Vitamin D and Pancreatic Cancer

A lower risk of developing pancreatic cancer was recently associated with higher levels of vitamin D in the body. See the update to the Vitamin D Supplements Review for the vitamin D levels associated with decreased pancreatic cancer risk, as well as our ratings of vitamin D supplements.

B-12 and Folic Acid for Memory

Small but significant improvements in short and long-term memory were found to occur in older people (aged 60 to 74) given modest daily amounts of vitamin B-12 and folic acid. But don't expect immediate results. Improvements were seen only after 2 years of supplementation. See the update in the B Vitamins Review for the dosage used, as well as our ratings of supplements with vitamin B-12 and folic acid.

Additional Nutrients For the Brain

An new study found that various nutrients and fats in the blood correlate with better brain functioning and brain volume in the elderly (mean age of 87). Higher levels of B vitamins and vitamins C, D, and E, as well as marine omega-3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA) appeared helpful. On the other hand, higher levels of trans-fats (from hydrogenated oils) had a negative impact. You can learn more about each of these nutrients in our various reports. An abstract of the study is online.

Fish Oil for Strength

A recent study of women in their 60's suggests that taking fish oil when strength-training leads to greater improvements in strength than training alone. Women who took fish oil were not only stronger but had a greater functional capacity, such as being able to rise faster from a chair. For the type and dose of fish oil taken, and more details, see the update to the Fish Oil Supplements Review, which includes the latest product tests.

Vitamin D and Inflammation

A new study found that raising low levels of vitamin D appears to reduce inflammation in the body (based on measurements of C-reactive protein, or CRP, a marker of inflammation). However, once vitamin D levels reached what some people consider to be barely sufficient, CRP slowly but progressively increased, suggesting an inflammatory action of vitamin D at higher levels. The study raises the question of what is the ideal level of vitamin D in the body. 

Be sure you have the latest information! See the update to the Vitamin D Supplements Review, which includes details on this and other vitamin D studies, as well as our latest product tests.


Fish Oil During Pregnancy Reduces Allergy in Infants

Last year we reported important findings from a study of fish oil given to pregnant women. A further analysis of that study shows another benefit of daily fish oil for pregnant women -- their babies have nearly a 40% lower risk of egg allergies. A lower risk of eczema was also found, although this association did not hold after adjusting the data for certain factors. See the update to the Fish Oil Supplements Review, which includes details on this study, the type and amount of fish oil taken, and our latest product tests.

Raspberry Ketone

Recently touted in the media as a powerful tool for fat reduction, there has been a swell of interest in supplements containing raspberry ketone. Do these supplements really work? Although we have not yet had the time to test these products, we checked the evidence on raspberry ketone and updated our Weight Supplements Review with what we found. If you use raspberry ketone, use it with some caution --and be aware that the quality of supplements can suffer when companies rush to meet a new demand.

Does Garlic Lower Cholesterol?

Garlic can lower total cholesterol but not by lowering so called "bad" or LDL cholesterol, according to a recent analysis. Find out more in the update to the Garlic Supplements Review, which includes our tests of garlic supplements and information on dosing. More >>

Curcumin and Cancer

Curcumin (from turmeric) can suppress cancer cells in the laboratory, but how about in people? A new study in smokers showed that taking curcumin for a month significantly reduced the number of precancerous lesions that could lead to cancer of the colon. Find out more (including the dose used) in the Turmeric and Curcumin Supplements Review, which includes our recent product tests and reviews. More >>

Less Stroke With More Magnesium

Slightly higher intake of magnesium from the diet was associated with an 8% lower risk of stroke, based on an analysis of several studies. This doesn't necessarily mean you should get more magnesium from supplements, though. For details, see the updated information in the Magnesium Supplement ReviewMore >>

CLA For Weight Management

A new study in obese individuals found that taking a supplement with CLA (conjugated linoleic acid) for twelve weeks reduced body fat and, to a lesser degree, body weight. But CLA has other metabolic effects that need to be considered. See the update to the CLA Supplements Review which has details on dosage and potential side effects, as well as our product tests. More >>


When Not to Take Selenium Cholesterol Lowering with Sterols/Stanols

A recent study using a popular supplement, CholestOff, showed a modest reduction in LDL ("bad") cholesterol and total cholesterol. The reductions were not as dramatic as in some other studies of sterols and stanols; possibly because participants in the study were already on a cholesterol-lowering diet. See the update to the Cholesterol-Lowering Supplements Review for details of the study, more information about the diet, and our tests of CholestOff and other cholesterol-lowering supplements. More >>

Vitamin D Effect on Body Fat and Cholesterol

As we have reported earlier, adequate intake of vitamin D may decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease. A new study may help explain why. A 12-week course of vitamin D given to overweight women lead to a boost in HDL ("good" cholesterol) as well as a decrease in body fat. However, total body weight did not change and there was an increase in LDL ("bad") cholesterol, although it appeared to be less plaque-forming in nature. For details, including the dose given, see the updated information in the Vitamin D Supplement ReviewMore >>

Strength Improves with Vitamin D

A review of 13 studies found that vitamin D supplements may improve balance and muscle strength, but not gait, among older individuals. See the update to the Vitamin D Supplements Review for details, including dosage. More >>

Vitamin D to Prevent Menstrual Pain

A new study found that taking a very high dose of Vitamin D reduced pain by 41% for two months among women who suffer from painful menstrual cramps. However, there are potential concerns with such a high dose of vitamin D. For more information, including the dose used and potential concerns, see the update to the Vitamin D Supplements ReviewMore >>

When Not to Take Selenium

A researcher has advised not to take selenium if your selenium level is already adequate. Supplementation in people with adequate to high serum levels of selenium may increase the likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes. For details, see the update to the Concerns and Cautions section of the Cancer Supplements ReviewMore >>

Lower Melanoma Risk with Vitamin A

A study of people ages 50 to 76 found the risk of developing melanoma (over an average of 6 years) was 40% lower among those who took a vitamin A supplement than among those who did not. The protective effect appeared strongest and most statistically significant among women, and only occurred with vitamin A from retinol and, not beta-carotene. For details, including the dose (which matters), see the updated information in the Vitamin A Supplement ReviewMore >>

Vitamin D and the Risk of Death

In a six-year study of over 10,000 people in Kansas, the risk of death was found to be 164% higher among those with lower levels of vitamin D in their blood. These people were also more likely to suffer from hypertension, coronary artery disease, cardiomyopathy, and diabetes than those with higher levels. Only 29% of the people in the study had the higher level of vitamin D. For details, including the level of vitamin D associated with lower risk of death, ways to boost vitamin D, tests of vitamin D supplements, and more, see the Vitamin D Review >>


Heart Benefits of Fish Oil Supplements in Doubt

A review of the latest studies finds no conclusive evidence that fish oil supplements help people hoping to prevent another heart attack or stroke. It also remains unclear if fish oil provides cardiovascular benefits for healthy individuals. Find out what people concerned about heart disease should do, the other potential benefits of fish oil supplements, and our tests of supplements on the market in the updated Fish Oil Supplements ReviewMore >>

Fish Oil Tested for Multiple Sclerosis

Fish oil supplements are often taken by multiple sclerosis patients with the hope that omega-3 fatty acids can improve their condition, but a new study suggests fish oil supplements may not provide benefit. For details, including the dose used, see the updated information in the Fish Oil Supplements ReviewMore >>

Vitamin C and Blood Pressure

Vitamin C supplements may modestly reduce blood pressure, particularly among people with elevated blood pressure, according to a review of the latest clinical studies. Get the details, as well as our tests of vitamin C supplements, in the updated Vitamin C Supplements ReviewMore >>

Cancer Findings with Natural Vitamin E

Clinical studies have raised doubts, and even concerns, about the relationship between vitamin E supplements and cancer. However, recent studies in animals suggest the tocopherols found in natural forms of vitamin E may help prevent cancer -- although the results are preliminary. For more about this, and our tests of vitamin E supplements, see the updated Vitamin E Supplements ReviewMore >>


Probiotics Reduce Risk of Diarrhea from Antibiotics

A review of over 60 clinical studies concluded that probiotics are associated with a 42% reduction in the risk of diarrhea due to antibiotic administration. The benefit appears greater for certain probiotics. For more details, including our tests of probiotic supplements, see the update in the Probiotic Supplements Review >>

B Vitamin May Lower Blood Pressure

According to a new study, approximately 10% of the population is genetically prone to high blood pressure which may respond dramatically to a low dose of riboflavin (vitamin B-2). Read the update to the B Vitamin Supplements Review for details, including the dose used and amount of blood pressure reduction achieved. More >>

Calcium supplements may increase the risk of heart attack

A recent study found a much higher risk of heart attack among people who used calcium supplements than among those who did not. Increased calcium from food was not associated with increased risk. Some other recent studies have raised similar concerns about calcium supplementation. What does this mean for you? See our update to the Calcium Supplements Review for more information. More >>


Too much vitamin D may increase the risk of dying

A recent study of nearly a quarter million people found those with vitamin D levels above that considered sufficient, but not much higher, had the lowest risk of dying over the study period. People with high levels of vitamin D were more likely to have died. Some earlier research suggests the same. What does this mean for you? See our update to the Vitamin D Supplements Review for more information. More >>

Don't Take Vitamin D?

Recommendations were published this week by an expert panel against the use of certain combinations of vitamin D and calcium in postmenopausal women to prevent fractures -- as the risks outweighed the benefits. However, this does not mean you shouldn't take vitamin D. In fact the experts recommended that people at increased risk for falls should take vitamin D.  

Find out exactly what was recommended! Read the update to the Vitamin D Review. You'll get a more complete picture of what vitamin D supplements can and can't do, the latest information on what levels of vitamin D in your body seem optimal for overall health, and our test findings for vitamin D supplements. More >>

Fish Oil for Strokes and Heart Attacks?

A recent study with fish oil supplements found no reduction in strokes and heart attacks among people with diabetes and poor glucose control. Does this mean fish oil doesn't help with cardiovascular disease? Not necessarily. See the updated Fish Oil (Omega-3) Supplements ReviewMore >>

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 >>


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 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 >>


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 >>

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 >>

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 >>

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 >>


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 >>

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 >>

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 >>

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.


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 >>

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 >>

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 >>

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 >>


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 >>

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 >>

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 >>

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 >>


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 >>

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 >>

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 >>