HEALTH

Johns Hopkins: Exercise and vitamin D in tandem help reduce heart disease risk

BY Michael Johnsen

BALTIMORE — Johns Hopkins researchers report that an analysis of survey responses and health records of more than 10,000 American adults for nearly 20 years suggests a "synergistic" link between exercise and good vitamin D levels in reducing the risk of heart attacks and strokes.

"In our study, both failure to meet the recommended physical activity levels and having vitamin D deficiency were very common" stated Erin Michos, associate director of preventive cardiology and associate professor of medicine at the Ciccarone Center for the Prevention of Heart Disease at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. "The bottom line is we need to encourage people to move more in the name of heart health."

Michos added that exposure to a few minutes a day of sunlight in non-winter seasons, eating a well-balanced meal that includes oily fish such as salmon, along with fortified foods like cereal and milk, may be enough to provide adequate levels of vitamin D for most adults.

Both exercise and adequate vitamin D have long been implicated in reducing heart disease risks, but in a new study – one not designed to show cause and effect – the researchers investigated the relationship between these two health factors and their joint role in heart health. Their findings, which were published in the April 1 issue of the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, identified a positive and direct relationship between exercise and vitamin D levels in the blood, which may provide evidence that exercise may boost vitamin D stores.

They also found that the two factors working together seemed to somehow do more than either factor alone to protect the cardiovascular system. The researchers caution that their study is an observational one and that long-term, carefully controlled clinical trials would be needed to establish evidence for cause and effect. Nevertheless, the study does support the notion that exposure to the "sunshine" vitamin D and exercise are indicators of good health.

For their data analysis, the Johns Hopkins researchers used previously gathered information from the federally funded Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities study beginning in 1987 and collected from 10,342 participants initially free of heart or vascular disease. Information about participants was updated and followed until 2013. The participants were an average age of 54 at the start of the study and 57% were women. In addition, 21% were African-American, with the remaining participants identifying as white.

Michos cautioned that people who meet the recommended daily amount of 600 to 800 International Units a day and who have adequate levels of vitamin D don't need to take additional vitamin supplements. "More isn't necessarily better once your blood levels are above 20 nanograms per milliliter," says Michos. "People at risk of bone diseases, have seasonal depression, or are obese should have their physicians measure vitamin D levels to ensure they're adequate, but for many, the best way to ensure adequate blood levels of the vitamin is from sun exposure, healthy diet, being active and maintaining a normal body weight."

 

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Pfizer OTC veteran assumes OTC franchise reins at Purdue Pharma

BY Michael Johnsen

STAMFORD, Conn. — Purdue Pharma last week named Carrie Chomiak as the business lead for the company’s over-the-counter product franchise. Chomiak will have executive ownership for all OTC brands, which include the Betadine microbicide antiseptics, Slow-Mag magnesium chloride supplements, Senokot laxative and Colace stool softener product lines.

“Carrie brings very strong sales and marketing leadership skills and experience in consumer brands to optimize our existing over-the-counter products as well as to partner with our business development team to accelerate the expansion of our OTC portfolio,” stated Mark Timney, president and CEO, Purdue Pharma. “Her proven record of accomplishment for delivering exceptional commercial business results with iconic consumer brands gives us the confidence that she is the right person for this position.”

Chomiak joins Purdue Pharma after more than 15 years of success in the marketing and selling of consumer health and wellness brands at Pfizer Consumer Healthcare, previously Wyeth Consumer Healthcare. At PCH she most recently served as a member of the U.S. executive leadership team, and led the U.S. digestive health franchise which included the Nexium 24HR switch from prescription to over-the-counter status and the commercial management of the Preparation H brand. 

During her tenure at PCH Carrie additionally held commercial leadership roles within the nutrition, respiratory, pain and personal care franchises, which included brands such as Centrum, Caltrate, Advil, Emergen-C, Robitussin, Dimetapp and Chapstick.

Chomiak will have executive ownership for the OTC franchise and be responsible for ensuring the successful development and commercialization of Purdue’s complete line of OTC assets which includes leading the corporate long-range plan development and general management of the short term business. This includes overseeing the development and implementation of brand equity and integrated communication elements, discovery of new relevant consumer insights, monitoring of business performance and evaluating new business opportunities for this franchise.

“Purdue’s over-the-counter products are well-established, legacy brands that are trusted by hospitals and consumers,” Chomiak said. “I look forward to contributing to the organization’s ongoing evolution and creating value both organically and through strategic business development initiatives.”

Chomiak earned a bachelor of science degree in marketing from Montclair State University in Montclair, N.J.

 

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CRN’s Supplement OWL VMS label registry now open to regulators, retailers

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON — One year after the project was formally announced, the Council for Responsible Nutrition's Supplement OWL initiative became a reality on Thursday as the online product registry is now live. Serving as a resource for regulators, retailers and industry, the OWL is an industry-wide, self-regulatory initiative that will help create a rich and more complete picture of the marketplace, and can be accessed by anyone.

“Last month, during Expo West, it was heartening to witness the high level of awareness about the Supplement OWL (Online Wellness Library) and exhilarating to be surrounded by the industry buzz," stated Steve Mister president and CEO CRN. "This has been a unique opportunity for our industry: working together on a self-regulatory initiative for the greater good. We credit those thought leaders who recognized the importance of an industry-wide registry that would fill a gap for regulators, and we commend those companies who wanted to be — and are — part of the first wave of labels available in the product registry," he said. "Together, we gained consensus around a dietary supplement registry, we built it, and now we’re ready to make it grow.”

With the launch, the Supplement OWL is now widely accessible for examination. All companies can test-drive the product registry and retailers can begin to use it to evaluate products on their shelves. CRN is confident that the number of companies participating in the Supplement OWL and the number of labels included will grow to the point where users will question why a company’s label is not available in the Supplement OWL. '

“Today is just the start, but broader engagement, that’s the end game,” Mister said. “If you have confidence in your product and in your label, why wouldn’t you want to house it in a free product registry that demonstrates you’re willing to help the industry be more transparent and more accountable to our regulators, to retailers and ultimately to consumers. If daylight is indeed ‘the best disinfectant,’ then the Supplement OWL helps to clean up the industry by putting products on display.”

Earlier this month, the American Botanical Council, the Consumer Healthcare Products Association and the Natural Products Association all publicly announced their support for the Supplement OWL. “We anticipate there will be additional expressions of public support," Mister said. "It’s the right thing to do, especially at a time when some anticipate government will seek to reduce industry regulation. That’s when we have our best opportunity to proactively find ways to raise the bar for this industry. That’s what the Supplement OWL does.”

The Supplement OWL offers two tiers of information. Participation in Tier 1 includes an image of the product, a complete product label and other fields of information, obtained principally from the label itself. There is no charge to participate in Tier 1.

Tier 2 allows companies to upload additional supporting information and documentation about their products and to choose who will have access to that information. Once a label is uploaded to Tier 1, companies can participate in Tier 2 for a nominal charge.

Getting started with uploading labels involves a three-step process, beginning with outreach to UL, the global independent safety science company who is developing and administering the technology that drives the Supplement OWL, to learn what product and label information will need to be submitted. Then, companies can choose from four options to determine the best method to submit their labels: 1) electronic transfer from an existing IT system; 2) conversion from the ODS label database; 3) manual data entry; or 4) a third-party upload service.

 

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