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Articles from 2008 In October

Probiotics — flurry of new items

Fem DophilusUrogenital support for women
Jarrow Formulas has extended its Fem Dophilus line, now selling the product in 60-count capsules. Fem Dophilus is the only oral probiotic clinically documented to restore and maintain a healthy vaginal flora and reduce the risk of urogenital infections. The supplement contains the world's most documented probiotic strains for women's health, Lactobacillus rhamnosus GR-1 and Lactobacillus reuteri RC-14, discovered and developed by Drs Gregor Reid and Andrew Bruce of Urex Biotech. It is produced and marketed globally by Chr Hansen.

EndoMune ProbioticHigh-potency supplement
EndoMune ProBiotic is a high-potency supplement designed to provide a unique blend of six complementary beneficial bacteria to promote healthy and normal intestinal function. Each capsule of EndoMune contains six billion live bacterial cells of bifidobacteria and lactobacilli strains that are major members of the human gut microflora. They are the main health-enhancing gut bacteria and have been selected from naturally occurring bacterial strains. The formula was developed by gastroenterologist Lawrence Hoberman.

BanedenBC30Ganeden-powered muffins
Isabella's Healthy Bakery has launched Activate raisin bran probiotic-fortified muffins. The new Activate muffins contain GanedenBC30 (Bacillus coagulans GBI-30, 6086), a patented, self-affirmed GRAS probiotic produced by Ganeden Biotech. The company has dubbed GanedenBC30 as "The Probiotic That Can Take It," and claims it can survive harsh manufacturing processes and deliver 10 times the live cells as yoghurt. Isabella's Healthy Bakery, a division of Main Street Gourmet, is a supplier of healthy baked goods including muffins, cookies and cakes. It specialises in sugar-free, fat-free, no-sugar-added and whole-grain categories.

iFlora Nasal HealthFlora for sinus health
Sedona Labs has launched a new multi-probiotic formula created for seasonal sinus support, iFlora Nasal Health. The patent-pending formula contains four probiotic strains. The formula is based on a Swiss clinical study showing that specific oral probiotics can support sinus and nasal health. The product also contains N-acetyl cysteine, a natural amino acid antioxidant that helps break up stagnant mucus (mucolytic).

Attune Granola Probiotic BarsFortified wellness bars
In August, California-based Attune Foods rolled out two new Granola Probiotic Wellness Bars: Peanut Butter & Chocolate, and Chewy Chocolate. The bars have more than five times the live active cultures found in yoghurt with less sugar than most sweetened yoghurts. The 170-calorie bars are a good source of protein, have 3g of fibre and are an excellent source of calcium. Attune bars are dosed to clinical levels, and are refrigerated to help keep the probiotics alive through the end of shelf life. They are found in the yoghurt section of the grocery store.

ProbioKid in Australia
ProbioKid has recently been launched in Australia, marketed under the brand name ProImmune Boost. The supplement combines the synergistic effects of a prebiotic (FOS) and three probiotic strains from Institut Rosell-Lallemand's collection: Lactobacillus Rosell-52, Bifidobacterium Rosell-71 and Bifidobacterium Rosell-33. It is formulated in a sachet to be diluted in water, juice or milk. It is recommended to help maintain a balanced intestinal flora and healthy immune system. ProbioKid was first launched in China in 2003, as Biostime Probiotic Sachet for Children, and is today the No. 1 brand of children's probiotic products in China, with sales expected to reach 70 million sachets in 2008.

Delicious Living Blog

Supereasy squash soup

I made this Squash and Pear Soup last night for dinner (and plan to have the leftovers this evening while answering the door for trick-or-treaters). It's incredibly easy and delicious!

A few modifications, based on what I had in my pantry and fridge:

1. I used chopped onion instead of leeks.

2. I used unfiltered apple juice instead of pear juice.

3. I defrosted the squash (Cascadian Farm organic frozen squash puree) in my microwave, 2 minutes per packet.

4. After step 3, I omitted the evaporated skim milk and instead added a whole can of coconut milk (again, what I had in my pantry and because I LOVE coconut milk), plus a pound of peeled and deveined raw shrimp. After heating through for about 4 minutes to cook the shrimp, I added 1/3 cup of chopped green onions.

YUM. Served with a salad with blue cheese, avocado, and red onion slivers, with balsamic dressing. The whole dinner took about 45 minutes to make from start to finish.

Vegetarian Thanksgiving

Despite the traditional emphasis on a turkey centerpiece, all you need to host a vegetarian Thanksgiving are a little innovation and some spectacular recipes that take full advantage of the flavors and colors of the season. This meatless celebration is a beautiful, festive, and delicious experience that incorporates plenty of whole grains and vegetables, with an emphasis on easy-to-find ingredients and balanced flavors. Many of the dishes may be made in advance (look for the “Make Ahead” symbol), freeing you up to enjoy family and friends. Expect requests for seconds!

Kibbeh with Apples, Walnuts, and Feta

Serves 8-10 / This vegetarian version of a traditional Eastern Mediterranean dish uses coarse cracked wheat; look for it in bulk bins (Bob's Red Mill also packages it). It can be made up to one day in advance and refrigerated. Bring to room temp before reheating, covered with foil. View Recipe

Pomegranate and Maple-Glazed Beets

Serves 8 / Prep tip: For best flavor, prepare the dish a few hours ahead, or up to one day in advance. Gently reheat in a saucepan. View Recipe...

Stuffed Acorn Squash with Black Rice, Roasted Carrots, and Dried Cherries

Serves 8 / These can be made one day ahead; cover (so the rice doesn't dry out) and reheat in a 350° oven. View Recipe...

Energy-saving tip

Cook multiple recipes simultaneously. For example, while the kibbeh is baking, roast the squash and carrot-pecan mixture for the Stuffed Acorn Squash.

Miso-Glazed Green Beans and Mushrooms [photo page 34]

Serves 8 / Ingredient tip: For best flavor and color, use shiitake or oyster mushrooms. White mushrooms may be substituted, but they'll add a gray hue. View Recipe

Quinoa-Corn Muffins

Serves 12 / Quinoa's nutty flavor pairs perfectly with corn's natural sweetness. These muffins are not only gluten free, they're also rich in protein and easy to make. View Recipe...

Apple-Parsnip Bisque

Serves 8-10 / Roasting vegetables concentrates their flavors, imparting richness without the addition of cream. View Recipe... Prep tip: This luscious soup can be made two days in advance and reheated.

Pumpkin Seed Spread

Energy-saving tip

For make-ahead dishes, refrigerate, then let them sit on the counter for 30-60 minutes before reheating briefly. Once reheated dishes are hot, turn off the oven; food will stay warm for 20-30 minutes.

Makes 1 cup / This orange-scented spread is a festive, flavorful alternative to butter, with zero saturated fat. It's fantastic on the Quinoa-Corn Muffins. View Recipe...

Laurie Gauguin, a professional chef since 1996, cooks for private clients in the San Francisco area and blogs at

Search more Thanksgiving holiday recipes and cooking tips...

Natural Foods Merchandiser

Your 'fall back' could be a boon or a bust

Most of celebrated as Nov. 2's daylight savings time adjustment yielded an extra hour of glorious sleep. And, while this can make us take heart—literally, science is finding—these twice-yearly clock adjustments have an impact on health. Not to make you lose sleep…

First, the relaxing news: On Oct. 30, The New England Journal of Medicine published a letter by Imre Janszky, M.D., Ph.D., of Stockholm's Karolinska Institute, and Rickard Ljung, M.D., Ph.D., of Sweden's National Board of Health and Welfare, which describes the cardio-protective effects of the annual "fall back" practice of turning clocks back an hour. Using 20 years of data from 1987 to 2006 collected by the Swedish registry of acute myocardial infarction, the pair found a 5 percent decrease in heart attack risk for the Monday following the time change. In contrast, they also found that the time to lose sleep over losing sleep is in the spring. Data collected by the same registry found an increased risk of heart attack for the first three days following the "spring forward." This analysis included the 15 years out of those 20 in which Easter Sunday was not the transition day.

Contemplate these facts on Sunday, while your heart is feeling extra good:

  • Researchers have found a significant increase in traffic-accident risk on the Sunday following daylight-saving time, according to Health. Stanford and Johns Hopkins universities researchers conducted the 2003 study.
  • Also, be extra wary when walking. Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh found pedestrian fatalities leap a staggering 186 percent in the three weeks following the time change. The 2007 preliminary study analyzed data collected from 1999 to 2005.

What to do? The National Sleep Foundation recommends combating the earlier fall light by ensuring a dark sleeping area. Going to bed a few minutes later each day for a few nights before the change can also help ease the transition. Ultimately, though, the NSF says erasing sleep debt with the extra hour of sleep is the best course of action.

If you have children, wake them up 15 minutes earlier for a few mornings before the time change, reports Health. This will minimize disruptions to your own sleep schedule by preventing their hour-earlier pouncing on your bed.

Not a bad idea for the already sleep-deprived.

Council for Responsible Nutrition says that Supplement-OTC Drug Products Play Important Role; FDA says otherwise

When Bayer released its new Heart Advantage products with a split dose of aspirin and phytosterols, the dietary supplements industry took notice…so did the US Food and Drug Administration. The move placed the product in a grey zone—is Heart Advantage a dietary supplement or a drug? The same question can be asked of Bayer's low-dose aspirin with calcium. While Heart Advantage raised consumer awareness about the heart healthy benefits of phytosterols, combining an OTC with a supplement raised more than one FDA eyebrow.

In a recent warning letter, the FDA stated that the entire product is a drug. The FDA claims there is no provision under the US Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act or the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act that exempts this product from drug status. In the warning letter, the FDA stated that the aspirin health claims to keep blood flowing freely claims combined with the supplement claims to help lower bad cholesterol may be interpreted by the consumer as medical advice. In a statement from the German-base Bayer, the company stands behind both claims and that neither is intended to replace medical advice.

In response, Steve Mister, president and CEO of the Council for Responsible Nutrition said: "CRN continues to believe that combination dietary supplement-OTC drug products have a useful and important role to play in integrated healthcare and wellness. Our hope is that FDA will assist companies attempting to maneuver the regulatory challenges of developing products that combine these ingredients and meet the labeling and formulation requirements of both drugs and dietary supplements, as required by the law.?

CRN counters the FDA's claim that DSHEA and the Act do not adequately address combination drug-supplement products. "In 1994, the Agency stated in the Federal Register that 'FDA does not believe that it would be appropriate to preclude such claims [health claims and OTC drug labeling] under all circumstances," said Mister. "Such claims may be permissible if a firm can demonstrate that dual claims can be made in a manner that will neither misbrand the product nor create a safety problem' (59 Fed. Reg. 395, 419, January 4, 1994). That statement has never been revoked. Since then, the FDA has issued a few warning letters addressing specific combinations of supplement and OTC drug ingredients, but has never publicly reversed its view that combination products with dual labeling can be developed that would satisfy the agency's appropriate concerns for safety.? Bayer will respond to the letters within 15 days, per the request by the FDA.

Proper Plastic Use a Healthy Practice

Health-conscious people who prefer chemical-free foods—produced without artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives—might be getting unexpected exposure to a potentially harmful chemical if they eat or drink from containers made from or lined with certain plastics. A new study in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that bisphenol A (more commonly known as BPA), a chemical that leaches into foods and drinks from can liners and some plastics, may be linked to increased risk of heart disease and diabetes.

BPA in the modern world

BPA is a chemical compound used to manufacture such widely used materials as polyester, polycarbonate plastics, and epoxy resins. Polyvinylchloride (known as PVC) used in household plumbing, dental sealants, liners for food and beverage cans (especially for acidic foods and drinks like tomatoes and sodas), and most number 7 plastics are made with BPA.

At room temperature, small amounts of BPA slowly leach into food and drinks, but at higher temperatures, leaching can occur as much as 55 times faster. Strong cleaning chemicals can damage plastic surfaces and contribute to increased leaching of BPA.

Concerns about the health effects of long-term BPA exposure have primarily focused on its ability to act like estrogen in the body, but researchers have suggested that it may act in other harmful ways as well.

Measuring the effects of BPA in humans

The new study included data from a subset of 1,455 adults participating in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2003–2004. The people in the study had urine tests to measure BPA levels and blood tests to measure some disease risks, and answered questions about their health status.

People with the highest BPA levels were almost three times more likely to report being diagnosed with cardiovascular disease, including angina, coronary artery disease, and heart attack, than people with the lowest BPA levels. Having the highest BPA levels was also associated with a 2.43-fold increase in risk of type 2 diabetes. Obese people’s urine BPA levels were 1.8 times higher than those of normal-weight people. In addition, higher BPA levels were associated with abnormalities of blood tests that indicate liver cell damage.

“We found that higher BPA concentrations [in urine] were associated with diagnoses of heart disease and diabetes. We also found associations between high concentrations and clinically abnormal concentrations of three liver enzymes,” the researchers said in summary. “Importantly, we observed no associations with the other common conditions examined.” The other conditions examined were cancer, arthritis, respiratory disease, stroke, and thyroid disease.

Reduce your exposure

The authors of this study used models to estimate daily BPA intake based on the urine concentrations measured and found that average intake was far below the safety guidelines set by the US Environmental Protection Agency. If future research confirms a link between this level of intake and risk of heart disease and diabetes, it will be important to reconsider recommendations about what level of BPA intake is safe.

In 2003–2004, the US Centers for Disease Control found that 93% of adults and children had detectable levels of BPA in their urine. As a result of mounting public pressure, some manufacturers have stopped using BPA in their production of baby bottles and water bottles, and some canners have stopped using epoxy resins to line cans for non-acidic foods. Last week, Canada became the first country to ban the use of BPA in the manufacturing of baby bottles.

You can take steps to reduce your exposure to BPA:

• Don’t use number 7 plastic baby bottles. Warm infant formula more safely in glass bottles and plastic bottles labeled “BPA-free” or made from number 2 or 5 plastics.

• Only fresh cold water should be drunk from number 7 plastic bottles. Better yet, get a stainless steel water bottle, or one made with number 2 plastic.

• Avoid heating food in microwavable plastic, which is likely to be made with number 7 plastics.

• Emphasize fresh and frozen foods to limit canned food and drink consumption.

(JAMA 2008;300:1303–10)

Maureen Williams, ND

AHPA's Dentali Appointed to USP Metal Impurities Advisory Panel

American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) Chief Science Officer, Steven Dentali, Ph.D., has been appointed to a United States Pharmacopeia (USP) advisory panel formed to recommend toxicologically-based limits for metals and draft a new General Chapter on Heavy Metals for the United States Pharmacopeia-National Formulary.

The USP Metal Impurities Ad Hoc Advisory Panel is organized under the USP General Chapters Expert Committee and is composed of 12 representatives from academia, industry and government. The draft General Chapter will be submitted to Pharmacopeial Forum for public review and comment.

“With our recent adoption of interim guidance on heavy metal limits for herbal products, AHPA has established itself as a leader in this area,” said Dentali. “I look forward to contributing my expertise to the efforts of this group.”

The American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) is the only national trade association devoted to herbal issues. Representing the core of the botanical trade—comprised of the finest growers, processors, manufacturers and marketers of herbal products—our mission is to promote the responsible commerce of herbal products. AHPA committees generate self-regulations to ensure the highest level of quality with respect to the way herbal products are manufactured, labeled, and sold. Website:

Cyanotech Names Deanna Spooner as CFO

Cyanotech Corporation, has named Deanna L. Spooner as Vice President, Finance and Administration, Chief Financial Officer, Secretary and Treasurer effective November 14, 2008. She succeeds William R. Maris, who has accepted a CFO position with another company.

Ms. Spooner joined Cyanotech as Controller in January 2008. Previously, she worked in Hawaii as a financial consultant to varied commercial enterprises; as CFO and COO of ADcom Information Services of Deerfield Beach, FL; as CFO and VP Administration of Hygeia Pharmaceuticals of San Diego, CA; as Manager of Accounting and SEC Reporting at Oak Industries of Rancho Bernardo, CA; and with Deloitte, Haskins & Sells, Audit Department in San Diego, CA, and Seattle, WA.

"Deanna brings a level of professionalism and a leadership quality that is necessary to ensure we achieve our goals," said Andrew H. Jacobson, President and CEO of Cyanotech. "Her appointment will allow us to continue on our path without interruption or learning curve."

"We also want to recognize the significant contributions of Bill Maris during his tenure at Cyanotech," added Jacobson. "He took hold of the company's financial operations during a critical and challenging period."

Cyanotech Corporation, a world leader in microalgae technology, produces BioAstin(R) Natural Astaxanthin and Hawaiian Spirulina Pacifica(R) -- all-natural, functional nutrients that leverage our experience and reputation for quality, building nutritional brands which promote health and well-being. Cyanotech's spirulina, FDA reviewed and accepted as Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) for use as a food ingredient, augments energy and immune response. BioAstin's benefits derive from its superior antioxidant activity and from its ability to support and maintain natural inflammatory response, enhancing skin, muscle and joint health. Cyanotech produces these products from microalgae grown at its 90-acre facility in Hawaii using patented and proprietary technology and distributes them to nutritional supplement, nutraceutical and cosmeceutical makers and marketers in more than 40 countries worldwide. Cyanotech was the first microalgae company in the world to obtain ISO 9001:2000. Visit for more information.

Chr. Hansen Donates Computers

One of Chr. Hansen’s core values is to act as a good corporate citizen in all the local communities where we are present. And supporting this we have just established a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) unit to help us focus on this value.

Happiness in the computer room

Demonstrating how this works in real life Chr. Hansen Argentina have just donated 20 old computers to a public school in the Quilmes area, where our facilities are located.

The computers were first sent to IT workshop where they were reconditioned and afterwards to the new computer room was set up at a local school.

“I was present when the classroom was opened and it was really rewarding to see the children's happiness. I think it is a good example of how even small actions on our part can have a great benefit in the local community,” says Diego Hernán García, Regional IT Manager, South and Central America, Chr. Hansen.

Henriette Oellgaard, CSR Manager, Chr. Hansen, agrees: "It makes me proud to see our policies materializing into something so practical for the communities we are part of. We want to behave in a responsible manner and we have developed a four year strategy with specific objectives relating to social interaction. I am pleased that our good intentions are already becoming a reality,” she comments.

Eat Your C for Better Health

It may not be news that a healthy diet plays a role in keeping type 2 diabetes at bay, but exactly which dietary components are most important is less well understood. A new study sheds light on this question, suggesting that eating more fruit and vegetables rich in vitamin C is one way to reduce diabetes risk.

Make vitamin C a priority

These findings come out of the European Prospective Investigation of Cancer–Norfolk (EPIC–Norfolk) study, a long-term research effort focused on determining how nutrition and lifestyle factors affect risk of chronic diseases such as cancer, diabetes, and heart disease.

To arrive at the latest results, researchers collected diet information and blood samples from 21,831 men and women aged 40 to 75 years, who lived in Norfolk, England, and were free of diabetes at study enrollment. Researchers tracked new cases of diabetes in the group during 12 years of follow-up.

Study participants with the highest blood levels of vitamin C were 62% less likely to develop diabetes than those with the lowest vitamin C levels. Men and women who ate the most fruit and vegetables were 22% less likely to develop diabetes than those who ate the least. When considering fruit separately, the researchers found that people consuming the most fruit were 30% less likely to develop diabetes than those consuming the least.

The finding that vitamin C levels are more strongly correlated with reduced diabetes risk than fruit and vegetable intake may lead you to conclude that a supplement is the answer, but avoid this trap: The study authors note that errors are common when measuring what people eat and approximately 90% of the vitamin C intake in the study group came from fruit and vegetables, not dietary supplements. The study authors conclude that the results, “re-endorse the public health message of the beneficial effect of increasing total fruit and vegetable intake.”

Getting the C you need from food

Vitamin C is important for reducing diabetes risk, but where you get this superstar nutrient is even more critical. Use the following tips to “C” your way to better health.

• Start your day with fruit. Add frozen fruit to your oatmeal. The hot cereal will thaw the fruit and you’ll get a dose of vitamin C.

• Try frozen and fresh. Fresh fruit is terrific when in season, but don’t shy away from frozen. A half cup of frozen peaches provides more than 100% of daily C and a half cup of strawberries provides more than 50%.

• Enjoy citrus. Try oranges, tangerines, and even lemons. A squeeze of lemon juice into your tea or water is an easy way to add C into your diet.

• Don’t skip veggies. Many focus on fruit for vitamin C, but red, yellow, and green peppers; broccoli; Brussels sprouts; and even kohlrabi contain ample C.

• Avoid boiling veggies. This can remove vitamin C; instead, steam, sauté, and stir-fry.

• Go tropical. Papayas, mangos, and pineapple all are excellent sources of vitamin C.

(Arch Intern Med 2008;168:1493–9)

Suzanne Dixon, MPH, MS, RD