HEALTH

Survey: 20% of patients are asking pharmacists about supplementation

BY Michael Johnsen

NORTHRIDGE, Calif. — One-in-5 consumers are asking their pharmacists questions about vitamins and supplements, according to a survey of pharmacists that was released Tuesday by Pharmavite.

The survey found that pharmacists estimated they answer questions regarding prescription medications for about half of their customers (51%). By comparison, they estimated they answer questions about OTC products for just 1-in-3 customers (35%) — and when it comes to answering questions about vitamins and supplements, they estimated they do so for 23% of their customers (23%).

Most pharmacists (93%) agreed that taking vitamins and supplements is important for maintaining overall good health. And 85% reported product quality is a very important factor when it comes to deciding whether or not to recommend a specific brand of vitamin, topping the list of important factors. The majority of pharmacists also identified product purity (77%) and product potency (65%) as being very important to earn their recommendations.

Two-in-3 (67%) told customers to look for the USP seal or other third-party certification when selecting vitamins and supplements, with half also recommending customers look at the form (56%) and size (46%) of the vitamin or supplement.

Specifically for heart health, 9-in-10 pharmacists recommend fish oil. About two-thirds also reported they were likely to recommend flaxseed oil for heart health and about half (47%) said the same of garlic. For vitamin D, the benefits for which have been featured in several news segments over the past year, 77% of pharmacists also recommend vitamin D to support heart health and 79% recommended it to promote a healthy immune system.

 


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Clif launches flavor line extension for Clif Kid Zbar

BY Michael Johnsen

EMERYVILLE, Calif. — Clif on Tuesday announced a flavor line extension — iced oatmeal cookie — for its Clif Kid Zbar brand.

“In a recent nationwide survey, Clif Kid learned that 75% of parents believe it’s actually harder to feed their kids healthy snacks than healthy meals,” stated Jennifer Yun, brand director for Clif Kid. “As parents, we know it’s helpful to keep healthier lunchbox snacks interesting.”

Like all Zbars, iced oatmeal cookie is certified organic and provides an excellent source of complex carbohydrates combined with protein and fiber to help curb hunger and stabilize energy levels.

The full Zbar product line carries a suggested retail price of 89 cents per bar.
 

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H5N1 researchers volunteer to suspend testing for 60 days

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON — Avian flu researchers have agreed to take a 60-day hiatus on testing an H5N1 influenza strain that recently had gained public attention, according to a letter published Friday in the journal Science.

The virus in question is being studied at both the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Erasmus MC in Rotterdam, Netherlands, and possesses a haemagglutinin protein from highly pathogenic avian H5N1 influenza viruses that can become transmissible in ferrets. "This is critical information that advances our understanding of influenza transmission," the letter read. "However, more research is needed to determine how influenza viruses in nature become human pandemic threats so that they can be contained before they acquire the ability to transmit from human to human, or so that appropriate countermeasures can be deployed if adaptation to humans occurs. … We would like to assure the public that these experiments have been conducted with appropriate regulatory oversight in secure containment facilities by highly trained and responsible personnel to minimize any risk of accidental release."

The researchers are implementing the delay in research in an effort to give scientists from all nations an opportunity to prepare for an international debate among the scientific community. "We realize that organizations and governments around the world need time to find the best solutions for opportunities and challenges that stem from the [H5N1 research]. To provide time for these discussions, we have agreed on a voluntary pause of 60 days on any research involving highly pathogenic avian influenza H5N1 viruses leading to the generation of viruses that are more transmissible in mammals."


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