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May 17, 2008 10:17 AM
Recently, the Natural Products Association has experienced a flurry of activity on the legislative front. One month ago, Natural Products Association members went to Washington, D.C. to meet with their representatives and discuss legislation important to the association and the industry. Many who could not visit Washington in person were part of our "virtual march" on Washington that delivered e-mails, petitions, and videos to Congress on the importance of natural products. Natural Products Day was a great success, boasting higher than ever attendance at our evening Congressional reception, and resulting in additional co-sponsors for S. 771, the Child Nutrition Promotion and School Lunch Protection Act sponsored by Tom Harkin (D-Iowa). The bill now boasts co-sponsorship of more than a quarter of the Senate. Its companion bill in the House of Representatives, H.R. 1363, sponsored by Lynn Woolsey (D-Calif.), has gained an additional five co-sponsors as the result of Natural Products Day meetings and now has 140 co-sponsors. These bills continue to build momentum, thanks to your support.
More recently, the Natural Products Association urged supporters to contact their legislators to include an amendment to the "Farm Bill" allowing food stamp recipients to purchase dietary supplements. This provision was similar to free-standing bills that have been introduced in the current and previous Congresses by Sens. Harkin and Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and have earned the association's support. Although the amendment advanced further than other versions in previous sessions, it did not make the final Farm Bill, which was reported out of conference today. The good news is that the Farm Bill did contain significant increases in nutrition programs and increased funding for organic farming, another supported goal of the Natural Products Association. Because of the strong effort of our supporters on the amendment's behalf, the bill was placed on Congress's radar screens and has greatly improved the chances as stand-alone legislation, S. 770, the Food Stamp Vitamin and Mineral Improvement Act, of seeing passage. We will continue to ask for support on this important bill as this legislative session progresses.
In addition, the Natural Products Association has been leading the fight to protect Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), and to keep this important, safe, and effective supplement available to elderly consumers. The same players behind S. 762, which would wrongly classify DHEA as an anabolic steroid, proposed S. 2470 in late 2007 as a misplaced reaction the release of the Mitchell Report, which chronicled the abuse of steroids by professional baseball players. Although DHEA has no performance enhancing attributes, this bill was proposed to limit the access of minors to DHEA. The Natural Products Association and its supporters have worked hard to inform Congress of the benefits of DHEA, and that it is not an anabolic steroid and should not be classified as one. We have been able so far to prevent any movement on the bill, but the association continues to monitor its progress and make sure that this supplement remains accessible to the seniors who need it most.
Thanks to your help, the Natural Products Association continues to have an active presence on Capitol Hill that is felt by legislators. We could not do it without the help of you, our supporters, who know how important it is to stand up for natural products. The impact of your messages to legislators continues to help the Natural Products Association to ensure all natural products - from natural and organic foods to dietary supplements and health and beauty aids - are accessible to Americans. With your continued support we will continue to be known as a vocal group with a wide base of support through the rest of this legislative session and beyond.
To get involved, please visit our action center at www.capwiz.com/NNFA/issues/
On Tuesday, April 8, the Natural Products Association - 11th Annual Natural Products Day
April 10, 2008 04:46 PM
On Tuesday, April 8, the Natural Products Association and our sponsors will be hosting the 11th Annual Natural Products Day in Washington, D.C. This day is an important way for natural products advocates to reach out to Congress and discuss the issues that matter. For more information on Natural Products Day or to register, please visit www.NaturalProductsAssoc.org/npd08.
Among the many healthy policies we’ll be asking members to promote on Capitol Hill, bill S. 770, Food Stamp Vitamin and Mineral Improvement Act, will be at the top of our list.
S. 770 would give needy food stamp recipients the choice of purchasing certain vitamin and mineral supplements with their benefits, in the same way they are free to make other dietary choices. If the stamps can be used to buy a soda or snack cake, why not use them to buy a supplement to improve your health? These select supplements could improve appetite and growth rates in poor children; decrease infectious disease in the elderly; prevent neural tube birth defects; protect against heart disease and stroke; protect against some cancers; maintain cognitive function in the elderly; and build bone mass in the young and decrease bone loss in the old.
But, you don’t have to go to the Hill to make a difference! If you can’t join us in Washington, D.C., you can still e-maiL your elected officials and tell them to support S. 770! Don’t miss this chance to put your stamp of approval on this important bill! Take Action Now!
Click here to e-mail your elected officials
An Interview with Congressman Sam Farr, Representing California’s Central Coast.
May 30, 2006 02:36 PM
Ambassador to Health Profile
An Interview with Congressman Sam Farr, Representing California’s Central Coast.
Congressman Sam Farr, a fifth-generation Californian, represents the state’s beautiful central coast. His district encompasses the length of the big Sur coastline in Monterey County, the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, the Salinas Valley “Salad bowl,” the redwoods, mountains and beaches of Santa Cruz County, and the majestic rural landscape of San Benito County. The health and wealth of this region has been strengthened by Rep. Farr’s focus on the environment, education and the economy. Rep. Farr was raised in Carmel, California and graduated from Willamette University with a BS in biology. He later attended the Monterey Institute of International Studies and the University of Santa Clara. He is fluent in Spanish. As a tough advocate for the health food industry, he has lobbied for strict federal organic standards.
Todd: Congressman Farr, thank you for taking the time to speak with us! Id also like to thank you for all the great things you’ve done for our community, form funding marine sanctuaries and authoring the Ocean’s Act to expanding Pinnacles national Monument. The League of Conservation Voters and others have recognized you as an “Environmental Hero”. And, you’ve worked hard to support the economic vitality of central coast’s $3 billion agriculture industry which includes a substantial organic segment. Our backyard here is also the home of a robust group of nutritional supplement manufacturers. An estimated 187 million Americans are currently taking dietary supplements as part of their daily healthy diet. In California, we’ve got 792 natural product manufacturers and distributors. Where do you stand on the state of our industry?
Congressman Farr: Well, thank you for the introduction and for asking to talk to me about nutritional supplement issues. I am very supportive of this industry and include myself in the 187 million Americans taking dietary supplements. I think supplements offer many safe and viable tools to maintain your health. The continued growth of this industry is an indication of both consumer confidence in the products and the products’ ability to fill the gaps where conventional medical care falls short.
Todd: It is estimated that by 2030, more than 70 million Americans will be over the age of 65 and the cost of health care could reach $16 Trillion per year. A recent study by the Lewin Group showed that by taking certain dietary supplements, seniors can lead healthier, more productive, independent lives while saving billions in reduced hospitalizations and physician services. Do you share our view that a Wellness Revolution is needed to counter the dilemma of an aging population versus shrinking health care support in the future?
Congressman Farr: Our health care system is definitely facing a challenge, especially as the Baby Boomers hit their 60’s and Americans are living longer than ever before. As a Baby Boomer myself, I am well aware of America’s aging population and the impact that will likely have not only on our social institutions but also our fiscal well-being. I agree that dietary supplements do play and will play an even larger role in the future as more seniors look for a way to augment their diets in order to stay healthy and active longer than past generations.
Todd: Our industry is regulated by DSHEA (the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act), which was passed unanimously by Congress in 1994 to create a reasonable regulatory framework for access to, information about, dietary supplements. But many say that the FDA and DSHEA weren’t adequately funded to do the job as tasked. “Supplements are unregulated” is a false argument we sometimes hear. To ensure that the FDA is able to carry out the law as Congress intended, Representatives Dan Burton (R-Ind.) and Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) introduced H.R. 2485, the DSHEA Full Implementation and Enforcement Act of 2005. Did you support this bill and where does it stand today?
Congressman Farr: I think the DSHEA is a critical law and was proud to support it when Congress considered it in 1993 and 1994. I would certainly support H.R. 2485 if it came up for a vote in Congress. Unfortunately this bill has not moved since it was first introduced and referred to the Subcommittee on health in the house energy and commerce committee. Since this is an election year we have a tight schedule with only about 60 legislative days scheduled before we adjourn. That means it’s likely Congress will only finalize bills such as the appropriation bills that fund government before adjournment.
Todd: Our business climate has included some valid and rigorous challenges to improve our industry, from good manufacturing practices (GMP), to allergy labeling, to implications of Prop-65 in California. It’s disconcerting that a new bill, H.R. 3156 The Dietary Supplement Access and Awareness Act would try to capitalize on misconceptions about the industry. In an era of declining health care and declining insurance coverage, this bill would regulate supplements as prescription drugs. Among other things, it would also require adverse event reports to be turned over to the FDA, even though other foods, including those with identical ingredients, do not have the same requirements. This has the potential to be the next Prop-65-like Lawsuit mill. The result of H.R. 3156 would be chilling. It will knock smaller producers out of the market. It will result in higher prices for all supplements. It will decrease the availability of health-giving supplements to the public. What’s your feeling on this?
Congressman Farr: I am similarly concerned about H.R. 3156 and would oppose it if it came up for a vote in Congress. Like H.R. 2485, this legislation has been referred to a subcommittee on Health in the House Energy and Commerce Committee without any further action. The supplement industry has worked in good faith with the FDA since passage of DSHEA and H.R. 3156 would re-invent a wheel that isn’t needed. Instead, adequate funding as proposed in H.R. 2485 would provide ample oversight for the industry.
Todd: According to a recent study, 72% of the general population believe the government should fund more research on health benefits of nutritional supplements. Do you agreen and what can be done to meet this need?
Congressman Farr: I definitely agree that the federal government should play a bigger role in support of research regarding the health benefits of nutritional supplements. As a member of the House Appropriation Committee, I sit on the subcommittee that has jurisdiction over the FDA’s budget and I know the tight fiscal restraints the agency is under. I’ve worked with my colleagues to provide adequate funding, but it’s an uphill battle especially when we’re in a “robbing Peter to pay Paul” kind of situation. I recommend that people within the industry organize and use your consumer base to actively lobby Congress for additional funds. I’m fond of reminding people that the squeaky wheel gets grease – so let every Congress member and Senator know how much this issue matters to you.
Todd: When there is overwhelming scientific evidence that nutritional supplements provides relief for a disease condition, it currently takes a lawsuit to get the FDA to relent and allow the claim. Even then, the FDA strictly limits the claim and requires a disclaimer that does more harm than good in communicating this important information to the public. There is a new bill, H.R. 4282, The Health Freedom Protection Act that would end FDA and FTC censorship of health information. As an example, the 50% of all adult males who suffer from an enlarged prostate could receive relief from that condition by consuming a simple and safe ingredient, saw palmetto derived from the fruit of the dwarf American palm tree. The FDA censors that information. The public deserves a better opportunity to be informed about omega-3 EFA and heart disease, folic acid and birth defects, phosphatidylserine and cognitive impairment. Do you agree and do you support this bill?
Congressman Farr: I agree the public needs to access to the best information possible so they can make well informed choices about their health. I likely would support H.R. 4282 if it came up for a vote in Congress. Unfortunately this bill is in a similar situation as other we’ve mentioned in this interview – and again because of the tight schedule of an election year, it’s unlikely action will happen this year.
Todd: According to the barometer study, 85% of the US population is currently using some type of dietary supplement. Do you? Looking at your busy schedule from co-chairing the House Oceans Caucus to your seat on the Travel and Tourism Caucus, you are one busy congressman! Are you popping nutritional supplements please tell us!
Congressman Farr: I do take some nutritional supplements, though they vary and since Ginkgo Biloba isn’t among them I cant remember their names off-hand! One product I do use faithfully is Airborne to help me combat germs and colds that I might get from sitting on an airplane. But, like many Americans my life is over-scheduled and combined with the amount of air-travel I do, I find nutritional supplements helpful as I try to stay healthy despite my hectic lifestyle.
Todd: Thank you Congressman Farr! Live long and prosper!
DSEA Release of Health/Cost Impact Study Conducted by the Lewin Group, Initial Results, Wash DC; Nov. 2, 2005
NNFA database. Adam.F on 3-15-06.
DSEA Nutritional Supplement Barometer Study, 2005 Report, Prepared by the Natural Marketing Institute (NMI).
Todd Williams; Source Naturals Marketing Programs Manager.
ABC News Calls for Input on Children and Supplements
April 26, 2006 04:39 PM
April 26th 2006,
ABC News Calls for Input on Children and Supplements
For a future report, ABC News has issued a call for “Stories” from parents whose children have taken dietary supplements. Queries like these, posted on the ABC News website, are used to identify potential participants for upcoming news programs, such as “World News Tonight” and “20/20.”
To help ensure that ABC News hears from consumers who have had positive experiences, NNFA urges retailers to pass this information onto customers who purchase supplements for their children.
“This is a great opportunity to get in on the ground floor of a news story while it is still developing,” Said David Seckman, NNFA’s executive director and CEO, “Retailers especially should know of consumers who have a personal story about how dietary supplements have positively impacted the health of their children.”
The text of the query, which is in the business section of the ABC News Web Site, is as follows:
“Do you give your children Echinacea, melatonin or other supplements? Have you tried nonprescription treatments for your child’s ADHD or other aliments? Maybe you’re found that your teenager buys creatine of muscle building or has experimented with with herbal mood enhancers. If this sounds like you and you’d like to share your story, please fill out the form below and let us know whether an AFC News producer may contact you to possibly include you in one of our reports. Make sure to include a phone number where you can be reached, and we may give you a call.”
Those wishing to answer the query, which is located in the “Money” section of the ABC News Web site, can go to the following link: //abcnews.go.com/business/story?id=1884324 and complete and submit the web form. While anyone can submit their information, news organizations typically give preference to those without a connection to the industry about which they are reporting. NNFA will also be contacting ABC News directly to help ensure this story is accurate and balanced.
Timely News Briefs from the National Nutritional Foods Association
April 15, 2006 01:29 PM
NNFA Questions, Responds to WSJ Article on Supplements… Last Friday, April 7th, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) published a letter to the editor from NNFA Executive director and CEO David Seckman, stating that a recent WSJ article titled “The Case Against Vitamins” ignored the vast majority of scientific studies that prove the safety and efficacy of vitamins while highlighting and distorting the few that do not. Seckman pointed out among other things that “While the author correctly stated people can get the proper amounts of micronutrients from foods, the fact is according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, more than 75 percent of Americans do not” and “while clinical syndromes of classical vitamin deficiencies are unusual in industrialized nations, suboptimal vitamin status is quite common has been associated with many severe chronic diseases.”
March 27, 2006 06:23 PM
If there’s one truth to be told about the natural products industry, it is this. We will never have a shortage of companies claiming to be the best. It happens so often in fact, that distinguishing the quality from the questionable has become an exhausting task all in itself. After all, making claims is easy. What’s challenging, however, is supporting these claims with something concrete.
As no stranger to recognition, NOW takes pride in every honor that is bestowed upon us. And yes, over the past year, we have been blessed in many ways. Nothing, however, can match the sense of reward that comes from having our efforts, values and commitment to human wellness acknowledged by our peers, colleagues and valued customers. It is with the most sincere gratitude that we are once again able to share these with you.
Vitamin Retailer Magazine’s 2005 Vity Awards Every Spring, Vitamin Retailer Magazine recognizes the most outstanding dietary supplements, and honors the recipients with a Vity Award. The winning products are selected based on a number of criteria. This year, three NOW products were awarded 1st place honors.
The first was presented in recognition of our MSM 1000 mg. This marks the third consecutive year that we’ve watched our MSM excel in this category. Next was the award for Vitamin E, which went to our Natural Vitamin E-400 mixed tocopherol formula. Like MSM, this was also awarded 1st place st place for the third year in a row. Finally, the award for “Best Calcium”, which was given to our Calcium Citrate. With the calcium category regarded as one of the most competitive, taking top honors is an accomplishment that we’re all very proud of. Whole Foods Magazine Natural Choice Winner Best Sports Supplement
It should come as no surprise to anyone that there are literally hundreds of protein formulas available. When it was announced that our line of Whey proteins had earned the title of “Best Sports Supplement” from Whole Foods Magazine, we were truly honored to be selected as one of their Natural Choice winners.
Each year, Whole Foods Magazine evaluates hundreds of products, selecting only those that meet their demanding standards. Our Sports division has worked tirelessly to perfect our Whey proteins, and this award is a true testament to the efforts they have put forth. NOW is one of the very few companies that offers a line of 100% natural proteins, free of artifi cial sweeteners. Accordingly, this is an honor that we’re especially proud of. Nutrition Business Journal’s Lifetime Leadership Award, Elwood Richard
Nutrition Business Journal recently honored NOW founder Elwood Richard, with their prestigious Lifetime Leadership Award. Mr. Richard has been an active member of the natural products business since 1960 and is a strong advocate for both science and quality. He co-founded the NNFA standards committee, and sponsors industry organizations such as Citizens for Health, NNFA, ABC, AOAC and AHPA among others. His hard work, vision and commitment have inspired our entire organization
in supporting independent retailers, producing quality products and taking proactive measures towards environmental preservation.
Nutrition Business Journal’s Business Achievement Award, Environment of Sustainability In addition to the award presented to Elwood Richard, NOW was also the recipient of the NBJ Business Achievement Award for Environment of Sustainability. This honor is presented to businesses who have consistently participated in both internal and local initiatives to make positive environmental impacts. Notably, our recycling program has reduced waste output by over 50%. NOW FOODS Vitamins also conducts employee training programs, supports community conservation efforts and hosts volunteer workdays to plant vegetation, remove litter and control lakeside erosion in a local forest preserve. These actions have earned us a number of community service awards from several local recreation organizations. Finally, we help support environmental organizations, including The Nature Conservancy and World Wildlife Fund.
AOAC adopts NOW Glucosamine Method
NOW Foods’ glucosamine HPLC method has passed the AOAC’s 2-year validation process to become the fi rst offi cial method for testing the standards of this popular joint health ingredient. It was selected by the expert review panel in April of 2003 as the “best method for further laboratory validation”. It will be published in the Journal of AOAC International and become available to the industry this summer, 2005. “Having NOW’s method for glucosamine become the offi cial AOAC method is a testament to the expertise of our staff, our focus on the science, and our commitment to quality,” said Michael Lelah, technical director of NOW Foods.
DuPage County Forest Preserve District’s Shooting Star Award.
The DuPage County Forest Preserve District of Illinois recently presented NOW Foods their Shooting Star Award at their annual Forest Preserve District volunteer banquet. This award recognizes the long-term efforts that our entire organization has made in order to improve and support the quality of the East Branch Forest Preserve in Glendale Heights, IL. This is also the fi rst time that the District has given this award to a company. As the primary recipient, we look forward to furthering our environmental efforts.
Recapping our 2004 Achievements
Eight 1st Place Vity Awards, from Vitamin Retailer Magazine
United States Department of Commerce Excellence in Export Achievement Award
Nutrition Business Journal’s Effort on Behalf of Industry Award Consumerlab.com Top Rated Brand in Health Food Stores based on Customer Satisfaction Natural Nutritional Foods Association (NNFA) Crusader Award, Elwood Richard Vitamin Retailer Magazine Manufacturer of the Year (2003)
Industry Groups Warn against Marketing Avian Flue Remedies.
January 17, 2006 04:52 PM
Industry Groups Warn against Marketing Avian Flue Remedies.
Washington—Jointly, the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) and National Nutritional foods association (NNFA) issued a statement in November reaffirming and calling for responsible use and marketing of dietary supplements, and encouraged consumers and retailers to avoid supplements purporting to prevent or treat the avian flu.
“The dietary supplement industry is keenly aware of public concern regarding avian flu and of the desire of the public to protect itself against this recent health epidemic, which can cause serious illness and, ultimately, death,” the statement read. “We do not believe any dietary supplements have been specifically shown to prevent or treat avian flu.”
The trade coalition futher issued the following unified guidance for marketers, retailers and consumers:
“Millions of Americans value dietary supplements because they can enhance general immune function and disease resistance,” they noted. “however, therapies for prevention or treatment of avian flu should only be recommended by a qualified health care professionals or public health authorities.”
Now Foods -QUALITY- High Standards and Attention to Detail
December 27, 2005 09:00 AM
QUALITY “High Standards and Attention to Detail”
As you shop for dietary supplements you’re faced with an almost dizzying array of choices. Naturally, every product claims to be this, that and the other. But you’ve heard the stories in the media of products that don’t live up to their claims. So how do you know who’s telling the truth? Perhaps a better gauge of a product’s quality is the manufacturer and their history. Do they have a legacy of producing quality goods? How long have they been in business? Is their track record good or do they have a history of product recalls and bad press? If you’re responsible for your family’s health and well-being, it pays to do your homework when it comes to the products you purchase for them. NOW® Foods has been manufacturing dietary supplements and whole foods for 35 years.
Companies that thrive and continue to grow for this long don’t do so because they produce poor quality products. They do so by maintaining extremely high standards and paying special attention to every detail, which is the secret to product quality. At NOW® Foods, these high standards and attention to detail are evident in every aspect of our operations, from receiving to production to finished goods, just as they have been for 35 years. You’re committed to buying only the best for your family, and we’re committed to supplying only the best for our customers.
Quality products are made using the highest quality ingredients. NOW Foods purchases raw materials from only the most reputable vendors, who are required to provide detailed specification sheets and lot-specific certificates of analysis for every shipment we receive. These documents provide information on the quality of the raw material and the various analyses used to verify that quality. Shipments that do not meet our quality standards are sent back to the manufacturer with a point by point report card of why the shipment was refused. We simply don’t just accept every shipment that’s delivered to our dock – no ingredient gets a free pass into our production facility. In addition, we also perform random vendor audits throughout each year to ensure that they’re meeting our stringent quality standards. NOW ® Foods is always vigilant when it comes to quality, just as you are. Another way we maintain high quality standards is by choosing to buy and incorporate registered and/or trademarked ingredients into our products. Each of these ingredients are exclusively produced by a company that owns proprietary manufacturing rights and licenses selected companies like NOW® to use these top quality ingredients in their products.
These registered/trademarked ingredients must undergo even more rigorous analysis and controls than other ingredients, and so offer additional assurance that products containing them are properly manufactured and labeled. Additionally, to maintain the integrity of their ingredient’s reputation, the trademark owner will independently test finished products from manufacturers to verify the quality meets their standards and the label claim of the company licensed to use it. You may be familiar with some of the trademarked ingredient NOW® uses such as, Ester-C® vitamin C, Chromemate® Chromium and L-Carnipure® Carnitine.
Scientific analysis of ingredients is extremely important to ensure the integrity of any dietary supplement. NOW Foods has made substantial investments in the development, construction and staffing of numerous inhouse laboratories, including an advanced instrumental analysis laboratory, a “wet lab” and a state-of-the-art microbiology lab. This saves us the time and expense of having to send samples out to commercial labs for analysis. While we use independent labs to verify our in-house test results, our capabilities allow us greater control over product quality and quicker approval of raw material shipments for production, which means fresher products for consumers. Our investment ensures that NOW® will be able to meet ever-increasing demands for accurate product analysis and outstanding product quality. NOW® is unique in the industry in that we annually spend more on Quality Assurance & Control than we do on Marketing and Advertising combined. What good is a lab without qualified people? NOW® employs an expert team of highly qualified scientists and technicians, including four Ph.D.’s. They’re constantly working to develop new and improved analytical methods, and their efforts contribute not only to our product quality but that of the entire industry as well.
This is all great, you say, but what about your facility and the equipment you use to manufacture products? Our 203,000 square foot facility is designed and built to standards that exceed food-packaging guidelines. It supports pharmaceutical-grade operations, which greatly enhances our ability to produce the highest quality products quickly. All this means fresher, more effective products on store shelves for consumers. NOW® Foods is an ‘A’ rated GMP-certified manufacturer, one of the first companies in the industry to attain GMP (Good Manufacturing Practices) certification. We’re also certified by QAI (Quality Assurance International) as an organic manufacturer. As consumers become increasingly demanding of supplement quality and safety, NOW® is ready to meet this demand with sound science and state-of-the-art research, manufacturing, and packaging capabilities. We are certain that our efforts to consistently maintain the highest product quality will help make your natural product purchasing decisions easier.
Quality that you and your customer can trust!
October 20, 2005 10:10 AM
Quality that you and your customer can trust!
“How do NOW products compare to other brands in terms of selection?”
Our 1,700+ SKU product line widely recognized as one of the most complete in the natural products industry. In addition to our extensive selection of dietary supplements, we also affer a full line of herbs, natural foods, aromatherapy, essential oils, herbal teas, herbal extracts, stevia products, natural cosmetics, books, and much more.
October 06, 2005 10:08 PM
Magnesium is a dietary mineral with a wide array of biological activities in the body. Magnesium participates in numerous life-essential processes that occur both inside and outside cells. Magnesium deficiency impacts normal physiologic function on many levels. Adequate magnesium is a fundamental requirement for optimum function of the cardiovascular system, the nervous system and skeletal muscle, as well as the uterus and GI tract. Magnesium deficiency can affect health of the heart, bones and blood vessels and alter blood sugar balance .
Magnesium–Important for Everyone, Deficient in Many The average person living in a modern country today very likely consumes less than the optimum amount of magnesium . An abundance of data collected over the last two decades shows a consistent pattern of low magnesium intake in the U.S. This pattern cuts a wide swath across various age-sex groups. The USDA’s Nationwide Food Consumption Survey found that a majority of Americans consumed less than the recommended daily magnesium intake . Twelve age-sex groups were studied and this low magnesium intake was true for all groups except 0 to 5 year olds.
An analysis of the nutrient content of the diets of 7,810 individuals age four and above included magnesium among several nutrients where the amounts supplied by the average diet "were not sufficient to meet recommended standards" . The FDA’s Total Diet study examined the intakes of eleven minerals, including magnesium, among eight age-sex groups. Data was collected four times yearly from 1982 to 1984. Levels of magnesium, calcium, iron, zinc and copper were low for most age-sex groups . Surveys conducted in Europe and in other parts of North America paint a similar picture. Loss of magnesium during food processing is one explanation for this global lack of adequate dietary magnesium .
In particular, the elderly may be susceptible to magnesium deficiency for a variety of reasons, including inadequate magnesium intake, poor absorption due to impaired gastrointestinal function and use of drugs such as diuretics that deplete magnesium from the body . It has recently been theorized that magnesium deficiency may contribute to accelerated aging, through effects on the cardiovascular and nervous systems, as well as muscles and the kidneys .
Women who take both synthetic estrogen and calcium supplements may be at risk for low blood levels of magnesium . Estrogen promotes the transfer of magnesium from blood to soft–tissues. Low blood magnesium may result if the ratio of calcium to magnesium intake exceeds 4 to 1. Magnesium supplementation is thus advisable for women taking estrogen and calcium.
Young adults are not immune to magnesium deficiency. The University of California’s Bogalusa Heart Study collected nutritional data from a cross-sectional sample of 504 young adults between age 19 and 28 . The reported intake of magnesium, along with several other minerals and vitamins, was below the RDA.
Glycine is a highly effective mineral chelator. This is because it is a low-molecular-weight amino acid, hence is easily transported across the intestinal membrane. A study conducted at Weber State University found this particular magnesium glycinate was absorbed up to four times more effectively than typical magnesium supplements.
Magnesium-the Versatile Mineral
The average adult body contains anywhere from about 21 to 28 grams of magnesium. Approximately 60 percent of the body’s magnesium supply is stored in bone. Soft tissue, such as skeletal muscle, contains 38%, leaving only about 1 to 2% of the total body magnesium content in blood plasma and red blood cells. Magnesium in the body may be bound either to proteins or "anions" (negatively charged substances.) About 55% of the body’s magnesium content is in the "ionic" form, which means it carries an electrical charge. Magnesium ions are "cations," ions that carry a positive charge. In its charged state, magnesium functions as one of the mineral "electrolytes."
Magnesium works as a "co-factor" for over 300 enzymatic reactions in the body. Metabolism uses a phosphate containing molecule called "ATP" as its energy source. Magnesium is required for all reactions involving ATP . ATP supplies the energy for physical activity, by releasing energy stored in "phosphate bonds".
Skeletal and heart muscle use up large amounts of ATP. The energy for muscle contraction is released when one of ATP’s phosphate bonds is broken, in a reaction that produces ADP. Phosphate is added back to ADP, re-forming ATP. ATP also powers the cellular "calcium pump" which allows muscle cells to relax. Because it participates in these ATP-controlled processes, magnesium is vitally important for muscle contraction and relaxation. By controlling the flow of sodium, potassium and calcium in and out of cells, magnesium regulates the function of nerves as well as muscles .
Magnesium’s importance for heart health is widely recognized. The heart is the only muscle in the body that generates its own electrical impulses. Through its influence on the heart’s electrical conduction system, magnesium is essential for maintenance of a smooth, regular heartbeat . Magnesium appears to help the heart resist the effects of systemic stress. Magnesium deficiency aggravates cardiac damage due to acute systemic stress (such as caused by infection or trauma), while magnesium supplementation protects the heart against stress . This has been found true even in the absence of an actual magnesium deficit in the body.
Evidence suggests that magnesium may help support mineral bone density in elderly women. In a two-year open, controlled trial, 22 out of a group of 31 postmenopausal women who took daily magnesium supplements showed gains in bone density. A control group of 23 women who declined taking the supplements had decreases in bone density . The dietary intakes of magnesium, potassium, fruit and vegetables are associated with increased bone density in elderly women and men . In an interesting animal study, rats were fed diets with either high or low levels of magnesium. Compared to the high magnesium-fed rats, bone strength and magnesium content of bone decreased in the low-magnesium rats, even though these rats showed no visible signs of magnesium deficiency . While this finding may or may not apply to humans, it raises the possibility that diets supplying low magnesium intakes may contribute to weakening of bone in the elderly.
Maximizing Absorption––Chelated Minerals Explained Mineral absorption occurs mainly in the small intestine. Like any mineral, magnesium may be absorbed as an "ion," a mineral in its elemental state that carries an electric charge. Mineral ions cross the intestinal membrane either through "active transport" by a protein carrier imbedded in the cells lining the membrane inner wall, or by simple diffusion. The magnesium in mineral salts is absorbed in ionic form. However, absorption of ionic minerals can be compromised by any number of factors, including: 1) Low solubility of the starting salt, which inhibits release of the mineral ion, and 2) Binding of the released ion to naturally occurring dietary factors such as phytates, fats and other minerals that form indigestible mineral complexes .
A second absorption mechanism has been discovered for minerals. Experiments have shown that minerals chemically bonded to amino acids (building blocks of protein) are absorbed differently from mineral ions. This has given rise to the introduction of "chelated" minerals as dietary supplements. Mineral amino acid chelates consist of a single atom of elemental mineral that is surrounded by two or more amino acid molecules in a stable, ring-like structure.
Unlike mineral salts, which must be digested by stomach acid before the desired mineral portion can be released and absorbed, mineral chelates are not broken down in the stomach or intestines. Instead, chelates cross the intestinal wall intact, carrying the mineral tightly bound and hidden within the amino acid ring. The mineral is then released into the bloodstream for use by the body. Research by pioneers in the field of mineral chelation and human nutrition indicates that the best-absorbed chelates consist of one mineral atom chelated with two amino acids. This form of chelate is called a "di-peptide." Compared to other chelates, di-peptides have the ideal chemical attributes for optimum absorption . Dipeptide chelates demonstrate superior absorption compared to mineral salts. For example, a magnesium di-peptide chelate was shown to be four times better absorbed than magnesium oxide .
Consumer Alert! Not all "amino acid chelates" are true chelates. In order for a mineral supplement to qualify as a genuine chelate, it must be carefully processed to ensure the mineral is chemically bonded to the amino acids in a stable molecule with the right characteristics. The magnesium bis-glycinate/lysinate in High Absorption Magnesium is a genuine di-peptide chelate ("bis" means "two"). It has a molecular weight of 324 daltons, considerably lower than the upper limit of 800 daltons stated in the definition of "mineral amino acid chelates" adopted by the National Nutritional Foods Association in 1996 .
Bioperine® For Enhanced Absorption Bioperine® is a natural extract derived from black pepper that increases nutrient absorption.* Preliminary trials on humans have shown significant increases in the absorption of nutrients consumed along with Bioperine® .
Scientific References 1. Abbott, L.R., R., Clinical manifestations of magnesium deficiency. Miner electrolyte Metab, 1993. 19: p. 314-22. 2. Durlach, J., Recommended dietary amounts of magnesium: Mg RDA. Magnesium Research, 1989. 2(3): p. 195-202. 3. Morgan, K.e.a., Magnesium and calcium dietary intakes of the U.S. population. Journal of the American College of Nutrition, 1985. 4: p. 195-206. 4. Windham, C., Wyse, B., Hurst, R. Hansen, R., Consistency of nutrient consumption patterns in the United States. J AM Diet Assoc, 1981. 78(6): p. 587-95. 5. Pennington, J., Mineral content of foods and total diets: the Selected Minerals in Food Survey, 1982 to 1984. J AM Diet Assoc, 1986. 86(7): p. 876-91. 6. Marier, J., Magnesium Content of the Food Supply in the Modern- Day World. Magnesium, 1986. 5: p. 1-8. 7. Costello, R., Moser-Veillon, P., A review of magnesium intake in the elderly. A cause for concern? Magnesium Research, 1992. 5(1): p. 61-67. 8. Durlach, J., et al., Magnesium status and aging: An update. Magnesium Research, 1997. 11(1): p. 25-42. 9. Seelig, M., Increased need for magnesium with the use of combined oestrogen and calcium for osteoporosis treatment. Magnesium Research, 1990. 3(3): p. 197-215. 10. Zive, M., et al., Marginal vitamin and mineral intakes of young adults: the Bogalusa Heart Study. J Adolesc, 1996. 19(1): p. 39-47. 11. McLean, R., Magnesium and its therapeutic uses: A review. American Journal of Medicine, 1994. 96: p. 63-76. 12. Graber, T., Role of magnesium in health and disease. Comprehensive Therapy, 1987. 13(1): p. 29-35. 13. Sueta, C., Patterson, J., Adams, K., Antiarrhythmic action of pharmacological administration of magnesium in heart failure: A critical review of new data. Magnesium Research, 1995. 8(4): p. 389- 401. 14. Classen, H.-G., Systemic stress, magnesium status and cardiovascular damage. Magnesium, 1986. 5: p. 105-110. 15. Stendig-Lindberg, G., Tepper, R., Leichter, I., Trabecular bone density in a two year controlled trial of peroral magnesium in osteoporosis. Magnesium Research, 1993. 6(2): p. 155-63. 16. Tucker, K., et al., Potassium, magnesium, and fruit and vegetable intakes are associated with greater bone mineral density in elderly men and women. Am J Clin Nutr, 1999. 69(4): p. 727-736. 17. Heroux, O., Peter, D., Tanner, A., Effect of a chronic suboptimal intake of magnesium on magnesium and calcium content of bone and bone strength of the rat. Can J. Physiol. Pharmacol., 1975. 53: p. 304-310. 18. Pineda, O., Ashmead, H.D., Effectiveness of treatment of irondeficiency anemia in infants and young children with ferrous bisglycinate chelate. Nutrition, 2001. 17: p. 381-84. 19. Adibi, A., Intestinal transport of dipetides in man: Relative importance of hydrolysis and intact absorption. J Clin Invest, 1971. 50: p. 2266-75. 20. Ashmead, H.D., Graff, D., Ashmead, H., Intestinal Absorption of Metal Ions and Chelates. 1985, Springfield, Illinois: Charles C. Thomas. 21. NNFA definition of mineral amino acid chlelates, in NNFA Today. 1996. p. 15. 22. Bioperine-Nature's Bioavailability Enhancing Thermonutrient. 1996, Sabinsa Corporation: Piscataway, N.J.
*This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
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