Natural health sector very much alive and well in London

On the 13th and the 14th April 2014 ANH-Intl and many other organisations and companies in the natural products, health food and organic sector came together at Olympia in London, UK, and enjoyed another magnificent Natural and Organic Products Europe event. Diversified Communications UK managed another smorgasbord of over 600 existing, new, innovative (and of course natural!) healthcare products, foods, personal care and eco household products.  Also on offer over the 2 days, were a range of seminars tailored by industry leaders for both the show visitors and exhibitors. The ANH-Intl stand was busy from start to finish with visitors and exhibitors using the one-to-one time to their best advantage. Thank you for your compliments on the work we are doing!  We really love the opportunity to meet you all. Overall, the atmosphere was one of positivity and change for 2014, and we look forward to next year’s show in its new location at ExCel, London.

UK Government caught red handed colluding with GM giants

Breaking news today as Genewatch UK reveal their battle to make public documents showing extensive government contacts between the UK Department of Food, Environment and Rural Affairs (Defra) and GM crop lobby group the Agricultural Biotechnology Council (ABC). According to their official complaint there are missing and redacted documents that clearly show the collusion between the GM industry, government strategy and the media. Dr Helen Wallace, Director of GeneWatch UK says, “The public have a right to know what is going on behind closed doors. The ministers who should be protecting our environment have put Monsanto and Syngenta in the driving seat of policy on GM crops and foods, despite growing evidence that the GM crops that are waiting in the pipeline will harm British wildlife such as butterflies.”

Italy legally adopts 1000-strong list of approved botanicals

Following a joint research effort with Belgium and France (BELFRIT), Italy has adopted a harmonised list of around 1000 botanicals for use in food supplements. This move could encourage further harmonisation across Europe, and may strengthen the implementation of ‘mutual recognition’- meaning that if one European member state okays the sale, then it is permitted for sale in all other member states also. Despite the list dropping from 1200 to 1000 approvals, the industry views it overall as a positive move. Christian Artaria, marketing director and head of functional food development at Indena, says, “In the near future at least three very important supplement countries like Italy, France and Belgium will have a common list of authorised plants that will greatly facilitate the business in each country and between countries.” The list is not definitive and can be added to and updated.

Is your smartphone ruining your sleep?

The obsession with smartphones is now affecting teenagers’ sleep, says Professor Richard Wiseman at the University of Hertfordshire in an article published in the UK’s Independent newspaper. Following news in the media last year about the rising reliance on smartphones, Professor Wiseman found that 78% of the adults he surveyed used electronic devices in the two hours before bed, and 91% of 18-24 year olds. The blue light emitted from smartphones suppresses the production of the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin and in so doing, impacts negatively on sleep quality and effect. The academic finds this extremely worrying as lack of sleep can bring with it a host of problems including an increased risk of weight gain, heart attacks, diabetes and cancer.

Green tea boosts your brain

Psychopharmacology researchers from the University of Basel and King’s College London have concluded that green tea extract enhances cognitive function, and in particular the working memory.  In a recent study, using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), the brain activity of healthy volunteers was analysed while drinking a milk whey-based soft drink containing 27.5g of green tea extract and engaging in working memory tasks.  The results showed increased connectivity between the parietal and the frontal cortex of the brain, and a positive result with improvement in task performance by the participants. The study concludes, “Modeling effective connectivity among frontal and parietal brain regions during working memory processing might help to assess the efficacy of green tea for the treatment of cognitive impairments in psychiatric disorders such as dementia.”

Get involved on May 4th and help Reclaim Food Freedom

May 4th 2014 is International Permaculture Day. It’s all about growing food, water harvesting, renewable energy, agroforestry, animal management, waste recycling, sustainable housing, finance, community building and earth repair and more. This year’s theme ‘Reclaiming Food Freedom’ promises to be a “global day of celebration and action!” It started 5 years ago asa local Australian initiative and has grown rapidly. You can organise your own event or find one locally to you by using the location menu at the top of the Permaculture Day website, and keep up to date via their Facebook page and Twitter. Get involved and help celebrate your right to healthy nutritious food, and the lifestyle that comes with it!

Keep our bees safe!

In March the UK Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA) published a National Pollinator Strategy (NPS) draft action plan, in response to the threats faced by bees and other pollinators in the UK. Its really positive that the government are making moves to protect our pollinators but Friends of the Earth have criticised the proposal saying its inadequate and does not do enough to tackle intensive farming and pesticides' impact on bees. The Soil Association also believe that the draft is no way near strong enough and are asking people to sign a mass response. If you’d prefer to go-it alone and write your own response there is a public consultation page where your personal views can be submitted.