New PDR(R) for Nutritional Supplements Evaluates Validity of Health Claims and Hazards

Leading Reference Book Sorts Through Hype Surrounding Supplements



Apr 04, 2001, 01:00 ET from Thomson Healthcare

    NEW YORK, April 4 /PRNewswire/ -- Most nutritional supplements that claim
 to promote weight loss, improve sex life or increase athletic endurance don't
 work and some may even be harmful, while others show real promise for a wide
 range of conditions, including cancer, osteoarthritis, cardiovascular disease,
 macular degeneration and Alzheimer's disease, according to the PDR(R) for
 Nutritional Supplements, available now in bookstores and through online
 outlets.
     The publishers of the Physicians' Desk Reference (PDR), the world's
 leading drug reference for healthcare professionals and consumers for more
 than 50 years, have just published a 700-page reference volume that summarizes
 and analyzes the research data behind nutritional supplements and weighs in on
 whether or not the health claims are valid.
     "By consulting this new reference, consumers and their doctors can learn
 which nutritional supplements may improve health and which supplements may
 interact with foods or prescription or nonprescription medicines.  They will
 also be able to avoid the possible adverse effects from supplements that
 provide no scientifically proven benefit," said Sheldon Hendler, PhD, MD,
 author of the PDR for Nutritional Supplements and Clinical Professor of
 Medicine at the University of California at San Diego.
     About 75 percent of Americans use nutritional supplements including
 vitamins, minerals, amino acids, proteins, hormonal products, fatty acids,
 nucleic acids and probiotics.  Sales of dietary supplements, which include
 nutritional and herbal preparations, have surged to more than $14 billion in
 1999 from $8.3 billion in 1994.
 
     WEIGHT LOSS AND ATHLETIC PERFORMANCE
     With few exceptions, nutritional supplements marketed for weight loss and
 the promotion of lean body mass and athletic endurance have little or no data
 to support the claims.  Creatine, one of the most popular supplements, may be
 of some help to elite athletes, but little scientific evidence exists that it
 benefits anyone else, including the thousands of high school athletes that use
 it to enhance physical performance.  Safety is also an issue.  Very little
 long-term safety data exist and there is some concern regarding its effects on
 the kidneys, particularly among those with compromised renal function.
 Chromium has been one of the biggest selling supplements used for weight loss
 over the last few years; however, few credible studies exist to support this
 claim.
     Pyruvate and bromelain are among the few supplements that may benefit some
 athletes.  Pyruvate has shown some ability to enhance athletic endurance and
 bromelain may speed recovery from athletic injuries, in some instances.
     For weight loss, there is preliminary evidence that green tea catechins
 may increase energy expenditure and promote fat oxidation leading to weight
 loss.
 
     CANCER FIGHTING NUTRITIONAL SUPPLEMENTS
     According to the PDR for Nutritional Supplements, a number of nutritional
 supplements may be effective in fighting cancer.  Green tea catechins,
 curcuminoids, indole-3-carbinole (I3C), prebiotics, probiotics and conjugated
 linoleic acid (CLA) have all shown anti-cancer effects in the test tube and in
 animals.
     Vitamin E, selenium, lycopene, vitamin D, genistein, modified citrus
 pectin and beta-sitosterol have shown some promise in fighting prostate
 cancer.  Vitamin E, in one recent large study, reduced the incidence of
 prostate cancer by 32 percent and the rate of prostate cancer deaths by
 41 percent.  In another recent large clinical trial, selenium supplementation
 significantly reduced the incidence of prostate cancer, as well as that of
 lung and colorectal cancers.
 
     VITAMIN E AND OTHER VITAMINS - Heart Disease, Alzheimer's, Osteoporosis
 and More
     In addition to its potential effect on cancer, some data suggest that
 vitamin E may play a significant role in the prevention of cardiovascular
 disease.  It has also demonstrated immune-enhancing effects and may benefit
 some with Alzheimer's disease.  Claims that it reverses aging of the skin and
 enhances male fertility are poorly supported.  Vitamin C, despite some reports
 to the contrary, may reduce the duration, severity and incidence of colds in
 some individuals.  Vitamin K may be particularly beneficial for women with
 osteoporosis and riboflavin has shown some usefulness in the treatment of
 migraine headaches.  The vitamins B12, B6 and folic acid may reduce
 cardiovascular disease risk, particularly in those with elevated homocysteine
 levels.
 
     SEXUAL SUPPLEMENTS -- Almost All Hype
     While preliminary data show that the amino acid L-arginine may be helpful
 to some with erectile dysfunction (ED), there is little to no scientific
 support for most nutritional supplements that claim to have aphrodisiac
 effects and/or to help ED.  Nutritional supplements for which such claims are
 made include choline, pantothenic acid, L-phenylalanine, L-tyrosine and
 nicotinic acid.
 
     NEXT GENERATION NUTRITIONAL SUPPLEMENTS
     Sterol and stanol esters are emerging as significant cholesterol-lowering
 agents.  Already incorporated into some functional foods, these substances are
 being developed for wider use in functional foods, as well as for stand-alone
 supplements.
     Early evidence suggests that supplementation with the carotenoids, lutein
 and zeaxanthin, found naturally in the eyes, may reduce the risk of
 age-related macular degeneration, the most common cause of blindness in the
 elderly.
     Probiotics and prebiotics are newly emerging supplements for the promotion
 of bowel health.  Early experimental data suggests that these substances may
 reduce the risk of colon cancer.  They may also have a positive effect on the
 immune system and antimicrobial effects, as well as beneficial effects on
 mineral and lipid status.
     "The PDR for Nutritional Supplements is intended for anyone who has looked
 at vitamin and nutritional supplements, and wondered whether there is any
 scientific support for what the products claim to do," said Dr. Hendler.  "We
 critically reviewed and analyzed all the relevant literature in putting this
 book together in order to help physicians and other health professionals, as
 well as consumers, to better understand the often overwhelming marketplace of
 supplements.  We see this book as the bridge between health professionals, who
 will not take a stand on supplements without reliable information, and
 consumers, who generally have kept health professionals out of the loop when
 it comes to supplements."
     The PDR for Nutritional Supplements is the most comprehensive source of
 reference information about nutritional supplements and functional foods.  It
 includes indications and usage, pharmacology, mechanism of action, research
 summaries, contraindications, precautions, adverse reactions, potential
 interactions, dosing, overdosage, available formulations and literature
 citations for hundreds of substances.  The book retails for $59.95.  People
 can order the book toll free by calling, 800-678-5689, Monday through Friday
 from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. EST.
     "The science of nutritional supplements is continuously evolving.
 Doctors, researchers, industry and government are trying to understand whether
 supplements have clinical benefits.  For now, use of these supplements must be
 based on existing data, which vary from substance to substance.  We believe
 that the new PDR for Nutritional Supplements provides the best available
 summary of our current knowledge," commented Dr. Hendler.
     Dr. Hendler and researchers spent years reviewing the scientific research
 behind nutritional supplements for the PDR for Nutritional Supplements.  Once
 compiled, this research was subjected to critical analysis and evaluation.
     Sheldon Saul Hendler, PhD, MD, Clinical Professor of Medicine at the
 University of California, San Diego, is a leading authority on the role that
 vitamins, minerals and other nutrients play in health, wellness, disease and
 aging.  Dr. Hendler is the author of several award-winning health related
 books including The Doctor's Vitamin and Mineral Encyclopedia, among others,
 and is Editor-in-Chief of Journal of Medicinal Food.  He received his PhD in
 biochemistry from Columbia University, his post-doctoral training at the Salk
 Institute and his MD at the University of California, San Diego.  He is an
 attending physician at Scripps Mercy Hospital and Medical Center in San Diego
 and conducts research on degenerative disorders associated with aging.
 
     Thomson Healthcare is the publisher of the PDR for Nutritional
 Supplements.  It also publishes the industry's most complete line of drug
 reference guides including the Physicians' Desk Reference(R), PDR(R) for
 Herbal Medicines(TM), PDR(R) for Nonprescription Drugs and Dietary
 Supplements(TM), The PDR(R) Family Guides (including The PDR(R) Family Guide
 to Natural Medicines and Healing Therapies(TM)), PDR(R) Nurse's Handbook and
 PDR(R) Electronic Library.
 
 

SOURCE Thomson Healthcare
    NEW YORK, April 4 /PRNewswire/ -- Most nutritional supplements that claim
 to promote weight loss, improve sex life or increase athletic endurance don't
 work and some may even be harmful, while others show real promise for a wide
 range of conditions, including cancer, osteoarthritis, cardiovascular disease,
 macular degeneration and Alzheimer's disease, according to the PDR(R) for
 Nutritional Supplements, available now in bookstores and through online
 outlets.
     The publishers of the Physicians' Desk Reference (PDR), the world's
 leading drug reference for healthcare professionals and consumers for more
 than 50 years, have just published a 700-page reference volume that summarizes
 and analyzes the research data behind nutritional supplements and weighs in on
 whether or not the health claims are valid.
     "By consulting this new reference, consumers and their doctors can learn
 which nutritional supplements may improve health and which supplements may
 interact with foods or prescription or nonprescription medicines.  They will
 also be able to avoid the possible adverse effects from supplements that
 provide no scientifically proven benefit," said Sheldon Hendler, PhD, MD,
 author of the PDR for Nutritional Supplements and Clinical Professor of
 Medicine at the University of California at San Diego.
     About 75 percent of Americans use nutritional supplements including
 vitamins, minerals, amino acids, proteins, hormonal products, fatty acids,
 nucleic acids and probiotics.  Sales of dietary supplements, which include
 nutritional and herbal preparations, have surged to more than $14 billion in
 1999 from $8.3 billion in 1994.
 
     WEIGHT LOSS AND ATHLETIC PERFORMANCE
     With few exceptions, nutritional supplements marketed for weight loss and
 the promotion of lean body mass and athletic endurance have little or no data
 to support the claims.  Creatine, one of the most popular supplements, may be
 of some help to elite athletes, but little scientific evidence exists that it
 benefits anyone else, including the thousands of high school athletes that use
 it to enhance physical performance.  Safety is also an issue.  Very little
 long-term safety data exist and there is some concern regarding its effects on
 the kidneys, particularly among those with compromised renal function.
 Chromium has been one of the biggest selling supplements used for weight loss
 over the last few years; however, few credible studies exist to support this
 claim.
     Pyruvate and bromelain are among the few supplements that may benefit some
 athletes.  Pyruvate has shown some ability to enhance athletic endurance and
 bromelain may speed recovery from athletic injuries, in some instances.
     For weight loss, there is preliminary evidence that green tea catechins
 may increase energy expenditure and promote fat oxidation leading to weight
 loss.
 
     CANCER FIGHTING NUTRITIONAL SUPPLEMENTS
     According to the PDR for Nutritional Supplements, a number of nutritional
 supplements may be effective in fighting cancer.  Green tea catechins,
 curcuminoids, indole-3-carbinole (I3C), prebiotics, probiotics and conjugated
 linoleic acid (CLA) have all shown anti-cancer effects in the test tube and in
 animals.
     Vitamin E, selenium, lycopene, vitamin D, genistein, modified citrus
 pectin and beta-sitosterol have shown some promise in fighting prostate
 cancer.  Vitamin E, in one recent large study, reduced the incidence of
 prostate cancer by 32 percent and the rate of prostate cancer deaths by
 41 percent.  In another recent large clinical trial, selenium supplementation
 significantly reduced the incidence of prostate cancer, as well as that of
 lung and colorectal cancers.
 
     VITAMIN E AND OTHER VITAMINS - Heart Disease, Alzheimer's, Osteoporosis
 and More
     In addition to its potential effect on cancer, some data suggest that
 vitamin E may play a significant role in the prevention of cardiovascular
 disease.  It has also demonstrated immune-enhancing effects and may benefit
 some with Alzheimer's disease.  Claims that it reverses aging of the skin and
 enhances male fertility are poorly supported.  Vitamin C, despite some reports
 to the contrary, may reduce the duration, severity and incidence of colds in
 some individuals.  Vitamin K may be particularly beneficial for women with
 osteoporosis and riboflavin has shown some usefulness in the treatment of
 migraine headaches.  The vitamins B12, B6 and folic acid may reduce
 cardiovascular disease risk, particularly in those with elevated homocysteine
 levels.
 
     SEXUAL SUPPLEMENTS -- Almost All Hype
     While preliminary data show that the amino acid L-arginine may be helpful
 to some with erectile dysfunction (ED), there is little to no scientific
 support for most nutritional supplements that claim to have aphrodisiac
 effects and/or to help ED.  Nutritional supplements for which such claims are
 made include choline, pantothenic acid, L-phenylalanine, L-tyrosine and
 nicotinic acid.
 
     NEXT GENERATION NUTRITIONAL SUPPLEMENTS
     Sterol and stanol esters are emerging as significant cholesterol-lowering
 agents.  Already incorporated into some functional foods, these substances are
 being developed for wider use in functional foods, as well as for stand-alone
 supplements.
     Early evidence suggests that supplementation with the carotenoids, lutein
 and zeaxanthin, found naturally in the eyes, may reduce the risk of
 age-related macular degeneration, the most common cause of blindness in the
 elderly.
     Probiotics and prebiotics are newly emerging supplements for the promotion
 of bowel health.  Early experimental data suggests that these substances may
 reduce the risk of colon cancer.  They may also have a positive effect on the
 immune system and antimicrobial effects, as well as beneficial effects on
 mineral and lipid status.
     "The PDR for Nutritional Supplements is intended for anyone who has looked
 at vitamin and nutritional supplements, and wondered whether there is any
 scientific support for what the products claim to do," said Dr. Hendler.  "We
 critically reviewed and analyzed all the relevant literature in putting this
 book together in order to help physicians and other health professionals, as
 well as consumers, to better understand the often overwhelming marketplace of
 supplements.  We see this book as the bridge between health professionals, who
 will not take a stand on supplements without reliable information, and
 consumers, who generally have kept health professionals out of the loop when
 it comes to supplements."
     The PDR for Nutritional Supplements is the most comprehensive source of
 reference information about nutritional supplements and functional foods.  It
 includes indications and usage, pharmacology, mechanism of action, research
 summaries, contraindications, precautions, adverse reactions, potential
 interactions, dosing, overdosage, available formulations and literature
 citations for hundreds of substances.  The book retails for $59.95.  People
 can order the book toll free by calling, 800-678-5689, Monday through Friday
 from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. EST.
     "The science of nutritional supplements is continuously evolving.
 Doctors, researchers, industry and government are trying to understand whether
 supplements have clinical benefits.  For now, use of these supplements must be
 based on existing data, which vary from substance to substance.  We believe
 that the new PDR for Nutritional Supplements provides the best available
 summary of our current knowledge," commented Dr. Hendler.
     Dr. Hendler and researchers spent years reviewing the scientific research
 behind nutritional supplements for the PDR for Nutritional Supplements.  Once
 compiled, this research was subjected to critical analysis and evaluation.
     Sheldon Saul Hendler, PhD, MD, Clinical Professor of Medicine at the
 University of California, San Diego, is a leading authority on the role that
 vitamins, minerals and other nutrients play in health, wellness, disease and
 aging.  Dr. Hendler is the author of several award-winning health related
 books including The Doctor's Vitamin and Mineral Encyclopedia, among others,
 and is Editor-in-Chief of Journal of Medicinal Food.  He received his PhD in
 biochemistry from Columbia University, his post-doctoral training at the Salk
 Institute and his MD at the University of California, San Diego.  He is an
 attending physician at Scripps Mercy Hospital and Medical Center in San Diego
 and conducts research on degenerative disorders associated with aging.
 
     Thomson Healthcare is the publisher of the PDR for Nutritional
 Supplements.  It also publishes the industry's most complete line of drug
 reference guides including the Physicians' Desk Reference(R), PDR(R) for
 Herbal Medicines(TM), PDR(R) for Nonprescription Drugs and Dietary
 Supplements(TM), The PDR(R) Family Guides (including The PDR(R) Family Guide
 to Natural Medicines and Healing Therapies(TM)), PDR(R) Nurse's Handbook and
 PDR(R) Electronic Library.
 
 SOURCE  Thomson Healthcare