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Natural Foods Merchandiser

Nature's Bin empowers employees with disabilities

Nature's Bin empowers employees with disabilities

Michael (trainee) and Scott Duennes shake handsEnter Nature’s Bin in Lakewood, Ohio, and you’re greeted by portraits of Harriet Tubman, Beethoven, Woodrow Wilson and Sandra Bernhard—four individuals who achieved greatness in spite of disabilities. These portraits hanging in the entryway symbolize the natural products store’s mission: to empower people with disabilities and give them the training they need to enter the workforce and lead more productive lives.

Nature’s Bin’s roots stretch back to 1975, when the nonprofit organization Cornucopia, a vocational training program for people with disabilities, opened The Bin, a 500-square-foot farmers’ market–style store. Along with fresh fruits and vegetables, The Bin provided a place for these people to learn vocational skills by working in a real work environment.

“We were about 20 years ahead of our time,” says Scott Duennes, Nature’s Bin’s executive director who’s been with the store for 25 years. “Bringing people with disabilities into public workplaces was not the norm back then,” he says. Initially, The Bin trained about 12 people with disabilities per year, but “we wanted to train more, so we raised the funds to open a larger store.”

In 1991, The Bin became Nature’s Bin and moved to its current location. Today, about 12 percent of its 57 employees are graduates of the training program. On average, an additional eight to 10 trainees participate in the program during the weekdays.

What makes Nature’s Bin a truly unique natural products store is that it’s a nonprofit operated by Cornucopia. At the same time, Nature’s Bin boasts a dedicated customer base, myriad product offerings and, most notably, consistent double-digit sales growth. In 1999, the 4,000-square-foot store logged $1.9 million in sales. In 2005, the store expanded by 2,000 square feet to accommodate a larger health and beauty aids department—and grossed $2.6 million. In 2010, sales hit $6.1 million, a 220 percent increase since 1999. Nature’s Bin provides 73 percent of Cornucopia’s revenue.

Nature's bin traineeWorking with employees with disabilities ranging from autism to Down syndrome to missing limbs doesn’t pose the challenges some might suspect. In fact, “many people with disabilities are very motivated, reliable and committed to belonging to a place where they can contribute,” Duennes says.

Cornucopia appoints a full-time case worker to the store, which also helps the program run smoothly, says Mary Johnson, Nature’s Bin’s director of development and marketing. “We sit down with the case manager and new trainees and talk about their goals and how they can achieve them,” she says. All Nature’s Bin jobs are open to trainees, from stocking to preparing foods for catering.

The messaging about the store’s mission is subtle. There’s no outside signage indicating that it’s a vocational training site, and in-store signage of the like is minimal. This allows trainees to work under realistic conditions and not have shoppers treat them any differently than they would other employees.

If ever an issue arises between a trainee and a shopper, a case manager is always on hand to assist. For example, “one time a woman complained that she asked an employee a question and he didn’t respond; he just smiled,” Duennes says. “We explained the store’s mission and she got it.”

Once a trainee finishes a four- to eight-week session, the store hosts a graduation ceremony with all available staff members and sometimes the trainee’s parents. “We give them a diploma and they can say a few words about where they’re going next in terms of employment,” Duennes says. “We do this intentionally so that other trainees understand that they too will graduate and move on one day.” Former trainees can apply for jobs at Nature’s Bin, but only after they’ve worked elsewhere in the community for at least one year.

Working with the trainees does place additionalNature's Bin trainee demands on staff members. “In addition to their regular responsibilities, employees must embrace what the organization is about—and for the same pay [as they’d make at another natural products store],” Duennes says. “This means that when they have to put up an endcap, they need to work with a trainee through every step.” But the employees take pride in working at a great store with such a strong mission that lets them touch others’ lives in such a positive way—and staff-retention numbers prove this dedication.

For Duennes and Johnson, the store’s mission is why they return to Nature’s Bin each day. “What we give [the trainees] is so important,” Johnson says. “They know they are coming to a place where people are expecting them, and they know they’re involved in something important.”

“This program is why I haven’t retired,” Duennes adds.


Functional Ingredients magazine

Functional Ingredients magazine
Natural Foods Merchandiser

How to adopt an in-store healthy eating program

How to adopt an in-store healthy eating program

When Whole Foods Market CEO John Mackey famously declared in 2009, “We sell a bunch of junk,” his statement galvanized the giant natural foods chain to reestablish itself as a center for health. The next year, in addition to adding a wellness-focused addendum to its mission statement, the Austin, Texas-based chain launched a healthy-eating campaign that included a wildly successful 28-day vegan diet challenge based on Rip Esselstyn’s book, The Engine 2 Diet (Wellness Central, 2009). At Whole Foods stores across the nation, more than 5,000 people signed up for the Engine 2 Challenge, eager to ditch animal products and refined oils and sugars from their diets in hopes of dropping pounds and improving overall health. Since its inception, the challenge continues to gain steam.  

“We’ve found that people are essentially starving for information about healthy eating, and they’re ready to make changes,” says Dani Little, Whole Foods’ national Engine 2 program director. “Throughout the challenge, we have weekly meet-ups where I pass out healthy recipes and samples and offer cooking demonstrations. The goal is to give people tools to instill healthy eating patterns throughout the year.”

The popularity of Engine 2, as well as of similar in-store healthy-eating initiatives hosted by other grocers, spotlights a can’t-miss opportunity for natural products retailers: to become a trusted resource in helping shoppers achieve their weight-loss goals. In addition to implementing diet plans, many retailers are inviting registered dietitians to hold weight-loss classes on-site. “I am thrilled that so many supermarkets are adding in-store RDs,” says Bonnie Taub-Dix, RD, author of Read It Before You Eat It (Plume, 2010). “Everything you need to lose weight and stay healthy is on those shelves.”

Woman stocking shelfBut healthy-eating challenges and on-site RDs are just a few of many ways in which retailers can help their customers achieve their weight-management goals, says Keren Gilbert, RD, founder of, a website focused on mindful eating, fitness and healthy living. “As a retailer, you’re able to foster the sense of community that’s so integral to helping people make major lifestyle changes,” she says. “You’re also able to introduce products to consumers and hopefully encourage new shoppers to come to your store.”

Even though mainstream grocers such as West Des Moines, Iowa-based Hy-Vee and San Antonio, Texas-based H-E-B have stepped up efforts to provide weight-loss assistance to consumers, natural products stores should have a leg up on the conventional competition. “Naturals retailers are already considered centers for health.” Gilbert says. “Now the opportunity lies in promoting this idea even further with a structured approach.”

Implementing an established eating plan

One of the easiest ways for natural products retailers to institute a healthy-eating program or challenge is to adopt an already-established, well-researched diet, Gilbert says. This way, the guidelines and foods that support the program are already outlined, and you don’t necessarily need an on-site dietitian to implement the plan.

Instead, Gilbert suggests calling out approved foods with shelf talkers, promoting new products and sharing recipes at weekly in-store meetings, and even initiating a monthly supper club in which participants create meals from program-approved foods. She recommends one of the following four plans as a good place to start, but advises listening to your shoppers’ needs to find a regimen that supports their goals.

The Engine 2 Diet

What it is: This 28-day plant-based diet plan devised by Retailer talking about healthy eatingEsselstyn, a firefighter and former professional triathlete, suggests vegan versions of tacos, hamburgers, pizza and other favorites. Some minimally processed foods are permitted, including tofu, seitan, soy yogurt, veggie burgers and whole-grain crackers and pastas. The diet is low in fat and salt and free of refined sugar, and it puts no caloric limit on fruit, vegetable or whole-grains consumption. Esselstyn’s book, The Engine 2 Diet, outlines “approved” products, making it easy for retailers to promote these foods as “Engine 2 friendly” on store shelves.

Who it’s for: Shoppers who want to eat better but may not be ready to trade meatloaf and pizza for quinoa and carrots

Eat to Live

What it is: Joel Fuhrman, MD, defines his Eat to Live plan with a straightforward formula: H=N/C. That is, “health is predicted by your nutrient intake divided by your intake of calories,” he writes in Eat to Live: The Revolutionary Formula for Fast and Sustained Weight Loss (Brown, 2003). Dieters stave off hunger cravings throughout the six-week vegan plan by eating nutrient-rich, low-calorie foods such as dark, leafy greens; beans; legumes and other non-starchy vegetables. Eat to Live does place limits on starchy veggies, whole grains, nuts, seeds, avocados, tofu and flaxseeds.

Who it’s for: Already-healthy eaters ready to follow a strict, plant-based plan in order to jump-start weight loss or improve overall health

The McDougall Program

What it is: Founded by John McDougall, MD, this plan is based on the belief that individuals can prevent disease by eating an unprocessed, low-fat diet. The strict, vegetarian meal plan eliminates nearly all animal products, as well as peanut butter, nuts, olives and shellfish. Fats, oils and refined flour products are also restricted. Dieters plan meals using whole grains, squashes, root vegetables, beans, leafy greens and some fruits. Most approved foods can be consumed in unlimited portions.

Who it’s for: Eaters who already enjoy a wide variety of fruits and vegetables and aren’t interested in counting calories

Mediterranean diet

What it is: Rather than a theory or strict plan, the Mediterranean diet is traced back to the observations of Ancel Keys, an American scientist who studied diet’s influence on health and in 1945 began documenting foods common among Mediterranean cuisines. Several books detail aspects of the Mediterranean-food lifestyle, but most can be summed up as emphasizing seafood and whole foods (especially fruits and vegetables) and using olive oil in place of butter. Dairy and meat are consumed infrequently.

Who it’s for: Shoppers looking for diet flexibility who may be unaccustomed to eating whole foods and want to slowly introduce them into their diet

How to learn from the big guys

Along with adopting a specific weight-loss-promoting diet, natural products retailers can take further steps to create more robust healthy-eating initiatives. Several conventional grocers and large natural products chains have done just this. Here’s a look at some successful strategies that small, independent naturals stores may consider emulating.

Hy-Vee brings in-store weight loss to the Midwest

At the Hy-Vee store in Albert Lea, Minn., Amy Pleimling, RD, teaches a non-diet approach to weight loss called Healthy for Life. Her 14-week, $85 course mixes classroom education, cooking demonstrations, one-on-one consultations and store-floor tours. 

Pleimling says she now prefers teaching in a grocery store over a traditional classroom setting. “It’s interactive, practical and so beneficial to comb the store aisles [with participants],” she says.

Throughout the 14 weeks, students get three hours of education on the store floor. “During each visit to the aisles, we evaluate what’s healthy,” Pleimling says. “We do a lot of tasting, much of it on impulse. We’ll usually pick two or three produce items the group hasn’t tried, maybe jicama or mango. [Students] are always Whole foods employeeso willing to try new products.”

The focus throughout the course is on making small, gradual dietary changes. “It might be a person just beginning his or her weight-loss journey or someone who has a spouse [who needs to lose weight],” Pleimling says. “Whatever the case, we are always setting realistic goals.” Still, to help create an atmosphere of accountability and monitor individual progress, Pleimling requires students to participate in weekly weigh-ins.

Pleimling says her program always reaches its 26-person capacity, which translates to 26 shoppers filling their carts after each class. “Sometimes I give out coupons or tell them about value items,” she says. “Then they tell their friends about the store.”

Hy-Vee also operates a weight-loss program called Begin in some of its 220 stores. This 10-week course is run by registered dietitians who help participants incorporate healthy foods and regular exercise into their lifestyles.

H-E-B partners with RediClinic for 'gain health' program

In May, Houston-based RediClinic, which resides in 29 H-E-B grocery stores throughout Texas, launched its Weigh Forward weight-loss initiative. The 10-week, $499 program combines behavior modification, physical activity and nutrition education. The classes largely attract women ages 25 to 54. “These women are usually pressed for time and often have more than 5 pounds to lose,” says RediClinic CEO Web Golinkin.

Unlike many other weight-loss programs, Weigh Forward is run by nurse practitioners and physician assistants and overseen by local medical doctors. “Our program is different in that it’s medically supervised,” Golinkin says. “This means we can handle people with weight-related medical issues like diabetes.” In addition, the clinicians can monitor any health concerns and medications and prescribe drugs.

Weigh Forward focuses on implementing lifestyle changes rather than replacing meals and counting calories. “History shows us that when people lose weight via quick fixes and don’t learn anything from the process, they gain it back,” Golinkin says. “We are trying something different to help people lose weight and keep it off.”

The first step is a medical evaluation that includes cholesterol and thyroid checks, a blood workup and an evaluation of biometrics such as body mass index. These are then monitored weekly to assess not only weight loss but “health gain,” Golinkin says.

After each weekly visit, participants leave the clinic with a grocery list and meal plan and sometimes coupons for recommended items. With these in hand, they'll often go shopping right away, Golinkin says. Whether the students are toured through the store aisles depends on each teacher.

So far, the new program is performing well. “We’re meeting our financial projections and the participants are losing weight and gaining health,” Golinkin says. Based on Weigh Forward’s success, Golinkin sees plenty of benefits for retailers that host in-store weight-loss programs. “Consumers might come to trust your store more,” he says. “They will certainly shop with you more often, and we all know that customers usually buy more than they intend to.” Keep in mind that these extra purchases can include higher-priced personal care products and dietary supplements.

Whole Foods Market wants health to start in-store

Whole Foods Market’s weight-loss programs and support vary from store to store, but they’re all part of the company’s Health Starts Here initiative. Some of its programs include 28-day challenges based on popular diet books such as Esselstyn's The Engine 2 Diet and The China Study (BenBella Books, 2004) by T. Colin Campbell, PhD. Participants sign up and pay a fee for these challenges, which include weekly meetings and access to recipes and other support.

At the Whole Foods in Santa Rosa, Calif., Misty Humphrey, RD, creates her own weight-loss classes that include a one-hour personal consultation, classroom sessions with healthy food basics and lots of time on the store floor. “Most of the participants are new to natural foods and aren’t savvy about healthy eating,” she says. Her store tours also include a trip to the supplements aisle, where she teaches participants about nutrition basics such as essential fatty acids and multivitamins.

Once the class is complete, she offers participants shorter, one-on-one follow-up visits and keeps an open-door policy. “Sometimes past participants have just a quick question about a certain item,” she says. When enough people approach her with similar concerns, she will often offer a class on that subject.

Humphrey sees the classes as a win-win for customers and the store. As someone who has maintained an 85-pound weight loss, she knows that it takes much more than counting calories to keep pounds off.

Delicious Living

8 ways to survive a flight


The last of the Thanksgiving leftovers have been regretfully scraped into Tupperware for lunch, Black Friday has come and gone, and my staircase is decked out in colored Christmas lights.

Tune Pandora to the holiday station, because the season of festivities has officially started.

And if your travel plans include a flight home, it’s a smart idea to begin stockpiling products for a healthy voyage...especially when immunity is already compromised by cold weather, annual holiday-induced bouts of stress, and workplace sniffles.

So how to emerge from the gate refreshed and prepared to partake in family festivities? Take the following easy steps to endure the lengthy flight in one piece.

1. Book a flight scheduled to take off in the afternoon, and use the extra time you have in the morning to work out. Your energy will be higher during travel, and you won’t be as antsy sitting for an extended period. During the flight, try to walk the length of the cabin every few hours.

2. Planes are notorious for carrying germs. Invest in a natural hand sanitizer to use liberally throughout the trip—especially after touching germ hot spots like fold-up trays, overhead compartment handles, and arm rests. Choose a product with natural antibacterial ingredients like thyme oil and white tea extract to both disinfect and moisturize hands.

Try: CleanWell Hand Sanitizer Sprays, available in 1 oz containers.

3. Eat a high-protein breakfast before you embark in the morning to reduce hunger later on. For a quick breakfast, blend frozen berries, a banana, fresh orange juice, and a scoop of a plant-based protein powder for a boost of antioxidants and long-lasting fullness.

Try: Vegan Jarrow Formulas Optimal Plant Proteins

4. Avoid the candy counter at the many airport kiosks. Not only is candy peculiarly overpriced in airport terminals, but sugar will cause a spike in blood sugar—leading to an energy slump later on. Another reason to bypass the M&Ms? High glycemic foods force the body to produce adrenaline to overcompensate for tiredness, making you more likely to grow if airports don’t contain enough stressors already. If you are truly craving a treat, bring along a small amount of organic dark chocolate, which contains less sugar.

5. While it may be tempting, (hey, you are on vacation after all) avoid alcohol both before and during your flight. Alcohol is dehydrating, especially when combined with the already bone-dry air of the plane cabin. Rather, imbibe in water or a natural fruit beverage. Recent research suggests that tart cherry juice can induce the sleep hormone melatonin, which could lead to a more restful flight.

Try: Cheribundi Skinny Cherry Juice

6. While on the subject of dry air, flying almost inevitably causes my face to breakout. Combat airplane-induced acne by keeping skin hydrated with an oil-free facial moisturizer. Choose a product with natural antibacterial ingredients like tea tree oil or manuka oil, and skin soothers like sea buckthorn and Rooibos.

Try: Mychelle Oil Free Grapefruit Cream, available in 1 oz containers

7. While airports have evolved to offer surprisingly palatable food offerings, food prices have risen to match. Save cash by toting along your own healthy snacks. Trail mix, granola, nut-based bars, and sturdy fruit like bananas and oranges are all great choices. But kicking it old school with a peanut butter and jelly wrap is a hardy, easy way to stay nourished. Choose a natural peanut or nut butter, a jam with as few ingredients as possible, and a hearty, whole grain tortilla.

8. With long lines, delays, and teeny seating space, flying can be stressful. Take steps to control anxiety: deep breathing exercises, sipping an herbal tea, and reading are all effective ways to maintain a sense of peace while flying. Consider taking an omega-3 supplement as well to curb stress. An added plus? Omega-3s are proven to reduce inflammation as well.

Try: Coromega Omega3 Squeeze

Natural Foods Merchandiser

People news: Rick Ruffolo appointed CEO and president of Sensible Organics

People news: Rick Ruffolo appointed CEO and president of Sensible Organics

John CarlsonJohn Carlson, cofounder and former president of Arlington Heights, Ill.-based supplements company Carlson Laboratories, died Oct. 1. He was 77. Carlson started Carlson Laboratories with his wife, Susan, in 1965 and remained active in the business through 2010. A long-time advocate for dietary supplements, Carlson was an active member of the Natural Products Association, National Institute of Nutritional Education and other industry organizations. In 2009, John received the prestigious Nutrition Business Journal Summit Lifetime Achievement Award, recognizing him as a pioneer who helped build the natural products industry.

Simi Valley, Calif.-based derma e Natural Bodycare hired Kathleen Dill sas Canadian regional sales manager.

Nawgan, a brain-health beverage manufacturer in St. Louis, named Mark Maggio director of natural sales. 

James Prochnow joined the Washington, D.C.-based Natural Products Foundation board of directors for a three-year term.

Salt Lake City–based Global Organization for EPA and DHA Omega-3s expanded its management team to include Harry Rice, Mike Roberts and Ellen Schutt.

European Federation of Associations of Health Product Manufacturers,Rick Ruffolo a Brussels, Belgium-based trade association, appointed Cynthia Rousselot director of European policy.

Beaver Falls, Pa.-based organic personal care manufacturer Sensible Organics appointed Rick Ruffolo CEO and president. >>

Los Angeles–based homeopathic products manufacturer Hyland’s hired Les Hamilton as vice president of sales.

Global ingredient supplier LycoRed, Israel appointed Ilan Ronvice president of global marketing and sales for its international and domestic markets and hired Doug Lynchas vice president of business development and new product marketing for the Eastern U.S. market.

Natural Foods Merchandiser

Company news: Manitoba Harvest earns Hazard Analysis recognition

Company news: Manitoba Harvest earns Hazard Analysis recognition

Maritoba harvest Hemp Foods and OilsCyvex Nutrition, an Irvine, Calif.-based ingredients supplier, launched omega-3 oil OmegaActiv at the SupplySide West trade show in Las Vegas in October.

Haifa, Israel-based ingredients and flavors supplier Frutarom launched olive leaf extract Benolea at SupplySide West.

Bowling Green, Fla.-based neem products manufacturer Organix-South launched TheraVeda Immune Support.

A team of investors led by Vancouver-based firm Renewal2 acquired Beaver Falls, Pa.-based organic personal care manufacturer Sensibility Soaps and renamed the company Sensible Organics.

Washington, D.C.-based supplements industry trade association Council for Responsible Nutrition added manufacturers Nordic Naturals, based in Watsonville, Calif., and Optimum Nutrition, based in Aurora, Ill., as voting members.

Sunrise, Fla.-based bee propolis–based supplements manufacturer NaturaNectar launched Immune Guardian, Gastro Guardian, Bee Propolis Trio, Green Bee Propolis and Red Bee Propolis in the U.S.

South Deerfield, Mass.-based personal care company Dr. Hauschka Skin Care became a Gold Sponsor of the Right2Know March against genetically modified organisms.

Los Angeles–based supplements manufacturer Jarrow Formulas launched Skin L&P supplement in October.

Sabinsa, an ingredients supplier in East Windsor, N.J., and Payson, Utah, opened an office in Seoul, South Korea.

Ingredients By Nature opened a 20,000-square-foot plant in Montclair, Calif., where it will manufacture ingredients for functional foods and beverages, supplements, cosmetics and animal nutrition products.

Manitoba Harvest Hemp Foods & Oils' manufacturing facility in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, earned Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point recognition.

Brampton, Ontario, Canada-based natural, organic and specialty foods manufacturer SunOpta announced it will grow its vertically integrated nondairy beverage processing and packaging capabilities by expanding its Modesto, Calif., operations.

Nexira launches new acacia gum and organic olive extracts

Nexira launches new acacia gum and organic olive extracts

Nexira introduces its new innovations to the food and nutraceutical markets / industry at FI Europe, hall 3, booth D33:

·               New range of highly purified Acacia Gum with Crystal Pure,

·               FibregumTM, first and only acacia gum approved as a fiber source by Health Canada

·               Oli Ola, Organic Olive Extract

·               New clinical results for Cacti-NeaTM

Premier supplier of original active ingredients, Nexira delivers a broad portfolio of nutritional and functional ingredients. At the FI Europe, Nexira introduces three major innovations and presents new clinical results for Cacti-NeaTM

Crystal Pure, a new range of highly purified Acacia Gum by Nexira
Nexira, world leader in acacia gum, and its Food division (previously known as CNI) is launching during FIE Paris a new range of highly purified acacia gum that will provide better transparency with reduced turbidity which broadens the scope of applications for this natural soluble fiber. The unique attributes of this new acacia range was achieved through a proprietary process developed by the Nexira R&D team to protect the natural characteristics of the gum. This exceptional range of highly purified acacia gum will deliver enhanced properties for exceptional performance.

Oli Ola, Organic Olive Extract
Nexira is reinforcing its capabilities in the organic ingredients market by launching a new olive extract with a guaranteed constant high level of hydroxytyrosol, a phytonutrient with strong antioxidant properties. This antioxidant has been shown to aid in a decreased risk of cardiovascular disease by preventing low-density lipoprotein oxidation.
This organic ingredient meets the specifications in the positive report from EFSA (April 2011) which approved claims for protection of low-density lipoproteins (LDL) from oxidative damage and maintenance of normal blood high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol levels.  Using this new Olive extract will provide the opportunity to make a cardiovascular health claim, which is a significant marketing advantage for the nutraceutical industry.
This 100 % natural olive extract is produced form organic agriculture and is exclusive to Nexira Health (previously known as Bio Serae Laboratories). The new olive-based ingredient is the latest innovation developed by the Nexira R&D team and it will complement the current broad range of botanical extracts offered Nexira Health.

Fibregum™: The first and only acacia gum approved as a fiber source by Health Canada
Nexira is also demonstrating its leadership in regulatory support with the announcement of Fibergum™ status as the first and only range of acacia gum approved as a source of dietary fiber by Health Canada. In addition to regulatory leadership, Nexira is a global leader in sustainable sourcing and respect for the environment. Finally, Nexira offers superior technical support and assists customers in optimizing their formulations with precisely the correct grade of Fibergum™.

New clinical results for Cacti-Nea™
A second clinical study confirms Cacti-Nea™’s anti-water retention effect.
The open intra-individual study was conducted on 15 women with water retention problems. The aim of this study was to evaluate Cacti-Nea™’s effect at the dose of 2g/day during one week. Very positive results were highlighted, confirming the benefits of this innovative natural ingredient :
·               Cacti-Nea™ helps to significantly increase diuresis by 27% on women with BMI<25
·               Cacti-Nea™ helps to significantly decrease the sensation of swollen feet/ankles/calves
·               Cacti-Nea™ helps to significantly decrease the sensation of “heavy legs”

In addition, 87% of women were convinced by Cacti-Nea™’s efficiency by the end of the study, as revealed in a global satisfaction questionnaire the volunteers completed.
This second clinical study confirms Cacti-Nea™’s diuretic effect and shows that it can help refine the silhouette and provide relief from water retention side effects such as swollen legs and ankles. Cacti-Nea™ is a natural prickly pear fruit extract, developed by the Health Division of Nexira (previously Bio Serae Laboratories). It can easily be incorporated into dietary supplements or functional food and beverages.
Cacti-Nea™ is available in an Organic version, certified by Ecocert.

Nexira is the evolution of merging the skills and expertise of CNI (Colloides Naturels International), global leader in acacia gum, and Bio Serae Laboratoires, premier supplier of original active ingredients. Nexira delivers a broad portfolio of both nutritional and functional ingredients. Nexira, a global market leader, is built on the foundation of 115 years of family owned business success. Nexira has business operations on 5 continents, complemented by a wide network of collaborative partners and a presence in 80 countries

Beneo launches RemyLiVe rice bran at FI Europe

Beneo launches RemyLiVe rice bran at FI Europe

At this year's Fi Europe (FiE) in Paris, BENEO - one of the leading manufacturers of functional ingredients - announces the launch of its optimized shelf stable rice bran, RemyLiVe. Visit BENEO at Fi Europe and Ni 2011, Nov. 29th - Dec. 1st, Paris, Hall 4 Stand: 12.

BENEO's RemyLiVe offers food producers a high quality, stable product that encompasses a wide range of nutritional and functional benefits. In addition to being hypoallergenic, wholegrain, gluten-free and rich in anti-oxidants and phytosterols, the shelf stable rice bran also improves the structure, shelf-life, texture and machinability of food products.

Key applications for BENEO's RemyLiVe shelf stable rice bran include cereals and bars, baked goods and meat. In cereals, it can allow wholegrain claims, and improves bowl-life and crunchiness. Increased benefits can also be achieved by combining RemyLiVe with other functional ingredients from BENEO. For example, when combined with BENEO's prebiotic fiber, inulin, the result is gluten-free baked goods with an improved nutritional profile and structure. The addition of inulin in meat products offers fat replacement and enhanced texture properties. RemyLiVe rice bran can also be combined with BENEO's oligofructose, or sugar replacer, ISOMALT, when formulating for  sugar-reduction, and improved structure and shelf-life in baked goods.

NutraCea, a global leader in the production and marketing of value-added products derived from rice bran, produces RemyLiVe under the terms of the distribution and cooperation agreement that was entered into in September, 2011. The shelf stable rice bran from BENEO will be available in more than 40 countries in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) as well as Russia, India, Australia and New Zealand from the first quarter of 2012 onwards.  

Pierre Donck, Product Manager RemyLiVe, stated, "The nutritional and technical benefits of RemyLiVe make it a highly versatile ingredient. This nutritionally optimized product not only improves the texture and stability of a wide range of foods, but it also expands BENEO's offerings to include a wholegrain or gluten-free product option. We strongly believe that our customers will benefit greatly from this value-added ingredient."

For further information on BENEO and its ingredients, please visit:

The BENEO product portfolio consists of functional ingredients with nutritional and technical advantages, derived from chicory roots, beet sugar, rice and wheat.  BENEO is the ideal partner to help improve the health (weight management, energy for mental & physical performance, digestive, bone and dental health), taste, texture and nutritional value (fat and sugar replacement/fiber enrichment) of a product. Through a unique chain of expertise, including the BENEO-Institute, BENEO actively supports industry partners in the development of more balanced and healthy food products.

BENEO is a division of the Südzucker Group, employs almost 900 people and has production units in Belgium, Chile, Germany and Italy.

New research finds optimal vitamin D levels reduced risk of diabetes by 52%

New research finds optimal vitamin D levels reduced risk of diabetes by 52%

At the 84th annual scientific meeting of the American Heart Association, November 12-16 in Orlando, FL, a study presented by the Intermountain Medical Center (IMC) based in Murray, UT, measured 25-hydroxyvitamin D blood levels in 132,000 Americans.

The data corroborates what was previously published showing that those with higher vitamin D blood levels have substantially lower risks of degenerative disease. For example, those whose 25-hydroxyvitamin D ranged from 61-80 ng/mL had a 52% reduced risk of diabetes compared to those with deficient levels below 20 ng/mL.

Even though the data presented at the American Heart Association conference is not yet published, Life Extension® is sending an advisory to its members to ensure they maintain sufficient 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels to protect their health, but to not exceed upper limit levels established several years ago by Life Extension® and mainstream medicine.

In the study, those whose 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels ranged 81-100 ng/mL had a 36% reduction in hypertension incidence when measured against the deficient group. Compared to people in the deficient range, those with higher blood levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D had significantly lower risk of heart failure, depression, coronary artery disease, kidney failure and prior stroke.  

There was a warning issued when 25-hydroxyvitamin D exceeded 100 ng/mL. These individuals showed a much greater risk of atrial fibrillation.

In the January 2010 issue of Life Extension Magazine®, startling findings were reported that 85% of Life Extension members had less than optimal levels of vitamin D in their blood (below

50 ng/mL) as measured by 25-hydroxyvitamin D. Based on the current scientific data available, Life Extension has identified an optimal range of 25-hydroxyvitamin D for health between 50-80 ng/mL.

“Since most of our members are aware of the importance of optimal vitamin D levels, frank deficiency levels less than 20 ng/ml are unusual, though we still see the need for consistent dosing to ensure optimal vitamin D status,” said William Faloon, Life Extension founder.

A young person who spends many hours in the summer sun often has 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels greater than 50 ng/mL, yet as people age their body converts less sunlight into vitamin D. Aging people often require supplementation with 5,000-7,000 IU of vitamin D a day to obtain a 25-hydroxyvitamin D level over 50 ng/mL.

 “Out of this large group of IMC study participants, a small number (291 or 0.22%) had 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels over 100 ng/mL,” said Faloon. 

“This high level exceeds what Life Extension, as well as other scientific experts in vitamin D metabolism, have long recommended,” Faloon added..

Those whose 25-hydroxyvitamin D level exceeded 100 ng/mL had an atrial fibrillation incidence greater than those who were in the safe ranges below 100 ng/mL.

As the population ages, an increasing percentage develops an irregular rhythm in the upper chambers of the heart called atrial fibrillation. It is the most common type of heart arrhythmia and approximately 5% of persons over 65 years of age are expected to be diagnosed with it.

Study authors recommended people have their blood tested to ensure they are taking the proper dose of vitamin D. Life Extension magazine had previously noted a wide dose-response variability with vitamin D and recommended 25-hydroxyvitamin D blood tests to evaluate whether or not the optimal range of between 50-80 ng/mL has been achieved.

“Atrial fibrillation is usually accompanied by symptoms related to a rapid heart rate,” said Dr. Steven Joyal, MD, Life Extension’s chief medical officer.

 “Rapid and irregular heart rate can contribute to heart palpitations, easy fatigue, shortness of breath, and exercise intolerance. Sometimes atrial fibrillation can produce chest pain in response to strenuous activity. An electrocardiogram test can usually diagnose atrial fibrillation,” noted Joyal.

The primary danger of atrial fibrillation is that it can create an abnormal blood clot to form in the left atrial chamber that breaks away and travels up the carotid artery causing a stroke. Patients with atrial fibrillation are usually prescribed anti-arrhythmic and anti-coagulant drugs to reduce this risk. 

Ideally, the underlying cause of atrial fibrillation like hyperthyroidism (an overactive thyroid) or lung disease is identified and corrected so the problem goes away. Some cases of atrial fibrillation resolve spontaneously and require no treatment.

Life Extension meticulously tracks the scientific literature to look for trends that may indicate beneficial or detrimental impact on health and lifespan, and then communicates this information to Life Extension members to help them make informed decisions about their welfare.

Based on the findings reported at the American Heart Association conference, Life Extension has further support based upon current science for an optimal range of 25-hydroxyvitamin D between 50 to 80 ng/mL for health and wellness. Levels that exceed 100 ng/mL should be avoided, which can be readily identified via low-cost blood testing.

“The more common challenge is someone taking 2,000 IU of vitamin D3 a day and higher and still not being able to reach an adequate 25-hydroxyvitamin D level,” said Dr. Joyal.

Life Extension, headquartered in Fort Lauderdale, FL, has been researching and reporting breakthroughs in medicine and longevity science since 1980. The extensive line of products with scientifically-evaluated ingredients from Life Extension, are designed to help people live healthier. 

Additional 25-hydroxyvitamin D information is available from

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FDA takes action against supplement maker for not complying with cGMPs

FDA takes action against supplement maker for not complying with cGMPs

The FDA today took legal action against a dietary supplement maker and owner for substituting ingredients and products without noting the changes on the final product labels. The permanent injunction, filed on behalf of the FDA by the U.S. Department of Justice, would stop the defendants from making and distributing more than 400 products for being in violation of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.

This is the first time FDA has taken legal action against a dietary supplement manufacturer of this size for failure to comply with the dietary supplement current Good Manufacturing Practice (cGMP) regulations. The cGMPs for dietary supplements went into effect in 2007, in a stepped process based on company size. This company's compliance date came into effect in 2010, and they did not meet the relevant cGMP requirements after that date.

The FDA requested the permanent injunction against ATF Fitness Products Inc. (ATF), Manufacturing ATF Dedicated Excellence, Inc. (MADE), and James G. Vercellotti of Oakmont, Pa., owner and operator of both companies. The cGMP regulations require manufacturers to ensure quality in their dietary supplements by controlling all aspects of their processes and procedures. MADE makes more than 400 dietary supplements, including vitamins and minerals, under the brands “Sci-Fit,” “Nature’s Science” and “For Store Only.” ATF purchases dietary supplements exclusively from MADE and distributes them throughout the United States.

“Dietary supplements have a significant role in the public’s health,” said Dara Corrigan, associate commissioner for regulatory affairs.  “Today’s injunction reinforces our commitment to ensuring that these supplements meet the cGMP requirements the law establishes.”

The government's complaint, filed Nov. 23, 2011, in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania, alleges that in addition to “adulterating” and “misbranding” their final products, the manufacturer and its owner failed to report serious adverse events associated with their products. In one case an individual who consumed one of the products reported experiencing a spike in blood pressure, hospitalization and a subsequent mild heart attack.

The FDA, an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, protects the public health by assuring the safety, effectiveness and security of human and veterinary drugs, vaccines and other biological products for human use, and medical devices. The agency also is responsible for the safety and security of our nation’s food supply, cosmetics, dietary supplements, products that give off electronic radiation, and for regulating tobacco products.