December Headlines in Vitamins, Supplements, Natural Products and Integrative Medicine

-The National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority of India announced major vitamin formulation price cuts last week, a move expected to effect jaor players such as Pfizer, Pharmaia and Glaxo-Smith Kline as well as smaller organizations such as wyeth and Dr. Reddy's.

70 forumulation packs were changed (50 reductions, ranging from 3.5% to over 50%), while twelve were fixed for the first time.

-Herbalife India announced its intent to launch more products in addition to Aloe Plus, an India-specific herbal dietary capsule containing aloe in consumable form and inulin, an immunity enhancer.

-Bastyr University in Kenmore, Washington plans to offer a Doctorate in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine this year, intending to give more credibility to a treatment that is increasingly accepted and embraced as a companion to conventional medicine. At present, nine of the states do not recognize acupuncture, which makes practitioners vulnerable to lawsuits. An additional 11 states require physician oversight or referral. The remaining 30 states recognize acupuncture as an independent profession.

-The Government of India is initiating a program to grow medicinal herbs along public highways.

-Analysis of oxalate content in soybean and soy food products indicated a wide range, some commercial soy foods with levels that may impact those with calcium oxalate kidney stones.

-A patent (6497906) was issued to Novagen Research Pty. Ltd. claiming A human dietary supplement comprising soy material consisting essentially of a ground soy hypocotyl material containing at least one isoflavone.

-A meta-analysis of echinacea studies and products was recently published in Alternative Therapies In Women's Health. The analysis, written by Dennis Awang of Canada's MediPlant Consulting examined different preparations, different species and parts, and echinacea-only products to determine effectiveness in treating or preventing upper respiratory infections.

Some of the trials showed no effects with six randomized, placebo controlled trials showing some benefits, measuring duration of symptoms and development of increased cold symptoms.

The analysis also commented on variance in products and chemical fingerprint.

-Nuts, a source of the amino acid arginine, the dietary precursor to nitric oxide (NO), may be a factor contributing to the Mediterranean diet correlation with cardiovascular health. There are several proposed mechanisms of action for nuts lowering total cholesterol levels including NO, vitamin E, magnesium, folic acid and impact of dietary fiber content.

-The Chinese Ministry of Health has announced it will provide approximately $1.1 million over three years in a program to encourage the passing of Chinese Medicine expertise from senior practitioners to younger generations of professionals.

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