The goal of this newsletter is to inform you of new FHS products and other information that you might find useful. You are receiving this newsletter because you purchased products from FHS within the last six months. If you would prefer not to receive our newsletter then kindly contact our office in order to be removed from our mailing list.
It has been quite some time since our last newsletter, so we hope this newsletter will assist in catching up with new developments and that it will provide useful information and answers to some of the questions often asked by our customers.
- NO IRON IN FORTIFOOD’S MULTI-NUTRIENT
We regularly receive enquiries as to why FortiFood’s Multi-nutrient contains no iron. The reason for this is that we do not believe in iron supplementation for everyone in a general multivitamin and mineral formula. Iron supplements are not good for everyone and in some cases, they may be downright unsafe. Excess iron, by taking up or losing electrons, may enhance free radical activity and thus promote many diseases such as heart disease. It may also interfere with the action of certain drugs and nutrients such as vitamin E. Moreover, a minority of patients may be iron accumulators and they should certainly not be given excessive amounts of iron. Although iron deficiency is a real problem in a significant number of young women, most men and the vast majority of women are not iron deficient. In these patients, iron supplementation may be harmful. Therefore, iron should only be given when a deficiency has been clearly demonstrated medically, e.g. based on serum ferritin values.
- PROGESTERONE AND E-TRIOL CREAMS: CHANGE OF BASE CREAM
A number of customers enquired about the change in colour and consistency of these creams. The reason for this is that soybean oil is now used as a basis, replacing the previously used liquid paraffin oil. The reasons for this are twofold: Firstly, there is a debate as to the long term safety of petrochemical oils in terms of possible xenoestrogen effects resulting in increased cancer risk. Although research is weak, these indications do exist. The second and most important reason is absorption: Progesterone is more soluble in soybean oil than in paraffin, and soybean oil is more soluble in the fatty hypodermis layer (inner layer) of the skin. This means that soybean oil is a better vehicle to ensure delivery of molecules through the fatty (lower) skin layers, an essential requirement to enter the bloodstream. The disadvantages of soy oil are that is oily, and that it takes longer to penetrate the outer epidermis than paraffin does, therefore taking a little longer to rub in.
- AMINO ACIDS AS GENERAL SUPPLEMENT:
There are approximately 20 different alpha-amino acids which play important metabolic roles in the human body. Ten of these are called “essential amino acids” meaning that humans do not have the ability to synthesise (manufacture) these in the body. These amino acids, therefore, have to be obtained from food and they occur as building blocks in many of the body’s own proteins. Generally, a varied diet containing different types of animal and vegetable proteins will provide all our nutritional amino acid needs and there is, therefore, no need to take these in the form of expensive supplements. Possible exceptions to this rule may include certain sports activities where the focus is on muscle building. There are, however, some amino acids which do not occur in food (or at least not in adequate quantities) which play important metabolic roles in the body or which have therapeutic effects. L-taurine and L-arginine are examples. Taurine is not an alpha-amino acid but it plays a role in maintaining electrical balance over cellular membranes and arginine is a basic alpha-amino acid and in addition to other important functions, it has the unique property of controlling vascular tone by generating nitrogen oxide. In this manner, it also influences blood pressure. In many patients supplementing with these amino acids may be beneficial for specific purposes. FortiFood supplies some of these specialised amino acids, but for the reasons explained above, we do not supply a general amino acid supplement.
- WHEN SHOULD SUPPLEMENTS BE TAKEN ON AN EMPTY STOMACH, WHEN NOT?
There are two important reasons why most supplements should preferably be taken with meals. Firstly, most nutrients are best absorbed in the acidic environment after a meal. Acidity is a prerequisite for the absorption of minerals like calcium and magnesium but other food groups such as vitamins are also better absorbed in an acidic environment. Another important reason is that most nutrients act in synergy with others present in food. The potential benefits of a particular nutrient are therefore much enhanced by the presence of synergistic nutrients in food. As a general rule, most nutrients and especially multi-nutrient supplements should be taken with meals. Vitamin C is a notable exception: it should not be taken with your main meal but preferably in between meals or first thing in the morning. However, vitamin C also acts in synergy with other nutrients such as the anthocyanidins which occur in food. It is therefore good policy to take some fruit with your vitamin C supplement, and for this reason quality Vitamin C products contain bioflavonoids or proanthocyanidins. Some nutrients are best absorbed in the presence of oils. Coenzyme Q10 is a good example. It is, therefore, better to take your Q10 capsules together with your fish oil capsules. FortiFood will soon have a product containing Q10 in a fish oil basis.
- CHILDREN: IMMUNE SYSTEM, ALLERGIES ETC.
The immune cells develop from stem cells produced in the bone marrow which mature in the spleen and other organs. The most important immune cells are natural killer cells (NKC), which may destroy a variety of invading organisms, B-cells which produce antibodies), T- cells which inter alia kill viruses and macrophages (scavenger cells) that “eat” invaders and die. Collectively, this army of cells defends the body against invading organisms. In order to ensure maximum immune activity, certain micronutrients are particularly important. Without adequate levels of selenium, the T-cell function is compromised. Vitamin A is of particular importance for childhood immunity. It is the subject of perhaps the best and most consistently documented evidence of the role of a micronutrient in childhood immunity. A meta-analysis of a number of independent clinical trials has confirmed that high dose supplementation with vitamin A leads to a significant reduction in mortality among treated children (ACC/SCN Nutrition Policy Discussion Paper No 13, United Nations, Geneva, 1993). Immunocompromised individuals frequently have poorly functioning antioxidant systems resulting in an increased free radical burden contributing significantly to viral replication. In this regard, vitamins E and C are of particular importance. Other nutrients that are of importance include certain B vitamins and carotene and the minerals zinc, magnesium and selenium. Zinc supplements have been shown in several countries to reduce diarrhoea in children (New Engl J Med 1995, 333: 208). As a practical procedure which takes care of all of these individual observations, it seems a good policy as a first step to treat and prevent childhood infections (in children older than 2 years) by supplementing with a good quality Multivitamin and mineral such as FortiFood’s Multinutrient supplement. The dose should be in proportion to body weight relative to the adult dose of 6 tablets daily. Colds are best managed by immediately giving vitamin C (at least 1000 mg or more depending on body weight) and FortiFood Echinacea. In addition, all children should be given an appropriate daily dose of Cod Liver Oil as a source of vitamin A. Last but not least, special attention should be paid to dietary aspects. From a health perspective, reducing or cutting out sugar intake is one of the best things you can do for your child. We have known for decades that sugar depresses the immune system. The fact that sugar is hidden in so many food items such as soft drinks etc. makes it very difficult to monitor and restrict. Remember that, unfortunately, honey is also harmful. Excessive sugar intake has been associated with a long list of diseases, and in children, this definitely includes learning problems. Allergies should be clearly distinguished from food sensitivity. In the former the immune system is clearly involved but not in the latter which frequently involves a chemical reaction between certain food components and structures in the gut. Allergies often play an underlying role in repeated infections. Cow’s milk is often the culprit. In other cases, the particular allergens involved may often be revealed by means of immunological procedures. Special tests to determine food sensitivities are available.
- THE STAGES OF THE COMMON COLD
After infection of the nasal tissues by the cold virus, it takes 24 -36 hours for the tissues to reach peak levels of viral infection. During this phase, no symptoms are present (asymptomatic phase). During this phase, the immune system is also primed to counteract the virus. Various cytokines (immune messengers) are induced 24 -36 hours post infection, and macrophages and natural killer cells (cells of the immune system) are also produced and mobilised. Other immune cells (polymorph leucocytes) arrive 36 to 47 hours post infection. It is important to understand that the symptoms of a cold appear 45 to 50 hours after infection with the virus. The inflammatory symptoms noted by the patient are caused by the cascade of cytokines liberated in response to the viral infection. By the time symptoms appear, the virus is already leaving the body as a result of the activity of the immune system. This explains the fact that preparations that kill the virus are ineffective once the symptoms appear. The symptoms are caused by the pro-inflammatory effects of viral activity and at that stage compounds with anti-inflammatory activity are required. The above scenario also explains why antibiotics are of little use during the early stages of a cold infection because antibiotics have no effect on viruses. During the early stages of the infection, the airway passages are damaged by the inflammation as explained above, preparing the way for harmful secondary bacterial infections for which treatment with antibiotics may be useful, especially where such infections progress to bronchitis or pneumonia.
- ECHINACEA: APPROPRIATE USE OF CORRECT FRACTIONS ESSENTIAL
Three primary species of Echinacea are used therapeutically to treat and prevent virus infections such as the common cold and flu. They are Echinacea Angustifolia, E. curpurea and E. pallida. The first two of these are used more often. Extracts of these are very effective provided that the particular extract has been correctly standardised (standardisation means that the extraction process is executed in a manner to ensure that a specified minimum amount of the desired fraction is contained in the end product, for example, specifications may call for the extract to contain 8 mg of alkylamides per 100g). The fractions that may be present in such extracts include alkylamides (anti-inflammatory) and polysaccharides (immune stimulatory) and in the past mixed echinoside rich extracts have also been used. It is therefore important to understand the type of Echinacea extract you are using and what it has been standardised for and when it would be most effective. From these considerations and research done by Gaia Research in America, it is clear that different types of extract must preferably be used for different purposes. In order to do that, it is necessary to understand the different phases of the common cold and the body’s response during a cold infection as discussed elsewhere in this newsletter. As we will see in that discussion, it is the cascade of cytokines (immune modulators) that induce inflammation post-infection that actually causes the symptoms. By the time we experience the cold symptoms (inflammatory symptoms), the virus is being removed from the body by the immune system. This means that by the time the first symptoms appear, we should be concentrating on cold-specific anti-inflammatory medication i.e. the alkylamide Echinacea fraction, and not primarily on immune stimulatory properties. The best policy is, therefore, to take high doses of an alkylamide-rich fraction in large, frequent doses for 2-4 days after the onset of symptoms. The alkylamide therapy is a key step in preventing the typical (inflammatory) symptoms and when administered correctly, only mild symptoms or no symptoms at all will appear, provided that treatment is commenced at the first signs of a cold. Quite clearly, Echinacea extracts which have been standardised with respect to alkylamide content will be effective while others will be much less effective. Extracts standardised for echinosides, phenolic compounds or chicoric acids are often available on the market. Some inferior products are not standardised at all, using only a cheap form of ground echinacea leaves with little or no active ingredients. Other fractions have been shown to have none or at best very little immunostimulatory and anti-inflammatory activity. This also explains why so many clinical trials with “Echinacea” have yielded disappointing results resulting in medical claims that Echinacea is ineffective. Unfortunately, the active anti-inflammatory alkylamides are relatively unstable and it may lose up to 50% of its activity within 6 months when the dried plant material is stored. Certain liquid extracts have improved alkylamide stability. Further, if precautions are not taken and especially if careful temperature control is not observed during the extraction procedure, the product may contain chicoric acid fractions which are undesirable. The material used in the FortiFood Echinacea product is prepared in Switzerland with due consideration given to the above aspects. It is prepared from fresh plant fractions obtained from cold pressed plant juices processed to contain both the polysaccharide fraction (immune stimulatory) and the alkylamide fraction which is anti-inflammatory. It is carefully cold processed according to GMP conditions and therefore does not contain chicoric acid. In addition, care is taken by means of critical lab tests to also ensure that the polysaccharide fraction conforms to the highest quality specifications, while each batch is also analysed for the alkylamide fractions.
- FOOD STATE SUPPLEMENTS
Many natural nutrients (vitamins, minerals, amino acids etc.) occur in natural products such as the different foods in the form of complexes with proteins and other macromolecules. In addition, many of these natural products (e.g. calcium, iron) have to be complexed in a similar manner in the gut before absorption can take place. As a result of these considerations, it was suggested many years ago to use complexes of these natural products with carrier molecules (instead of the free molecules) for purposes of supplementation. It was thought that in this manner the supplements would simulate the natural complexes in food more closely. Studies have indeed shown that such “FoodState“ supplements are better absorbed than the uncomplexed natural substances (increased bioavailability). It also seems true that the increased bioavailability associated with the food state forms may have some advantages in the case of some nutrients, especially in those where minute quantities are required, such as vitamin B12 and selenium. A typical procedure by means of which food state forms are prepared is to grow a yeast culture in the presence of a large excess of the particular nutrient such as selenium or vitamin C. The ensuing cultured yeast cells then incorporate the particular nutrient in the form of yeast protein complexes in the growing yeast cells. Subsequently, the enriched yeast cells are harvested, dried and heated to kill all yeast cells. The dried material obtained in this manner is then tableted and used in supplements. The proteins and other carriers to which the nutrients are bound in the yeast cells are not the same as the natural carriers in food. Moreover, there are more than thirty different nutrients in food needed by the human body. This means that more than thirty different yeast complexed nutrients will all have to be formulated into a few tablets in order to prepare a complete food state supplement. Due to the special processes involved, food state forms are much more expensive than conventional forms, and the question arises whether similarly increased delivery cannot be achieved by simply increasing the dosage of conventional forms. It should be remembered that literally thousands of studies have been done in the past with conventional sources showing that these do work in practice. A further option to enhance bio-availability is to use amino acid chelates (“AAC”). Although these materials are also more expensive than conventional materials, they are considerably less expensive than food state products. FortiFood uses amino acid chelates in a number of its products.
- “DIAGNOSED WITH CANCER” WHAT NOW?
We are attaching the first of two articles written by Prof Serfontein for the South African Journal of Natural Medicine. We hope that these articles will provide some guidelines should you or one of your loved ones ever find yourself in the unfortunate position of having been diagnosed with cancer.
- NEW PRODUCT: ASTHMA FORMULA
The product contains Rosemary extract, perilla leaf, luteolin and other synergistic ingredients for nutritional support to lower the risk and severity of allergy-induced conditions such as asthma and hayfever. The product also contains two different forms of magnesium to promote absorption. Magnesium encourages bronchial muscles to relax thereby diminishing wheezing. Taurine plays a major role in protecting the lungs against free radicals in the oxygen-rich environment of the lungs. Regular intake of taurine has been shown to diminish asthmatic attacks significantly. Luteolin is a plant bioflavonoid with potent anti-allergic properties. It has been included in the product because it is now recognised that allergies play a major role in asthma. Luteolin is also a potent inhibitor of histamine release and acts as an inhibitor of the pro-inflammatory cytokines IL-6 and TNFa. Rosmarinic acid relieves allergy symptoms by preventing the activation of immune responder cells. Perilla leaf extract provides an additional source of rosmarinic acid and luteolin. Vitamin C combats allergies inter alia by acting as an antihistamine in high doses. Even low doses of vitamin C have been shown to reduce the risk of asthmatic attacks and improve lung function. At the same time, vitamin C has been shown to protect the bronchial airways against the effects of cold temperatures and fog.
- NEW PRODUCT: CHOLESTEROL FORMULA
A nutritional supplement to assist in the management of cholesterol, LDL and triglyceride levels, consisting of gallo-elagi tannins isolated from extracts of Indian gooseberry (AMLA) combined with an extract of Red Rice Yeast. AMLA has been used for centuries in India for the treatment of heart conditions. The efficacy of AMLA extracts in the treatment of hypercholesterolemia and atherosclerosis has been well established in a series of studies in both humans and animals (see for example Eur J Clin Nutr 1988, 11: 9-39). The product has two different effects on cholesterol metabolism in the liver. The one is to suppress the activity of the key enzyme HMG CoA reductase and the other is to enhance the degradation of cholesterol into bile acids. Several studies have confirmed that AMLA reduces LDL cholesterol and total cholesterol by approximately 29% and triglycerides by 24 % whilst at the same time increasing HDL by 14%. The HMG CoA reductase lowering the effect of AMLA is further strengthened in the product by the extract of Red Rice Yeast extract which contains active compounds that also suppress the activity of this enzyme. Since all products that suppress HMG CoA reductase activity, also suppress the biosynthesis of coenzyme Q10 (a vital enzyme in mitochondrial energy production), Q10 has been included in the formula to prevent possible deficiencies. The Red Rice Yeast extract has similar favourable effects to AMLA on triglycerides, total cholesterol, LDL and HDL cholesterol levels, thus further supporting the activity of AMLA. Other beneficial effects of the product include suppression of platelet activity (anti-clotting effect) and suppression of LDL oxidation (Curr Ther Res 1999, 60: 458).
- NEW PRODUCT: DIABETES FORMULA
A natural product for nutritional support of type 1 and especially type 2 diabetics, containing Gymnema Sylvestre, Cinnamon Cassia and other synergistic ingredients. The product was designed to control both glucose and insulin levels as well as to counteract complications that arise from the diabetic and pre-diabetic state. It is especially beneficial in type 2 diabetics but also benefits type 1 patients. Alpha-Lipoic acid promotes oxidation of carbohydrates thus improving insulin resistance. It is especially important in counteracting diabetic complications. High doses of biotin stabilise blood sugar levels in both type 1 and type 2 patients. Chromium is necessary for the cellular uptake of glucose. Chromium is especially critical in the type 2 patient, allowing reduction of insulin dosage levels. A widespread chromium deficiency in the Western World contributes significantly towards the development of diabetes. Magnesium is necessary for energy production and low levels prevent proper control of glucose blood levels. Gymnema Sylvestre has been widely used in the treatment of both types of diabetes. It has been shown to reduce insulin requirements significantly and may help to restore damage to the pancreas. Bilberry extract improves micro-circulation especially in the eyes thus preventing diabetic retinopathy. Niacinamide reduces insulin requirements and protects the pancreas (Diabetologica 1995, 38: 8480). Vanadium imitates the action of insulin thus reducing insulin requirements. It is a vital supplement for all who have insulin problems (J Clin Invest 1995, 95: 2501). Manganese is often deficient in diabetics. A deficiency compromises the patient’s ability to handle sugars. Cinnamon extract contains active compounds that have been used for years to treat diabetes. These compounds affect glucose metabolism at various stages.
- NEW PRODUCT: ALKALINISING FORMULA
The formula has been designed to increase the systemic pH to values in the vicinity of 7.4 -7.5, which is the normal blood pH value. It has been known for a long time that blood pH values below this are detrimental to health while more alkaline values (eg 7.5 or above within limits) are conducive to cellular metabolic processes. This has been shown to be due to the fact that many enzyme systems in the body are adversely affected by acidic conditions. Coral calcium is a source of calcium and magnesium, both of which are alkalinising minerals. Vitamin D3 promotes mineral absorption, and potassium citrate further alkalinises the blood while at the same time providing a source of potassium to correct for possible declining blood potassium values which may result from alkalinisation.
- NEW PRODUCT: BIOMAG
This magnesium supplement contains three different sources of bio-available magnesium to promote absorption and cellular uptake of magnesium. Aspartates specifically promote cellular absorption while citric acid promotes intestinal absorption. Chelated magnesium is also better absorbed than ordinary magnesium salts. Since the absorption of copper, manganese and zinc may be suppressed in the presence of relatively high levels of magnesium, these minerals are also included.
- NEW PRODUCT: BIOMAG SPORT
Capsules containing magnesium and other nutrients to promote blood oxygen transport, blood-forming and energy production. Magnesium is provided in several different forms to facilitate absorption and cellular uptake. Inositol hexaphosphate and L-arginine improve blood delivery to the tissues. In addition, the product also contains blood-forming nutrients (vitamins B12, folic acid, riboflavin and iron in the form of succinate). Energy liberating nutrients in the form of thiamine, niacinamide, pantothenic acid, vitamin B6 and alpha-lipoic acid are also provided. The minerals chromium, copper, manganese, potassium and zinc act synergistically with magnesium since the absorption of these minerals may be suppressed in the presence of high levels of magnesium. Carnitine and its precursor’s lysine and methionine are included since carnitine promotes entry of fatty acids into cells thus promoting the liberation of energy from dietary fats.
- NEW PRODUCT: EYE FORMULA
Nutritional support for the protection against declining eyesight, macular degeneration and cataract. Lutein, zeaxanthin and lycopene are carotenoids with powerful antioxidant properties. They concentrate in the eyes, specifically in the lens and macula, thus protecting delicate structures from free radical damage which results from the impact of light rays. They specifically protect against macular degeneration, which is responsible for reduced vision in many elderly people. Many studies have shown that high concentrations of taurine are needed in the eye to maintain optimal structure and function ( Exp Eye Res 1999, 60: 291). Bilberry extract contains a bioflavonoid with an affinity for the retina at the back of the eye where it protects against light-induced free radicals and improves the retinal circulation, known to be defective in the elderly.
- NEW PRODUCT: XYLITOL
An amazing natural sweetener with anti-tooth decay properties. Safe for diabetics, and is often used in weight loss programmes. Free from synthetic ingredients such as aspartame, saccharin or cyclamates.
- NEW PRODUCT: SQUALENE
A valuable fat-soluble antioxidant which protects against a wide variety of diseases including infections, cancer and heart disease. Squalene is an endogenous antioxidant (produced inside cells on demand) with powerful protective action against a wide variety of free radicals. Due to its unique isoprenoid structure, the product is highly fat soluble and able to concentrate in the lipid phase of the cell membrane thus protecting the cell membranes from damaging free radicals. As a result, the entry of viruses and toxins into cells is suppressed. In a similar manner, it protects the cell membranes of the immune cells thus ensuring optimal immune function. The dogfish (shark) with its large liver and high content of squalene is the principal natural source of squalene. The dogfish can survive in great depths in the ocean (up to 3000m) and uses its large reserves of squalene as a source of oxygen in the oxygen-poor environment at such great depths. It is therefore used therapeutically in diseases such as cancer where the oxygen status of the cells may be subnormal. Squalene is present in high concentrations in the skin where it serves to protect against UV induced damaging free radicals by preventing peroxidation of lipids. In this regard, it is superior to vitamin E because of the limited integration of the latter in biomembranes and the fact that, unlike squalene, vitamin E cannot freely move about in biomembranes. Moreover, whereas vitamin E requires recycling by other endogenous antioxidants, this is not the case with squalene. Squalene is part of the cholesterol synthesising cellular mechanism in which acetate is systematically converted into cholesterol via a large number of intermediary steps including mevalonic acid and squalene. It has been demonstrated that, through a feedback mechanism, squalene controls the rate at which this process proceeds and thus also indirectly controls the synthesis of cholesterol. Squalene is, therefore, a key substance with far-reaching health benefits including protection against cancer, virus disease and heart attacks. However, it is important to use only the best quality squalene with particular attention inter alia to toxic mineral content.
From a conservation point of view, the dogfish is very abundant. It is the most common shark species in the world. While the dogfish is related to the shark family, it is not on the endangered species list because huge numbers are widely distributed throughout the oceans of the world.
- PRODUCT ENHANCEMENT: FISH OIL IN VEGI-CAPS
Our fish oil product now comes in vegi-caps instead of the previously used softgels. This means that it contains no animal products and is now acceptable to strict vegetarians as well as the Muslim and Jewish communities.
- PRODUCTS IN THE PIPELINE:
- Q10 in fish oil
- Pain relief gel
- Blueberry extract
- Muscle tone: nutrients to prevent muscle loss in the elderly and during severe illness.
Please check our website regularly for updates, or send us an enquiry here.
- REMINDER: SENIOR CITIZENS BENEFIT SCHEME
The scheme which was implemented on a trial basis seems to be running well and has now been made permanent. We are happy to make a difference to those who need supplements most, yet often struggle to make ends meet financially. For further enquiries, please contact our office.
- OFFICE CLOSURE DURING DECEMBER
Kindly note that our office will close at 12:00 on Friday 21 December and re-open again on Wednesday 2 January 2008. Finally, we would like to thank you for your support during the last few months. Please feel free to contact us if you have any suggestions regarding topics to be discussed in this newsletter, or if you have any other queries. Although we may not have all the answers on hand immediately, we are well positioned to provide you with the latest information regarding food supplements and natural medicine.
The FortiFood team.