HEALTH

Weight loss among women helps raise blood vitamin D levels

BY Michael Johnsen

SEATTLE — Overweight or obese women who have less-than-optimal levels of vitamin D and lose more than 15% of their body weight experience significant increases in circulating levels of this fat-soluble nutrient, according to a study released last week by researchers at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.

“Since vitamin D is generally lower in [people] with obesity, it is possible that low vitamin D could account, in part, for the link between obesity and [such] diseases [as] cancer, heart disease and diabetes,” said Caitlin Mason, lead author of the paper, published online May 25 in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. “Determining whether weight loss helps change vitamin D status is important for understanding potential avenues for disease prevention.”

According to the National Institutes of Health, vitamin D helps promote calcium absorption and is needed for bone growth and bone healing. Along with calcium, vitamin D also helps protect older adults from osteoporosis. The nutrient influences cell growth and neuromuscular and immune function, and also reduces inflammation. Many gene-encoding proteins that regulate cell proliferation, differentiation and apoptosis (programmed cell death) are modulated in part by the vitamin.

The yearlong study involved 439 overweight to obese, sedentary, postmenopausal Seattle-area women, ages 50 years to 75 years, who randomly were assigned to 1-of-4 groups: exercise only, diet only, exercise plus diet and no intervention.

Those who lost 5% to 10% of their body weight — equivalent to approximately 10 lbs. to 20 lbs. for most of the women in the study — through diet and/or exercise saw a relatively small increase in blood levels of vitamin D (about 2.7 ng/mL), whereas women who lost more than 15% of their weight experienced a nearly threefold increase in vitamin D (about 7.7 ng/mL), independent of dietary intake of the nutrient.

“We were surprised at the effect of weight loss greater than 15% on blood vitamin D levels,” said Anne McTiernan, director of the Hutchinson Center’s Prevention Center and principal investigator of the study. “It appears that the relationship between weight loss and blood vitamin D is not linear but goes up dramatically with more weight loss. While weight loss of 5% to 10% is generally recommended to improve risk factors, such as blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugars, our findings suggest that more weight loss might be necessary to meaningfully raise blood vitamin D levels.”

About 70% of the participants had less-than-optimal levels of vitamin D when the study began; at baseline, the mean blood level of vitamin D among the study participants was 22.5 ng/mL. In addition, 12% of the women were at risk of vitamin D deficiency (blood levels of less than 12 ng/mL).

The optimal circulating range of vitamin D is thought to be between 20 ng/mL and 50 ng/mL, according to a recent data review conducted by the Institute of Medicine, which found that blood levels under 20 ng/mL are inadequate for bone health and levels higher than 50 ng/mL are associated with potential adverse effects, such as an increased risk of developing kidney stones.

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Carex’s new HQ reflects company’s expansion efforts

BY Michael Johnsen

NORWELL, Mass. — Carex Health Brands on Wednesday announced the opening of its new corporate headquarters in Boston.

As a reflection of the company’s growth and development, the new East Coast headquarters supports the expansion of Carex’s marketing team, an initiative planned to increase brand building efforts and double new product development, the company stated.

“We strive to produce high-quality and innovative products that bring convenience, dignity and ease of use to a range of consumers,” said Carex president Matt McElduff. “With the move to Boston, we are ramping up our team of driven and creative marketing professionals to elevate Carex Health Brands to an entirely new level of growth and success.”

Carex’s brands include Carex, Apex, Bed Buddy, TheraMed, Enablers and VitaSystem.

Carex Health Brands is a portfolio company of Ancor Capital Partners. In addition to its headquarters in Boston, the company holds an office in Sioux Falls, S.D. The Boston corporate headquarters is based at 600 Cordwainer Drive, Norwell, Mass., 02061.

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Pre-Seed gains distribution at Walgreens

BY Michael Johnsen

SPOKANE, Wash. — INGfertility on Tuesday announced its Pre-Seed "fertility-friendly" personal lubricant will be available in all Walgreens pharmacies as of Wednesday, following Facebook demand for increased distribution.

"Walgreens has been our most requested retail location for Pre-Seed, and we have had an amazing response to this news at Facebook,” INGfertility CEO G.D. Clifton said.

Pre-Seed is the only lubricant able to state that it is "safe to use when trying to conceive," based on regulatory clearance, the company stated. Pre-Seed’s formula matches the pH, osmolality (ion content) and viscosity (thickness) of fertile cervical mucus. In contrast, most lubricants harm sperm and may keep them from swimming to the egg normally.

"Many couples who are trying to conceive have increased incidence of vaginal dryness due to intercourse on-demand," Clifton noted. "Pre-Seed offers a safe alternative for these couples."

In the physician guideline "Optimizing Natural Fertility," the American Society for Reproductive Medicine cited the need for informed lubricant use and mentioned Pre-Seed as an appropriate choice.

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