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Articles from 2002 In November

Delicious Living

December 1, 2002

SAM-e Same As Drugs

United States

The US government has issued a report lauding a dietary supplement as being equally as efficacious as pharmaceutical drugs. After a meta-analysis of 102 human clinical studies, the US Department of Human Services' Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality concluded that S-adenosyl-L-methionine (SAM-e) is as effective as prescription antidepressants, fights osteoarthritis pain as well as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and helps some liver conditions.

SAM-e is a natural compounds found in every human cell and involved in more than 35 biochemical processes in the body. Low levels of SAM-e in the body have been correlated with depression.

In 1998, SAM-e was the leading antidepressant in Italy, and is available as a prescription medication in 14 European countries.

Ironically, just as SAM-e seems to be catching on in the US, its usage in Europe is dropping as pharmaceutical use picks up.

"Now that Prozac is generic, it's cheaper than SAM-e," said Marshall Fong, who introduced the supplement to the US market on behalf of manufacturer Pharmavite in 1998. "But the biggest thing is you avoid side effects of the drugs, like mind fog, sexual dysfunction and weight gain."

Fong said that for severely depressed people, SAM-e begins working within four to seven days, unlike its drug counterparts, which take effect in four to six weeks.

Bioterrorism Bill Targets Importers And Exporters

United States

The US government's so-called 'war on terrorism' could have far-reaching consequences both real and unintended for the functional foods industry. The Bio-Terrorism Act is intended to minimise the risk of food being subjected to tampering or criminal or terrorist actions.

All manufacturers and distributors that export food ingredients, supplements and animal feed into the US face FDA registration and potential 30-day detention of adulterated products under the bill. Domestic companies also must register.

The registration process, which must be completed by December 2003, requires the owner, operator or agent in charge of a domestic or foreign facility to submit an application. Foreign facilities are defined as those that manufacture, process, pack or hold food to be exported to the US. Importers in the US will also have to register food-holding premises.

The procedure for the products themselves is not expected to be costly or intrusive—probably just filling out a one-page form detailing the products and ingredients to be shipped into the country, according to Anthony Young, partner in Piper Rudnick, a Washington, DC, law firm. But while it sounds simple, Young has some concerns.

"It's going to be a problem because there may be a disruption of trade just by the sheer volume of notifications and the way they'll be handled," he said.

The most significant change is the FDA's new 'administrative detention authority,' which has never been directed toward the food or supplements industry before, although the pharmaceuticals industry has had to comply since 1972.

"This certainly expands FDA's inspection authority of records and product seizure authority—they call it 'administrative detention'," said Michael McGuffin, president of the American Herbal Products Association. "This language—which has no footnote whether anything's the result of terrorist activity—clearly gives FDA authority to look at paperwork if they have a reasonable belief a product has adverse health consequences. There is a concern the possibility of detention authority could be interpreted more broadly than Congress intended," he said.

US Set To Influence EU Directive


With only two-and-a-half years left for the submission of scientific dossiers to influence the final composition of the EU Directive on Food Supplements, efforts are being stepped up both in Europe and the US to commission and gather the scientific evidence that may ensure upper safe limits (USLs) are set at acceptable levels as well as adding some nutrients currently excluded from the legislation.

European and US trade organisations are planning summits involving key businesses, research institutes and regulatory bodies to positively influence the legislation.

The director of the UK-based Council for Responsible Nutrition, Maurice Hanssen, said now was the time for the supplements industry and the scientific community to take action to ensure the legislation was not so conservative as to be damaging.

The legislation officially become law in June, but aspects of it are yet to be finalised, such as USLs and those nutrients to be permitted in supplements in the EU.

Hanssen said there was a danger the gathering of science could be muddied by perceived political intent and hence there would be meetings next year between scientists and regulators without the presence of business or trade organisations.

"We don't want it to be said that industry is influencing scientific process," he said. "We are being transparent in the sense that we are disappearing from the process to let the scientists get down to business."

What is certain is the increasing part US scientists will play in the process. Bodies such as the US-based Food and Nutrition Board have been contacted and believed to possess scientific research that could have a positive effect on the legislation.

"It is not calling in the US like some kind of white knight," Hanssen said. "It's about bringing people together who have been conducting similar kinds of work and seeing how their work compares. One of our biggest problems is that a lot of the estimates being bandied about are merely guesstimates and we are trying to rectify that situation."

John Cordaro, president and CEO of the US CRN, said that America was becoming increasingly wary of the international influence the Directive may exert, especially through the Codex Alimentarius.

"One of the mission objectives of Codex is to harmonise nutrient levels and the Directive will be a major influence on those final global levels, if and when they are established," he said. "It is therefore in the American interest to do everything we can to ensure that the appropriate science is presented now to ensure levels are set reasonably and safely."

Another US body, the National Nutritional Foods Association, is working with CRN and encouraging its members to conduct more research to influence the Directive's final outcome. The NNFA typically represents smaller companies, many of whom have not undertaken scientific research due to cost and the liberal nature of DSHEA guidelines in the US which meant in many cases it was not called for.

Kim Smith, the NNFA's director of legislative affairs, said, "Many companies have not had an understanding of the legislative environment in Europe but they are becoming aware of it now, even if they don't export products there."

Green Tea Pill Easy To Swallow


The antioxidant potential of green tea is well documented. A seemingly endless stream of studies has shown its potential to combat various cancers, heart disease and general DNA destruction by free radicals.

This kind of good news has led food formulators to incorporate green tea's benefits into other food products—even a pill.

The Taiwan Tea Experiment Station, a government body set up to promote and research ways of enhancing the island's tea industry, recently unveiled a green tea pill aimed at time-starved adults. Each pill contains catechins, flavonols and carotene as well as vitamins A, B, C and E, but, as Station section chief Chen Kuo-jen highlights, only water-soluble nutrients make it into a cup of green tea. That means carotene, vitamin E, fibre and other minerals are literally left in the bag. Not so with the pill.

Although Station researchers had developed a means of grinding the tea leaves into a powder so that all nutrients were available, the taste was so bad as to render it unusable. It also numbed the tongue and was difficult to keep fresh. Its only use proved to be as an artificial flavouring for products such as cookies and cakes.

Then two years ago the researchers hit upon the idea of compressing tea into pill form. "Tablets are easy to carry," said Chen. "Consumers can take it anywhere, anytime."

Chen said Station researchers are now working on ways to incorporate the smell of tea into the tiny capsules. "Many people enjoy tea because of its soothing aroma," he said. "It is a pity that we still do not know how to keep the smell in the tablets."

The pills come in three forms: one that can be swallowed directly, one that can be left to dissolve on the tongue and one that is chewable. "We added sweeteners and other popular tastes like plum and yam to the chewable ones since chewable tablets stay in the mouth longer," said Chen. "We are considering adding other flavours and herbs in addition to working on a green tea chewing gum," he noted.

Chen said the Station had been inundated with interest from potential investors keen to take the "tea in a pill" concept to market. "Our job is to develop the product and then transfer the techniques to interested parties, not to take it to market," Chen emphasised.

Green tea is also being used in Alternativa Natural's new Pro-Energy Bar, while in Europe, green tea is an ingredient in a new yoghurt product. Launched recently in Italy by Italian food giant Parmalat, Kyr Pineapple and Green Tea yoghurt also contains Bifidobacterium Bb 12, Lactobacillus acidophilus, fibre and vitamins.

Other recently launched products containing green tea include spring water, chewing gum, sugar-free confectionary, juices and breakfast cereals.

Natraceutical SA Begins Trading

A report on notes that Natraceutical SA, an herbal extract producer, begins trading today. The company, a division of Natra SA of Spain, and a Coca-Cola Co. supplier for more than 30 years, is shifting its focus from caffeine to kola nuts, guarana and other products such as roots, artichokes and cocoa butter.

The company confidently projects a doubling of extract sales by 2004, although analysts, having watched less than optimum performance from other companies entering the sector recently, are less confident.

The company sells 17 non-patented extracts to food and cosmetics companies including pygeum, a rare and high value product from the African plum tree. Some of the raw materials are sourced from from Natra Cacao, part of the parent company, and a French organization called Herb's International SCE.

Novartis delays divestment of health food, sports nutrition units

According to an Associated Press story, Novartis is delaying the divestment of its Health Food & Slimming and Sports Nutrition units because of a lack of attractive offers.

The company claims that bids for these businesses have not been at appropriate value levels in this economic climate.

The company wants to sell the units as part of a plan to focus on health care, with pharmaceuticals as the core business. Novartis sold its Food & Beverage business, including the Ovaltine brand, to Associated British Foods this year for $272.5 million.

Chai-Na-Ta Corp. Reports 2002 Third Quarter Results

"CCCFF") today reported its financial results for the third
quarter ended September 30, 2002.

Revenue fell to $3.8 million in the 2002 third quarter from $4.4
million in the comparable 2001 period. The net loss in the three
months ended September 30, 2002 increased to $249,000 ($0.02 per
share) from 217,000 ($0.02 per share) in the prior year period.

During the first nine months of 2002, revenue rose to $12.7
million from $12.2 million in the nine months ended September 30,
2001. The net loss was $350,000 in the 2002 period ($0.02 per
share) compared to a net loss of $312,000 ($0.02 per share) in
the first nine months of 2001.

The Company recorded a negative gross margin of 1% in the 2002
third quarter compared to a gross profit margin of 10% in the
three months ended September 30, 2001. The gross margin was 5%
for the first nine months of 2002 compared to 18% in the
comparable 2001 period. The decline was due mainly to rust, which
reduced the price of lower grade root from the 2001 British
Columbia harvest. Rust is primarily an aesthetic problem that
influences prices.

"We began our 2002 fall harvest in October, and we anticipate a
good crop in British Columbia with only minor yield loss in
Ontario, due to an unprecedented series of frosts in mid-May that
affected the entire industry," said William Zen, Chairman and
Chief Executive Officer. "We expect that ginseng root prices will
trend upward over the next couple of years."

"With 1,283 acres currently under cultivation, Chai-Na-Ta remains
the market leader in ginseng farming. We intend to continue to
demonstrate our ability to reduce costs, increase efficiency and
maximize production through a balanced planting strategy in
Ontario and British Columbia that will enhance the growth and
stability of our business," Mr. Zen added. "Moreover, we are on
track to achieve our forecast of near breakeven results in 2002
and a return to profitability in 2003."

Selling, general and administrative expenses decreased to
$345,000 (9% of revenue) in the 2002 third quarter from $643,000
(15% of revenue) in the same period last year. During the nine
months ended September 30, 2002, SG&A fell to $1.3 million (10%
of revenue) from $2.3 million (19% of revenue) in the comparable
2001 period.

Interest and financing charges for the nine months ended
September 30, 2002 were about 85% lower than in the same period
last year, as bank borrowings declined due to cash flow

The Company's net cash position at September 30, 2002 rose
sharply to $1.4 million from $437,000 as at December 31, 2001,
largely reflecting net proceeds from the disposition of
subsidiaries, together with revenue in excess of short-term
borrowings repayment and operating costs.

Chai-Na-Ta Corp., based in Langley, British Columbia, is the
world's largest supplier of North American ginseng. The Company
farms, processes and distributes North American ginseng as bulk
root, and supplies processed extract powder for the manufacture
of value-added ginseng-based products.

This news release contains forward-looking statements that
reflect the Company's expectations regarding future events. These
forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties, and
actual events could differ materially from those projected. Such
risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to, the
success of the Company's ongoing research programs, general
business conditions, and other risks as outlined in the Company's
periodic filings, Annual Report, and Form 20-F.

Studies Show Chromax® Chromium Picolinate Regulates Insulin, the Master Hormone

With the support of Nutrition 21, scientists are finding exciting new
evidence on the benefits of chromium and its role in regulating insulin,
the master hormone. Representatives of Nutrition 21 will be reviewing the
most recent chromium studies at the Supply Side West International Trade
Show and Conference this week.

At a presentation at the 2002 meeting of the Federation of Societies for
Experimental Biology (FASEB), Nutrition 21 scientists concluded “Chromium
supplementation helps in reducing the risk of early onset of coronary heart
disease by reducing the associated coronary risk complications.” In addition,
an analysis of the relationship of chromium and heart disease in over 30,000
men by Dr. Eric B. Rimm of the Harvard School of Public Health suggests that
chromium status is strongly associated with the risk of coronary heart disease,
especially among overweight men.

Nutrition 21’s Chromax®, chromium picolinate supplement has been shown to
help maintain normal insulin levels, reduce elevated blood glucose levels, reduce
coronary risk factors and reverse insulin resistance, which are all significant
factors in people with obesity, Dyslipidemia, diabetes and Syndrome X.

Chromax® chromium picolinate is the only chromium backed by years of
clinical research and is the source of the excitement in the scientific community
regarding the health benefits and potential role for chromium in carbohydrate
and lipid metabolism. Chromax® is the only chromium with in-depth of
research available on its bioavailability, efficacy and safety.


Bill Levi, Business Director of Ingredients for Nutrition 21, will be available to
discuss these exciting findings, scientific results regarding chromium an diabetes
as well as interesting upcoming research efforts involving Chromax®.

Other Nutrition 21 research experts will be available for telephone interviews.


Nutrition 21 Booth #1338-40, SupplySide West International Trade Show and Conference,
The Venetian & The Sands Expo, Las Vegas, NV

December 4-6, 2002 (Interviews available throughout show. Arranged times preferred).


Nutrition 21 is a leading developer and marketer of nutritional products whose health benefits have been substantiated by clinical research. The market leader in nutritional chromium, Nutrition 21 currently holds 36 patents for nutrition products, 25 for chromium compounds and their uses. Nutrition 21 markets science-based products researched for safety & efficacy to pioneer a higher standard of nutritional supplements. More information is available at

New Study Shows Prelief(R) Dietary Supplement Significantly Improves Quality of Life for Overactive Bladder Patients

According to new study data, the dietary supplement Prelief is effective in significantly improving quality of life for patients suffering with overactive bladder.

Specifically, the study shows that the patients' ability to socialize and interact with friends, quality and/or quantity of sleep, ability to go places they want, ability to wear clothes they want, performance of routine exercise, and the ability to attend entertainment activities, in subjects receiving Prelief were significantly improved after three weeks. In fact, Prelief significantly improved quality of life based on the total score of all these parameters compared to placebo.

"This study shows that the Prelief dietary supplement may help individuals with overactive bladder to enjoy many daily activities again," said study investigator Michael J. Kennelly, M.D., of Carolinas Medical Center in North Carolina. Carolinas Medical Center is ranked among the nation's Top 50 healthcare facilities for excellence in urology, according to "U.S. News & World Report."

Prelief was developed by AkPharma Inc., creators of Beano(R) and Lactaid(R), as a dietary supplement for food acid intolerance. Prelief allows people who enjoy tomato sauce, coffee, orange juice, wine and other acidic foods to eat them without discomfort.

Alan Kligerman, founder and CEO of AkPharma Inc. states: "Unlike acid blockers and antacids, Prelief is not a drug. It is a dietary supplement that works instantly to prevent food acid intolerance -- the common problem many people experience when they consume acidic foods." Prelief works on a simple premise, notes Mr. Kligerman: "If it's the acid in the food causing discomfort, it isn't the body that needs treating: treat the food; that's what Prelief does."

Adds Mr. Kligerman: "In working with Prelief, we have discovered a world of people who cannot tolerate acidic foods. For some, the foods can cause urinary urgency, bladder pain, and/or bowel distress. It is very gratifying to see this study confirm the new and beneficial uses of Prelief."

About the study

Anecdotal evidence had indicated for some years that Prelief dietary supplement was effective in decreasing many of the symptoms associated with overactive bladder. The study performed by Dr. Kennelly formally evaluated the efficacy and safety of Prelief in overactive bladder patients.

A total of 58 adult patients were randomized 1:1 to 3 weeks of double- blind therapy with Prelief or placebo administered 3 times daily with meals. Outcomes measured individual patient voiding diaries, incontinence quality of life parameters ("IIQ" = Individual Incontinence impact Questionnaire), patient satisfaction scale, and safety.

The study showed that on voiding diary data, Prelief significantly reduced the mean number of pads used per 24 hours compared with placebo, even though the other mean parameters of daily frequency, nocturia, and incontinent episodes showed no significant differences.

Prelief significantly improved quality of life based on the total IIQ score as delineated above. Subjects who received Prelief reported that they were pleased and benefited more frequently than those in the placebo group.

The mechanism for these effects remains to be determined and further evaluation is warranted to substantiate these exciting beneficial findings.

This study was sponsored by AkPharma Inc., maker of Prelief dietary supplement.

About Prelief

Prelief is calcium glycerophosphate, a food-grade mineral classified as a dietary supplement, for use with acidic foods and beverages for more comfortable eating of a regular diet. The calcium is fully absorbable and coupled with phosphorus in a 1:1 ratio, as recommended by nutritionists. Prelief comes in both tablet and granulate form. Tablets are taken with food. Granulate packets are added to a serving of acidic food or beverage.

About AkPharma Inc.

AkPharma's commitment has always been to enhance the digestibility of life's important foods.

For more information, contact:

Betty Corson, Customer Service Manager (609) 645-5100
Ann Maguire, Marketing Manager (609) 645-5100

Source: AkPharma Inc.