HEALTH

New documentary highlights benefits of probiotics

BY Allison Cerra

MONTREAL — A new documentary film released by Institut Rosell-Lallemand discusses the discovery of beneficial bacteria and the role they play in our bodies, as well as the latest research on their potential to improve our lives.

“Microwarriors: The Power of Probiotics,” is available on DVD for an introductory price of $9.99. The film highlights probiotics and their contribution to overall health and well-being, the company said. The film was produced by Health Point Productions, a Los Angeles-based company.

Institut Rosell-Lallemand is part of Lallemand Inc., a privately owned Canadian company specializing in the development, production and marketing of yeast and bacteria, as well as other ingredients linked to these microorganisms or their markets.

To purchase the DVD, please visit Microwarriorsmovie.com or SwansonVitamins.com.

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HEALTH

Report: West Coast stores selling out of potassium iodide pills

BY Michael Johnsen

NEW YORK — Following reports of additional reactor failures at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear facility, natural health stores in Hawaii, Oregon and California rapidly are selling out of potassium iodide (KI) pills, a potassium supplement that can help protect the thyroid gland from radiation poisoning, FOXnews.com reported Tuesday.

This is despite assurances from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission issued Sunday that no U.S. state is in danger. “All the available information indicates weather conditions have taken the small releases from the Fukushima reactors out to sea away from the population,” the agency stated. “Given the thousands of miles between the two countries, Hawaii, Alaska, the U.S. territories and the U.S. West Coast are not expected to experience any harmful levels of radioactivity.”

The Wall Street Journal also reported that the supplier Anbex has sold out of its entire supply of 10,000 14-tablet iOSAT packages (containing 130 mg of potassium iodide) on Saturday. A message on that company’s website now reads: “Notice: As of March 14, 2011, Anbex is out of stock of iOSAT. New product expected by April 18, 2011. … iOSAT received its approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 1982, and is the only full-strength tablet for radiation blocking [that] may legally be sold in the [United States].”

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FDA attacks ‘lose pounds quick’ weight-loss frauds

BY Michael Johnsen

SILVER SPRING, Md. — The Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday outlined a new campaign attacking fraudulent weight-loss products marketed as dietary supplements, especially those companies that proffer a “magic pill” that almost immediately achieves weight loss.

“These products are not legal dietary supplements,” stated Michael Levy, director of the FDA’s Division of New Drugs and Labeling Compliance. “They are actually very powerful drugs masquerading as ‘all-natural’ or ‘herbal’ supplements, and they carry significant risks to unsuspecting consumers. We have seen deaths associated with these weight-loss products. … Make no mistake — they can kill you.”

To help drive home that message, the FDA has pieced together a series of commercials warning consumers against the dangers associated with these products. The commercials are located here, and an up-to-date consumer Web page can be found here.

In some cases, the FDA has found weight-loss products tainted with the prescription drug ingredient sibutramine. This ingredient was in an FDA-approved drug called Meridia, which was removed from the market in October 2010 because it caused heart problems and strokes. The FDA also has found other prescription drug ingredients that have been removed from the market or never were approved at all.

“We’ve found other weight-loss products marketed as supplements that contain dangerous concoctions of hidden ingredients, including seizure medications, blood-pressure medications and other drugs not approved [in the United States],” Levy said.

Many of these tainted products are imported and sold through the Internet, but some also can be found on store shelves. The FDA has made it a priority to seek out these dangerous products, stop them from being imported and take legal action against firms that manufacture and distribute them, the agency stated.

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