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Articles from 2004 In September

Company News

IFIS products for sale online
The International Food Information Service has made its products and services available for purchase online at and Among the items available are the FSTA-Food Science and Technology Abstracts print journal, the printed FSTA Thesaurus, and the Food Science and Technology Bulletin.

High hopes for bigger crops
New Jersey-based National Starch and Chemical Co has doubled its 2004 planting of the high-amylose corn used to make Hi-maize resistant starch.
National Starch is a pioneer developing resistant starches. The company grows its unique, non-GM hybrid corn through a network of US farmers.

Ferrochel marketed in Asia
Albion Advanced Nutrition and Microbio Co have entered into an exclusive agreement whereby Microbio will sell health food products containing Ferrochel (ferrous bisglycinate) in China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macao. Microbio has the rights to market these same types of products with all of Albion?s patented mineral amino acid chelates and complexes throughout Taiwan.

Sabinsa founder honoured
Dr Muhammed Majeed, CEO of Sabinsa Corp, was chosen by the National Ethnic Coalition of Organizations to receive the Ellis Island Medal of Honor. The award, sanctioned by Congress, is presented to Americans to recognize their leadership and service to their own ethnic group and to American society. Dr Majeed was born in Kerala, India, emigrating to the US in 1975. He founded Sabinsa in 1988.

AOAC seeks validation methods
AOAC International has embarked on an effort to develop a group of fully validated methods for selected dietary supplements. AOAC is seeking analytical methods for the following ingredients: co-Q10, echinacea, garlic, eleuthero, kava, yohimbe and cranberry. For details on how to submit a method, contact

DMV shows it cares
DMV International has been awarded the 2004 Customer Value Enhancement Award by Frost and Sullivan for excellence in customer service. The award also commends the company?s successful sales entry, customer acquisition and service strategies, and the degree to which those strategies have met customer needs.

People in US Need More Vitamin D

People in US Need More Vitamin D

Healthnotes Newswire (September 30, 2004)—Many people in the US get less than the recommended amount of vitamin D each day, reports the Journal of the American Dietetic Association (2004;104:980–3).

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin produced from cholesterol in the skin in a process triggered by exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet light. Vitamin D plays an important role in calcium metabolism: by increasing calcium absorption and decreasing calcium loss in the urine, it ensures that calcium is available to keep bones and teeth healthy. Vitamin D deficiency in children, known as rickets, is characterized by bone deformities. In adults, deficiency can contribute a number of health problems, including osteoporosis, a condition marked by decreased mineral content of bone and high risk of fracture.

Getting sufficient sunlight is critical to having enough vitamin D in the body. Taking supplements and eating foods rich in vitamin D, such as fish, eggs, and fortified dairy products, can help prevent vitamin D deficiency. The recommended amount of dietary and supplemental vitamin D is 200 IU per day for people under 50 years old, 400 IU per day for people from 51 to 70, and 600 IU per day for people over 70.

The current study analyzed the data from two previous survey studies. The reported diets of more than 27,000 people who participated in the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III) and almost 19,000 people who participated in the Continuing Survey of Food Intakes by Individuals (CSFII) were used to estimate vitamin D intake. Less than 10% of adults 50 to 70 years old, and only about 2% of people over 70, were found to be getting the recommended amounts of vitamin D from food. When supplements were added into consideration, still only about 30% of people aged 50 to 70 and 10% of those over 70 were reaching the recommended vitamin D intake. Among people 14 to 50 years old, significantly fewer females (about 50%) than males (about 65%) were getting recommended amounts of vitamin D from food and supplements. Recommended vitamin D intake was achieved by about 53 to 63% of all children.

The results of the current study suggest that the dietary and supplemental vitamin D intake of many people in the US is less than recommended. Disturbing results have also come from a previous study in which 42% of a group of hospitalized patients under age 65 were found to have vitamin D deficiency, and 37% of people eating recommended amounts of vitamin D were still found to be deficient. It would be sensible, in light of these findings, for nutritionists and other healthcare providers to recommend vitamin D supplements, particularly for females and the elderly.

In addition, some researchers have challenged the modern notion that people should stay out of the sun as much as possible. While excessive sun exposure can increase the risk of skin damage and skin cancer, these scientists argue that modest amounts of sun exposure are safe. Exposing the hands, face, and arms, or arms and legs, daily to sunlight for one-quarter of the time it would take to cause a light pinkness of the skin would be enough to satisfy the body’s vitamin D requirement, and to manufacture enough vitamin D to store for times when sunlight exposure is inadequate.

Maureen Williams, ND, received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania and her Doctorate of Naturopathic Medicine from Bastyr University in Seattle, WA. She has a private practice in Quechee, VT, and does extensive work with traditional herbal medicine in Guatemala and Honduras. Dr. Williams is a regular contributor to Healthnotes Newswire.

Control Blood Sugar with Herbal Supplement

Control Blood Sugar with Herbal Supplement

Healthnotes Newswire (September 30, 2004)—People with type 2 diabetes may gain better blood sugar control by taking Pancreas Tonic, a mixture of traditional Indian Ayurvedic herbs, reports a study in Metabolism (2004;53:1166–73).

Diabetes is a blood sugar regulation disorder that leads to elevated blood sugar levels. People with type 2 diabetes either don’t make enough insulin or their bodies do not respond appropriately to the insulin they do produce, or both. Treatment usually includes a combination of diet and medications. Diabetics may suffer permanent damage to the eyes, kidneys, nervous system, and heart if the disease is not adequately controlled.

Ayurveda is a system of medicine that has been practiced in India for over 3,000 years. Using exercise, diet, meditation, and herbs, Ayurvedic treatment has been found to improve some chronic diseases and may help with many more.

The new study examined the effect of an Ayurvedic herbal supplement called Pancreas Tonic on measures of blood sugar control in 36 people with type 2 diabetes. The participants received either two capsules of Pancreas Tonic three times per day, or placebo for three months. Pancreas Tonic is a mixture of ten herbs including bitter melon, fenugreek, and gymnema (Gymnema sylvestre). All of the components of the supplement have been shown individually in preliminary studies to help control diabetes.

Hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c), a blood test that evaluates long-term blood sugar control, was used to assess the response to the study supplement. People with higher initial levels of HbA1c had a significant decrease in their levels after treatment with Pancreas Tonic. Those people with lower initial levels did not show an improvement in HbA1c. None of the participants in the placebo group had an improvement in HbA1c levels. These results are consistent with those achieved by other forms of diabetes treatment; people with higher initial HbA1c levels tend to experience the greatest reduction.

This is the first study to clearly demonstrate the benefit of an Ayurvedic herbal supplement for the treatment of diabetes. A few minor side effects were reported by about one-quarter of the people taking Pancreas Tonic including sore throat, itchy eyes, headache, and back and leg pain; however, in general, the supplement was well tolerated. While the results of this study are promising, further research is warranted to investigate how Pancreas Tonic works, and to compare the supplement with current anti-diabetic medications.

Pancreas Tonic is available as an over-the-counter supplement, and is also sold under the brand name Antibetic.

Kimberly Beauchamp, ND, received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Rhode Island and her Doctorate of Naturopathic Medicine from Bastyr University in Kenmore, WA. She is a co-founder and practicing physician at South County Naturopaths, Inc., in Wakefield, RI. Dr. Beauchamp teaches holistic medicine classes and provides consultations focusing on detoxification and whole-foods nutrition.

Vitamin A and Bone Health—What’s the Connection?

Vitamin A and Bone Health—What’s the Connection?

Healthnotes Newswire (September 30, 2004)—Getting too much or too little vitamin A can increase a woman’s chance of breaking a hip, according to a study published in the American Journal of Medicine (2004;117:169–74).

Osteoporosis, a state of diminished bone mass, occurs commonly in postmenopausal women and increases their risk of fracture, particularly at the hips, spine, and wrists. A number of nutritional factors seem to affect loss of bone mass, such as adequate intake of calcium and vitamin D. In addition, a number of other nutrients influence the body’s use of calcium. Recently, the role of vitamin A in calcium metabolism and bone health has been the subject of much research.

Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin found in high amounts in liver, dairy foods, and cod liver oil. It can also be manufactured in the body from beta-carotene, a substance found in many colorful vegetables. Vitamin A deficiency is marked by poor night vision, dry skin, and increased risk of infections and some cancers. Deficiency is also known to cause poor mineralization of bones and high risk of fracture. Recent research has also suggested a link between high vitamin A intake and low bone density. It appears that excess vitamin A in the blood can interfere with the normal depositing of calcium in bone.

The current study examined the data from 2,799 women who answered surveys periodically over as much as 21 years. Blood levels of vitamin A and general use of vitamin supplements were determined initially, and hip fractures were monitored during the study. The women were divided into five categories (quintiles) based on their blood levels of vitamin A. The women in the middle quintile had the fewest hip fractures; women in both the lowest and highest quintiles had nearly twice as many hip fractures as the women in the middle quintile. The percentages of women in each quintile, from lowest to highest, who experienced hip fractures during the study were 7.0%, 5.5%, 4.4%, 6.3%, and 7.9%. Women who used vitamin supplements were more likely to be in the highest blood vitamin A quintile than women who did not.

The results of this study are consistent with those from several other studies that have found a negative effect of both low and high intakes of vitamin A on bone density and risk of fracture. One large study found that women ingesting 10,000 IU (3,000 mcg) of vitamin A per day from food and supplements had a significantly higher risk of hip fracture than women getting 4,166 IU (1,250 mcg) each day. These findings suggest that there is an optimal, moderate level of intake of vitamin A, and intakes both too great and too little might have negative consequences. Not all studies have found that supplementing with vitamin A causes bone loss (see Healthnotes Newswire, September 26, 2002).

It is important to note that none of the studies to date have adequately considered the effects of other dietary factors, including the negative effects of other components of foods rich in vitamin A, on bone mass. (For more on this point see Healthnotes Newswire, January 31, 2002.) For this reason there remains controversy concerning the importance of the findings in the current study. Future research should attempt to clearly distinguish between the effects of vitamin A and other dietary factors, and identify the role of supplemental vitamin A, on changes in bone mass.

Maureen Williams, ND, received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania and her Doctorate of Naturopathic Medicine from Bastyr University in Seattle, WA. She has a private practice in Quechee, VT, and does extensive work with traditional herbal medicine in Guatemala and Honduras. Dr. Williams is a regular contributor to Healthnotes Newswire.

Delicious Living

October 1, 2004

Supplements blamed for Denmark’s tough stance on fortified foods

Danish prohibition of a host of fortified foods and beverages produced by major companies such as Unilever Bestfoods and Kellogg's does not signal a hardening of the Scandinavian nation's notoriously tough stance on functional foods, according to a government official.

Paolo Drostby, deputy head of the food division at the Danish Veterinary and Food Administration (DVFA), said Denmark's food laws were eased last December after the European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled against its policy of banning those fortified foods containing nutrients it deemed the population did not need. The ECJ said only those foods containing ingredients determined unsafe by scientific assessment methods could be banned.

But despite this apparent liberalisation, the country's unusually high supplement intake is being used to justify continued product restrictions such as Denmark's refusal to authorise 18 Kellogg's cereals and bars in August, which drew accusations of an overly draconian system out of synch with the rest of the world.

The Kellogg's products in question were rejected because "the company wishes to add iron, calcium, vitamin B6 and folic acid in amounts that are too high" when other dietary sources are also considered, according to the Danish Institute for Food and Veterinary Research (DFVF), which carries out the assessments. It bases its calculations on surveys of Danish diets that have revealed high food supplements intakes (in half the adult population and 70 per cent of children aged 4-10). Denmark is the only European country that conducts scientific safety assessments on all fortified foods seeking entry into its market.

Of roughly 50 fortified food applications in 2004, there have been a handful of approvals and a similar number of rejections (including Unilever's request for a vitamin E-fortified spread). The majority of applications are still being assessed.

Chris Wermann, director of corporate communications at Kellogg's Europe, said it had been granted a consultation with the DVFA to present further evidence in support of its case. "We feel this decision has much to do with the fact vitamin and mineral supplementation is so high in Denmark. Because more Danes use supplements than most European populations, the authorities feel a greater proportion of their population is already closer to the upper safe levels."

However, Torben Damm, chairman of the Danish Health Product Association, accused the DFVF of working from outdated 10-year-old data in its assessment process.

"They have grossly overstated supplement use among the majority of Danes," he said. "Kellogg's and many other companies that have had their foods prohibited have every right to feel aggrieved."

Drostby pointed out that many other foods and beverages have been approved since the change of policy that would have been prohibited previously. These include energy drinks, fortified juices and spreads.

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Carbohydrate definitions under further FDA scrutiny

Hoping to make the "net carb" debate easier for consumers to understand, and to publicise the link between dietary fibre consumption and decreased blood sugar levels, National Starch has petitioned the Food & Drug Administration to modify carbohydrate content labelling on foods.

The company wants fibre content removed from the total carbohydrates listing and made into its own independent bolded line within the Nutrition Facts box.

"We want to help consumers understand the difference between fibres and carbohydrates — that's what the petition is all about," said Rhonda Witwer, National Starch business development manager in nutrition. "It's hard for consumers to understand that more fibre can equal fewer net carbs."

The proposal would put the US model in line with the labelling requirements in many other major markets. The proposal is based on a report from the National Academy of Sciences, which differentiates digestible carbohydrates from non-digestible carbohydrates in its evaluation of physiological effects.

The FDA is also being asked to more rigorously regulate the terminology used to market low-carb foods. The Grocery Manufacturers of America (GMA) wants FDA to come up with qualifications for monikers such as "low carbohydrate" or "carbohydrate-free."

"GMA petitioned FDA to set labelling standards for carbohydrates so consumers would have accurate and consistent information about carbohydrate content," explained GMA spokeswoman Stephanie Childs. "It would also allow manufacturers to flag products' carbohydrate content for consumers on the front label."

The carbohydrate proposals are part of a larger debate on changing the American diet in the face of growing obesity and diabetes rates. Even the food guide pyramid may get a remodelling, although any revamping is likely to be a lengthy process as well-funded interest groups weigh in, often with wildly conflicting nutritional evidence.

"We need to help consumers better understand the importance of eating more foods rich in whole grains and folic acid, and maintaining the critical balance between calories consumed and calories burned," said Alison Kretser, GMA's director of scientific and nutrition policy.

Does grapefruit harbour a weight loss secret?

Folklore of late has exhorted the virtues of one of the larger members of the Citrus species, C. paradisi, also known as grapefruit. The tallest tale has centred upon the assertion that eating it can promote weight loss.

Preclinical investigations point to different grapefruit constituents modifying intestinal and liver metabolism related to lipid transport, the former possibly resulting in reduced lipid absorption.1,2 Additional in vitro work suggests that naringenin, an abundant flavonoid in grapefruit, can either enhance or impair insulin sensitivity.2,3 Numerous diet books have advocated a grapefruit-centric diet, but only recently has the fruit been put to the squeeze of a controlled clinical trial.

Dr Ken Fujioka from the Scripps Clinic in California led a clinical trial funded by the Florida Citrus Commission.4 One hundred obese subjects (average weight 98kg; body mass index 35.6kg/m2) were assigned to one of four intervention groups (consumed three times daily before meals) for 12 weeks: (a) 7oz apple juice plus placebo capsule; (b) 7oz apple juice plus whole grapefruit extract capsules (Grapefruit Solution by Diaeta); (c) 8oz of grapefruit juice plus placebo capsule; or (d) half of a fresh grapefruit plus placebo capsule. No other dietary modifications were required but the subjects were required to walk 20-30 minutes three to four times weekly.

After 12 weeks, 79 subjects completed the study, with only group D, the fresh grapefruit group, showing statistically significant weight loss compared to placebo (apple juice plus placebo capsules). Body composition (fat, fat-free mass, bone, water) was not assessed.

Significantly greater weight loss than placebo was seen in all of the grapefruit treatment groups among subjects who met the classical definition of metabolic syndrome — three or more of these characteristics: abdominal obesity, elevated blood triglycerides, reduced blood HDL cholesterol, elevated blood pressure or elevated fasting blood glucose.

About 30 per cent of the study population met this criteria, being rather evenly distributed among the four groups. Blood insulin excursions (at 12 weeks) during a two-hour glucose tolerance test, as a crude index of whole body insulin sensitivity, showed the fresh grapefruit group to have a significantly lower value compared to those receiving grapefruit capsules.

These findings indicate the promise of fresh grapefruit and leave open the possibility that grapefruit juice, or a powdered extract of whole grapefruit, may also exert some desirable effects, apparently of a lesser magnitude. They also suggest that one or more bioactives occurring in fresh grapefruit are either process-labile or are present in lesser quantities in the processed forms. Additional research may dispel the grapefruit myth and ripen the promise of grapefruit as a biofunctional food ingredient offering consumer promise.

Anthony Almada, MSc, is president and chief scientific officer of IMAGINutrition Inc.
All correspondence will be forwarded to the author.

1. Borradaile NM, et al. Inhibition of HepG2 cell apolipoprotein B secretion by the citrus flavonoid naringenin involves activation of phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase, independent of insulin receptor substrate-1 phosphorylation. Diabetes 2003; 52:2554-61.
2. Borradaile NM, et al. Hepatocyte apoB-containing lipoprotein secretion is decreased by the grapefruit flavonoid, naringenin, via inhibition of MTP-mediated microsomal triglyceride accumulation. Biochemistry 2003; 42: 1283-91.
3. Harmon AW and Patel YM. Naringenin inhibits phosphoinositide 3-kinase activity and glucose uptake in 3T3-L1 adipocytes. Biochem Biophys Res Comm 2003; 305:229-34.
4. Fujioka K, et al. The effects of grapefruit on weight and insulin resistance: relationship to the metabolic syndrome. Diabetes 2004; 53 (Suppl 2): A594.

Health Sciences Group Receives Patent on Its Cold & Flu Formulation

Expanding Suite of CoCare Products Expected to Address Multibillion Dollar Healthcare Market

LOS ANGELES, Sep 30, 2004 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Health Sciences Group, Inc. (HESG), an integrated provider of innovative, science-based products and ingredients to customers in the nutrition, skin care, and food and beverage industries, announced today that it has received a patent for its combination over-the-counter (OTC) pharmaceutical-nutraceutical cold & flu formulation. This patent is the latest addition to the Company's growing portfolio of innovative CoCare(TM) products.

"We are delighted to have received our third CoCare(TM) patent," said Fred E. Tannous, Health Sciences Group Co-Chairman and CEO. "We believe our expanding suite of patented CoCare(TM) formulations, including this latest treatment for cold & flu, represents significant market potential for Health Sciences Group in the multibillion dollar healthcare market. Since each CoCare(TM) formulation features the benefits of a well-known OTC pharmaceutical ingredient in combination with safe and effective nutraceuticals, we expect CoCare(TM) products to resonate with an established and knowledgeable customer base which can lead to a rapid market penetration and significant sales growth."

The CoCare(TM) cold & flu patent represents an improved medicinal composition which includes an effective pain relieving and anti-inflammatory pharmaceutical ingredient, such as aspirin (i.e., Bayer(R)), acetaminophen (i.e., Tylenol(R)), or ibuprofen (i.e., Advil(R)) combined with effective nutraceutical ingredients, such as green tea, Astragalus root, and elderberry in a pharmaceutically acceptable base. This combination provides the benefits of trusted OTC medicines and the positive health benefits offered by nutritional supplements.

The Company has applied for a series of patents on unique combinations of OTC pharmaceutical and nutraceutical ingredients and is in the process of seeking a licensing arrangement with a strategic partner for production, marketing and distribution of its CoCare(TM) product line. Other patents pending include compositions and methods for the treatment of acid reflux, migraine headaches and everyday pain relief.

About Health Sciences Group, Inc.

Health Sciences Group, Inc. is an integrated provider of innovative products and services in the nutraceutical, pharmaceutical, and cosmeceutical industries offering value-added ingredients, bioactive formulations, and proprietary technologies used in nutritional supplements, functional foods and beverages, and skin care products. Its three diversified divisions consist of nutraceuticals manufacturing, specialty pharmaceutical compounding, and proprietary drug delivery technologies. For more information, visit

This release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Securities Act of 1934 that are based upon current expectations or beliefs, as well as a number of assumptions about future events. Although the Company believes that the expectations reflected in the forward-looking statements and the assumptions upon which they are based are reasonable, it can give no assurance that such expectations and assumptions will prove to have been correct. The reader is cautioned not to put undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, as these statements are subject to numerous factors and uncertainties, including without limitation, the independent authority of the special committee to act on the matters discussed, the successful negotiation of the potential acquisition and disposal of transactions described above, successful implementation of the company's business strategy and competition, any of which may cause actual results to differ materially from those described in the statements. In addition, other factors that could cause actual results to differ materially are discussed in the Company's most recent Form 10-QSB and Form 10-KSB filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Health Sciences Group, Inc.