Breast is best – unless you’re American

There is no more natural way to feed a baby than breastfeeding. At the spring United Nations-affiliated World Health Assembly, Ecuador proposed a resolution designed to encourage women to breast-feed wherever possible. However, what should have been a straight forward approval was thrown into disarray when the US delegation opposed the resolution in an effort to protect Big Food manufacturers of formula milk. When that failed US diplomats are alleged to have resorted to a shocking display of bullying bringing pressure to bear on Ecuador to withdraw the resolution. Many other emerging economies were too afraid of possible sanctions to take over as sponsors for the resolution, which in the end was supported by the Russians. This news comes at a time when 100’s of UK mothers are complaining about their babies becoming unwell following the reformulation of Danone’s Aptamil infant formulas. We have requested further information on the ingredients in the new formulas in order to clarify some of the generalised information on the labels. In the meantime, you can read more about what is ‘natural’ in an article from ANH-Intl founder Rob Verkerk PhD.

New Zealand food supplement legislation

Previous efforts to introduce new legislation to regulate the supplement industry in New Zealand were stopped last year after protests it would financially penalise smaller firms and put barriers in place to market entry. Now a new Member’s Bill, the Food (Health Supplements) Amendment Bill, designed to “create one cohesive regime for health supplements (including herbal remedies, traditional medicines, homeopathic remedies and dietary supplements) within the framework of food regulation” has been proposed. The New Zealand Wellness Association has welcomed the new bill as an “opportunity for the New Zealand natural health industry to […] create a regulatory framework that is risk-proportionate and […] allows consumers to make informed choices”.

Indian regulator restricts supplement ingredients

Supplement companies in India have been taken by surprise by the issue of a new notification from the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) listing ingredients it considers unsuitable for use in health foods and supplements due to a lack of data. This supersedes the FSSAI’s previous directions issued at the end of 2017.

The rising star of medicinal cannabis

UK chief medical adviser, Dame Sally Davies has recommendedthe whole class of cannabis-based medicinal products be moved out of schedule one” to allow doctors to be able to prescribe medicinal cannabis. Her comments come as the UK government prepares to enter phase two of its review of medicinal cannabis use, which could lead to a change in the law within weeks. This comes hot on the heels of the US FDA’s approval of Epidiolex (cannabidiol), a new drug developed to treat rare, treatment-resistant forms of epilepsy. With the popularity of cannabidiol products rising quickly it was only a matter of time before Big Pharma planted its feet firmly in the market. How this may (or may not) impact existing natural health products remains to be seen. Either way it looks as though medicinal cannabis has finally found the legitimisation it has long sought.

Diet and cancer drugs

Following publication in Nature journal of a study looking at the influence of diet and metabolism on cancer therapy, oncologist Siddhartha Mukherjee is set to lead a number of new trials designed to assess the effects of a low carbohydrate, high fat diet on outcomes for cancer patients. Mukherjee commented, “Physiologically we’re discovering that not every calorie is equal”. “You could have two different diets, equal in terms of energy, but with two very different effects on the cancer.” This is a very welcome development given how long we’ve been beating this particular drum!

Climate change impacting crop nutrients

New research suggests rising levels of carbon dioxide may impact levels of nutrients (specifically zinc and iron) found in crops worldwide. The highest impact is likely to be felt in South-East Asia and Africa, where nutritional deficiencies already contribute to a high level of disease. Yet more reason to return to natural farming practices that nourish and nurture the soil to improve the nutrient status of our crops.

Taking parents’ word on vaccination in Italy

Italian Health Minister, Giulia Grillo has announced Italian parents will be able to self-certify that their children have been vaccinated in order to enroll their children in state-run Schools. The decision has been made in order to simplify school enrolment procedures this coming September. This surely is the Italian Government ‘making good’ after the hugely unpopular vaccination laws pushed through by previous Health Minister Beatrice Lorenzin?