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Archive for the ‘Health, Nutrition and Science News’ Category

The FDA is going after General Mills for the health claims they made for Cheerios cereal (read the warning letter here).

Are you familiar with nitric oxide? You see a great many supplement products now with names coined around the terms “nitric oxide” and its common abbreviation; “NO”. Nitric oxide is a highly desirable natural compound that promotes better circulation by inducing a natural process known as vasodilation. There are many reasons people may want to increase nitric oxide production and vasodilation; better blood pressure, improved erectile function and muscle fullness are the most common. In response, the supplement industry has created a whole category of supplements to promote vasodilation (” nitric oxide boosters”) most of which rely on, essentially, a single amino acid to get job done. A new study suggests that soy isoflavones are effective NO boosters, too, which could pave the way towards much more effective NO products.

A frequently-asked question pertaining to omega 3 fatty acids is whether fish oil or flax oil is better, or whether there’s any difference or benefit to taking one or the other.   Vegetarian considerations aside,  we do recommend fish oil (here’s our favorite fish oil)  and there are in fact significant differences that shed light on [...]

Quercetin is already widely used a dietary supplement ingredient, although it’s rarely used just by itself. More commonly, quercetin is combined with other complementary supplements or as part of a multi-ingredient formulas that target a specific health condition or factor. For example, one popular quercetin combination marketed by many supplement brands combines quercetin with the pineapple enzyme bromelain in a popular formula for allergy-like symptoms. You’ll also see quercetin in prostate formulas and products for vascular health, too. A new human quercetin study is bound to attract much more interest in quercetin since it shows beneficial effects on both blood pressure and harmful LDL cholesterol. And these effects were demonstrated in people with metabolic syndrome, who are already at high risk for hypertension and cholesterol imbalances. Better, yet, quercetin is inexpensive, natural, safe and very well-tolerated with none of the side-effects of either blood pressure or cholesterol drugs.

As most readers as probably aware, Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is an increasingly-common degenerative disease of the nervous system. Still lacking a cure or a even clear etiology, Alzheimer’ s involves a gradual loss of nervous system function, ultimately erasing a the victims memory, personality and ability to function and care for themselves, let alone others. Most readers are also probably aware that AD is devastating to both victims and caregivers. A considerable amount of research resources are now devoted to finding out more about Alzheimer’s and discovering drugs and natural substances which may be protect against Alzheimer’s. A new study suggests that grape seed extract may protect against the very process responsible for the progressive loss of mental functions that characterizes Alzheimer’s.

In a study reminiscent of the back-and-forth over whether beta carotene increases lung cancer risk in smokers or not, a study now suggests that curcumin too can increase the risk of lung cancer development when cancer-promoting factors like smoking, or a history of smoking, are present. As a possible mechanism for this effect, the researchers suggested that curcumin may promote cancer in smokers by accelerating the formation of free radicals in damaged lung tissue.

A high-profile debate is taking place over the adverse effect of fructose sweeteners like high fructose corn syrup. On one side, the commercial sweetener industry employs fructose on a massive – and massively profitable – scale, the best example being the HFCS that’s in just about every supermarket food. The industry maintains that fructose is, essentially, no worse for you than other sugars, and they’ve enlisted the help of slick high-profile TV ads to advocate for the safety of high fructose corn syrup in a non-technical, feelgood sort of way (it’s ‘natural’, it’s ‘made from corn’, ‘real men’ don’t care, etc). On the other side are researchers and health professionals. These scientists have been searching for a way to explain the explosion in obesity and obesity harbingers like insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome. This explosion more-or-less coincides with the introduction and rapid, widespread adoption of high fructose corn syrup. At this time in 2009, HFCS has already been the subject of many damaging studies, and while these researchers aren’t taking to the airwaves with their findings, the tide seems to be steadily turning against the industry as more consumers and health experts just put two-and-two together and finally steer clear of fructose sweeteners altogether.

The Federal Trade Commission has just announced a settlement with breakfast cereal giant Kellogg’s over claims that just eating a bowl of Frosted Mini-Wheats cereal could boost a child’s attentiveness by almost 20 percent. Faulting both the science of Kellogg’s study and its interpretation of the results, the FTC charged that Kellogg’s claim are false and in violation of the FTC Act. Chairman Jon Leibowitz adds, “We tell consumers that they should deal with trusted national brands. So it’s especially important that America’s leading companies are more ‘attentive’ to the truthfulness of their ads and don’t exaggerate the results of tests or research. In the future, the Commission will certainly be more attentive to national advertisers.” This is good news for the industry but perhaps bad news for parents who were (or are) eager to find something ‘easy’ to help their children pay attention, learn and develop intellectually. Fortunately, there are some great products and nutritional factors that can help kids learn and concentrate better, but don’t count on Kellogg’s to clue you in. Get an overview in today’s AllStarHealth blog.

It’s already been well-established that increasing dietary fiber has all kinds of benefits for you; lower cholesterol, lower risk of disease, better elimination and detoxification and even better weight management. And it’s also pretty well-established that most people don’t get enough dietary fiber in the first place. So it’s always been easy to make a case for fiber supplements, since they’re so inexpensive, safe and easy-to-use.

But there are different types of fiber, and they have different effects and benefits. So you want to make sure you’re using the right kind of fiber supplement for your situation. If you’re using or considering using fiber for weight management, there’s new information that points to a crucial difference between the type of fiber and whether it promotes weight loss or weight gain.

Look at a few bone formulas and you’ll see the same nutrients popping up again and again; calcium, magnesium, and vitamin D for example. One nutrient you won’t see very often in bone formulas is vitamin C. There are plenty of benefits already ascribed to vitamin C – immune support, cardiovascular health, would healing – but support for bone health isn’t frequently mentioned. That may change, and so might the next generation of bone support formulas, thanks to a recent Tufts University Study.