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2015

November
Melatonin for Itchy Skin -- Atopic dermatitis is an itchy inflammation of the skin, affecting up to 10% of adults and 30% of children. A recent study in children and adolescents with atopic dermatitis found that taking melatonin modestly reduced symptoms and, not surprisingly, reduced the time needed to fall asleep. For details about this and other uses of melatonin, as well our reviews of available melatonin supplements (including several similar to the one studied), see the Melatonin Supplements Review >>
Cocoa for Wrinkles? -- A study in older women found that drinking a high-flavanol cocoa drink each day increased skin elasticity. And while wrinkles deepened among those drinking a placebo, they stayed stable in the cocoa-drinking group. For details about the amount of cocoa consumed (and its flavanol content), as well as our tests of flavanols (and contaminants) in popular cocoa powders and chocolates, see the Cocoa Powders, Dark Chocolate, Extracts, Nibs, & Supplements Review >>
Herbal Arousal -- We have previously reported that ashwagandha extract may improve fertility in men. A new study suggests that it can improve sexual function in women. Details about the product and dosage, and our tests of products on the market, are found in the Ashwagandha Review >>
Ideal Vitamin D Levels to Reduce Cardiovascular Risk? -- A study of a large group of Americans found that the risk of developing cardiovascular disease was 35% higher in people with low levels of vitamin D. Get the details, plus more about maintaining healthful blood levels of vitamin D, and our tests of products, in the Vitamin D Supplements Review >>

Be aware that there is also a risk of getting too much vitamin D >>
Genetically-engineered Salmon: How it Compares -- This week the FDA approved a genetically-engineered, farmed salmon as safe for consumption — but how do amounts of omega-3's and hormones compare with non-genetically engineered salmon? Get the details in the update to the Fish Oil and Omega-3 Fatty Acid Supplements Review (Including Krill, Algae, Calamari, Green-lipped Mussel Oil) >>
Fish Oil Freshness -- 50% of omega-3 fatty acid supplements recently purchased by researchers in Canada failed tests for freshness, exceeding limits for oxidation. Although the study raises some important issues, it also had significant shortcomings. Get the details in the Fish Oil and Omega-3 Fatty Acid Supplements Review (Including Krill, Algae, Calamari, Green-lipped Mussel Oil) >>
Cocoa Flavanol Safety -- A new study found that, even at high doses, cocoa flavanols did not cause adverse cardiovascular effects in healthy men and women. However, be aware that drug interactions and certain side effects can occur. Details are provided in the "Concerns and Cautions" section of the Cocoa Powders, Dark Chocolate, Extracts, Nibs & Supplements Review >>
Too Much Vitamin D Can Increase Colds -- A recent study in people with asthma found that giving high-dose vitamin D increased the risk of developing a cold among those who achieved higher levels of vitamin D or were African-American. Nearly half of those in the study were not vitamin D deficient to start. In contrast, studies have found that giving moderate doses of vitamin D to people who are vitamin D deficient decreases the risk of colds. The point, in our opinion: Maintain an adequate, but not excessive, level of vitamin D. For details (including dosage, levels, and our tests of products) see the Vitamin D Supplements Review >>
When to Use Lutein -- Lutein and zeaxanthin can help people who have macular degeneration of the eye. However, a recent study found that taking lutein and zeaxanthin may only help those with existing low levels of these compounds. Get more details, including dosage, in the Lutein and Zeaxanthin Review >>
Triglyceride-Lowering with a Probiotic -- Studies with probiotics have demonstrated modest lowering of LDL (“bad") cholesterol, but the evidence has been mixed regarding triglycerides. A recent study in which a probiotic was added to a kefir drink showed a 17% reduction in triglycerides along with a modest reduction in LDL — effects not seen with the kefir alone. Details are found in the Probiotics and Kefirs Review >>

October
Whey Protein and Muscle -- As noted in our Protein Review, many studies show that extra protein can help build more muscle and increase strength when resistance training. But, as shown in a recent study in postmenopausal women, just eating extra protein without exercise provides no benefit. Get the details in the Protein Powders and Drinks Review >>
Prebiotic Helps With Weight -- A certain prebiotic was found to increase the amount of weight men and women lost while on a calorie-restricted diet. For details, including brand and dosage, plus our tests of popular probiotics and prebiotics, see the Probiotic Supplements Review >>
Probiotic Helps with Constipation -- A recent study found that taking a particular probiotic twice a day after meals significantly increased the number of bowel movements in people with chronic constipation. For details about the probiotic and dose, see the Probiotic Supplements Review >>
Niacin Helps Prevent Skin Cancers -- A study published this week showed that taking a form of niacin daily significantly lowered the rate of new basal-cell and squamous-cell skin cancers in patients with a history of such cancers. For details about the supplement and dose, see the B Vitamins Review >>
Probiotic Shortens Respiratory Infections -- Studies have shown probiotics to reduce the duration and severity colds when taken throughout a cold season. A new study in children shows short-term use of a probiotic -- started at the time a household member gets sick -- also significantly reduces the duration and severity of acute respiratory infections. For details, including our tests of probiotic supplements, see the Probiotic Supplements Review >>
Men's Health Supplements Don't Help Prostate Cancer -- While there is some evidence that certain supplements may help relieve symptoms of prostate enlargement (BPH), a recent study shows no benefit with regard to prostate cancer treatment. Details are in the Prostate Supplements Review >>
Headlines Saying "Vitamin D and Calcium Don't Prevent Colon Cancer" Are Not Quite Right -- A study released this week found that vitamin D and calcium supplements did not reduce the risk of developing colorectal polyps in people prone to them. A closer look at the study, however, suggests that this may not be true for everyone. Get the details in the update in the Vitamin D Supplements Review >> and the Calcium Supplements Review >>
Calcium Supplements Increase Kidney Stone Growth -- Calcium supplementation is known to increase the risk of kidney stones in postmenopausal women. A new study shows that taking calcium nearly doubles the monthly growth of such stones in women prone to getting them. The study also assessed the effects of vitamin D supplementation. Details are found in the Calcium Supplements Review >>
Probiotic Improves IBS Symptoms -- A probiotic significantly improved symptoms in men and women with a particular type of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), according to a recent study. Get the details, including dosage, and our tests of popular products, in the Probiotic Supplements Review >>
Fish Oil for Depression -- A small study found that taking EPA and DHA daily significantly reduced depression in young men and women. Get the details, including dosage, plus our tests of popular products, in the Fish Oil and Omega-3 Supplements Review >>
Vitamin D Reduces Risk of Falls -- A study found that giving a modest daily dose of vitamin D significantly reduced the rate of falls in women who were prone to falls and were deficient in vitamin D. Get details about this and other studies, as well as results of our product tests, in the Vitamin D Supplements Review >>
Melatonin Safety in Women -- A year-long, placebo-controlled study in postmenopausal women found that moderate doses of melatonin resulted in no increase in daytime drowsiness or adverse events. Get more details and about this and other melatonin studies (and see tests of products) in the Melatonin Supplements Review >>

September
Inaccurate Yohimbe Labels -- Yohimbe supplements contain an active compound, yohimbine, which is an old drug for erectile dysfunction. A recent study found that most yohimbe supplements don't list the amount of yohimbine they contain, and those that do are typically inaccurate — similar to what ConsumerLab.com has found. For more about the study as well as our own tests of products, see the Sexual Enhancement Supplements Review >>
Melatonin Helps Post-Op Sleep -- A study found that giving melatonin to women significantly improved their sleep time during the weeks after breast cancer surgery. For details, including our tests of products, see the Melatonin Supplements Review >>
Probiotic Increases Bowel Movement Frequency -- A certain probiotic increased the number of weekly bowel movements in healthy men and women who reported a low frequency. Get the details, including brand and dosage, plus our tests of popular products in the Probiotic Supplements Review >>
Adequate Vitamin D Reduces Frequent Respiratory Infections -- A study in people with frequent respiratory infections found that taking vitamin D for one year resulted in fewer infections than taking placebo. In contrast, a similar study did not find a benefit. Why the difference? Find out in the Vitamin D Supplements Review >>
Soy Isoflavones Maintain Bone Calcium -- A new study showed that soy isoflavones can reduce loss of calcium from bones in postmenopausal women. Certain formulations were more effective than others, although none was as effective as drug therapy. For details, see the Menopause Supplements Review >>
Adequate Vitamin D May Lower Risk of Alzheimer's -- A study showed that men and women with adequate levels of vitamin D in their blood were less likely to experience declines in cognitive functioning associated with Alzheimer's dementia than those with lower levels. More about the study, including the vitamin D level considered adequate, as well as our reviews of supplements, is found in the Vitamin D Supplements Review >>
Cardiovascular Benefits of Cocoa Flavanols -- A drink rich in cocoa flavanols modestly improved certain measures of cardiovascular health in healthy, middle-aged men and women, according to a recent study. Get the details, including dosage, plus our tests of popular products, in the Review of Cocoa Powders, Dark Chocolate, Extracts, Nibs, & Supplements >>
Resveratrol for Alzheimer's Disease? -- High doses of a synthetic resveratrol stabilized a marker of disease progression in people with mild to moderate Alzheimer's, a recent study reports. However, more research is required to determine if resveratrol is effective for Alzheimer's. Get the details about this and other studies with resveratrol, and our tests and comparisons of products, in the Resveratrol Supplements Review >>
Vitamin C: The Exercise Replacement? -- A small clinical study recently found that taking vitamin C had a positive effect on blood vessels similar to a daily walk. The study focused on overweight and obese individuals, in whom blood vessel tone is compromised. Long-term effects were not studied. Get details about the study (including dose) and other pros and cons of vitamin C in the Vitamin C Supplements Review >>
Melatonin for Anxiety Before Medical Procedures? -- Some studies in men and women show that melatonin can reduce anxiety before surgery. A recent study in children found it can also reduce the anxiety and pain associated with blood tests. For details, including dosage, evidence for other uses of melatonin, and our tests of popular products, see the Melatonin Supplements Review >>
Vitamin D Increases Strength -- A recently published review of clinical studies found that supplementing with vitamin D can improve muscle strength in young, healthy men and women. This has also been found in older individuals and may relate to the fact that vitamin D receptors occur in skeletal muscle. However, this benefit may be limited to vitamin D deficient individuals. Get the details in the "Muscle, balance and falls" section of the Vitamin D Supplements Review >>
Probiotic Approved for Throat Infections -- A branded probiotic lozenge can help reduce the frequency of certain throat infections, including strep, according to a health claim recently approved in Canada. Details about the product (which is also available in the U.S.) are found in the Probiotic Supplements Review >>
CLA Linked to Acute Hepatitis -- CLA supplements are popular for slimming, but a recent report of acute hepatitis (liver inflammation) associated with use of CLA is concerning. Get the details, plus more about evidence, safety, and our tests of popular products in the CLA Supplements Review >>

August
Does Fish Oil Slow Cognitive Decline? -- Results of a large U.S. study suggest that taking fish oil does not slow cognitive decline in the elderly. Before you nix fish oil for this purpose, be aware of an important caveat about the people in the study. Get the details about this and other studies of omega-3 fatty acids, as well as our tests of popular products, in the Fish Oil and Omega-3 Fatty Acid Supplements Review >>
Do We Need More Vitamin E? -- A study recently suggested that many Americans don't get optimal intake of vitamin E from their diets. A closer look at this study, however, indicates that most people in the U.S. shouldn't worry. For details see the ConsumerTips section of the Vitamin E Supplements Review >>
Are Green Tea Pills Safe? -- Studies have suggested that extracts of green tea can reduce the risk of certain cancers, improve memory, shrink uterine fibroids, and even help with weight reduction. However, liver toxicity has been a concern with green tea extracts. A large, government-funded study recently found that pills of green tea extract can be safe for many people, but some may experience adverse reactions, including elevated liver enzymes. Get the details in the "Concerns and Cautions" section of the Green Tea Review, along with information about what green tea does and our tests of green tea extracts, brewable teas, and beverages >>
Cocoa Increases Blood Flow to Brain -- A small study found that drinking a cocoa drink high in flavanols significantly increased blood flow to the brain, which, the researchers propose, might have potential cognitive benefits. Get the details, including dosage, plus more about cocoa and memory, and our tests of popular products, in the Cocoa Supplements and Dark Chocolate Review >>
Vitamin D Reduces Risk of Falls -- A recent study found that in older adults, many of whom had insufficient levels of vitamin D and a history of falls, vitamin D supplementation reduced the number of reported falls by almost half. Get the details, including dosage, and our tests of popular products, in the Vitamin D Supplements Review »
Curcumin May Reduce Muscle Pain After Exercise -- A small study has reported that curcumin reduced muscle pain after exercise in young, healthy men. Get the details, including dosage, plus more about curcumin for other types pain and our tests of popular products, in the Turmeric and Curcumin Supplements Review >>
Lutein, Zeaxanthin & Meso-Zeaxanthin for Macular Degeneration -- A recent study comparing three different lutein and zeaxanthin formulas found each significantly increased macular pigmentation in men and women with early age-related macular degeneration. Get the details, including dosage, and our tests of popular lutein and zeaxanthin products, in the Vision Supplements Review »
Green Tea May Inhibit Starch Absorption -- A study recently found that taking a green tea extract along with a starchy meal (corn flakes) significantly reduced carbohydrate absorption. This may help explain why green tea may help modestly with weight management. Details about this study, including dosage, along with our tests of green tea supplements and teas, are found in the Green Tea Review »
More Evidence Against Too Much Vitamin D -- A well-controlled study has shown that post-menopausal women do not benefit from taking vitamin D when they are not truly deficient. Get the details on appropriate dosage and use of vitamin D, as well as product test results, in the Vitamin D Supplements Review >>
Adverse Reactions with St. John's Wort -- A recent analysis found adverse reactions associated with St. John's wort were similar to those reported for the prescription SSRI antidepressant fluoxetine (Prozac), and serious adverse reactions were most likely to occur when the herb was taken in addition to a prescription drug. Get the details, plus more about concerns and potential drug interactions and our tests of popular supplements in the St. John's wort Supplements Review >>
Vitamin D and Inflammation -- A new study of elderly people given vitamin D showed little effect on markers of inflammation in the body. Correcting very low levels of vitamin D may be helpful, but further raising vitamin levels does not seem necessary for proper immune function. In fact, there may be some downside. For details about this and other uses for vitamin D (and our product test results), see the Vitamin D Supplements Review >>
Prebiotics for Immune Health -- Prebiotics are complex sugars which can support the growth of probiotic organisms in the gut. A recent study reported a specific type of prebiotic increased amounts of beneficial bacteria and improved certain markers of immune function in older men and women. Get the details, including dosage, plus our tests of popular probiotics and prebiotics in the Probiotic Supplements Review >>

July
Stanols Lower Cholesterol -- Many studies have shown that plant sterols and stanols can help lower levels of LDL "bad" cholesterol. A new placebo-controlled study, which involved advice on diet and exercise, found benefit with a slightly lower dose of stanols than typically recommended. Get the details in the “What to Consider When Buying" section of the Cholesterol-Lowering Supplements Review »
Magnesium Helps in Prediabetes -- A recent study in people with prediabetes who were deficient in magnesium showed that a daily dose of magnesium significantly improved their glucose status. Details, along with our recent tests of magnesium supplements, are found in the Magnesium Supplements Review »
Does Cocoa Benefit Some More Than Others? -- A recent study of natural cocoa taken daily showed potential cardiovascular benefits -- but they seemed greater for some people than others. See the details in the Cocoa and Dark Chocolate Review >>
Probiotics May Not Work As Thought -- Research continues to reveal promising uses for probiotics, but it's also showing that probiotics don't necessarily work by changing the types of organisms in our gut. A new study with Culturelle sheds light on this. Details, along with information about what probiotics can and cannot do and our tests of 43 probiotic supplements, are found in the Probiotic Supplements Review >>
Green Tea for Weight Management? -- Green tea has been touted for weight management, but a recent study with a green tea extract casts doubt. More details are found in the "What It Does" section of the Green Tea Review >>
Probiotic Lowers Triglycerides -- Although past studies have not found probiotics to lower triglyceride levels, a recent study found a combination of two probiotic strains significantly decreased triglycerides in men and women with moderately high levels. More details, including dosage, are found in the "What It Does" section of the Probiotic Supplements Review >>
Fish Oil and Alzheimer's Disease -- The evidence is mixed on whether fish oil can help people with Alzheimer's disease. A benefit was seen in a study reported last year, but a recently reported study found no benefit with fish oil combined with antioxidants. More details are found in the "What It Does" section of the Fish Oil and Omega-3 Fatty Acid Supplements Review >>

June
How Vitamin B-12 Causes Acne -- Vitamin B-12 is a critical nutrient and many people, particularly those over 50, should supplement with B-12 to avoid deficiency. However, at doses higher than those used to prevent deficiency, B-12 may occasionally trigger acne. A new study appears to explain the B-12/acne connection. For details, see the "Cobalamin (B-12)" section of the B Vitamin Supplements Review >>
Problem with Too Much Krill Oil -- Researchers recently gave overweight men a very large daily amount of krill oil (with a smaller amount of fish oil) with the hope it would improve their insulin sensitivity. Unfortunately, the opposite happened, suggesting that the oil could increase the risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Details about the study, including dosage, are found in the "Concerns and Cautions" section of the Fish Oil and Omega-3 Fatty Acid Supplements Review (Including Krill, Algae, Calamari, Green-lipped Mussel Oil) >>
Fish Oil for Dry Eye -- A large study of computer-using young men and women experiencing dry eye found that fish oil significantly improved symptoms. Benefits have also been reported in postmenopausal women with dry eye. Details, including dosage, are found in the "What It Does" section of the Fish Oil Supplements Review >>
Lutein and Visual Processing -- Lutein and zeaxanthin are known to help certain people who suffer from macular degeneration, an eye disease. A new study suggests that they may also improve visual processing, perhaps through effects outside the eye. For more details of the study, including dosage, as well as our tests of supplements, see the Review of Vision Supplements with Lutein and Zeaxanthin Review >>
Probiotic Foods and Social Anxiety -- A new study shows that consumption of fermented foods like yogurt and kefir (which are likely to contain probiotic organisms) was associated with lower levels of social anxiety. This suggests that such foods may serve as a low-risk intervention for reducing social anxiety. More about the study is found in the Probiotics Review >>
High-Dose Vitamin D Increases Upper Respiratory Infections -- A study among older people found that taking a high dose of vitamin D every 2 months increased the risk of upper respiratory infection by 48% compared to taking low-dose vitamin D daily. Infections lasted two days longer for those taking the high dose versus the low dose. For details, including dosage, as well as our test reports on vitamin D supplements, see the Vitamin D Supplements Review >>
Cocoa for Memory -- Cocoa flavanols have been shown in some studies to provide a cardiovascular benefit and, in older individuals, memory improvement. A recent study in younger men and women showed that daily use of a cocoa extract had little effect on memory and no cardiovascular benefit, although it did improve mental fatigue shortly after taking the extract. Learn more about the effects of cocoa, dosage, and see our tests and reviews of cocoa products in the Cocoa Powders, Dark Chocolate, Extracts, Nibs, & Supplements Review >> 
Do Plant Sterols Help? -- Many studies have shown that taking plant sterols with meals can lower levels of LDL “bad" cholesterol. While that's a good thing, a recent study questions whether this reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease — the main target of treatment. Get the details in the “Concerns and Cautions" section of the Cholesterol-Lowering Supplements (Sterols and Policosanol) Review >>
Melatonin Increases Bone Density -- Research has begun to suggest that melatonin may have a positive effect on the skeleton. The latest study shows that giving post-menopausal women with bone loss daily melatonin causes small, but significant improvements in bone density. Details, including dosage, as well as our tests of melatonin supplements, are found in the Melatonin Supplements Review >>
Green Tea for Weight Control? -- Many studies have looked at whether green tea can help with weight management. The results have been mixed. A recently published study used a high-dose green tea extract. Although the researchers concluded it worked, a closer look suggests otherwise, and points to a potential risk. For details, as well as the results of our tests of green tea supplements, beverages, and brewable green tea, see the Green Tea Review >>








 

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