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23 Oct 13

**Italian government raises concern over UK traffic light labelling
**Study indicates that taking multivitamins with minerals may reduce breast cancer mortality
**Low intake of dietary fibre linked to cardiometabolic risk
**Low levels of vitamin D appear to increase a child’s risk of anaemia.
**Tesco reports that it generates almost 30000 tonnes of food waste
**Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids may lower risk of small brain infarcts in the elderly
**Increasing broccoli's cancer-fighting potential
**Sprite like drink found to alleviate the pain from hangovers
**Improving the fibre content of meatballs using citrus fibre
**Potential for nutrient-rich prairie fruits
**Could daily cinnamon supplements help women with polycystic ovary syndrome?

**Italian government raises concern over UK traffic light labelling
According to The Guardian Italian politicians fear that sales of traditional delicacies of the Mediterranean and cheese such as mozzarella will be affected by traffic-light labelling.  Traffic-light labelling highlights the amount of sugar, salt and fat content of food.  The Guardian notes that whilst the system is praised by UK health campaigners the Italian politicians believe that it risks “penalising top-quality while doing little to help tackle Britain’s obesity problem.”   The Italian government has raised concerns with the European Commission and is also in discussion with other European countries.  Paolo de Castro, head of the European parliament's agriculture committee reports that more labelling was necessary, but that the traffic-light method was not the way forward as it seeks to influence people’s choices and not all information is there.  He states the policy was "against the Mediterranean food culture", and that other countries, including Spain and Greece, were affected by it as well. The Guardian notes that Italy's agriculture and food industry bodies believe this "technical" approach to food steers consumers away from evaluating foods as part of a balanced diet.

**Study indicates that taking multivitamins with minerals may reduce breast cancer mortality
Findings published in Breast Cancer Research and Treatment  indicate that older women who develop invasive breast cancer while taking multivitamin supplements with minerals have a 30% lower rate of breast cancer mortality compared to those who did not take supplements. The study by Wassertheil-Smoiler et al. followed 7728 women aged 50 to 79 with invasive breast cancer, involved in the WHI, for just over 7 years.  At baseline 37.8% of the women took supplements.  Breast cancer mortality for the entire cohort was 6.7% however it was 30% lower in the women who took the supplements compared to nonusers.   Wassertheil-Smoiler et al. state “It appears that taking multivitamins is safe for women with breast cancer, and may be protective. However, most were taking multivitamins with minerals before they were diagnosed with breast cancer; we do not know if starting to take multivitamins after diagnosis is of benefit or harm.  Perhaps the women who took the multivitamins regularly were overall healthier than those who didn't, and this general good health helped to protect them from dying from breast cancer. If so, we wouldn't know if the multivitamins made them healthier or if women who were healthy and health conscious to begin with tended to be users of multivitamins. We call that confounding. We did control for many confounders, using sophisticated statistical methods, but still there could be residual confounding.”

RSSL's Functional Ingredients Laboratory provides vitamin analysis in a wide range of matrices including drinks, fortified foods, pre-mixes and multi-vitamin tablets.  It provides a full vitamin and mineral analysis service to assist with labelling, due diligence, claim substantiation and stability. For more information please contact Customer Services on Freephone 0800 243482 or email enquiries@rssl.com

**Low intake of dietary fibre linked to cardiometabolic risk
A study by Clark et al published in The American Journal of Medicine has found a significant association between low intakes of dietary fibre and cardiometabolic risk, including metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular inflammation and obesity.  The scientists also investigated how dietary fibre consumption varied by age, gender, ethnic and socioeconomic status.  Previous research has suggested that dietary fibre may assist in lowering blood pressure, cholesterol levels and inflammation.  Clark et al examined data from 23,168 US adults aged over 20 involved in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 1999-2010 (NHANES).  The average daily fibre intake was found to be 16.2 g, which is much lower than the recommended levels set by the Institute of Medicine.  The participants with the highest prevalence of metabolic syndrome, inflammation, and obesity were found to also have the lowest intakes of dietary fibre. Socioeconomic status and ethnicity also influenced intake levels, with Mexican-Americans having more fibre in than diet than non-Hispanic whites, who had more than non-Hispanic blacks. 

**Low levels of vitamin D appear to increase a child’s risk of anaemia.
According to scientists at Johns Hopkins Children’s Center, low levels of vitamin D appear to increase a child’s risk of anaemia. Whilst the researchers caution their results, they do say their findings provide evidence of a complex interplay between low vitamin D levels and haemoglobin.  The study published in the Journal of Pediatrics provides a number of suggestions for the link including vitamin D’s effect on red blood cell production in bone marrow, and its ability to regulate immune inflammation.  The team came to these findings after analysing blood samples from over 10400 children, tracking levels of vitamin D and haemoglobin.  Those who had low haemoglobin levels were found to have low vitamin D levels compared with non anaemic participants. Children with vitamin D levels less than 30 ng/ml were found to have nearly twice the risk of anaemia compared with those who had normal levels. 

RSSL's Functional Ingredients Laboratory provides vitamin analysis in a wide range of matrices including drinks, fortified foods, pre-mixes and multi-vitamin tablets, including the analysis for Vitamin D2 and Vitamin D3.  It provides a full vitamin and mineral analysis service to assist with labelling, due diligence, claim substantiation and stability. For more information please contact Customer Services on Freephone 0800 243482 or email enquiries@rssl.com

**Tesco reports that it generates almost 30000 tonnes of food waste
According to the popular press Tesco has reported that it generated almost 30,000 tonnes of food waste in the first six months of 2013. Using data it estimates that across the UK food industry as a whole, 68% of salad to be sold in bags was wasted (35% of it thrown out by customers), 40% of apples and 47% of bakery items in the UK were wasted.  Other estimates are that 24% of grapes were wasted between the vine and the fruit bowl and that a fifth of all bananas were unused - with one-in-10 thrown away by customers.   The BBC is reporting that Tesco is introducing measures to reduce wastage including developing promotions for smaller bags of salad, ending multi-buy on large salads and providing tips to customer on storage of fruit.  It also reports that where possible, food which can’t be sold should be donated to the poverty charity FareShare, converted into animal feed, or recycled into renewable fuel. 

**Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids may lower risk of small brain infarcts in the elderly
A study published in Journal of the American Heart Association is reporting that high long-chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid content in blood may lower the risk of small brain infarcts and other brain abnormalities in the elderly.  Virtanen et al. recruited 3660 participants aged 65 and older involved in the Cardiovascular Health Study in the USA, who underwent brain scans to detect silent brain infarcts, or small lesions in the brain that can cause loss of thinking skills, dementia and stroke. Scans were performed again five years later on 2,313 of the participants.  The researchers found that those who had high long-chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid content in blood had about 40% lower risk of having small brain infarcts compared to those with low content of these fatty acids in blood. People who had high long-chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid content in blood also had fewer changes in the white matter in their brains.

RSSL's Lipids Laboratory, part of the Investigative Analysis Team has expertise in all aspects of fat analysis and fatty acid profiling, including the determination of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. For more information please contact Customer Services on Freephone 0800 243482 or email enquiries@rssl.com

**Increasing broccoli's cancer-fighting potential
A study published in ACS' Journal of Agricultural & Food Chemistry has reported a method of increasing the cancer fighting potential of broccoli.  Juvik et al report that consuming broccoli has been regularly linked to lower rates of prostate, colon, breast, lung and skin cancers. The scientists sprayed a plants hormone, Methyl jasmonate (250 μM), in the florets of a five commercially available broccolis. This natural hormone protects the plants against pests.  Glucosinolates (GSs) and the substances that are left when GSs are broken down can increase the levels of a broccoli enzyme that helps rid the body of carcinogens. MeJA treatment significantly increased glucoraphanin (11%), gluconasturtiin (59%), and neoglucobrassicin (248%) concentrations and their hydrolysis products including sulforaphane (152%), phenethyl isothiocyanate (318%), N-methoxyindole-3-carbinol (313%), and neoascorbigen (232%) extracted from florets of these genotypes over two seasons. The researchers report that sulforaphane is the major contributor toward enhanced cancer-fighting enzyme levels, although other substances also likely contribute. They note that environmental conditions also play a role too and say that this information could be used to identify superior broccoli and to breed even more healthful broccoli plants.

**Sprite like drink found to alleviate the pain from hangovers
A new study published in the journal Food & Function is reporting that a drink similar to Sprite may help to alleviate the pain from hangovers. The Chinese researchers compared 57 beverages, including 40 herbal infusions, 12 kinds of tea and five types of carbonated drinks.   They added each drink to two different mixtures in the lab: ethanol and alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH) and acetaldehyde and acetaldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH).  The team note that when people drink an alcoholic beverage, the body undertakes a two-step process to deal with the alcohol.  First, an enzyme called alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH) begins breaking the alcohol down into acetaldehyde, then another enzyme, aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH), breaks it down further into acetate.  They state that acetaldehyde causes the brain to swell leading to hangover pain.   Only a drink called "hui yi su da shui" which the researchers report is a "kind of weak alkali soda drink which contains some flavour additives and sugar" was found to slightly reduced the activity of ADH in metabolising ethanol and increased the activity of ALDH by 49%, causing the levels of the toxic chemical acetaldehyde to lower quickly. However the scientists report that they did not know which chemical in this drink may be responsible for the changes seen.  Four drinks slightly increased the activity of both enzymes. A drink called "xue bi", which is similar to Sprite, increased the activity of ALDH in getting rid of acetaldehyde by 28%. There were 21 drinks that increased the metabolism of ethanol but reduced the metabolism of acetaldehyde, and 31 that reduced both, including green tea.

**Improving the fibre content of meatballs using citrus fibre
A team of researchers from the University of Missouri have investigated how to incorporate dietary fibre to meatballs, while retaining quality and taste. The press release notes that Americans consume only half the daily recommended amount of dietary fibre. Gedikoglu and Clarke added citrus fibre at 1%, 5% and 10% increments to replace some of the meat in meatballs.  When keeping the fibre at 1 or 5% the scientists report that the colour and texture of the meatballs remained acceptable.  A restaurant-sized serving of the citrus meatballs, containing 2% citrus powder, contains approximately 5 g of fibre. Traditionally, meatballs contain no fibre.

**Potential for nutrient-rich prairie fruits
According to a study published in the Canadian Journal of Plant Science, prairie fruits, in particular buffaloberry, chokecherry and sea buckthorn, are nutrient rich and have a potential high food value. According to the study buffaloberry were found to be high in ascorbic acid, at a level that was greater than 4 times that reported for oranges.  Chokecherry contained high levels of anthocyanin pigments (antioxidants) and can be considered a good source of these compounds with a concentration that was higher than the levels reported for fruits such as cranberry (anthocyanins purported health benefits include anti-inflammatory properties, and cardio-vascular benefits and potential anticarcinogenic properties). Sea buckthorn contained high levels of lipids for a fruit, though the level varies with location and variety and all of the fruits contained high levels of total dietary fibre.  The researchers report that the fruit could be used to produce nutrient rich ingredients, improve the food value of traditionally prepared food, be consumed directly as a healthy snack and could be used as supplements for nutrient-poor populations.

RSSL’s Functional Ingredients Laboratory can offer anthocyanin analysis by colorimetric methods or HPLC in a range of foods and beverages. For more information please contact Customer Services on Freephone 0800 243482 or email enquiries@rssl.com

**Could daily cinnamon supplements help women with polycystic ovary syndrome?
Scientists from Columbia University Medical Center in New York City are reporting that women with polycystic ovary syndrome who took daily cinnamon supplements experienced nearly twice the menstrual cycles over a six-month period as women with the syndrome given an inactive placebo. The small study by Kort et al. presented at a meeting of the International Federation of Fertility Societies and American Society for Reproductive Medicine in Boston involved 16 patients, with 11 were given daily 1,500-milligram cinnamon supplements and five were given placebo pills. Diet and activity levels were monitored, and patients completed monthly menstrual calendars. After six months, the women receiving cinnamon had significant improvement in menstrual cycle regularity, having an average of nearly four menstrual periods over that time compared to an average of 2.2 periods among the placebo group. Two women reported spontaneous pregnancies after three months of cinnamon treatment, meaning they became pregnant without additional help. (WebMD)

RSSL's Functional Ingredients Laboratory can analyse for marker components in dietary and herbal supplements. Analytical services for vitamins and minerals are also available. For more information please contact Customer Services on Freephone 0800 243482 or email enquiries@rssl.com

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