What you should know about dietary supplements
Walk down the vitamin and supplement aisle of the local grocery store and there are likely thousands of bottles of pills, tablets, capsules and gel caps, all seeming to offer a quick way to boost health and improve how consumers feel. But even though supplements are marketed as being full of benefits, there is often no evidence to support manufacturers’ claims. In this way, supplements that promise to improve health are typically not what they seem.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has said that while some dietary supplements — which include vitamins, minerals, herbal remedies or combinations of these — can sometimes be beneficial to a person’s health. There can also be serious health risks. Anyone thinking about taking a supplement should always talk to their health care provider first.
Here are some issues with the supplement industry that consumers should be aware of.
Beware of Advertising
Because they are not prescription drugs, dietary supplements are not supposed to be marketed in ways that suggest they can cure or treat disease or prevent someone from getting sick. Yet it’s common to hear people talking about advertisements they’ve seen for supplements that market them as cure-alls.
Federal regulators and health care providers have warned that some supplements can pose serious health risks. Here are some examples:
• Combining supplements can be dangerous.
• Never substitute supplements for prescription medication.
• Some supplements may react with prescription medication in negative, harmful ways.
• Taking too much of certain supplements, like vitamin A, vitamin D or iron, can cause side effects for people before or after surgery.
The supplement industry is not regulated in the same way as other items on store shelves. The FDA does not review dietary supplement products before they’re sold in stores. If there’s a new ingredient added to a supplement, the FDA reviews it for safety, not effectiveness. Additionally, the FDA will only act on a supplement product if there are problems reported after it has already been consumed and deemed unsafe, or if there are misleading and false marketing claims.
In the last 20 years, the National Institutes of Health has spent more than $2.4 billion studying the effectiveness of vitamins and mineral supplements. New red flags continue to be raised. Earlier this year, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force issued a recommendation advising against the use of vitamin E and beta-carotene supplements for the prevention of cardiovascular disease and cancer.
Additionally, researchers at Johns Hopkins University reviewed evidence on recent supplement studies and found multivitamins did not reduce risk for heart disease, cancer or mental declines, nor did they have any impact on the rate of heart attacks, heart surgery or death.
Supplements are not a replacement for healthy eating regardless of how many multivitamins someone takes each morning. The benefits of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, good fats and proteins remains unmatched. Certain foods, when eaten together, can maximize the absorption of nutrients into the body in a way that’s not possible when consuming a supplement.
Shanthi Appelö is a registered dietitian and health and wellness spokesperson for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. For more health tips, visit AHealthierMichigan.org.
Is Your Vitamin D Supplement Sustainable? A PhD & RD Nutrition Scientist Explains
Luckily, there are plant sources of D3 out there. The ideal option, according to Ferira, is algae. “Organic algal-sourced vitamin D3 is the cream of the crop for vitamin D,” says Ferira.
Though harder to find, algal-sourced vitamin D3 can make for a supplement that’s both sourced from plants and more sustainable.
VegD3®, for example, is a non-GMO, USDA organic, plant-origin, environmentally sustainable algal vitamin D3 option that’s chemically identical to the D3 you’d get from the usual animal-based lanolin. The process of creating this algae-based vitamin D3 is also free of pesticides (something that can’t always be guaranteed for sheep-based options), according to the brand.
Since plant-based supplemental sources of vitamin D have traditionally offered vitamin D2, VegD3® offers a unique source that’s both sustainable and the form of D the body prefers and needs daily (aka, this is an essential fat-soluble micronutrient you must consume because your body can’t synthesize it).
In fact, VegD3® is a premium algal D3 ingredient that is produced “at a U.K.-based research center using advanced technology that has zero negative impact on the local environment,” Ferira says.
This is a big deal considering that the other plant-derived option for vitamin D3 comes from lichen, which takes many years (to decades) to grow and then has to be removed from its natural ecosystem for the vitamin D to be extracted, adds Ferira. “Plus there are animals that were relying on this lichen for their nourishment. It’s now gone,” Ferira says.
Not to mention, the lichen that D is pulled from may be contaminated—and the concentration of D3 you can ultimately end up with can vary significantly based on the type of lichen harvested and the season it’s harvested in, she says. All of these factors make it a far less ideal plant source of vitamin D3 for supplements than a high-quality algae—particularly VegD3®, which is produced without contamination concerns or taking a toll on the environment.
Human Milk Supplement Shown to Boost Immunological Activity
New research indicates Trulacta® bolsters Natural Killer (NK) cell activity in the presence of a health threat
LODI, Wis., Sept. 14, 2021 /PRNewswire/ – Adventa Bioscience® today announced the results of new laboratory research on flagship product Trulacta®, the world’s first and only supplement made entirely of human milk. The study evaluated the impact of Human Milk BionutrientsTM (HMBsTM) treatment in human-derived PBMC’s against K562 cells, a commonly used immortalized leukemia cell line.
The experiment utilized flow cytometry, which has the ability to measure and quantify individual cells. In these experiments, human milk bionutrients were added to PMBC’s in the presence of K562 and treated for 48-hours. Results showed nearly complete eradication of K562 cells, with little to no off-target toxicity towards other cells present in the experiment.
“The data gathered from this new research is especially promising,” said Christopher Tracy, Co-Founder and CEO of Adventa Bioscience. “We have seen throughout the course of mankind the application of human milk in treating a variety of adult conditions impacting the digestive and immune systems. We are now learning that these same bionutrients can aid in terminating K562 cells without damaging healthy cells. This is nothing short of incredible.”
Trulacta is composed entirely of thousands of beneficial components found in human milk, all of which are essential for health and wellbeing. The supplement’s HMBs include Human Milk Oligosaccharides (HMO), Growth Factors, Immunoglobulins, Macrophages and Stem Cells, as well as other enzymes and peptides critical to optimizing whole-body health. Together these rich compounds have shown to aid in the development of the immune system, protect from autoimmune disease, actively fight bacteria and allow the body to maintain and restore itself.
Adventa is moving forward with additional studies on immunity and will be applying for a RO1 grant to further explore how Trulacta supports the immune system. The company has begun onboarding participants for a human clinical trial to prove the beneficial effects Trulacta has on the GI system. Additionally, Adventa is awaiting approval on a grant from the NIH to further investigate the health benefits of the supplement and expects to hear back from the NIH later this year. The company is also working with the University of Wisconsin to establish a research partnership to explore all the benefits human milk has to offer.
About Adventa Bioscience
Adventa Bioscience is an innovative biotech firm dedicated to realizing the full potential of human milk. Adventa’s groundbreaking patented research has led to major breakthroughs in health and wellness. The company’s flagship product Trulacta is the world’s first supplement for adults entirely composed of Human Milk Bionutrients (HMB’s), the rich multitude of beneficial nutrients contained in human milk. Adventa is devoted to furthering research and changing lives by developing a series of products to harness the power of human milk, while remaining fully committed to sustainability practices. The company is headquartered in Lodi, Wisconsin and was founded in November 2020.
For more information visit adventabioscience.com or trulacta.com.
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SOURCE Adventa Bioscience