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Oct 11

News: Health Herbal Medicine Research Latest News

News: Health Herbal Medicine Research Latest News

Latest News – For our clients and customers to keep up to date with current health and herbal medicine research and their conditions

  • Tucking into RAW fruit and veg can boost your mood, appetite for life and ward off depression, suggests study (and here are the 10 most beneficial to eat) Wednesday April 18th, 2018

    Scientists discovered raw vegetables – and fruit – are better for mental health

    Health campaigns focus on the amount of fruit and veg people should eat

    The new study found the way they are prepared is also important to consider

    Eating raw carrots and spinach can boost ward off depression because they contain more ‘essential’ nutrients, a study suggests.

    Scientists found raw vegetables – and fruit – are better for mental health than those which are cooked, tinned or processed.

    People who eat more raw fruit and vegetables also had improved levels of psychological wellbeing, including positive mood and life satisfaction, researchers discovered.

    Health campaigns have traditionally focussed on the amount of fruit and vegetables people should eat, such as the five a day message.

    But the new study, by researchers in New Zealand, implies that the way in which they are prepared is also important to consider.

    Many people cook spinach and carrots, which is a major part of the traditional English roast dinner. However, fruits are often consumed raw.

    Dr Tamlin Conner, from the University of Otago, led the study, which analysed the eating habits of more than 400 adults.

    She said: ‘Our research has highlighted the consumption of fruit and veg in their “unmodified” state is more strongly associated with better mental health.’

    This was compared to cooked, canned or processed fruit and vegetables, according to the study in the journal Frontiers in Psychology.

    This could be because cooking and processing of fruit and vegetables can cut their nutrient levels, Dr Conner suggested.

    She said: ‘This limits the delivery of nutrients that are essential for optimal emotional functioning.’

    Participants in the study were aged between 18 and 25 – the age group that has the lowest consumption of fruit and veg, on average.


    Dark leafy greens such as spinach
    Citrus fruits
    Fresh berries

    Their typical consumption of raw, cooked or processed fruit and veg were assessed, and they were quizzed on their mental health.

    Other factors that can play a part on mental health were studied, such as exercise, sleep, chronic health conditions and overall diets.

    The study showed that people who consumed more raw fruit and vegetables had lower mental illness symptoms, such as depression.

    They also had improved levels of psychological wellbeing, including positive mood and life satisfaction, researchers found.

    These mental health benefits were significantly reduced for cooked, canned, and processed fruits and vegetables.

    Dr Conner said: ‘This research is increasingly vital as lifestyle approaches such as dietary change may provide an accessible, safe, and adjuvant approach to improving mental health.’

    The study comes after a nutritionist told DailyMail.com that chopping vegetables before eating them boosts their nutrients.

    Carly Feigan, New York-based nutritionist and owner of Head to Health, said slicing the veggies can release healthy enzymes that support digestion.


    Raw food enthusiasts like Megan Fox praise the no-cook diet for requiring less calories to get more nutrients and feel fuller than they would from eating cooked meals, but nutritionists say that this isn’t necessarily the case.

    Depending on the particular nutrients you are interested in – and the ingredients you hope to get them from – eating raw may be better for achieving some goals while cooking your food may boost your intake of other vitamins and minerals.

    ‘Some vegetables, you get more [nutrients] when they are raw, some when they are cooked, it really varies,’ says Keri Glassman, a New York City nutritionist.

    DailyMail.com broke down the surprising nutritional differences (or lack thereof) between raw and cooked ingredients in a popular raw vegan recipe.



    Fiber 3.6 g

    Vitamin C 7.6 mg

    Potassium 410 mg


    Fiber 2.3 g

    Vitamin C 2.8 mg

    Potassium 183 mg



    Vitamin C 0.1 mg

    Magnesium 0.9 mg

    Potassium 8.3 mg


    Vitamin C 0.4 mg

    Magnesium 9.7 mg

    Potassium 70.5 mg



    Fiber 4.8 g

    Vitamin A 1,134 IU

    Vitamin C 162.4 mg


    Fiber 10.4 g

    Vitamin A 4,828 IU

    Vitamin C 202.4 mg

    Source: Daily Mail

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  • Brain-Boosting Supplement Ingredients Wednesday April 18th, 2018

    The advancing worldwide prevalence of cognitive decline and dementia is a global health concern. World Health Organization (WHO) estimates from 2013 suggested that more than 35 million individuals worldwide were living with dementia; the WHO noted it expected that number to almost double every 20 years, reaching 115.4 million by 2050.1

    Dietary and nutritional factors impact cognitive status and likely contribute to these staggering numbers. Studies, for instance, show that dietary protocols such as The Mediterranean Diet may benefit cognitive health. Moreover, a recent review led by Arrigo Cicero from the University of Bologna (Bologna, Italy) looked at studies published between 1970 and 2017 and concluded that the use of herbs and phytochemicals for delaying the onset of cognitive decline shows significant promise.2

    Nutrition and diet can play a significant role in helping to support cognitive health. Some recent studies investigating the effects of herbs and nutrients on cognition are summarized here.

    1. Mavrodaris A et al., “Prevalences of dementia and cognitive impairment among older people in sub-Saharan Africa: a systematic review,” Bulletin of the World Health Organization, vol. 91, no. 10 (October 1, 2013): 773-783

    2. Cicero AFG et al., “Botanicals and phytochemicals active on cognitive decline: the clinical evidence,” Pharmacological Research. Published online Dec 28, 2017.

    Vitamin D Enhances Visual Memory
    Epidemiological studies have previously found an association between vitamin D and cognitive health. To assess the effect of vitamin D supplementation on cognitive function in a healthy population, Jacqueline Petterson of the University of Northern British Columbia (Canada) conducted an intervention study.3

    In the randomized trial, 82 healthy adults from British Columbia were asked to supplement with high-dose (4,000 IU per day) or low-dose (400 IU per day) vitamin D3 for 18 weeks. All participants had vitamin D levels ≤100 nmol/L (≤40 ng/ml) at baseline. Cognitive performance was assessed with the Symbol Digit Modalities Test, verbal fluency, digit span, and the CANTAB computerized battery, a validated digital cognitive function test developed at the University of Cambridge (United Kingdom).

    According to researchers, serum vitamin D levels increased significantly more in the high-dose vitamin D group than in the low-dose group. Improvements in visual (non-verbal) memory were also noted with high-dose vitamin D supplementation. In those with baseline vitamin D levels <75 nmol/L (<30 ng/ml), the high-dose vitamin D supplement led to highly significant improvement. No such improvement was noted in the low-dose group, indicating that vitamin D supplementation is important for aspects of higher-level cognitive functioning.

    3. Pettersen JA., “Does high dose vitamin D supplementation enhance cognition?: A randomized trial in healthy adults,” Experimental Gerontology, vol. 90 (April 2017): 90-97

    Spearmint Bolsters Working Memory
    A proprietary extract of spearmint that is high in polyphenols, including rosmarinic acid, was recently investigated for its effects on cognitive health. In a study led by Kelly Herrlinger from ingredients firm Kemin (Des Moines, IA), researchers aimed to evaluate the benefits of the extract, branded Neumentix, in adults with age-associated memory impairment.4

    In the double-blind, placebo-controlled study, 90 adults with an average age of 59.4 years were divided into three groups: one group received a placebo while the other two received either 600 mg or 900 mg per day of the Neumentix spearmint extract for 90 days. Cognitive assessments included the validated Cognitive Drug Research (CDR) system, while additional evaluations included the Leeds Sleep Evaluation Questionnaire (LSEQ) and the Profile of Mood States (POMS) ratings scale.

    After 90 days, significant benefits were seen in the group taking 900 mg of spearmint extract daily, including improved quality of working memory and spatial working memory. Additionally, 900 mg/day of the spearmint extract led to significant improvement versus placebo in the LSEQ, specifically as related to the “ease of getting to sleep” parameter. These results suggest that the Neumentix polyphenol-rich spearmint extract may be beneficial for those with age-associated memory impairment.

    4. Herrlinger KA et al., “Spearmint extract improves working memory in men and women with age-associated memory impairment,” The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, vol. 24, no. 1 (January 2018): 37-47

    Omega-3s for Mild Cognitive Impairment
    The importance of omega-3 fatty acids—and particularly docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)—for brain development is widely known. Several epidemiological studies support the benefits of higher omega-3 intakes for brain-health maintenance. However, the clinical effects of omega-3 supplementation are less clear.

    Researchers from Zhengzhou University (Zhengzhou, China) recently conducted a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study in 86 adults with mild cognitive impairment in which individuals received supplements containing 480 mg DHA and 720 mg EPA daily, or a placebo, for 6 months.5 Changes to cognitive function were assessed using the Basic Cognitive Aptitude Test (BCAT).

    Based on the parameters assessed, omega-3 supplementation led to statistically significant improvements in total BCAT scores, perceptual speed, working memory, and spatial imagery efficiency, but not in mental arithmetic efficiency or recall. The results indicate that omega-3 fatty acid supplementation may be beneficial in supporting cognitive function in individuals with mild cognitive impairment.

    5. Bo Y et al., “The n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids supplementation improved the cognitive function in the Chinese elderly with mild cognitive impairment: a double-blind randomized controlled trial,” Nutrients, vol. 9, no. 1 (January 10, 2017)

    Lutein and Zeaxanthin
    The macular carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin are well-known for their eye- and macular-health benefits. However, recent studies have shown that these carotenoids are important for more than just the eyes. Two trials led by Lisa Renzi-Hammond and Billy Hammond from the University of Georgia (Athens, GA) suggest that lutein and zeaxanthin supplementation can support several aspects of cognitive function in both young and mature adults. The studies were conducted on Lutemax 2020, an ingredient from OmniActive Health Technologies (Morristown, NJ).

    In one randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, researchers included 51 healthy young adults aged 18-30.6 Participants were asked to supplement with 10 mg of lutein plus 2 mg of zeaxanthin daily, or a placebo, for one year. Macular pigment optical density (MPOD) and cognitive function using the CNS Vital Signs computerized test battery were assessed every four months. MPOD levels significantly improved over the course of the year compared to placebo, and the team found corresponding significant improvements in spatial memory, reasoning ability, and complex attention, indicating the benefits of supplementation for cognitive function in a young population.

    In a second, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, 62 adults with an average age of 73 were randomized to supplement with 10 mg of lutein and 2 mg of zeaxanthin daily, or a placebo, for a year.7 Researchers noted significant improvements in MPOD, and the CNS Vital Signs assessment showed significant improvements in complex attention as well as cognitive flexibility. In the male participants, significant improvements were additionally seen in composite memory, suggesting that supplementation with lutein and zeaxanthin is beneficial for enhancing aspects of cognition in this population as well.

    6. Renzi-Hammond LM et al., “Effects of a lutein and zeaxanthin intervention on cognitive function: a randomized, double-masked, placebo-controlled trial of younger healthy adults,” Nutrients, vol. 9, no. 11 (November 14, 2017)

    Source: Nutritional Outlook

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  • Botanical harmonisation: Progress sluggish as plants remain in wilderness Wednesday April 18th, 2018

    REFIT – the EC’s rolling programme intended to review and simplify regulation governing nutrition profiles, plants and their preparations last saw the light back in June 2017.

    Here, small and medium enterprises (SMEs), including micro-enterprises, were asked for their input and experiences in complying with legislation. The consultation was supposed to run for eight weeks.

    Like most of the nutrition industry, Luca Bucchini, managing director for Hylobates Consulting, a firm specialising in regulatory consulting in the food sector, does not know where the Commission is on this.

    “The Commission should propose a regulatory solution to the health claims regarding the botanicals conundrum, which either recognise tradition or the processing of claims via current procedures, which run the high risk of rejection.​

    “Regulation also has to be determined on quality of plants, with a positive list of plants that can be used across the EU.​

    REFIT difficulties​

    Bucchini comments on the difficulty in predicting the Commission’s next move made more difficult by competing stakeholders from different Member States; the interests of consumers, both in safety and product availability; and the European economy’s growth.

    “There are also legal issues, as there are limitations in how you can modify existing legislation,”​ he adds.

    “I can only predict what is less likely to happen – that is an outcome in which all claims for botanicals are banned, and very restrictive measures are put in place for botanicals are enacted.​

    “This is likely to face defiance in some Member States, as in the case of botanicals. In addition, there is no scientific or consumer protection case for going down that route. ​

    “On the other hand, the status quo, with the Court of Justice ever more likely to weigh in, and the fragmentation of the EU market, is not sustainable.”​

    Differing conclusions ​

    Recent EFSA opinion of hydroxyanthracenes​​ additionally demonstrates how difficult it is to define botanical’s role in food supplements and traditional herbal medicine.

    While the European Medicines Agency (EMA) gave a cautious nod​​, EFSA came back with a negative opinion on the same plant.

    “I think EMA started from the tradition, and the fact that these products have been on the market for a long time; so, given uncertainty in the data, experts were hesitant to take a major negative decision against tradition,”​ Bucchini said.

    “EMA’s panellists are generally selected by Member States, so they may be more aware of the impacts of their decision. They felt they needed more evidence for a negative outcome. ​

    “EFSA’s experts had no such concerns at all. But of course this is not acceptable, also under EU law (regulation 178/2002): the opinions must be reconciled.”​

    Vitamins and minerals​

    Along with hydroxyanthracenes, the other notable example of dividing opinion are those for vitamins and minerals.

    Scientific assessment by the Member States has resulted in very different maximum levels. For example, EFSA has found betaine safe at 400 milligrams per day (mg/day).

    However, the Scientific Committee of the Spanish Agency for Consumer Affairs, Food Safety and Nutrition (AECOSAN) were proposing a safe level of 1500 mg/day​​ – a figure already authorised in Italy for food supplements since 2013.

    “In general, given the different regulatory contexts, authorities have tended to ignore each other’s assessments,”​ said Bucchini.

    “EFSA has decided on novel foods; Member States have kept their views for substances which were not novel.​

    “Germany’s BFR has been more insistent in a dialogue with EFSA, but this has happened more in fields other than nutrients.”​

    BELFRIT influence

    While the Refit consultation remains mired in regulatory limbo, the delay in proceedings begs the question as to the role of Belgium, Italy and France’s BELFRIT project – the countries’ regulatory answer to a botanical common standard.

    The project now totals approximately 1000 herbal substances, all assessed and approved by a scientific committee.

    While France follows a comparable list of approved botanicals, Italy and Belgium refer and adhere to the list.

    It’s important to note that while the outcomes of the project are not legal in any EU country, any decision the Commission makes in the future will have to contend with the weight and influence the BELFRIT project carries.

    “It is hard not to see BELFRIT as the basis of any future EU legislation, with perhaps some of the plants expunged for safety concerns,” ​said Bucchini.

    “BELFRIT is alive, but it is not fully successful on two counts: first, to include further countries; second, to gain legal acceptance throughout the EU through mutual recognition as the de facto standard.​

    “It has almost created almost a single market in France, Italy and Belgium. If the REFIT ends with few results, BELFRIT will continue to work for some Member States.”​

    Source: NutraIngredients

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