Reuters – Women trying to get pregnant could boost their chances by adopting a “fertility diet” high in nuts and avocadoes while cutting down on coffee and alcohol, according to U.S researchers.Boston-based researchers found the majority of cases of infertility due to ovulation disorders in otherwise healthy women could be prevented through diet and lifestyle changes. Read more
NIH – Sticking to a low-fat diet for at least 4 years can reduce an older woman’s risk of developing ovarian cancer by about 40%, according to a new study. The results are the most promising to date from a large clinical trial that’s examining how low-fat diets can affect the health of postmenopausal women.Ovarian cancer is a particularly deadly form of cancer. It affects about 1 in 60 American women in their lifetimes and kills about 15,000 each year. Ovarian cancer usually has few or no symptoms in its early stages, when it’s easiest to treat. By the time symptoms appear, only about one-third of patients survive beyond 5 years.
Researchers have been examining the impact of dietary fat on ovarian and endometrial cancer in a group of 48,835 healthy, postmenopausal women who were followed for an average of 8 years. The clinical trial, known as the Dietary Modification Trial, is part of the Women’s Health Initiative series of studies, which is funded by NIH’s National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI). The new findings were reported in the October 9, 2007, online edition of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.
When the women first joined the study, their diets had a fat content on par with the national average, with about 35% of their calories coming from fat. As the study began, about 20,000 of the women were counseled to reduce their fat intake to 20% of calories and to eat plenty of fruits, vegetables and grains. The comparison group of nearly 30,000 women received diet-related educational materials only.
By the end of the first year, the low-fat diet group had reduced their total fat intake to about 24% of calories. By the end of the 8-year study, their fat intake had creeped up to about 29%. Their fat consumption was still lower than the comparison group, however, which consumed about 37% of their calories from fat by the end of the study.
As expected, the researchers found that ovarian cancer risk was similar in the 2 groups for the first 4 years, because a diet’s impact on cancer can take many years to appear. However, over the next 4 years, the risk of ovarian cancer declined significantly in the low-fat-diet group. These women were 40% less likely to develop ovarian cancer than women in the comparison group.
The researchers also found that women who started with the highest fat intake, and who reduced their fat intake the most during the study, had the greatest reduction in ovarian cancer risk. The researchers found no differences in endometrial cancer rates.
An earlier analysis of the same group of women didn’t reveal any major effects of a low-fat diet on rates of colorectal cancer, heart disease or stroke. However, there were some promising trends for breast cancer and heart disease that warrant further study. These new findings support the idea that some women may be able to reduce cancer risks by lowering their dietary fats.
Health Canada release – Health Canada is aware of the growing body of evidence on the role of vitamin D in relation to health. While a number of independent recommendations concerning vitamin D intake have been issued by various organizations, Health Canada believes these recommendations are premature and that a comprehensive review that looks at both benefits and safety needs to be undertaken before the Department can issue a revised recommendation. Read more
CM NEWS – A Chinese medicine seems to be effective in cutting food intake of obese rats and reducing body weight by as much as 33%. The study also suggests that the might provide long term control of body weight. Read more
Medicine News Today – In an industry first, the nation’s largest trade association of dietary supplement manufacturers announced a new program for testing Chinese raw materials for purity and composition. Read more
Health Canada release – Health Canada is advising consumers not to use Optimum Health Care SleePlus TCM or BYL SleePlus, because the products contain the undeclared drug clonazepam, which can be habit-forming when used for as little as a few months.
Consumers who may still have one of these products in their homes are advised to consult with a health care professional before they stop taking the pills, because of the risk of withdrawal symptoms.Optimum Health Care SleePlus TCM and BYL SleePlus have different names but are the same formulation, and both products are promoted as a sleep aid. The products are not authorized for sale in Canada.
Clonazepam belongs in the class of drugs known as benzodiazepines, which should only be prescribed by a health care professional. Clonazepam should not be used by people with an allergy to any benzodiazepines, such as Valium (diazepam), Restoril (temazepam) and Ativan (lorazepam), or those individuals affected by the neuromuscular disorder myasthenia gravis or by sleep apnea. Benzodiazepines, including clonazepam, should only be used by pregnant women if absolutely necessary and with caution by the elderly and those with a history of substance abuse. The side-effects associated with the use of products containing clonazepam vary according to the individual and can include dizziness, drowsiness, confusion, depression, loss of memory and hallucinations.
Health Canada has issued four advisories on similar products since August 2006. Eden Herbal Formulation Serenity Pills II, Salt Spring Herbals Sleep Well Dietary Supplement, Sleepees and Eden Herbal Formulations Sleep Ease Dietary Supplement were advertised as herbal health products to relieve sleeping difficulty, and were found to contain the undeclared drug estazolam, also in the class of drugs known as benzodiazepines. None of these products have been authorized for sale by Health Canada. Drugs and natural health products that are authorized for sale in Canada will have an eight-digit Drug Identification Number (DIN), a Natural Product Number (NPN) or a Homeopathic Medicine Number (DIN-HM) on the label. These numbers indicate that the products have been assessed by Health Canada for safety, effectiveness and quality.
Optimum Health Care SleePlus TCM, labelled in Chinese script, was sold to patients by Optimum Health Care, a clinic in Vancouver. BYL SleePlus was distributed to retail stores by BYL Pharmaceuticals Ltd., Vancouver. The products are being recalled; however consumers may still have the product in their homes.
Consumers who have purchased Optimum Health Care SleePlus TCM or BYL SleePlus should return it to the place of purchase. To date, no adverse reactions suspected to be associated with the use of Optimum Health Care SleePlus TCM or BYL SleePlus have been reported in Canada.
Health Canada also advises Canadians to contact the Health Products and Food Branch Inspectorate at 1-800-267-9675 if they find Optimum Health Care SleePlus TCM or BYL SleePlus for sale in Canada.
Consumers requiring more information about this advisory can contact Health Canada’s public enquiries line at (613) 957-2991, or toll free at 1-866-225-0709.