Research Update

Jul 22, 2008

B Vitamins Lower Homocysteine but Not CVD Risk

Source: CM Albert et al., "Effect of Folic Acid and B Vitamins on Risk of Cardiovascular Events and Total Mortality among Women at High Risk for Cardiovascular Disease: A Randomized Trial," Journal of the American Medical Association, vol. 299, no 17 (May 7, 2008): 2027–2036.

B vitamins don't appear to protect women at high risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) from heart attacks or strokes, according to new research from Brigham and Women's Hospital (Boston) and Harvard Medical School (Boston).

In the study, 5442 women aged 42 or older with a history of CVD or at least three cardiovascular risk factors received either a daily placebo or a supplement containing 2.5 mg of folic acid, 50 mg of vitamin B6, and 1 mg of vitamin B12 for an average of 7.3 years.

The researchers found that while the average homocysteine level was 18.5% lower in the treatment group than the placebo group, there were no significant differences between the two groups in the number of cardiac events or in the overall risk of death.

"Our results are consistent with prior randomized trials performed primarily among men with established vascular disease and do not support the use of folic acid and B vitamin supplements as preventive interventions for CVD in these high-risk fortified populations," wrote the authors.

The pine bark extract Pycnogenol's antioxidant effects may make it a useful supplement for people with joint discomfort.
Photo courtesy of Horphag Research.

Pine Bark Extract Boosts Joint Mobility

Source: G Belcaro et al., "Treatment of Osteoarthritis with Pycnogenol," Phytotherapy Research, vol. 22, no. 4 (April 2008): 518–523.

Pine bark extract may offer relief from osteoarthritis symptoms, according to a study published in the April 2008 edition of the journal Phytotherapy Research.

For the randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, 156 osteoarthritis patients received either a placebo or 100 mg of pine bark extract daily for three months. Horphag Research (Geneva) supplied its Pycnogenol pine bark extract for use in the study.

Researchers used the Western Ontario and McMaster Osteoarthritis Index (WOMAC) questionnaires to evaluate the supplement's effects on osteoarthritis symptoms and a treadmill test to measure joint mobility. They also measured ankle and foot swelling by using a water-displacement method.

By the end of the study, WOMAC scores dropped by 56% in the treatment group, compared with 9.6% in the placebo group. The treatment group also reported a 64% improvement in overall well-being, compared with 15% in the placebo group. In addition, 79% of the treatment group patients had less foot and ankle swelling by the end of the study, compared with only 1% in the placebo group.

"The new research in the field of osteoarthritis has been a paradigm shift for Pycnogenol," said Horphag CEO Victor Ferrari. "We were able to demonstrate Pycnogenol's impact on all inflammatory parameters and have succeeded in providing strong clinical evidence of Pycnogenol's efficacy in this field."

Chromium Linked to Lower Blood Pressure in Animals

Source: NV Perricone et al., "Blood Pressure–Lowering Effects of Niacin-Bound Chromium (III) (NBC) in Sucrose-Fed Rats: Renin-Angiotensin System," Journal of In­organic Biochemistry, [published online February 23, 2008, ahead of print].

Niacin-bound chromium reduced blood pressure in animals by lowering the activity of a hormone system involved in blood pressure regulation, according to a new study conducted at the Michigan State University College of Human Medicine (East Lansing, MI).

The researchers noted that lab animals that consumed ChromeMate, a patented chromium complex supplied by InterHealth Nutraceuticals Inc. (Benicia, CA), experienced a significant decrease in angiotensin-2 levels.

"This research provides important insight into how ChromeMate works to reduce blood pressure, a significant indicator of cardiovascular health," said InterHealth CEO Paul Dijkstra. "These findings are particularly important to those with diabetes, since cardiovascular disease is so closely associated with diabetes. ChromeMate has also been shown to be highly effective in helping to maintain healthy blood sugar levels and body weight, so it represents a triple benefit in the fight against diabetes."

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