Antioxidant study divides experts
A study published in the August Archives of Internal Medicine concluded that women at risk for cardiovascular disease receive no benefit from antioxidant vitamins C, E or beta-carotene. The Women's Antioxidant Cardiovascular Study tested the effects of these antioxidants on the combined outcome of myocardial infarction, stroke, coronary revascularization and cardiovascular death among 8,171 female health professionals. The participants were 40 years or older with a history of CVD or three or more CVD risk factors.
Jack Challem, a personal nutrition coach and author, noted that the study had some positive findings that were absent from the published conclusion. For example, a combination of vitamins E and C led to a 31 percent lower risk of stroke. "The study showed modest benefits from vitamins E and C overall, but when the researchers focused only on people who regularly took their supplements, the reduction in cardiovascular diseases was far more impressive," he said
The Natural Products Association issued a statement that said the study was flawed. Daniel Fabricant, vice president of scientific and regulatory affairs for NPA, pointed out that the study did not take into account participants' diets and that the risk factors for eligibility in the study were broad.
Green tea scratches itch
Is there anything green tea can't do? Research published in the August edition of Experimental Dermatology found that green tea polyphenols could be used as a topical treatment for psoriasis and dandruff. Researchers led by Dr. Stephen Hsu from the Medical College of Georgia used a topical treatment of green tea polyphenols, a type of chemical found in plants, on the skin of mice, finding that it reduced flaky skin. The research could lead to a natural treatment for humans, researchers say, providing an alternative to anti-dandruff shampoos, many of which contain possible carcinogens.
Preserve it naturally
Another apparent wonder of the botanical world, a Mediterranean shrub called Inula viscosa, may prove to be a Holy Grail for the natural products industry if it can live up to its billing. Avisco, a biotech company in Israel, claims that its research into this wild medicinal plant has produced an extract that, thanks to its antifungal and antimicrobial properties, would work as a preservative for everything from food to personal care products. In addition to its promise as a preservative, the extract is also being touted by Avisco as an antiaging ingredient because it reportedly stimulates micro?vascular blood flow, which could allow more nutrients, and amino and fatty acids, to reach the skin.
Natural Foods Merchandiser volume XXVIII/number 10/p. 32