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Articles from 2003 In May

New LOHAS Consumer Research to be Unveiled at Market Trends Conference

Values-based consumer group grows 7 percent from 2002; Interest in buying from values-based companies grows by 8 percent.

Broomfield, Colo. (May 30, 2003) - New research on LOHAS Consumers, now in its second year, shows that this values-based consumer group is growing and is now comprised of 68 million Americans, or 32.3 percent of the U.S. general population, up from 30 percent a year ago.

The results, taken from the 2003 Understanding the LOHAS Market consumer research report, a study of more than 2,000 U.S. households conducted by the Natural Marketing Institute in Harleysville, Pa., will be unveiled at the 7th LOHAS Market Trends Conference, June 18-20th at the Omni Interlocken Resort in Broomfield, Colo.

The Market Trends Conference is the leading CEO-level business and networking event in the $230-billion Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability (LOHAS) market and will draw more than 500 top-level executives, investors and marketers in the natural, organic, sustainable and socially responsible products and services arenas. The conference explores brand building, profitability, consumer demographics, financial and investment opportunities, and other industry and market trends driving and integrating the growth of the LOHAS market.

Other preliminary results from the new research report:
· LOHAS Consumers aren't just attitudinally distinct, they are more likely
to act (behaviorally) on their beliefs; analysis indicates that 51 percent of LOHAS Consumers act on their beliefs, relative to only 26 percent of the general population.
· LOHAS Consumers are multi-dimensional; whereby they are indeed driven by
a strong sense of environmental responsibility, they also maintain a balanced lifestyle with regards to intense feeling towards personal development and social issues, among other related health and sustainability topics.
· Compared to last year, consumers are more interested in buying products
and services from companies whose values are most like their own --- up nearly 8 percent from last year among the general population; this indicates a consistency and significant trend between attitudes and action.

Initial results of this groundbreaking report will be presented on Wednesday, June 18 at the Conference. Additionally, an in-depth, three-hour, post-Conference workshop – How To Identify, Target and Communicate With the LOHAS Consumer will explore the application of the Understanding the LOHAS Market consumer research project to particular business sectors. During this hands-on workshop, participants will learn how to identify, target, and communicate with the LOHAS Consumer. The workshop will provide insight into specific sectors relevant to workshop attendees, including consumer packaged goods, socially responsible investing, alternative transportation, renewable energy, alternative healthcare, among others, and features Steve French, Managing Partner, Natural Marketing Institute, and Gwynne Rogers, LOHAS Market Analyst, Natural Marketing Institute. (Additional fee required)

The 7th Annual LOHAS Market Trends Conference and Trade Fair is produced by Broomfield, Colo. based Conscious Media Inc., publisher of LOHAS Journal, the leading business publication serving the health and sustainability market.

Sponsors Include: Premier Sponsors: North Castle Partners and Tom’s of Maine; Corporate Sponsors: Balance Bar, Ben & Jerry’s Homemade, Boca Burger and Spectrum Organic Products; Business Sponsors: Blue Marble Marketing, Business for Social Responsibility, Co-op America, First Affirmative Financial Network, GAIAM Inc., Organic Bouquet, River Network, Rudolf Steiner Foundation; Media Sponsors: Boulder County Business Report, CSRwire, New Hope Natural Media; Event Sponsors: Body & Soul Magazine, Boulder Economic Council, City of Boulder, Domini Social Investments, Domo Records, Fit Fruit & Vegetable Wash, Grace Communications, Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Hope Magazine, International Chamber of Health and Well-Being, MB Media, P3 Colorado: People, Planet, Profit, The Volkman Group and Yoga Journal.

For information on attending, exhibiting or sponsorships, contact 303.222.8283, email [email protected], or visit

For media inquiries and press registration, contact Mara Engel or Cheryl Roth at OrganicWorks Marketing, 212.751.0706, or email [email protected] or [email protected]

# # #

Delicious Living

June 1, 2003

Noni Begins To Bear Fruit

The components of the noni plant show great potential for new ingredients, but regulators still want more science to back it up. Shane Starling reports.

Like many 'Old World' botanicals and foodstuffs, the migration of Morinda citrifolia, or noni, to Western shelves hasn't been a smooth one. Unsure of what it had on its hands, the European Union (EU) banned the marketing of noni in the late '90s, but it has now revoked the ban and the product is expected back on the shelves later this summer. For now, though, noni can only be procured via multi-level marketing in Europe.

Around the same time the EU issued its ban, the largest noni manufacturer and distributor in the US was threatened with legal action by the states of Arizona, California, New Jersey and Texas for implying that noni products could treat and cure a range of diseases. The company, then known as Morinda, ceased the practise (its marketing now promotes noni as nothing more than a health drink), agreed to an out-of-court multi-million dollar settlement and changed its name to Tahitian Noni. The Utah-based company remains America's-and the world's-largest noni operation, with a network of more than 250 mainly US-based distributors and sales in excess of $400 million in 2002.

Sales Success And Noni's Health Benefits
Tahitian Noni is not alone in achieving buoyant sales figures, because other companies are finding success with a range of products from juices to lotions to teas, all derived from the multi-faceted Pacific fruit. It has been used in places as far-flung as Hawaii, Tahiti, northern Australia and Southeast Asia, where the noni tree (which can grow as tall as seven metres) has flourished for years. Locals used the plant's fruit, leaves, flowers, bark and roots to treat all manner of ailments from abrasions and broken bones to tuberculosis, arthritis, rheumatism, diabetes, heart troubles, depression, influenza, headaches, high blood pressure and the onset of old age. The juice of the fruit, which smells like bleu cheese, has even been used as a treatment for head lice. Australian Aboriginals consumed the fruit as a food despite its bitter taste, while noni leaves, bark and roots have been, and sometimes still are, used as dyes for clothing.

Although there is little clinical evidence backing its health benefits, research has found noni to be high in antioxidants, and testimonials point to its potential for boosting the immune and circulatory systems as well as increasing energy levels. It is usually consumed as a liquid-30ml per day is considered an adequate amount.

History Of A Medicinal Plant
"Noni was originally brought to Hawaii by Tahitians, although it is native to India. It's a sacred plant to Hawaiians," says Scott Schuett, vice president of Pharm East Hawaii, which makes a range of noni powders for use predominantly in noni drinks. "You can get a range of noni products in pretty much all the supermarkets here in Hawaii, but in most other markets it is found mainly in health food stores."

Noni made its first appearance in the mainland US states less than 10 years ago. In that time, Tahitian Noni's vast multi-level marketing network has captured about 90 per cent of the market, meaning most sales occur via word-of-mouth, although companies like Pharm East Hawaii are pushing hard to increase retail sales.

"Noni is becoming more popular through the health food store network on the mainland now," Schuett notes. "It is especially popular in the Spanish, Asian and South American communities. We do a lot of niche marketing to target these kinds of ethnic markets. Many of our distributors are from ethnic communities, and so they tend to target their own communities. For example, the Vietnamese community consumes more noni per capita than anybody else in the US right now."

The company also is active in many Asian markets. "There is a huge market in Asia. The Japanese market alone is about the same size as the US market," Schuett estimates. "Noni has always been popular in Southeast Asia, where it has been used for hundreds of years, but now it's gaining popularity in northern Asia, too. So we are selling into Japan and we are opening up China as well as Thailand and Taiwan. There is a whole variety of noni products going over there at the moment. Powders, drinks, teas, capsules, yoghurts—noni candy is doing well in Japan."

Europe—A Market-In-Waiting
Noni products have been in Europe for five years on a private basis because distributors could not market the product until the ban was lifted. Jurgen Rekin, PhD, product developer at German-based Pharmos Natural Cosmetics and Remedies, has a line of noni products ready to hit the shelves and he strongly believes the ban should never have occurred in the first place.

"It is quite safe and, therefore, there shouldn't be any objection to distribute it legally in Europe. There have never been any adverse reports from its consumption. It is free for distribution once the European Parliament rubberstamps the European Commision's decision," Rekin says, adding, "noni is good for health in general. It makes you feel good. It is different to, say, coffee that lasts for only a few hours. Noni can last all day long."

Pharmos Natural Cosmetics and Remedies will market its version of noni in supplement form, hence avoiding any taste issues. "We don't flavour our products, as we make capsules," he notes. "But we don't want people to think of it as a medicine. We want them to think of it as a food supplement, a health supplement."

The Future For Noni
Rekin acknowledges that the lack of available science influenced the European Commission's initial decision and it is something the industry needs to address if it is to fulfill its potential. "It would be desirable if there were more research funds put into noni. We haven't engaged in any at the moment, but it is something we are looking into."

"There has never been greater public interest in noni," Schuett agrees. "It has enormous potential for a worldwide market right now, but there needs to be more credible science put behind it if that is to happen. The science needs to be more detailed and more available for people in the marketplace. There are a bunch of trials being conducted both here in Hawaii and abroad, but the results aren't in yet."

Only then will mainstream food and beverage players be more likely to show an interest in the product. "Companies are hesitant to make an investment because it hasn't achieved GRAS certification in the US and so they are unsure if it is going to be sold in the future. Pharm East Hawaii has begun canvassing noni players to establish an industry-wide alliance, "to give noni more credibility as a nutraceutical," says Schuett.

If the noni boom arrives, there will be no shortage of supply because trees are being grown commercially in many locales. "We could expand production exponentially in a short time if we needed to, and I am sure we are not alone," Schuett notes, adding that yields were improving with each harvest as noni cultivators learn more about the evergreen.

The way it is harvested has a big effect on the taste of the end product, as does the way it is processed.
"You have to remember this is a very young industry. There is still a lot of speculation about the best way to grow and process noni. It is similar to winemaking, except we've only been at it for a few years rather than centuries. The way it is harvested has a big effect on the taste of the end product, as does the way it is processed. Riper fruit has a higher sugar content and you get a sweeter product in the end. We believe the ripe fruit is the best fruit to use from a nutritional point of view because the polysaccharides haven't really developed in the younger fruits. We have actually produced noni juice that tastes like apple juice," Schuett says.

Pharm East Hawaii makes half a dozen different noni ingredients. "We're making a solar-dried noni powder, which employs a low temperature drying technique we developed to keep the enzymes intact and enhance the polysaccharide content because the fruit actually ripens during the drying process," Schuett says.

"We have a couple of proprietary juicing techniques—we strain it and then age it. Most people ferment the mash in order to increase the fermentation rate. Our method decreases the fermentation rate. It makes a more mellow product that contains less tannins and less lactic acid."

If only someone would apply that kind of attention to detail to a double-blind, placebo-controlled, clinical trial or two, the well-being of the noni industry could be assured well into the future.

Resistant Starch Makes Better Carbs

Foods containing high levels of resistant starch yield fewer calories and lower glycaemic loads—important formulation considerations for diabetics as well as the weight-conscious. Guy A Crosby, PhD, processes.

Proponents of high protein, low carbohydrate diets argue that intake of carbohydrates—especially starch—should be restricted. Dietary starch is converted to glucose, which the body stores for relatively short periods as glycogen, a high molecular-weight polymer of glucose. The body is capable of storing approximately 200 to 500 grams of glycogen.1 Any excess glucose that is not rapidly burned as fuel or stored as glycogen is converted to fat and stored in adipose tissue. Protein proponents therefore argue that to lose weight we should eat less starch.

In fact, not all starch is rapidly converted to glucose, as was commonly believed as recently as in the 1980s. We now know that a significant portion of dietary starch escapes digestion and absorption in the small intestine and reaches the large intestine essentially intact.2 This portion of starch is called resistant starch (RS) because it is resistant to stomach acid and digestive enzymes.3 Thus, RS behaves as dietary fibre, providing faecal bulk and fuel for the beneficial bacteria in the large intestine.4

Once in the large intestine, RS is extensively fermented by the microflora to short chain fatty acids (SCFA), primarily acetate, propionate and butyrate.5 The production of SCFA helps lower the pH of the gut and reduce levels of toxic ammonia in the gut and blood.6 Studies in both humans and rats inoculated with human microflora have shown that fermentation of RS produces significantly higher levels of butyrate in relation to acetate or propionate.7,8

Butyrate is readily metabolised by the cells lining the colon, which derive about 60 to 70 per cent of their energy from bacterial fermentation products, such as butyrate.9 Butyrate is therefore an important regulator of colonic cell growth and differentiation.10 This may explain the dramatic observations of RS pioneer Dr John Cummings, that the incidence of colon cancer is inversely related to the intake of starch, in particular RS, and that diets high in RS appear to provide protection against colon cancer.11 Notably, dietary intake of RS is two- to fourfold lower in the US, Europe and Australia compared with populations consuming high-starch diets, such as in India and China.12

Because resistant starch is not digested in the small intestine, the formation and absorption of glucose are significantly less compared with starch that is rapidly metabolised. In one small, but well-designed, Danish study, ten healthy, normal-weight males consumed test meals containing either 50g starch free of RS (0% RS), or 50g starch containing a high level of RS (54% RS). Postprandial concentrations of glucose, insulin, glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) and epinephrine were significantly lower following the high RS meal.13

These findings have important implications for diabetics as well as healthy individuals. Foods containing starch composed of high levels of RS, such as energy bars, have been shown to dramatically decrease postprandial blood glucose and insulin levels and improve blood glucose control in subjects with type 2 diabetes.14 In healthy individuals, studies have shown that RS provides only about 30 to 70 per cent of the energy of rapidly metabolised starch.15,16 The wide range of values may be explained by the use of different forms of RS and by the lack of a standardised method for analysing the RS content of foods at the time the studies were conducted. Nevertheless, these results indicate that foods containing high levels of RS yield fewer calories and lower glycaemic loads and clearly should be part of a healthy diet.17

Engineering RS
So, what is resistant starch, and how can we consume more of it in our diets? Much as glycogen is the storage form of glucose in mammals, starch is the storage form of glucose in plants. Starch is formed within plants as microscopic granules, with the starch molecules deposited in organised amorphous and crystalline regions within the granule.18 Starch molecules occur in two forms: amylose, a nearly linear polymer composed of several thousand glucose molecules linked end-to-end, and amylopectin, a much larger, highly branched polymer containing perhaps a million molecules of glucose linked in ways that form numerous short- and long-chain branches similar to glycogen.

The ratio of amylose to amylopectin, as well as the molecular size of the molecules, varies widely in different crops, such as corn, wheat, rice and beans. Granules of common cornstarch are composed of approximately 75 per cent amylopectin and 25 per cent amylose. Linear amylose molecules exhibit a natural tendency to form double helixes, which aggregate into tightly packed, highly stable crystallites by a process known as retrogradation.19 The terminal branches of amylopectin can also form short helixes, but the resulting crystallites are much less stable and are easily disrupted.20

The amorphous regions of starch, as well as some of the less-stable amylopectin crystallites, are readily digested in the small intestine, while the more-stable crystallites formed from amylose are highly resistant to penetration and digestion by mammalian enzymes, as well as hydrolysis by stomach acid. Therefore, only a portion of the starch is rapidly digested, while the remainder is slowly digested or resistant. Studies have shown the proportion of starch that is resistant is directly correlated with the amylose content.21

Processing Issues
George Fahey, PhD, and his collaborators at the Department of Animal Science, University of Illinois, showed that unprocessed legumes, such as black beans, kidney beans, lentils and peas are rich sources of RS, containing 17 to 28 per cent RS on a dry basis.22 Other good sources include unprocessed cereal grains, such as corn, sorghum and barley.

Not surprisingly, highly processed cereal flours and foods made from the flours, such as pasta, contain much lower levels of RS, averaging only about 1.5 to 8 per cent RS on a dry basis. Fahey pointed out that the crystalline structure of starch in legumes (C-type) is more stable compared with the crystal structure in cereal grains (A-type).23 This helps explain why processing cereal grains results in such a large decrease in RS content, while legumes are excellent sources of RS. As this example points out, processing conditions can have a profound effect on the levels of RS in processed food.24

Cooking under conditions of high moisture and temperature can significantly lower the RS content by disrupting crystalline structure. Increasing the levels of RS can be done in other conditions, such as extrusion followed by cooling to induce crystallisation.19 Levels of RS should therefore be determined in the foods as consumed.

Finally, one of the biggest obstacles to understanding the physiological role of RS has been the lack of a universal analytical method for quantifying RS under physiological conditions. Care must be exercised in comparing results from early studies due to the use of different analytical methods. Through the perseverance of Barry McCleary, PhD, Megazyme International Ireland, a method has been developed and subjected to blind testing by 37 laboratories and the results published in the International Journal of the Association of Official Analytical Chemists (AOAC method 2002.02).25 The method has also been accepted by the American Association of Cereal Chemists (AACC).

Resistant starch seems to have some health benefits on its own in the area of the gut. Because it resists digestion, it does not raise glucose, does not have the same caloric count as regular starch, and therefore leads to satiety but does not have the same 'heaviness' as a lot of fibres. So, it's a food form that has few calories and can be used in place of other starches as a low-glycaemic food.

Guy A Crosby, PhD, is a consultant, writer and lecturer on food and nutrition chemistry. He has more than 30 years of experience as a scientist and executive in academia and industry.
[email protected]


1. Flatt JP. Use and storage of carbohydrate and fat. Am J Clin Nutr 1995;61(suppl):952S-959S.

2. Cummings JH, et al. Digestion and physiological properties of resistant starch in the human large bowel. Brit J Nutr 1996;75:733-47.

3. Champ M. Determination of resistant starch in foods and food products: interlaboratory study. Eur J Clin Nutr 1992;46(suppl 2):S51-S62.

4. Phillips J, et al. Effect of resistant starch on faecal bulk and fermentation—dependent events in humans. Am J Clin Nutr 1995;62:121-30.

5. Scheppach W, et al. Effect of starch malabsorption on faecal SCFA excretion in man. Scan J Gastroenterol 1988;23:755-59.

6. Silvester KR, et al. Ileal recovery of starch from whole diets containing resistant starch measured in vitro and fermentation of ileal effluent. Am J Clin Nutr 1995;62:403-11.

7. Silvi S, et al. Resistant starch modifies gut microflora and microbial metabolism in human flora-associated rats inoculated with faeces from Italian and UK donors. J Appl Microbiol 1999;86:521-30.

8. Ahmed R, et al. Fermentation of dietary starch in humans. Am J Gastroenterol 2000;95:1017-20.

9. Roediger R. The place of short-chain fatty acids in colonocyte metabolism in health and ulcerative colitis: the impaired colonocyte barrier. In Cummings J, et al., editors. Physiological and clinical aspects of short-chain fatty acids. Cambridge (UK): Cambridge University Press, 1995. p 337-51.

10. Velazquez OC, et al. Butryate and the colonocyte. In Kritchevsky D, Bonfield C, editors. Dietary fiber in health and disease. New York: Plenum Press, 1997. p 123-134.

11. Hylla S, et al. Effects of resistant starch on the colon in healthy volunteers: possible implications for cancer prevention. Am J Clin Nutr 1998;67:136-42.

12. Birkett AM, et al. Changes to the quality and processing of starchy foods in a Western diet can increase polysaccharides escaping digestion and improve in vitro fermentation variables. Brit J Nutr 2000;84:63-72.

13. Raban A, et al. Resistant starch: the effect on postprandial glycemia, hormonal response, and satiety. Am J Clin Nutr 1994;60:544-51.

14. Reader DM, et al. Glycaemic and insulinemic response of subjects with type 2 diabetes after consumption of three energy bars. J Am Diet Assoc 2002;102:1139-42.

15. Behall KM, Howe JC. Contribution of fiber and resistant starch to metabolizable energy. Am J Clin Nutr 1995;62(suppl):1158S-60S.

16. Behall KM, Howe JC. Resistant starch as energy. J Am Coll Nutr 1996;15:248-54.

17. Asp NG. Resistant starch—an update on its physiological effects. In Kritchevsky D, Bonfield C, editors. Dietary fiber in health and disease. New York: Plenum Press, 1997.

18. Waigh TA, et al. Analysis of native structure of starch granules with X-ray microfocus diffraction. Macromolecules 1997;30:3813-20.

19. Haralampu SG. Resistant starch—a review of the physical properties and biological impact of RS3. Carbohydrate Polymers 2000;41:285-92.

20. Gordon DT, et al. Resistant starch: physical and physiological properties. In Yalpani M, editor. New technologies for healthy foods and nutraceuticals. Shrewsbury (MA): ATL Press, 1997. p 157-178.

21. Brown IL, et al. Resistant starch: plant breeding, applications development and commercial use. In McCleary BV, Prosky L, editors. Advanced dietary fibre technology. Oxford (UK): Blackwell Science, 2001. p 401-12.

22. Bednar GE, et al. Starch and fiber fractions in selected food and feed ingredients affect their small intestinal digestibility and fermentability and their large bowel fermentability in vitro in a canine model. J Nutr 2001;131:276-86.

23. Ring SG, et al. Resistant starch: its chemical form in foodstuffs and effect on digestibility in vitro. Food Chem 1988;28:97-109.

24. Goni I, et al. Analysis of resistant starch: a method for foods and food products. Food Chem 1996;56:445-9.

25. McCleary BV, Monaghan DA. Measurement of resistant starch by enzymatic digestion in starch and selected plant materials: collaborative study. J AOAC Int 2002;85:1103-1111.

Marketing Resistant Starch

With the recognition that resistant starch (RS) is an important component of a healthy diet, food ingredients manufacturers have turned their attention to finding ways that enhance the crystallinity of starch, thus increasing resistance to digestion.1

The first commercial RS was introduced as Hi-maize in Australia in 1993 by Starch Australasia, now part of National Starch and Chemical Co. This product is a natural granular form of starch produced from a corn hybrid containing more than 80 per cent amylose. Hi-maize analyses as 42 per cent RS and has gained widespread use in Australia in breads and other baked goods.2

Opta Food Ingredients in the US patented the first process for producing a non-granular form of RS by enzymatically hydrolysing high amylose corn starch to small linear fragments (maltodextrins), followed by crystallisation (retrogradation) of the starch fragments.3 The ingredient was introduced in the early 1990s as CrystaLean and is now used in products for diabetics. CrystaLean contains 41 per cent RS.4

Shortly after the launch of CrystaLean, National Starch introduced a very similar product named Novelose 330. More recently, National has developed processes for manufacturing granular forms of concentrated RS containing 47 to 60 per cent RS by heating and cooling high amylose corn starch under conditions of carefully controlled moisture and temperature.5 These products are marketed as Novelose 240 and 260.

The latest player is Cerestar (a Cargill company), which has launched Actistar made by crystallising hydrolysed tapioca starch (maltodextrins).6 Actistar contains 58 per cent RS.4

Numerous applications have been developed for the concentrated RS ingredients, including breads, other baked goods, nutrition bars, beverages, breakfast cereals, pasta and low-glycaemic products for diabetics. Foods can now be produced in which half the carbohydrates are in the form of RS. In addition to the potential health benefits, the concentrated RS ingredients are more stable toward food processing conditions compared with regular starches.7


1. Thompson DB. Strategies for the manufacture of resistant starch. Trends Food Sci Tech 2000:1-9.

2. Brown IL, et al. Resistant starch: plant breeding, applications development and commercial use. In McCleary BV, Prosky L, editors. Advanced dietary fibre technology. Oxford (UK): Blackwell Science, 2001. p 401-12.

3. Iyengar R, et al. Starch-derived, food-grade, insoluble bulking agent. 1991, US Patent 5,051,271.

4. McCleary BV, Monaghan DA. Measurement of resistant starch. J AOAC Int 2002;85:665-75.

5. Shi YC, Trzasko PT. Process for producing amylase resistant granular starch. 1997, US Patent 5,593,503.

6. Kettlitz BW, et al. Process for preparing starchy products. 2000, US Patent 6,090,594.

7. Haralampu SG. Resistant starch—a review of the physical properties and biological impact of RS3. Carbohydrate Polymers 2000;41:285-92.

Editorial: Week In Review - The Wheels Keep Turning

By Len Monheit
[email protected]
Comment on this Editorial  

From a news standpoint, it was a quiet week -- But the wheels of the industry keep on turning. And over the course of the week, we’re in contact with literally thousands of industry professionals from around the world, some offering opinions and thoughts, others seeking them. Some of these developments, observations, comments and opinions, we propose to share with you.

It seems almost as if companies in the industry have adopted a wait and see strategy, holding off on discretionary purchases and activities until the business and regulatory environments are more clear. This would account for new slumping sales and a general lack of proactive communication and initiative. The danger is that there’s a communication vacuum which often gets filled with the wrong type of material. And, as frequently is the case in quiet periods, a single announcement, initiative or development can get lots of attention.

Examining some of the week’s developments, Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) took several more blows including study results suggesting it increased the risk of dementia. NNFA circulated a Good Manufacturing Practices Impact Survey, seeking to present FDA with the data they seek regarding the impact of the proposed rule, prior to the comment closing period of August 11, 2003.

In international news, a Neilsen survey conducted in Australia a few weeks following the suspension of Pan Pharmaceuticals manufacturing license by the Therapeutic Goods Administration indicated that immediately after the recall and suspension, almost 80 percent of regular vitamin takers continued to take products, including those brands involved in the recall. The survey continued to say that while both volume and value sales dropped substantially in the two weeks following the recall, recovery had started in the third week.

It seems logical to conclude that lingering impact in areas affected by the recall will be a lack of available product with the production gap created by the issue and Pan’s suspension, creating all sorts of opportunities for aggressive companies seeking to take up the slack. This would include existing players in the area, but presumably there will be opportunities for others. It’s also interesting to note the consumer brand loyalty throughout the crisis.

Returning to North America, this morning word was released that Nutraceutical was in the process of acquiring Nature’s Life, and earlier in the week, the ephedra ban in Illinois was signed into law and the California Senate voted in favor of licensing Naturopathic Doctors.

With the state of Illinois becoming the first to completely ban ephedra products, how much farther along the slippery slope does this take the industry? I know some of our legal minds in the industry will say that the fight over ephedra must be fought lest our willingness to accept a product ban become a precedent for other products. Yet I can’t help but wonder how much ongoing damage is being done by the fact that ephedra is still in the news, still associated with credible and legitimate supplements companies despite theactions of several to remove it from their product lines. And a part of me can’t help but wonder at the missed Public Relations opportunity, a presentation by an industry who did not the absolute least, but instead went even further than what it was required to do in an effort to show solidarity and responsibility. Many have and will disagree with this idea.

The other observation this week is companies (in Canada and the US) are beginning to reposition themselves and supply chain partners as part of their preparation for the changing regulatory environment. I would expect this effort to pick up momentum, but the early indications are that contract manufacturing and analytical capabilities will be re-evaluated, as will current relationships in these areas.

Nutraceutical to Acquire Nature's Life

PARK CITY, Utah, May 30-- Nutraceutical International Corporation has announced that it will acquire the stock of M.K. Health Food Distributors, Inc., dba Nature's Life, in a deal expected to close on or before June 30, 2003.

M.K. Health Food Distributors, Inc. markets and distributes the 400 SKU Nature's Life(R) brand through health and natural food stores, with excellent brand strength in the Western United States.

Nutraceutical will add the brand line to its own, which includes Solaray(R), KAL(R), NaturalMax(R), VegLife(R), Premier One(R), Sunny Green(TM), Natural Sport(R), ActiPet(R), Action Labs(R) and Thompson(R), hoping to achive synergies in operations, distribution and marketing. The acquisition will give nutraceutical over 3000 SKU's including over 600 exclusively sold internationally.

There are some contigencies to be worked out with the deal.

Harvard University: Vitamin E's Extra Properties Can Combat Inflammation, Promote Strong Cells

WASHINGTON, May 29 -- Vitamin E, best known as an effective
antioxidant, also has features that may be even more important to your health,
the Harvard Medical School says.

In a new special health report entitled "The Benefits and Risks of Vitamins and Minerals: What You Need to Know," Harvard experts said Vitamin E's abilities also can include two traits that can have "substantial cardiovascular benefits" -- inhibiting inflammation and aiding the proliferation of smooth muscle cells.

Noting that Vitamin E is among the best-studied antioxidants, the Harvard publication said that other properties of the vitamin shouldn't be overlooked.

"Some forms of Vitamin E have features that may be more important to your health than their antioxidant activity," the special health report said. The ability to inhibit inflammation, along with the ability to produce muscle cells, are traits "which help prevent narrowing of blood vessels (and) may have substantial cardiovascular benefits even if the vitamin's antioxidant
properties make no detectable difference."

The Harvard publication also reported on Vitamin E's role as one of four fat-soluble vitamins, which are Vitamins A, D, E and K. "Without Vitamin E, your body would have difficulty absorbing and storing Vitamin A," which keeps cells healthy and protects vision, it said.

Vitamin E "also acts as an antioxidant, a compound that helps protect the body against damage from unstable molecules," the report said. The four fat- soluble vitamins help "keep your eyes, skin, lungs, gastrointestinal tract, and nervous system in good repair."

Ginkgo Supplements May Reduce Visual-Field Damage in Glaucoma Patients

BACKGROUND: Ginkgo biloba, a popular herb, is known to be a potent antioxidant and capable of increasing blood flow in the eye. Since impaired blood flow to the optic nerve may be involved in some types of glaucoma, researchers tested the effect of a Ginkgo extract on patients with glaucoma who had established visual-field damage and impaired vision.

RESEARCH: Researchers asked 27 patients with glaucoma to take either a placebo or Ginkgo extract (40 mg three times daily) for four weeks. This was followed by an eight-week "washout" period without any treatment. Then, for four weeks, the patients' treatments were reversed, so those who took Ginkgo now took placebos and vice versa.

RESULTS: In this short-term study, Ginkgo supplements significantly improved pre-existing visual-field damage in glaucoma patients. The herb had no effect on intraocular eye pressure, blood pressure, or heart rate.

No ocular or systemic side effects were reported during the study.

IMPLICATIONS: The partial but significant reversal of visual-field damage among glaucoma patients indicates that some of the eye damage may be reversed with Ginkgo supplementation. The researchers recommended that a long-term study be conducted to confirm and to better understand these potential benefits.

Quaranta L, Bettelli S, Uva MG, et al, "Effect of Ginkgo biloba extract on preexisting visual field damage in normal tension glaucoma," Ophthalmology, 2003;110:359-364.

For the original abstract, visit:

Supplements of Vitamins E and C Reduce Progression of Cardiovascular Disease

BACKGROUND: Three years ago, a team of Finnish researchers reported that combined supplements of natural vitamin E and time-release vitamin C, taken over a three-year period, slowed the progression of atherosclerosis in men.

Using ultrasound to document blood-vessel changes, the researchers showed that the antioxidant vitamins reduced the thickening of the interior of the carotid artery, which could otherwise reduce and obstruct blood flow.

RESEARCH: In this follow-up study, the researchers assessed the effects of daily supplements containing natural vitamin E (136 IU) and time-release vitamin C (250 mg) over a six-year period. The subjects were generally healthy middle-aged and elderly men and women who had elevated blood levels of cholesterol.

RESULTS: Overall, the combined supplements reduced the thickening of the carotid artery by 25 percent compared to the placebo group. However, this effect was far greater among men than women. In men, carotid artery thickness was reduced by 37 percent, compared with placebo. The reduction in women was not statistically significant.

IMPLICATIONS: This study showed that a very modest daily supplement containing natural vitamin E and time-release vitamin C slowed the progression of atherosclerosis, particularly in men. The finding of gender differences may be an important factor that should be further investigated. The researchers wrote, "These effects are comparable with those of the most effective cholesterol-lowering medications but with fewer adverse effects and lower cost."

Salonen RM, Nyyssonen K, Kaikkonen J, et al, "Six-year effect of combined vitamin C and E supplementation on atherosclerotic progression," The antioxidant supplementation in atherosclerosis prevention (ASAP) study.
Circulation, 2003;107:947-953.

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Vitamins E and C May Reduce Complications After Surgery in Trauma Patients

BACKGROUND: Many patients who initially survive traumatic injuries die within weeks from infection or organ dysfunction. There is evidence that the immune response to tissue injuries generates large numbers of free radicals. These free radicals can damage tissues, leading to acute respiratory stress, respiratory failure, and multiple organ failure.
Antioxidants may reduce the risk of complications and death in trauma patients if administered before secondary injuries or infection.

RESEARCH: Researchers treated 595 patients, mostly young and middle-aged men who had suffered trauma. All underwent surgery and standard recuperative care in an intensive care unit (ICU), but approximately half of them also received vitamin E (1,000 IU) and vitamin C (1,000 mg) every eight hours while in the ICU up to 28 days. The vitamin E was administered through nasal or oral tubes, whereas the vitamin C was given intravenously.
The risk of respiratory distress such as pneumonia was the principal basis for determining the benefit of the vitamins. Secondary benefits were based on the development of multiple organ failure, how long patients needed mechanically assisted ventilation, their length of stay in the intensive care unit (ICU), and death up to 28 days following surgery.

RESULTS: The risk of developing acute respiratory distress syndrome and/or pneumonia was reduced by 19 percent (not statistically significant) in patients receiving vitamins E and C, compared with those who received standard treatment alone. In addition, patients receiving vitamins E and C had a statistically significant 57 percent lower risk of developing multiple organ failure. Patients receiving the vitamins required fewer days of mechanical ventilation and spent less time in the ICU. There were no reports of adverse effects from administration of the antioxidants.

IMPLICATIONS: The researchers concluded by noting that these critically ill surgical patients benefited from the "routine early, prophylactic administration of alpha-tocopherol [vitamin E] and ascorbate [vitamin C]...The lack of adverse effects, coupled with the minimal expense, supports that this combination is a reasonable therapeutic intervention in critically surgical patients."

Nathens AB, Neff MJ, Jurkovich GJ, et al, "Randomized, prospective trial of antioxidant supplementation in critically ill surgical patients," Annals of Surgery, 2002;236:814-822.

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