more advanced in their prostate enlargement condition than patients in previous trials that have showed success using the herb," Levin wrote. "[The St. John's wort] study also had given a commonly effective does of an herb to patients with a much more serious form of the condition than it had previously been shown to be effective against."

    Natural Foods Merchandiser volume XXVII/number 4/p. 32

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