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Articles from 2009 In April


Omega Protein Receives 2009 Friend of the Sea Award

BRUSSELS, BelgiumOmega Protein accepted the 2009 Friend of the Sea Award as a result of its dedicated efforts toward sustainability and environmental stewardship at Friend of the Sea Day in Brussels. Omega Protein was chosen as the leading sustainable organization in the fish meal and oil category from among a group of organizations meeting the rigorous standards of the certification process.

The Friend of the Sea Award encourages and motivates fisheries to reduce their environmental impact and protect fisheries from becoming over-exploited, said Paolo Bray, director of Friend of the Sea, who presented Omega Protein the award. I have been pleased to work with Omega Protein and know there is no other organization more deserving of this award. Omega Protein is dedicated to the sustainability of the menhaden population.

Friend of the Sea is a global, non-profit, non-governmental organization that concentrates its efforts in the conservation of marine habitats and resources. Friend of the Sea is currently the main seafood certification program in the world, having assessed more than 10 million metric tons of wild-catch and 500 thousand metric tons of farmed products.

Its a privilege to be recognized for our commitment to a sustainable menhaden fishery, said Joseph von Rosenberg III, president and CEO of Omega Protein. We are dedicated to responsible fishing to ensure a healthy resource.

 

SSE09: Probiotics Market Grows on Benefits, Innovation

SECAUCUS, N.J.—According to Connie Sindelar, probiotic format development manager at Danisco, the average human harbors 1 to 1.5 kg of bacteria, translating to to about 10(14) microbial cells spread out on the body's skin, mouth, epithelial cells an, most notably, the intestines. In fact, in her SupplySide East seminar presentation, she noted there are more than 400 different bacterial species in the intestines, which feature both good and bad bacteria competing for receptor sites. While the exact mechanisms of actions of good probiotic bacteria is a research work in progress, Sindelar said experts in the field believe probiotic in sufficient amounts can crowd out pathogenic bacteria in the intestine, in addition to stimulating both the immune system and metabolism.

Among the researched health benefits of probiotic intake, namely supplementation, are positive effects on diarrhea, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), lactose indigestion, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), colon tumor and microflora balance and activity in the gut.

Despite the benefits of certain strains of lactobacilli and bifidobacteria probiotics, there is still no clinical documentation of microflora restoration from the popular probiotic delivery forms yogurt, milk and supplements. Sindelar noted the amounts of probiotics in yogurt and milks tends to be about 10- to 100-times less than in supplement--she put the global probiotic supplement market at $1.5 billion. Still the market for food and beverage delivery of probiotics is booming, she reported, with a huge increase in new product launches across all delivery categories, including 1,002 launches in 2008. She noted digestive health still drives the market, although making health claims on probiotic products requires care. She referenced category driver Dannon's (Activia® brand) struggles in the area of claims, adding it is important to match your probiotic strain(s0 with research done specifically on that strain when exploring structure-funciton type claims.

In addition to reviewing various examples of health claims, Sindelar provided some specifics on delivery challenges, including formulation of specific strains, storage, handling, shelf life and general stability.

Hot-Pot Seasoning Products Recalled

WASHINGTONThe USDAs Food Safety and Inspection Service announced that Lion Pavilion Ltd., a Brooklyn, N.Y. firm, is recalling approximately 16,213 pounds of seasoning products, which contain cattle byproducts that were ineligible for import from China to the United States.

The recall involves 14-ounce packages of "Lion Pavilion HOT-POT SEASONING CONTAINING BOVINE CATTLE FAT." The beef products were imported from China and sent to retail establishments nationwide.

To view a copy of the complete recall, click here.

Folic Acid May Suppress Allergies, Asthma

BALTIMORE—Folic acid, or vitamin B9, may suppress allergic reactions and lessen the severity of allergy and asthma symptoms, according to new research from the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center.

The research examined the link between blood levels of folate – the naturally occurring form of folic acid — and allergies, and found evidence that folate can help regulate inflammation. Recent studies, including research from Hopkins, have found a link between folate levels and inflammation-mediated diseases, including heart disease. A report on the Hopkins Children’s findings appears in the Journal of Allergy & Clinical Immunology.

The researchers reviewed medical records of more than 8,000 people ages 2 to 85 and tracked the effect of folate levels on respiratory and allergic symptoms and on levels of IgE antibodies, immune system markers that rise in response to an allergen. People with higher blood levels of folate had fewer IgE antibodies, fewer reported allergies, less wheezing and lower likelihood of asthma. People with the lowest folate levels (below 8 nanograms per milliliter) had 40 percent higher risk of wheezing than people with the highest folate levels (above 18 ng/ml).

The current recommendation for daily dietary intake of folic acid is 400 micrograms for healthy men and non-pregnant women. Many cereals and grain products are already fortified with folate, and folate is found naturally in green, leafy vegetables, beans and nuts.

The Hopkins team is planning a study comparing the effects of folic acid and placebo in people with allergies and asthma.

Pomegranate Juice May Slow Prostate Cancer Recurrence

LINTHICUM, Md—Pomegranate juice may slow the progression of post-treatment prostate cancer recurrence, according to new long-term research results being presented at the 104th Annual Scientific Meeting of the American Urological Association (AUA). Researchers found men who have undergone treatment for localized prostate cancer could benefit from drinking pomegranate juice.

The two-stage clinical trial followed a total of 48 participants over six years. Eligible participants had a rising PSA after surgery or radiotherapy, a PSA greater than 0.2 ng/ml and less than 5 ng/ml and a Gleason score of 7 or less. These patients were treated by drinking 8 oz./d of pomegranate juice. Currently, in the sixth year of treatment, active patients who remain on the study have a median total follow-up of 56 months. These participants continue to experience a significant increase in PSA doubling time following treatment, from a mean of 15.4 months at baseline to 60 months post-treatment, with a median PSA slope decrease of 60 percent, 0.06 to 0.024.

Researchers compared active patients, who remain on the study, with non-active patients, who no longer remain on the study. Though these two groups demonstrated similar mean PSA doubling times at baseline, both the PSA doubling time prolongation and the decline in median PSA slope were greater in active patients when compared to non-active patients.

"This study suggests pomegranate juice may effectively slow the progression of prostate cancer after unsuccessful treatment," said Christopher Amling, M.D., an AUA spokesman. "This finding and other ongoing research might one day reveal that pomegranate juice is an effective prostate cancer preventative agent as well."

Parts of this ongoing study suggest that some patients may be more sensitive to the effects of pomegranate juice on PSA doubling time. Phase three of this study is currently underway to further evaluate the benefits of pomegranate juice in a placebo-controlled manner.

Citation: Pantuck, A; Zomorodian, N; Rettig, M; Aronson, W; Heber, D; Belldegrun, A. Long term follow up of phase 2 study of pomegranate juice for men with prostate cancer shows durable prolongation of PSA doubling time. J Urol, suppl. 2009: 181, 4, abstract 826.

Vitamin D Deficiency Linked to Bacterial Vaginosis

PITTSBURGH—Vitamin D deficiency was associated with bacterial vaginosis (BV) and may contribute to the strong racial disparity in the prevalence of BV, according to a study conducted at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health (J Nutr. 2009). Women (n=469) enrolled in a pregnancy cohort study at less than 16 weeks, underwent a pelvic examination and provided a blood sample for determination of serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D]. Approximately 41 percent of women had BV and 52 percent had a serum 25(OH)D concentration less than 37.5 nmol/L. The mean unadjusted serum 25(OH)D concentration was lower among BV cases compared with women with normal vaginal flora. BV prevalence decreased as vitamin D status improved (P<0.001). Approximately 57 percent of the women with a serum 25(OH)D concentration less than 20 nmol/L had BV compared with 23 percent of women with a serum 25(OH)D concentration more than 80 nmol/L. There was a dose-response association between 25(OH)D and the prevalence of BV. The prevalence declined as 25(OH)D increased to 80 nmol/L, then reached a plateau. Compared with a serum 25(OH)D concentration of 75 nmol/L, there were 1.65-fold and 1.26-fold increases in the prevalence of BV associated with a serum 25(OH)D concentration of 20 and 50 nmol/L, respectively, after adjustment for race and sexually transmitted diseases.

Fabulous Fruit Fibers

Sure, grains get most of the glory for fibers health benefits, but lets not forget the fiber power of fruits. A broad body of research has linked dietary fiber from a variety of plant foods, including fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, nuts and seeds, with a number of health bonuses. These include preventing constipation, lowering the risk of digestive conditions, lowering blood cholesterol levels, helping to control blood sugar levels, aiding in weight loss, and lowering the risk of colorectal cancer.

Fiber is a group of carbohydrates that resist digestion in the small intestine, because humans lack the enzymes to digest them. Classes include lignin, cellulose, beta-glucans, hemicelluloses, pectins, gums, inulin and oligofructose, and resistant starch. Added to that list are functional fibersisolated fibers that have human health benefitsincluding psyllium, chitin and chitosan, fructooligosaccharides, polydextrose and polyols, and resistant dextrins. As established by the Institute of Medicine, Washington, D.C., the AI (Adequate Intake) for total fiber for men ages 18 to 50 is 38 grams per day, and for women ages 18 to 50 is 25 grams per day, yet Americans only average 14 to 15 grams of total fiber intake per day.

Healthy focus on fruitful fibers

With so much good news circulating on fibers health benefits, more attention is falling upon fruit as a source to help ratchet up fiber intake. Many fruits are exceptional sources of fiber. For example, 1 cup of pitted uncooked prunes (174 grams) contains 12.1 grams of fiber, an Asian pear (275 grams) contains 9.9 grams of fiber, and 1 cup (123 grams) of fresh raspberries contains 8 grams of fiber. Fruits contain varying amounts of the dietary fibers lignin, cellulose, hemicellulose, pectin and gums.

While much research has investigated the effects of consuming a fiber-rich diet, little has been done to help us understand the unique health properties of specific fruit fibers. We know that consuming more fruit is a healthy habit linked with lower rates of chronic diseases. Whole fruits call upon a synergy of important nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals and dietary fibers, to produce these health attributes.

Fruits harness a number of fiber bonuses. They contain viscous fibers like pectin that slow the emptying of the stomach and might lower serum cholesterol. Fruits may also contain nonviscous fibers like lignin, cellulose and some hemicelluloses, which increase stool bulk, reduce transit time, and may help treat constipation. Reduced transit time promotes regularity and minimizes colon-cancer risk by decreasing the time that coloncytes are exposed to potentially carcinogenic wastes. Fruits are also rich in readily fermentable fibers, such as pectin, that increase beneficial-bacteria density and promote growth and healthy functions of the intestine. Fruit fibers have also been linked to lowered heart-disease-death risk. In a pooled analysis of 10 prospective cohort studies of dietary fiber intake in the United States and Europe published in the Archives of Internal Medicine (Feb. 2004; 164:370-376), researchers found the inverse association between fiber intake and coronary-heart-disease death was particularly high for cereal fiber and fruit fiber.

From fruit waste to fruit fiber

Fruit processors are taking a second look at fruit waste as a source of desirable functional fiber. It is estimated that 25% to 40% of the total fruits processed around the world turn up as fruit waste. The annual Florida citrus juice industry alone produces approximately 3.5 to 5 tons of citrus waste each year. Historically, fruit waste has been turned into compost or animal feed. But processors now appreciate that fruit waste, rich in dietary fibers and other bioactive compounds, are a hidden treasure. The use of apple pomace for the extraction of such products as fiber has increased. Tree Top, Inc., Selah, WA, dries peels and cores from their apple processing plants and mills them into apple fiber (3:1 insoluble fiber to soluble fiber). The USDA Agricultural Research Service is exploring the possibilities of recapturing coproducts, such as pectin, from Floridas vast flow of citrus waste. A main source of juice in tropical regions, yellow passion fruit yields waste being investigated for its fiber attributes. The challenges for rescuing dietary fibers from fruit waste have included financial feasibility, stability and safety. Meanwhile, smart food producers are taking advantage of fruit fibers in product development. FruitSmart, Prosser, WA, developed a line of fruit products and ingredients, including fruit fibers made from fruit skins and pulp.

With fiber on everyones radar, fruit may certainly be the next fiber frontier.

Sharon Palmer is a registered dietitian with 16 years of experience in health-care and foodservice management. She writes on food and nutrition for newspapers, magazines, websites and books. Palmer makes her home in Southern California and can be reached at info@sharonpalmer.com.

The Future of Fried Foods

CHICAGO—Technomic’s recently released “The Future of Fried Foods Consumer Trend Report” notes that while deep-fried food is a consumer favorite and a menu staple, consumers are becoming more health conscious and even by-passing fried foods for more healthfully-prepared fare.

The report provides in-depth coverage and analysis of restaurant menus, consumer purchasing profiles, key drivers behind fried-food purchases, as well as an outlook and trends forecast.

ConsumerLab.coms Product Review of Supplements for Cancer Prevention

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y.ConsumerLab.com announced the results of its Product Review of Supplements for Cancer Prevention. Among the products that ConsumerLab.com selected for testing, quality problems were found with two out of five green tea supplements. The same was true of the selenium supplements reviewed. All lycopene supplements passed the review.

Supplements did not pass ConsumerLab.com's testing for a variety of reasons. Among green tea supplements selected for testing, one was contaminated with lead and provided less than its claimed amount of key compounds known as catechins. A daily dose of another green tea supplement provided 78.3 mg of caffeine (the amount in two cans of cola) although it claimed to contain less than 45 mg of caffeine. Caffeine occurs naturally in green tea, but it is possible to obtain extracts that have little caffeineone product, for example, provided only 2.5 mg of caffeine per day.

Among selenium supplements, one failed to fully break apart in solution within the 30 minute USP requirement. Another selenium product claimed to include one gram of fiber per pillan impossibility considering that each pill weighed less than 0.2 grams.

"Cancer prevention is an area where consumers need know the quality of the products they choose and the reason for choosing them," said Tod Cooperman, M.D., president of ConsumerLab.com. "You won't know if your supplement lacks a key ingredients since you can't 'feel' a preventive therapy; and contamination is compounded when a supplement is used daily for years."

In addition to the 15 products selected by ConsumerLab.com, the report includes results for six products tested through its Voluntary Certification Program. Two other products are also listed as being similar to products that passed testing but sold under different brand names.

Products covered include those from Andrew Lessman (ProCaps), Carlson, Doctors A-Z, Douglas Laboratories, Food Science of Vermont, FREEDA, Futurebiotics, GNC, Jarrow Formulas, KAL, Karuna, MegaFood, Nature Made, Natures Bounty, Puritans Pride, Solgar, Spring Valley (Wal-Mart), Vitality Works, Vitamin Power, Vitamin World and Whole Foods.

High Vit. D Doses Reduce MS Relapses

SEATTLE—High doses of vitamin D reduces the relapse rate in people with multiple sclerosis (MS), a Canadian study shows. Twenty-five people with multiple sclerosis (MS) were given an average of 14,000 international units (IU) of vitamin D a day for a year. Out of those 25, 16 percent suffered relapses. While 40 percent of the 24 MS patients who took 1,000 IU of vitamin D a day relapsed. Many MS specialists recommend 1,000 IU of vitamin D each day. The 25 people who took the higher dose of vitamin D suffered 41 percent fewer relapses than the year before, compared to only 17 percent of those that received the recommended amount. People taking high doses of vitamin D did not suffer any significant side effects.

The findings were presented at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology.