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Clinical Updates (67)

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10/18/2014

Curcumin for Cognition and Fatigue

A study found that taking curcumin daily improved certain measures of cognitive function and fatigue in healthy men and women ages 60 to 85. Get the details, as well as our reviews of curcumin products, in the updated Curcumin Supplements Review >> 
8/20/2016

Vitamin D, Blood Sugar & Insulin Resistance

Vitamin D, Blood Sugar & Insulin Resistance --A moderate, daily dose of vitamin D had positive effects on blood glucose and insulin sensitivity in healthy men and women who largely were deficient in vitamin D, according to a new study. Get the details in the Vitamin D Supplements Review >>
10/31/2016

Vitamin D Spray

A study found that vitamin D oral spray was no better than capsules in raising vitamin D levels in healthy men and women. However, a similar study in people with intestinal conditions that can affect absorption suggests a spray may be better. For details (as well as our ratings of products), see the ConsumerTips section of the Vitamin D Supplements Review >>
9/22/2015

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 >>
10/28/2012

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 >>
9/02/2015

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 >>
9/12/2015

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 >>
11/11/2015

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 >>
9/29/2020

Green Tea for Memory?

Can a green tea extract supplement improve memory or cognitive function in healthy, older men and women? Find out what a recent study showed in the What It Does section of our Green Tea Review. Also see our Top Picks for green tea supplements and drinks.
9/30/2012

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.
9/17/2019

Omega-3s for Cognition?

Several studies have attempted to boost cognition and memory in healthy people using omega-3 supplements from fish or krill oil. Find out if they succeeded, including a recent study among adolescents, in the Memory Enhancement in Healthy Individuals section of the Fish Oil Supplements Review. Also see our Top Picks among products.
2/24/2013

Calcium Risk for Women

A long-term study found that women with high calcium intakes from their diets were 40% more likely to die during the study than women with moderate calcium intake. Worse, the risk of death was 157% higher for women with high dietary calcium intake who also took a calcium supplement. What should you do? Get the details in the recent update to the Calcium Supplements Review and read our latest recommendations on calcium intake in the What You Need to Know section.)
4/22/2012

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 >>
7/07/2013

Fish Oil for Brain Function

Healthy people, ages 50 to 75, given a specific fish oil supplement for 6 months experienced significant gains in their performance on visual tasks, reading, and verbal fluency in a recent placebo-controlled study. Brain scans also showed significant gains in the structure and volume of tissue in several areas of the brain. For details about the type and dose of fish oil taken, as well as test results and comparisons for 74 fish and other marine oil supplements, see the updated Fish/Marine Oil (Omega-3) Supplements Review >>
10/23/2011

Vitamin E Risk

A study of healthy men who had taken a high-dose vitamin E supplement for several years showed a 17% increase in the risk of prostate cancer compared to men who took a placebo. See the Vitamin E Supplements Review for details, extensive information about vitamin E, and our quality ratings of vitamin E supplements.  More >>
2/02/2014

Probiotic Helps Women Shed Pounds

Recently, a study found that women on a reduced-calorie diet lost significantly more weight if they took a particular probiotic than women on the same diet who took a placebo. Get details about the probiotic used and the dosage in the Probiotic Supplements Review >> 
6/13/2014

Vitamin D and Rheumatoid Arthritis

A recent study shows that people with rheumatoid arthritis tend to have significantly lower levels of vitamin D in their blood than healthy individuals of the same age, gender and body weight. More details, including the vitamin D levels in these groups, is found in the update to the Vitamin D Supplements Review >>   
7/05/2014

Curcumin Reduces Soreness After Exercise

Taking curcumin before and after intense exercise significantly reduced muscle soreness in young, healthy men, according to a new study. Get the details, including the brand and dose of curcumin used, plus our tests of curcumin supplements, in the updated Turmeric and Curcumin Supplements and Spices Review >> 
3/06/2015

Green Lipped Mussel Oil Reduces Pain and Inflammation After Exercise

Green-lipped mussel oil (a source of omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA) significantly reduced pain and inflammation days after exercise in young healthy men, compared to a placebo, according to a new study. For details, and ConsumerLab.com tests of the product used in the study, see the Fish Oil and Omega-3 Fatty Acid Supplements Review >> 
4/06/2018

Curcumin for Cognition?

Did high-dose curcumin (derived from turmeric) improve cognition or reduce fatigue in healthy middle-aged and older people in a recent study? Find out what curcumin can and can’t do in the What It Does section of the Turmeric & Curcumin Supplements Review. (Also see our Top Picks among curcumin and turmeric products.)
10/20/2018

Omega-3s & Healthy Aging

Do higher blood levels of omega-3 fatty acids (as obtained from fish and/or fish oil) correlate with healthier aging? See what a new study found in our updates to the Fish Oil Supplements Review and the Canned Tuna and Salmon Review.
1/25/2020

Best Way to Cook With Olive Oil

Cooking can reduce levels of heart-healthy polyphenols in extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), but a new study showed how to minimize this loss. Get the details in the ConsumerTips section of the Extra Virgin Olive Oil Review. Also see our Top Picks among extra virgin olive oils.
4/05/2020

Dark Chocolate for Memory?

Studies show that chocolate high in flavanols can improve cognition in people with cognitive decline. Can it also boost memory in people who are cognitively healthy? Find out in the Memory section of the Dark Chocolate and Cocoa Powders Review. Also see our Top Picks for dark chocolates and cocoa powders.
12/14/2019

B12 & the Vegetarian

Vegetarians and vegans are susceptible to vitamin B12 deficiency, which can be manifest by a range of health issues, including low blood pressure, as recently reported in an otherwise healthy young man. Learn more in the B12 section of the B Vitamin Supplements Review. Also see our Top Pick for vitamin B12.
1/14/2017

Enzymes for Muscle Soreness

A blend of enzymes reduced delayed-onset muscle soreness after exercise in healthy men. For details, see the "What They Do" section of the Digestive Enzyme Supplements Review >>
8/12/2015

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 >>
12/02/2020

Cocoa for Cognition

A new study suggests that cocoa may improve some aspects of cognitive function in healthy people and sheds some light on how this may work. See the details in the Memory and Cognition section of the Dark Chocolate and Cocoa Review. Also see our Top Picks among dark chocolates, cocoa powders and supplements.
7/24/2021

Diatomaceous Earth for Cholesterol?

Can supplementing with diatomaceous earth lower cholesterol levels and is it safe? Find out in our updated answer to the question: Which supplements can help lower cholesterol and keep my heart healthy? Are there any to avoid?
7/31/2021

Bergamot for lowering cholesterol?

Can supplementing with citrus bergamot reduce high cholesterol levels? Find out what the research is showing in our updated answer to the question: Which supplements can help lower cholesterol and keep my heart healthy? Are there any to avoid?
10/12/2011

Women-Vitamin Study - Key Points

You may have heard this week about a new study which found a higher risk of death among women who used certain supplements. It's a complicated study, but we've summarized some key findings. Bear in mind that only white women ages 55 to 69 were enrolled in the study and they were followed for 22 years.

Those taking calcium supplements had a 3.8% reduced risk of death. The calcium benefit ended, however, when taking more than 900 mg per day from supplements. It's worth noting that experts suggest many older women who take calcium supplements may not need to -- see the Calcium Supplement Review for more.

The mineral most strongly associated with an increased risk of death was iron, which showed a risk increase of 3.9% -- and the risk increased as the dose increased, particularly over 50 mg per day. However, the study grouped dosages of under 50 mg together, making it hard to determine the risk of low dosages of iron, such as those in many multivitamins. However, there is very little reason why a postmenopausal woman should be taking iron -- see the Iron Supplement Review for more.

Although not as statistically meaningful, other supplements were associated with the following increases in the risk of death during the study: multivitamins (2.4%), vitamin B6 (4.1%), folic acid (5.9%), magnesium (3.6%), zinc (3.0%), and copper (18.0%). An abstract of the study is online.

The bottom line: Don't take a supplement you don't need. If you want to know how much of each vitamin and mineral you need from your total diet and how much is too much, see our chart at www.consumerlab.com/rdas/.
9/11/2011

Better Sleep with Valerian

A recent study evaluated the effect of valerian extract on postmenopausal women with insomnia. Among those women who took valerian, 30% reported an improvement in their sleep compared to only 4% in the placebo group. More details, including the dosage and type of valerian used in the study, is found in an update to the Valerian Supplements Review -- which includes our quality ratings of valerian products. More >>
9/21/2013

Fish Oil and Arthritis

A study of several thousand women found those who consumed at least a moderate of amount omega-3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA) from fish in their diets had just half the risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis over the course of the study than did women with lower intakes.  For details about the amount of omega-3's and fish consumption associated with preventing arthritis, other uses of omega-3's, and tests of fish/marine oil supplements, see the Fish/Marine Oil Supplements Review>>
9/29/2013

When Vitamin D Doesn't Help

A recent study in postmenopausal women in New York showed that taking a vitamin D supplement did not reduce bone loss (based on measurements of markers of bone turnover). However, calcium supplementation did appear to help. Why? It all has to do with how much vitamin D and calcium the women were already getting without the supplements. You can find out the amounts and get more details in the update to the Vitamin D Supplements Review >>
10/13/2013

Multivitamins May Improve Breast Cancer Survival

A study of women with invasive breast cancer found that those who took multivitamins were 30% less likely to die of the disease during the study than women who did not take multivitamins, suggesting a possible role for supplementation. For more information about the study, as well as tests of popular multivitamins, see the updated Multivitamin and Multimineral Supplements Review >> 
11/03/2013

Caution with Calcium for Women with High Cholesterol

A study in which women with high cholesterol  were given a daily calcium supplement showed a negative effect in those who were post-menopausal.  Get the details, including the calcium dosage used, in the updated Calcium Supplements Review>>
7/15/2012

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 >>
5/05/2013

Lower Risk of Fibroids With Vitamin D

A study of women in Washington, D.C. showed that those with higher blood levels of vitamin D had a 32% lower risk of uterine fibroids -- the most common reason for hysterectomy. Unfortunately, most of the women had less than sufficient levels of vitamin D. Find out the levels associated with lowest risk of fibroids, learn how to improve vitamin D levels (without overdoing it), and get the results of our latest product tests in the Vitamin D Supplements Review >>
2/05/2012

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.
1/15/2012

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.
10/06/2013

Vitamin D for Post-Menopausal Women

A study compared the effects of low-dose and high-dose vitamin D on bone mineral density in post-menopausal women who were also supplemented with calcium. Both dosages helped prevent loss of bone mineral density, but the higher dose was less efficient in reducing bone turnover, i.e., bone loss, contrary to what the researchers expected.  For details, including dosage, see the updated Vitamin D Supplements Review>>
3/07/2015

Vitamin D Helps in Pregnancy

A new study showed that giving vitamin D to women with low levels of vitamin D resulted in a dramatic reduction in pre-term labor, pre-eclampsia, and gestational diabetes compared to untreated women. For details, see the Vitamin D Supplements Review >>
3/08/2014

Vitamin D and Breast Cancer Survival

A new analyses of clinical studies found that women with the highest blood levels of vitamin D had a much higher rate of survival from breast cancer than women with the lowest levels. Details on what may be the most beneficial levels, as well as our test results for vitamin D supplements, are found in the updated Vitamin D Supplements Review >>  
3/29/2014

Vitamin D for Weight?

A study of overweight women who were dieting and exercising found that taking vitamin D did not increase the amount of weight they lost. Those attaining the highest blood levels of vitamin D did lose more weight than other women, but this may not have been due to vitamin D. For details about the study, information about other uses of vitamin D, and our tests of vitamin D supplements, see the updated Vitamin D Supplements Review >> 
7/23/2014

Magnesium Improves Women's Physical Performance

A new study found that daily intake of a magnesium supplement significantly improved physical performance among older women compared to those given a placebo. Interestingly, none of the women in the study were deficient in magnesium based on blood tests. Get the details, including the dose and type of magnesium supplement used, as well as our quality ratings of magnesium supplements, in the updated Magnesium Supplements Review >> 
5/13/2015

Fish Intake and Breast Cancer Risk

Women with breast cancer who consumed the most fish had a lower risk of death compared to women who did not eat fish, a new study reports. Get the details, plus evidence for the use of fish oil supplements to reduce the risk of breast and prostate cancer, and our tests of popular products in the Fish Oil and Omega-3 Fatty Acids Supplements Review >>
6/24/2015

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 >>
10/03/2015

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 >>
10/14/2015

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 >>
11/12/2016

Vitamin D & Breast Cancer Survival

A new study making headlines this week found that women with "the highest" levels of vitamin D had better survival rates from breast cancer than women with the "lowest rates." What was left out of news stories — and may surprise you — is what these levels are. Find out in the "What It Does" section of the Vitamin D Supplements Review >>
2/27/2019

Many Men and Women Not Getting Enough Protein

A national study found that many older men and women don't get enough protein in their diets, including those in their 50s. For details, see the What It Does section of the Protein Powders and Drinks Review. Also see our Top Picks among protein supplements.
3/06/2019

Soy Isoflavones & Breast Cancer Risk

Soy isoflavones, which have estrogen-like effects, are used by women hoping to reduce menopausal symptoms. A new study suggests this use may raise the risk of breast cancer in some women but lower it in others. For details, see the What It Does section of the Soy Isoflavone Supplements Review.
8/16/2016

Inulin for Constipation

A small study among men and women with constipation found that inulin, a type of prebiotic, was able to modestly increase the frequency of bowel movements in men and women with constipation. For details, evidence for other uses of prebiotics and our tests of products, see the Probiotics Supplements Review >>
6/22/2019

Vitamins Needed by Pregnant Women

A recent analysis of nutrient intakes by pregnant women across the U.S. revealed the vitamins and minerals they were getting too much or too little of. Get the details in the Prenatal section of the Multivitamins Review, which includes our tests of prenatal supplements.
3/25/2015

Vitamin D and Reducing Injuries From Falls

Although vitamin D may be able to reduce the risk of falls in women deficient in vitamin D, a new study shows that, among women with sufficient vitamin D, it does not help and may have a negative effect. At the same time, the study showed that an exercise regime cut the rate of injuries from falls by half. Get more details in the Vitamin D Supplements Review >>
1/13/2018

Take Choline When Pregnant

It was recommended last year that women take a choline supplement when pregnant. Adding momentum to this recommendation is a recent study showing that giving pregnant women a larger amount of choline than normally considered adequate resulted in improved information processing speeds in their infants. Currently, choline is not found in most prenatal vitamins. For more information, see the During Pregnancy and Lactation section of the Choline Supplements Review. (Also see our Top Picks among products.)
10/22/2019

Should Women Take Calcium?

Do women reduce bone loss and the risk of fractures if they take a calcium supplement? See what a recent study showed in the What It Does section of the Calcium Supplements Review. Also see our Top Picks for calcium supplements.
7/13/2021

Magnesium for Leg Cramps?

Can magnesium supplementation reduce leg cramps? See what a recent analysis of the data showed for leg cramps in pregnant women. Also see the evidence for use by older men and women in our Magnesium Supplements Review.

Also see our answer to the question: Do magnesium creams, sprays and oils help with muscle pain and cramps? How about supplements?
6/28/2017

Some Concern About Theobromine in Dark Chocolate

ConsumerLab's tests of dark chocolates show them to contain about as much theobromine (a caffeine-related stimulant) as heart-healthy flavanols. So is all this theobromine good or bad? A recent study suggests that it may be an issue for people who need to control their blood sugar, while, on the positive side, it lowers LDL "bad" cholesterol. Get the details in the "Concerns and Cautions" section of the Cocoa Powders, Dark Chocolate, Extracts, Nibs, & Supplements Review, which includes comparisons of the amounts of theobromine in popular products, as well as amounts of flavanols, caffeine, and contaminants.
11/17/2013

Latest Supplement Recommendations

New draft recommendations on vitamin and mineral supplement use were published this week by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. The recommendations apply only to healthy adults without nutritional deficiencies. They focus only on the use of supplements for the prevention of cardiovascular disease and cancer at doses not exceeding tolerable upper intake levels. The recommendations are based on existing science and are generally consistent with information already presented in ConsumerLab.com's Product Reviews.  We have summarized the recommendations below, with links to more information in ConsumerLab.com's reports:

- Beta-Carotene and Vitamin E:  Supplementation with either does not provide a benefit. Vitamin E does not pose a risk of harm, but beta-carotene increases the risk of lung cancer in people at risk for lung cancer.

- Other Single Vitamins, Minerals, Pairs, and Multivitamins: There is inadequate evidence regarding a benefit or a risk of harm.

The task force stressed that at excessive doses (above tolerable upper intake levels) there is evidence of harm with supplementation, such as with vitamin A and vitamin D
7/20/2011

Kidney Stones Linked to Calcium and Vitamin D Supplementation

A recent report showed that women taking a calcium and vitamin D supplement over a period of several years were 17% more likely to develop kidney stones than women who did not take the supplement. ConsumerLab.com reviewed this study. While the findings are correct, there seems to be no reason to give up vitamin D supplements and a small concern with calcium supplementation. Get the details in the update to the Calcium Supplements Review >>. The new information is also found in an update in the Vitamin D Supplements Review >>.
6/22/2011

Does Taking Vitamin D Reduce the Risk of Heart Disease?

Earlier research has suggested an association between higher vitamin D levels in the blood and reduced risk of heart attack. But blood levels are affected by both sun exposure as well as intake of vitamin D. A new study shows that men with higher vitamin D intakes from foods and supplements have a 14% reduction in their risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke. However, the study found no reduction among women. The amount of vitamin D intake shown to be beneficial and possible reasons why a benefit was not found in women are provided in the updated "What It Does" section of our Product Review of Vitamin D SupplementsMore >>
8/05/2012

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 >>
9/06/2017

Lower Cognitive Function in Kids Linked to High Prenatal Folic Acid

Children of mothers who took high amounts of folic acid around the time of pregnancy had lower cognitive and verbal scores when tested at 4 to 5 years of age, according to a new study. Similarly, as we reported last year, pregnant women with higher levels of folate (from folic acid) had offspring with higher rates of autism. While it is important that pregnant women get a moderate amount of folic acid to prevent spinal cord defects, higher amounts should be avoided. See the Folate section of the B Vitamin Supplements Review for details.

News Releases (16)

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