The EU and health claims for probiotics

The European arm of the International Probiotics Association has said that if the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) continues to treat probiotics like pharmaceuticals it is unlikely that they will ever authorise a health claim for them. In the summer yet another health claim application for the efficacy of probiotics, submitted by Swedish supplier Probi, was rejected. This was the 310th health claim application to be rejected in regards to probiotics. Carinne Lambert, IPA Europe executive director told Nutraingredients that if EFSA continue to use a pharmaceutical approach to look at health claim applications for probiotics, "It will never be possible to claim". Because probiotics are live microrganisms that influence different pathways in the body, it's a much more complex area than vitamins and minerals to assess. Due to the difficulties in getting a claim approved many companies continue to ignore the regulation and use non-authorised claims regardless.

The Cancer Conflict - kickstarter campaign launched

Trail-blazing documentary film maker, Tom Meadmore, has launched a kickstarter campaign to raise money to complete his unique project entitled, ‘The Cancer Conflict’. ANH-Intl is working with Tom on this valuable project, which is addressing important issues in the whole cancer debate that just aren't seeing the light of day elsewhere. We see enormous value in presenting both sides of the debate from both a conventional and an integrated/complementary perspective – from the patient’s perspectives. Not only do we hope it will help the mainstream and complementary medicine work more harmoniously together, but that it will ensure that the patient is in possession of more information to make truly informed choices about their own course of treatment. Tom now needs upwards of £40,000 GB to cover the costs of editing, music, graphics and final post production ready for broadcast and distribution. We would love it if you could help share this with your networks and spread the word with us.

High levels of glyphosate reported in popular American foods

Food Democracy Now! and The Detox Project have collaborated on a new report shedding light on the high levels of the carcinogenic weed killer, glyphosate, found in everyday foods. The research was carried out by a leading FDA registered food safety testing laboratory in the US. Glyphosate is the active ingredient in Monsanto's weed killer Roundup, which is the most heavily used chemical in food and agricultural products in human history. Popular foods that were tested included Cheerios, Oreos, Dorritos and Ritz crackers. Levels of between 289.47ppb (parts per billion) and 1,125.3 ppb were found, which is alarming considering probable harm to human health can occur at levels of 0.1 ppb. The FDA currently allow an acceptable daily limit (ADI) of 1.75 milligrams per kilogram of bodyweight per day whereas in the EU the level is 0.3 mg/kg bw/day. It is noteworthy that these levels have been set following industry sponsored research. One of the most worrying factors around these high levels of contamination is that glyphosate cannot be removed by washing foods and it is not broken down by cooking or baking. It also remains stable in food that is frozen or processed. The World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has previously reported that glyphosate is a 'probable’ class 2A carcinogen.

High meat diet may raise heart attack risk for women over the age of 50

According to preliminary research presented at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions 2016 women over 50, who follow a high protein diet could be at higher risk of heart failure (particularly if the protein source is meat). Researchers looked at data collected between 1993 and 1998 from the Women's Health Initiative, which used Food Frequency Questionnaires to assess dietary intake of different foods. They also found that women who ate higher amounts of vegetable protein had a lower risk of heart disease. The report does not appear to have differentiated between processed meat and good quality organic meat, nor cooking any of the cooking methods used. Using Food Frequency Questionnaires is still one of the most common tools used to assess diet and health research, but they are not the most accurate form of data capture suggesting caution when drawing absolute conclusions from this study.

Dementia is the UK's leading cause of death

The UK office for national statistics has reported that dementia (including Alzheimer's disease) has overtaken heart disease (11.5% of all deaths) as the leading cause of death in England and Wales. In 2015 more than 61,000 people were recorded as having died of dementia — a total of 11.6% of all recorded deaths. This was in part because people are living longer, but also because of improved detection and diagnosis. It is worth noting however, that although Alzheimer's disease shortens people's life spans, it is not usually the direct cause of a person's death, according to the Alzheimer's Society. Rather, people die from complications from the illness, such as infections or blood clots.

Sugar laden yogurt could be removed from supermarket shelves

Public Health England (PHE) are concerned that sugar laden yogurts are contributing to the increase in obesity. Like fizzy drinks, many are extremely high in sugar, but they will not be subject to the Government's sugar tax. PHE has suggested that manufacturers should not make single serve pots of more than 125g and that sugar levels in yogurt should be reduced from 11.05% to 8.8% by 2020. That would mean that a small 125g pot would only reduce in sugar from 14g to 11g per pot, which is still unacceptable from a health perspective, given that totally daily sugars should be below 25g. The dairy industry has hit back saying that yogurt contains important nutrients including calcium and vitamins amongst concerns that popular yogurt products will have to either undergo a dramatic recipe change or disappear from shelves. One yogurt manufacturer has already reacted to the mounting pressure by reformulating its Kids Corner range to include 50% less sugar. This does raise concerns though that in a bid to cut the levels of sugar in yogurt, product manufacturers will just increase the levels of artificial sweeteners instead. ANH-Intl has previously reported on the link between obesity, artificial sweeteners and the damage they can do to the gut microbiota.

Drinking one pint of beer a day raises risk of prostate cancer

New research published in BMC Cancer has found that drinking just one pint of beer a day can increase the risk of developing prostate cancer. Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in Europe and third most common cancer in men worldwide. Many studies have looked into the link between alcohol consumption and risk of prostate cancer in men, but previous studies have resulted in conflicted findings. The new study found a significant increase in the risk of prostate cancer in even moderate drinkers. The authors acknowledged that this was a small study and that further research is needed.

Nutrient intakes in China in decline despite reduced poverty

A new paper published in World Development journal using household data from 1989-2009 in China has shown that despite economic growth and a reduction in income poverty over recent years, overall intakes of nutrients have decreased. They noted that there has been a shift towards the consumption of more American-style foods such as junk food and snack items along with increased food prices, which is likely to have contributed to the reduction of healthy nutrients more aligned with a traditional Chinese diet.

Politicians say EU researchers living in UK should stay after Brexit

An influential group of politicians from all sides of the political scene, has called on the government to guarantee that all European Union researchers living in the UK can stay once the UK has left the EU. The House of Commons science and technology select committee has made the call following the release of a report on the impact of Brexit on science, released on the 18th November. According to a Royal Society estimate there are approximately 31,000 EU researchers in the UK who have been left unsure of what their employment rights will be in a few years’ time. The committee has also expressed concerns that the department responsible for Brexit does not have a chief science advisor. They have recommended that the government should commit to increasing spending on research to 3% of UK gross domestic product from 1.7% where it currently stands.

GP Chair says the government should stop the 5 a day message

Dr Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, has called for the Government to make their ‘five portions of fruit and vegetables a day’ message more realistic, because it is often an aspiration for those on lower incomes. According the University of Cambridge researchers, a healthy diet costs three times as much as eating processed food. Rather than changing the message the Government should be making supermarkets sell all edible fruit and vegetables, including so called 'ugly' veg, at a price affordable to all as well as educating people on the best way to eat healthily on a budget. For more information on healthy eating see the ANH-Intl Food4Health Guidelines.

UK children are the most inactive in the world

In stark contrast to the previous news calling for the Government to make fruit and veg consumption more realistic, UK broadsheet, The Telegraph, report that British children are among the least active in the world. Although the UK Government advises children should do at least an hour of moderate exercise a day, just 15% of girls and 22% of boys aged 11 to 15 in England manage to achieve this. Combine such a sedentary lifestyle with an inadequate diet and you have the makings of the spiral down into a lifetime of ill health and chronic disease.