HEALTH

Congressional Dietary Supplement Caucus, trade associations discuss importance of supplements

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON The Congressional Dietary Supplement Caucus, in cooperation with the Council for Responsible Nutrition and the Natural Products Association, held a briefing on Capitol Hill last week to discuss the important role of dietary supplements in the ongoing wellness and prevention conversation.

The briefing included discussion of how supplements fit into the shifting of a system based on diagnosis and treatment to one of prevention and wellness. With the passage of healthcare reform, the wellness and prevention paradigm is gaining added attention as Americans look for ways to stay healthy longer — and dietary supplements are one of the tools consumers should consider.

“Supplements used properly help prevent disease and promote good health as part of an overall healthy lifestyle,” commented Rep. Jared Polis, D-Colo. “Scientific evidence strongly suggests that the use of daily dietary supplements would be an effective way to address nutritional gaps” in deficient populations, he added.

The luncheon briefing featured speaker David Grotto, a registered dietician and president of Nutrition Housecall, who discussed the important role of dietary supplements as part of a well-rounded nutrition program, particularly for those who don’t get all their nutrients from food alone. “We know that a healthy diet and lifestyle, along with appropriate dietary supplements, can really make a difference in helping to mitigate” health problems, such as heart disease, cancer and stroke, Grotto said.

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Survey participants have gut health misconceptions

BY Michael Johnsen

CINCINNATI A recent GfK Roper "Gut Check" survey, sponsored by the Align brand, revealed that approximately 1-in-4 survey participants experience occasional digestive upsets, and of those, 1-in-5 have been told that these disruptive upsets are caused by their attitude or emotions, Procter & Gamble announced Wednesday.

"I see the frustration occasional digestive upsets cause my patients," stated Roshini Rajapaksa, a gastroenterologist at NYU Langone Medical Center. "The first step to building a stronger inside is to better understand how your digestive system works and what you can do to keep it healthy,” she said. "To help improve both their health and lifestyle, I teach my patients that it comes down to simple science — it is important to have the right balance of good and bad bacteria in the gut. When we replenish the good bacteria with probiotics it helps maintain a healthy digestive system."

 

Although probiotics, or good bacteria that provide a health benefit, have been in use for more than 100 years, the survey also found that people still have misconceptions about their gut health:

  • 43% of those surveyed believed that most types of bacteria are not helpful for the GI tract;
  • More than 40% believed that all probiotics essentially have the same benefits and are not strain specific; and
  • A large majority (77%) thought that probiotics found in supplements are not as natural as those found in foods.

 

 

The "Gut Check" survey findings also showed that digestive upsets can interrupt daily life. Of those who experienced occasional digestive upsets, more than half felt their upsets impacted their self confidence. Eight-in-10 tried to go about their day normally, but most still made adjustments to their activities. Nearly half missed an event or trip or avoided a social situation because of an occasional digestive upset, and more than one-third of survey respondents changed their diet to deal with their digestive upsets.

 

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SOS 4 Life launches Health Records app for the world traveler

BY Michael Johnsen

LONDON SOS 4 Life, a company that provides medical mobile applications, on Wednesday announced the launch of its Health Records iPhone app dedicated to providing peace of mind during a medical crisis while in a foreign country.

The application stores a patient’s most important medical information, including allergies, medical conditions and medication history in a health record on a mobile phone, and provides an immediate translation of that health record into Spanish, German, French, Italian, Portuguese or Dutch without the need of an Internet connection.

“SOS 4 Life has been created to help people who travel, live or work abroad to take better care of their health,” stated Heike Unverhau, who created the app in collaboration with more than 20 medical practitioners across Europe. “We wanted to develop a convenient, helpful and reliable application that would help people to live life to the [fullest], whilst minimizing some of the risks associated with international travel,” he said. “[People] often don’t realize that doctors need to know their medical history to help effectively, especially when they have pre-existing conditions, take medications or have allergies.”

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