Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

NPA Challenges Wall Street Journal to Get It Right about Supplements

Tuesday, November 1st, 2011

The Wall Street Journal is being criticized for undermining the benefits of vitamins in a recent story.

While responding to “a story about the benefits of vitamins” in the Wall Street Journal, the Executive Director and CEO of Natural Products Association (NPA), John Gay commented that -

“It is disappointing that the Wall Street Journal would devote space to such a sensationalist and inaccurate item. Trying to scare Americans away from taking dietary supplements to improve their health is just plain irresponsible. Consumers deserve to hear more about the many benefits of vitamins and other dietary supplements, and I call on the Wall Street Journal to bring fairness to its reporting.

The story makes use of two recent studies that NPA believes did a disservice to the tens of millions of American who take dietary supplements. Detailing the flaws in the studies and the conclusions reached would take too much space, but to pick one major issue: as the Wall Street Journal acknowledges, “Observational trials can only show an association, not a cause and effect.” We agree, and find it troubling that a story in the Journal would use such a study to assert that “the case for dietary supplements is collapsing.”

In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. More and more studies show that vitamins have real and widely accepted health benefits. These include providing nutrients, boosting immune systems, and improving overall health. Even the authors of the vitamin E study mentioned in the article noted the benefit of vitamin E with Alzheimer’s disease and age-related macular degeneration.

The article itself notes that calcium is “important to bone health” and folic acid “reduces the likelihood of a common birth defect if taken by pregnant women.” It also states that “Researchers and nutritionists are still recommending dietary supplements for the malnourished or people with certain nutrient deficiencies or medical conditions.”

Far from collapsing, the case for vitamins is supported by experts who know best the value of good nutrition. That is why NPA has long advocated that consumers use dietary supplements as part of a healthy lifestyle. Half of all Americans take dietary supplements because they know they work.”

Jeff Wright, NPA president and owner of Wright’s Nutrients in New Port Richey, Fla., adds:

“Like so many of my fellow health food store owners, I’m dedicated to helping consumers supplement their diets with the nutrients they need. Research is the cornerstone of our industry, and it seems that every week there is a new report about the importance of vitamins to the health of millions of Americans. Stories like the one in the Wall Street Journal might scare some Americans away from taking dietary supplements to improve their health, and that is just plain irresponsible.”

quick-change artist

Monday, May 31st, 2010

Ever heard that expression, “The more things change, the more they stay the same”?  I want to tweak that slightly: “the more things stay the same, the less chance they will EVER change.”

The cold, hard fact is this: If we want to change our less-than-stellar health habits, the time is now.  We all have to actually make some sort of concerted effort to do things differently in order to expect different results.

This idea is elementary, I know, but it’s amazing how many of us (myself included) don’t practice what we preach.  Here’s an example:

Last year I noticed that my favorite jeans were becoming harder and harder to button.  I blamed the dryer and the hot water I accidently washed them in one time (months before). Because I didn’t own a scale, I was in relative denial about my gradual weight gain.  I continued to eat my-ahem-nightly bowl of ice cream.  I didn’t have a lot of energy, which lead to me skipping the gym most days.  The less I exercised, the more lethargic I felt and the more I ate (to keep my energy up).  This became a classic vicious cycle.

One day I could no longer deny it and my favorite jeans were banished to the back of my closet, along with the other clothes I couldn’t squeeze into anymore.  That day was my breaking point, my “moment of clarity” if you will.  I forced myself to the gym that afternoon, and most evenings after work.  I stopped eating my beloved ice cream (except on weekends), and tried my best to get enough sleep so I didn’t need to rely on food to enhance my energy.

Everyone has their breaking point, their moment of clarity.  Find yours and then act upon it.  It may take a little while to see some results, but you absolutely will.  Changing your bad habits can ultimately change the course of your health-and life-for the better.  Good luck!

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Worth your salt?

Wednesday, February 17th, 2010

Salt and sodium

Salt can be addictive. For anyone who has even overindulged in chips and salsa, or those delicious barbeque-flavored kettle chips-you know what I’m talking about.  And of course, our bodies need salt to survive, but we (as Americans especially) tend to overdo it.  I recently came across a Japanese study that indicates a diet lower in sodium and higher in potassium can lessen the incident of stroke and cardiovascular disease:

In a prospective study involving 58,730 Japanese men and women with no history of stroke, coronary heart disease, or cancer, aged 40-79 years, results indicate that high sodium intake and low potassium intake may be associated with an increased risk of mortality from cardiovascular disease. During 745,161 person-years of follow-up, 986 deaths from stroke (153 subarachnoid hemorrhages, 227 intraparenchymal hemorrhages, and 510 ischemic strokes) and 424 deaths from coronary heart disease were recorded. Sodium intake was observed to be positively associated with mortality from total stroke, ischemic stroke, and total cardiovascular disease. After adjusting for confounders, the highest quintile for sodium intake was associated with a 55% increased risk of total stroke related mortality, a 104% increased risk of ischemic stroke related mortality, and a 42% increased risk of total cardiovascular disease related mortality, compared with the lowest quintile of sodium intake. On the other hand, potassium intake was inversely associated with mortality from coronary heart disease and total cardiovascular disease, where the highest quintile for potassium intake was associated with a 35% reduced risk of coronary heart disease related mortality and a 27% reduced risk of total cardiovascular disease related mortality, compared with the lowest quintile of potassium intake. Thus, the authors of this study conclude, “A high sodium intake and a low potassium intake may increase the risk of mortality from cardiovascular disease.”

This study provides compelling evidence to shake the salt habit and instead trying seasoning your life with healthier spices!  To up your potassium intake, try eating more sweet potatoes, bananas, raisins, white beans, and clams!  Orange juice is a great source of potassium too.

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Want to learn more about healthier eating and better cardiovascular health?  Read our health archives.

Reference: http://www.vitasearch.com/get-clp-summary/37609, “Relations between dietary sodium and potassium intakes and mortality from cardiovascular disease: the Japan Collaborative Cohort Study for Evaluation of Cancer Risks,” Umesawa M, Tamakoshi A, et al, Am J Clin Nutr, 2008; 88(1): 195-202. (Address: Department of Public Health Medicine, Graduate School of Comprehensive Human Sciences, and the Institute of Community Medicine, University of Tsukuba, Tsukuba, Japan).

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