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2012

December
Higher Vitamin Level May Slow Cognitive Decline -- An 8-year study of people in their 70's found that cognitive functioning (memory and other mental skills) declined faster among those with lower blood levels of vitamin B-12 compared to those with higher levels. Particularly surprising was that 40% of the people in the study fell into the lower B-12 group, many of whom had levels which would not normally define them as deficient in B-12. This and other recent studies suggest a role for vitamin B-12 in minimizing cognitive decline in older people. For details, see the updated B Vitamin Supplements Review. More >>
Extra Protein Improves Strength -- Whether you are trying to add muscle or just maintain it, a new report suggests that additional protein leads to further gains from resistance-type training. The analysis of 22 clinical studies shows that both young and old individuals who received additional protein from supplements or high-protein foods experienced significantly greater increases in muscle mass and strength than those not getting additional protein. Get the details, as well as our tests and reviews of protein powders and drinks, in the updated Protein Powders and Drinks Review (Including Sports, Nutrition, and Diet Products). More >>
Failure of Generic Antidepressant Drug -- In October, the FDA withdrew its approval of a generic version of the popular antidepressant drug, Wellbutrin XL. This came 5 years after ConsumerLab.com first reported a potential problem with the drug. This week, more disturbing details emerged about this generic drug and why it was originally approved by the FDA. For more about this, see the Update in the report Wellbutrin vs. Generic Bupropion. More >>
Vitamin D and Diabetes Risk -- A new study shows a strong association between lower levels of vitamin D in the blood and a higher risk of developing type 1 diabetes (i.e., requiring insulin). The risk of diabetes was more than 3.5 times as great among people with low levels of vitamin D compared to those with higher levels -- although no additional benefit was found for people with the highest levels of vitamin D. Find out more -- including the specific level associated with the lowest risk of type 1 diabetes -- in the updated Vitamin D Supplements Review, which includes our test results for 51 vitamin D supplements. More >>

November
Probiotics Reduce Risk of Diarrhea After Antibiotics -- Taking a broad-spectrum antibiotic can disturb the natural organisms in your gut. In some cases, particularly among older, hospitalized individuals, diarrhea can result due to infection with C. difficile. This can be life-threatening. A new review of 20 clinical trials shows that probiotics can reduce the risk of C. difficile-associated diarrhea by 50% to 75% depending on the type of probiotic used. Find out more, including the type of probiotic associated with most benefit, in the updated Probiotic Supplements Review, which includes our tests and reviews of 29 probiotic supplements. More >>
Stroke and Fish Oil -- An analysis of 38 studies concluded that eating fish regularly is associated with fewer strokes, but fish oil supplements do not seem to help. Interestingly, the type of fish and how it is prepared seem to make all the difference. For details, including what fish oil supplements can or cannot do, see the updated Fish Oil & Marine Oil (Omega-3) Supplements Review. More >>
Caution with Energy Drinks -- The FDA has released reports showing deaths and other serious adverse events associated with the use of energy drinks like 5-hour Energy. As ConsumerLab.com reported in September, these small "shot" drinks can pack more caffeine than 2 cups of regular coffee. While the caffeine can keep you alert, there are a number of concerns to bear in mind and suggestions on how to more safely use these drinks. Learn more in the update to our B Vitamins and Energy Drinks Review. More >>
Multivitamin and the Heart -- Does taking a daily multivitamin reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke? No, according to a recently published, major U.S. study. Those who took the popular multi, however, were more likely to report a particular side effect than those who took placebo. For details, see the update in the Multivitamin Supplements Review. More >>
Vitamin D and Bladder Cancer -- A new study looked at vitamin D levels and the risk of developing bladder cancer. Find out which levels were best, as well as which vitamin D supplements pass our tests, in the updated Vitamin D Supplements ReviewMore >>

October
Large Study Suggests Best Vitamin D Level -- What's the best level of vitamin D in your body for overall health? One way to answer this question is to compare mortality rates (deaths per year) associated different levels of vitamin D. A new study did just this, reviewing information about thousands of Americans. It concluded the best levels are between 20 and 40 ng/mL, as the risk of dying is fairly similar across this range. However, a closer look at the findings suggests an even smaller range actually associated with the lowest mortality. For the details, as well as our suggestions on how to use vitamin D, and quality ratings of products, see the Vitamin D Review.  More >>
Fish Oil Helps Memory -- A small study of healthy young women and men found that those with the highest levels of the omega-3 fatty acid DHA in their red blood cells scored better on a memory test than those with lower levels. After six months of supplementation with a certain fish oil supplement, scores improved -- particularly among those whose DHA levels had been lowest. See the Fish Oil (Omega-3) Supplements Review for details about this study, the particular supplement used, what fish oil can and cannot do, and our quality ratings of products. More >>
Multivitamin Reduces Cancer Risk in Some -- You may have heard that a new study found reduced rates of cancer among men taking a specific daily multivitamin. But there's more to this story... Certain types of men were much more likely to benefit than others. Several multivitamins like the one studied have been tested by ConsumerLab.com, and some Quality Approved products cost as little as 3 cents a day -- a very reasonable investment if it can help you! For details, see the update in the Multivitamin Supplements Review.  More >>
Can Echinacea Prevent Colds? -- Although the evidence behind echinacea has been mixed, a new study -- the largest to date -- found that taking a particular type of echinacea supplement throughout cold season reduced cold "events" (catching colds and days spent with colds) by 26%. See the update to the Echinacea Supplements Review for details about this particular supplement, including the special way it is taken. More >>
Vitamin D for Lupus -- A recent small study found that vitamin D supplements helped people with lupus (systemic lupus erythematosus -- SLE), a long-term autoimmune disease. See the update to the Vitamin D Supplements Review which has details on who may benefit, dosage, and results of our product tests. More >>
Probiotic Helps Preterm Infants -- Giving preterm infants a small amount of a probiotic improved their feeding and decreased their time in the hospital compared to infants not given the treatment. Learn more about this probiotic and other probiotic supplements for children and others in the Probiotic Supplements Review which includes our product tests. More >>
What's the Best Omega-3 for Depression? -- Recent studies suggest the relative amounts of EPA and DHA in a supplement help determine whether or not it will improve symptoms of depression. Get the details, as well as our tests of 63 omega-3 supplements, in the updated Fish Oil and Omega-3 Fatty Acid Supplements Review (Including Krill, Algae, and Calamari Oil)More >>
Does Vitamin D Prevent Colds? -- A recent study found vitamin D supplementation did not reduce the number or severity of colds, but a closer look suggests that it can, depending on your vitamin D level. Get the details and our ratings of 51 vitamin D supplements in the updated Vitamin D Supplements Review >>

September
Do Spreads Lower Heart Risk? -- Buttery spreads like Smart Balance and Benecol claim to lower the risk of heart disease due to their phytosterols/stanols. These plant compounds can certainly help (by lowering cholesterol levels), but recent lawsuits challenge whether Smart Balance and Benecol provide enough sterols/stanols to claim a benefit. It turns out that one may, and one may not. Find out more and get our quality ratings of cholesterol-lowering supplements in the updated Cholesterol-Lowering Supplements Review >>
Does Ginkgo Improve Memory? -- The evidence for Ginkgo biloba in preventing and treating Alzheimer's disease and other dementias has become fairly negative. But is there still hope for its use in improving memory in healthy individuals? The answer seems to be in, according to a new analysis of 10 placebo-controlled trials in healthy people. Get the answer in the update to the Ginkgo Supplements Review.
Fish Oil Benefit Questioned -- There are many potential benefits from supplementing with the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil, but the most widely-touted benefits -- reducing the risks of heart disease and stroke -- are now in doubt. Read about the latest studies in the update to the Fish Oil (EPA & DHA) Supplements Review, which includes our product tests and quality ratings. More >>
Vitamin D & Alzheimer's -- A seven-year study of women over age 75 found those with higher intakes of vitamin D from their diets were 77% less likely to develop Alzheimer's disease. The amount of vitamin D intake associated with this large benefit was actually fairly modest. Get the details in the updated Vitamin D Supplements Review, which includes our product tests and quality ratings. More >>
Vitamin D Speeds Recovery from Tuberculosis -- A study in London found that adding vitamin D to standard antibiotic treatment for tuberculosis significantly reduced inflammation and speeded recovery. The majority of these patients, however, had been extremely deficient in vitamin D. Get the details in the updated Vitamin D Supplements ReviewMore >>
Ginkgo Fails Alzheimer's Trial -- Over two thousand people with memory complaints were given Ginkgo biloba extract or placebo as part of a five-year study. The results, published this week, showed no difference between the groups in the percentage who eventually developed Alzheimer's disease or dementia. See how this compares to other studies of ginkgo in the updated Ginkgo Biloba Supplements Review, which includes our tests and reviews of ginkgo products. More >>

August
Curcumin May Help Prevent Diabetes -- Past research has suggested a potential role for curcumin (from turmeric) in blood sugar control. A recently published placebo-controlled study of curcumin given daily to people with prediabetes (those with blood sugar levels somewhat higher than normal) produced dramatic results in reducing the percentage of such individuals progressing to diabetes. Get the details in the latest update to ConsumerLab.com's Turmeric and Curcumin Supplements Review -- which includes quality ratings of products and other potential uses of curcumin. More >>
Low Vitamin D Levels and Obesity -- A Dangerous Combination -- A new study links low blood levels of vitamin D in obese individuals to a greatly increased risk of insulin resistance (a condition linked to type 2 diabetes). The results add to the growing list of reasons to make sure you maintain a sufficient level of vitamin D. Get the details in the latest update to ConsumerLab.com's Vitamin D Supplements ReviewMore >>
Can Resveratrol Help Control Blood Sugar? -- A new clinical study suggests potential benefits for people with type 2 diabetes taking one of the resveratrol products evaluated by ConsumerLab.com. Get the details in the latest update to ConsumerLab.com's Resveratrol Supplements ReviewMore >>
A More Effective Way to Take Sterols/Stanols to Lower Cholesterol? -- A new study shows that taking sterols and stanols from a softgel appears to lower cholesterol more effectively than from a tablet. Get the details, including the name of a new product like the one taken in the study, in the updated Cholesterol-Lowering Supplements Review.  More >>
Be Careful with Iodine -- Especially If You're Pregnant -- Unlike over-the-counter medicines, dietary supplements are generally not required to carry warning labels, even if they contain toxic amounts of ingredients. If you don't know how much of a vitamin, mineral, or other ingredient you really need, it's easily possible to get too much. This is what seems to have happened to some pregnant women taking a widely-sold iodine supplement, according to a recent medical report. Just one tablet contained 57 times the daily iodine they needed and more than ten times the limit associated with increased risk of toxicity. Their children were born with congenital hypothyroidism, apparently due to getting too much iodine from their mothers.

Find out which product these women took in the updated Iodine section of the Multivitamin Supplements Review. You'll also find appropriate levels of other vitamins and minerals and see which products in the Review did or did not exceed tolerable intake levels of vitamins and minerals. More >>
Is Vitamin D2 or D3 Better? -- Over the years, studies have shown vitamin D3 to be either equal to or better than vitamin D2 for raising vitamin D blood levels. A new study further tips the scales. Get the details, as well as our tests of vitamin D supplements, in the updated Vitamin D Supplements ReviewMore >>
Vitamin E and Liver Cancer -- A study has shown a dramatic decrease in the risk of liver cancer among people taking vitamin E supplements or getting higher amounts of vitamin E from their diets. But don't necessarily rush out to get vitamin E. Read the details in the update to the Vitamin E Supplements ReviewMore >>

July
Vitamin D Prevents Hip Fracture -- We recently reported that a U.S. Task Force found it unclear if vitamin D prevented hip fracture, but a more recent report found otherwise. The new report suggests a specific minimum blood level of vitamin D to help prevent fractures, the dosage found most effective, and the frequency at which vitamin D should be taken. Get the details in the recent update to the Vitamin D Supplements Review, which includes our tests of vitamin D supplements.  More >>
Feeling fatigued? Iron may help -- It's well known that fatigue can result from iron-deficiency anemia, but new research shows that some women who are not anemic can also benefit from iron. Women ages 18 to 53 with unexplained fatigue given iron experienced a nearly 50% reduction in fatigue in a recently published study. Get details about the treatment (including the dosage, duration, and type of iron supplement used) in the update to the Iron Supplements Review, which includes our tests of iron supplements similar to that used in this study. More >>
Vitamin D Tests Unreliable -- A preliminary report suggests that many vitamin D blood tests are incorrect, often yielding low results. This can lead to the diagnosis of vitamin D deficiency when it does not exist. Certain people may be more prone to a false low reading due to their source of vitamin D. Learn more in the update to the Vitamin D Supplements Review entitled Vitamin D Tests -- Not Always Reliable >>
Does Vitamin D Help Manage Weight? -- If you've been reading our recent newsletters, many reports are being published about the effects of vitamin D. Here's one more: People with higher levels of vitamin D tend to put on less weight than people with lower levels. See the details in the update to the Vitamin D Supplements ReviewMore >>









 

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