Letters to the Editor

Quality, integrity and debate — key words for the industry
Author Alvin Toffler once said ?The new hero is the innovator.? We at FF&N could not agree more. In our editorial content we strive to highlight the innovators in the field of product development for health and nutrition. We showcase in our pages not only the most innovative product development and marketing ideas, but also the innovations that are supported with substantial and proprietary scientific evidence.

As you will see from other letters in this issue, people sometimes disagree with our reporting on certain ingredients, but we think of FF&N as a forum for respectful scientific discourse and industry debate on controversial issues, and we welcome your comments and opinions.

We also want you, the reader, to have confidence that our advertisements strive to meet the same high standard as our editorial. One of our goals is to seek out companies to advertise in FF&N that represent the highest level of quality and integrity, are on the scientific leading edge and who are leaders in the development of innovative ingredients. We wish to foster, encourage, and, as we?ve done in the numerous ?advertorials? this month throughout the issue, even showcase companies that market revolutionary ingredients that have been validated by original research published in peer-reviewed journals.

We make every effort to assure our readers that product claims in advertisements are not misleading, truthful and have passed a review process by our Standards Department. In fact, New Hope Natural Media is the only media company in the industry that has dedicated resources to fund and staff a Standards Department solely dedicated to working together with our advertisers to provide accurate information and create a high level of reader trust. The Standards Department endeavours to work co-operatively with our advertisers to educate them in providing a clear and truthful message about the efficacy of their products.

In this time of great consumer need for health and wellness products, we hope this program supports you in offering the most innovative and efficacious products possible.

Fredrik M. Linder
New Hope Natural Media

Flawed review fails the test of logic
Your publication provides an important forum for debating the science that justifies new products. Meaningful debate demands the accurate presentation of adequate, relevant evidence by qualified authorities, who then draw well-reasoned conclusions. Unfortunately, Anthony Almada?s recent review of rhodiola research (?Research puts rhodiola to the stress test,? FF&N, July 2004) fails this standard.

He states that rhodiola (implying all species of the genus) ??has been the focus of recent research and commercialization.? Not so. Recent reviews of rhodiola by Brown et al. (2002) and by Gregory S Kelly (2001) show the efficacy of only one species: R. rosea. Few deal with other species.

Continuing, Mr Almada states, ?The bioactive profile of rhodiola spp. has centred upon a select duo of marker compounds: salidroside and rosavin.? Yet only R. rosea contains both. No other ?spp? (again, implying all species) contains rosavins.

He restricts his evidence to three clinical trials in English since 1999. The first two use only R. rosea. He points out flaws, but acknowledges some positive results. He discredits the third completely. Yet it uses a mixed formula of R. rosea and Cordyceps sinensis. Yet it?s not comparable, and thus irrelevant.

He claims, ?salidroside is?a phenolic constituent?? and ?Rosavin is a non-phenolic constituent.? Rosavins and salidroside are phenylpropanoid and phenylethanoid glycosides, respectively. Both are polyphenols.

He concludes: ?More rigorous clinical investigations, assessing the comparative biological effects of various species of rhodiola are warranted, as no evidence points to the superiority of one species (of rhodiola) over another.? Yet he has used only restricted, contradictory or irrelevant evidence. No conclusion is justified.

His own reference contradicts him. The sole animal study (Abidov, 2003) concludes, ?Treatment with R. rosea extract significantly (by 24.6 per cent) prolonged the duration of exhaustive swimming in comparison with control rats and rats treated with R. crenulata.?

The latest clinical by Katrien de Bock, et al. (2004), published this May, concludes: ?R. rosea ? can improve exercise capacity in young, healthy volunteers.? Also, The Rhodiola Revolution by RP Brown and PL Gerbarg, a 260-page book just published, discusses dozens of positive clinical trials of R. rosea, usually as an extract, standardised to a minimum of 3 per cent rosavins and 1 per cent salidroside.

Mr Almada?s review leaves readers confused, raising doubts about a worthwhile product, without justification. This needs to be corrected.

Lawrence Switzer
President, ANF Inc
Santa Rosa, California

An abundance of clinical support for rhodiola
Your recent article by Anthony Almada (FF&N, July 2004) falls short of outlining the abundance of clinical support for rhodiola. It is well documented that adaptogens, as a class of herbs, must build up in the system over several weeks to help regulate bodily functions. Mr Almada missed an opportunity to objectively identify the limits of the 14-day study on Optygen. As a researcher himself, Mr Almada knows that it is not just the clinical research alone but also an analysis of the study design that is considered in the outcome of any research.

In fact, Dr Conrad Earnest, who conducted the study referenced in your article, expressed his opinion regarding the length of the study. He said, ?Based on my recent report in the journal Medicine Science Sports and Exercise, I do not believe Optygen to be an ineffective product. Rather, as I stated in my journal report, I simply believe that the study protocol that we used was too short. In this case, 14 days. Based on some of my pilot data and several abstract reports in elderly populations, I believe that a longer protocol lasting between eight and 16 weeks, with interim measurements, may indeed show a result.?

Mr Almada failed to include this clarification in his article.

In addition, Mr Almada stated that he is ?limiting this review to original clinical research published in the English language? and therefore failed to mention three recent studies supporting rhodiola in exercise found in English-language journals:

  1. Abidoff M, et al. Rhodiola rosea root extract Rhodax reduces inflammatory plasma C-reactive protein and Creatine kinase in healthy volunteers: a placebo-controlled, double-blind clinical trial. Exper Biol Med 2004, in press.
  2. Abidoff M, et al. Effect of Rhodiola rosea and Rhodiola crenulata (Crassulaceae) root extracts on ATP content in Muscle Mitochondria. Exper Biol Med 2003; 136(12):667-9.
  3. De Bock K, et al. Acute Rhodiola Intake can improve Endurance Exercise Performance. Int J Sports Nutr Exerc Metab 2004; 14:298-307. Human Kinetics Publishers Inc.

    Robert Kunz, MS
    Senior vice president, research
    First Endurance
    Salt Lake City, Utah

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