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Growing probiotic market credibility requires more transparency and specificity, experts say – Nutritional Outlook

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© 2021 MJH Life Sciences and Nutritional Outlook. All rights reserved.
© 2021 MJH Life Sciences and Nutritional Outlook. All rights reserved.

More labeling transparency, strain specificity, and research is needed to strengthen the evidence linking probiotics with health benefits, said two experts at the Consumer Healthcare Products Association’s Regulatory, Scientific & Quality Conference last week.

Probiotics are poised for growing consumer buy-in, but future changes are needed to strengthen the case linking them with proven health benefits. Those changes include the need for increased label transparency, strain specificity, and research, said two probiotic experts who spoke at a September 9 webcast during last week’s Consumer Healthcare Products Association’s (CHPA; Washington, DC) virtual 2021 Regulatory, Scientific & Quality Conference.
What Don’t We Know?
There’s still a lot researchers don’t know about how precisely probiotics change the actual structure of human microbiota, or their mechanism of action, said webcast speaker Mary Ellen Sanders, PhD, consultant for Dairy & Food Culture Technologies. In fact, she said, we don’t even know for sure what a healthy microbiota composition ideally should look like.
“[E]xperts have not been successful in defining the composition of a healthy microbiota, so that means that even if we could use probiotics to change the microbiota, we don’t really know what the target for the healthy microbiota really is,” she said. “We don’t necessarily understand what we would want to turn that microbiota into to provide a healthier expression in a human.”
What we can observe is changes probiotics have on microbiota function, she said. “[R]esearchers are now starting to emphasize a little less the composition of the microbes and focusing more on the microbiota function and what the function of the microbes might mean. And so, studies on probiotics and their impact on microbiota function very well likely may be more important and potentially more fruitful in understanding the ability of probiotics to have an overall impact on the microbiota.”
In other words, “the evidence of the health benefit is probably more important than demonstrating the microbiota-mediated mechanism for a probiotic intervention, because it’s going to be more important to understand that probiotics can do something for the health of a person than to understand the mechanisms behind it,” she stated.
In the research realm, there’s still a need for more well-conducted, randomized controlled trials. Researchers also need to understand the reasons why some individuals respond one way to a probiotic intervention and others respond differently. “We don’t have a very good sense right now of what drives responders and non-responders to probiotics,” Sanders said. Individual characteristics may impact the effect of a probiotic supplement, including host genetics, diet, baseline microbiota state, and a person’s current physiology, not to mention the unique properties of the supplement itself, including its delivery vehicle and manufacturing conditions.
Dosage and strain are obviously unique determinants of how a probiotic will impact an individual. The same dosage is not right for everyone, and there is a wide range of product dosages on the market, Sanders said. At the least, the dosage should match the dose that was studied in the clinical trial showing a health benefit.
All of these things need to improve to make the evidence backing probiotics’ benefits stronger, she said.
More Transparency, Specificity
In addition, said Sanders, “We need to have a better sense of what specific strains and doses are best for what conditions…” Part of what will help is if probiotic product makers are more transparent about which microbial strains are in their products and at what dose. Consumers need that information to understand if a product’s composition matches what was studied in a proven trial. All this will boost the category’s credibility. After all, if a consumer believes a certain product will help their health condition when in fact the strain in the product is ineffective for that target, they won’t be pleased.
Unfortunately, said Sanders, the product labels on the market “sometimes don’t provide sufficient information.” In fact, she said, two surveys she helped conduct of commercial probiotic products on the market found “that fewer than half of the dietary supplement products that were on the market could be linked to any evidence of a health benefit. And, in most cases, that was because about half of these products or fewer than that actually don’t provide strain designations—and, as I mentioned, without a strain designation, you cannot track down the particular papers that have been published that document health effects.”
Moreover, she noted, “the products not only didn’t include strain designations, but in this case, half the products did not list colony-forming units at the end of shelf life; many were labeled as ‘at time of manufacture.’ And so those were real deficiencies in probiotic supplement labels.”
Sanders urged, industry wide, that manufacturers include information such as the genus and species and strain, the product’s potency (the colony-forming units, or CFUs, present through the end of shelf life, not simply at the time of manufacture), an explanation (when possible) of a health benefit, as well as storage and other conditions for use.
Interestingly, she noted, the labels for probiotic foods on the market fared slightly better in the market study she helped conduct, which found that out of 45 probiotic foods, 22 listed strain designations and unit-dose listings in CFUs. “What it showed, too, was that of the 22 products that did list strain designations, they could all be linked to evidence,” Sanders said. “That suggests that the probiotic foods that are on the market in the U.S., that if you find one that has a strain designation on it, chances are you’re looking at a product that also has papers published to show that it has some health benefit.”
Education and Outreach
Continuing education is key to teaching consumers and healthcare practitioners about the benefits linked to probiotics, said webcast speaker George Paraskevakos, executive director of the International Probiotics Association (IPA). Last year, his organization conducted an extensive media outreach campaign and continues to create probiotic-information resources for healthcare professionals and consumers. The association also recently created what it says is the first-ever probiotics university course in the U.S., with more details to be shared soon.
Within the industry, IPA also continues educating about probiotics, including on global regulations and best practices for manufacturing and labeling. IPA has also taken an active role in petitioning FDA to make CFUs the official unit of measure for probiotic labels in the U.S. and to specify probiotics in the legal definition of a dietary ingredient.
IPA also promotes harmonizing probiotic definitions around the world to overcome “regulatory divergence,” which will reduce confusion and create a smoother path for probiotics. For instance, the official definition of a probiotic established by the World Health Organization and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, while accepted by many countries, has “been interpreted by different government agencies around the world in a very different way.” Paraskevakos said that “depending on which country you are in or which country you want to commercialize in, probiotics can be in foods, probiotics can be supplements, they can be medical devices, they can be drugs. The benefits that can be reported are either generic or very specific or therapeutic.”
On a global scale, it will also be important for countries to address quality factors like safety, enumeration, and reproducibility, he said. “These are all things that are very important to a government to be able to regulate these types of products, including probiotics in their country.”
Future Potential
Addressing global industry gaps will be important in ensuring the probiotics market continues to thrive. More consumers are interested in probiotics, and probiotic sales grew during the COVID-19 pandemic, Paraskevakos pointed out. He noted statistics showing that the global probiotics dietary supplement market alone grew 10% last year, with the overall global probiotics market (including supplements, food, and yogurt/milks) logging $47.4 billion in retail sales in 2020. Top markets include the U.S. and China. More millennials and men are purchasing probiotic products than ever before, meaning the audience has a lot of room to grow. Online, probiotics, by revenue rank, are the top-selling vitamin/mineral/supplement category on Amazon.com.
“Probiotics are growing at a very nice rate,” Paraskevakos said. “They’re still trending upwards—maybe not the fastest top-growing market, but it is a very high growth rate just the same.”
Looking forward, Sanders pointed to emerging probiotic research areas that seem promising. These include brain health (for stress, anxiety, and symptoms of depression), metabolic health (including reducing body weight, managing blood pressure, and managing blood lipids and glycemic levels), skin and vaginal health, and oral health.
“The take-home message here is that probiotics have some compelling health benefits, and I think there’s a really bright future for probiotics; however, there is a need for improved labels on probiotic products” to drive those benefits home, she concluded.
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ChalleNGe Academy graduate prepares for West Point journey – West Virginia MetroNews

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MONTGOMERY, W.Va. – A West Virginia National Guard Mountaineer ChalleNGe Academy graduate is the first graduate to earn an appointment to the U.S. Army’s Military Service Academy, West Point.
William Farkas, 17, of Preston County, said he was has made a lifelong dream a reality.
It’s been something I’ve been dreaming about since elementary school and something I’ve been set on doing since middle school,” Farkas said during a Friday appearance on MetroNews “Talkline.”
He said the training he received at the Mountaineer ChalleNGe Academy-South in Montgomery was key in developing the attitude and work ethic that enabled him to succeed. That level of focus was required to gain admission to one of the most prestigious universities in the country.
“Everybody was encouraging me there. Everybody wanted me to succeed,” Farkas said. “I kept testing on the ACT and I ended up scoring in the 30’s with my composite. I wouldn’t been able to do it without them.”
William Farkas becomes the first Mountaineer Challenge Academy graduate to receive an appointment to West Point. He talks about this next step in his life with @HoppyKercheval. WATCH: https://t.co/yCFQ3nDJuy pic.twitter.com/jJO0mae0Ap
— MetroNews (@WVMetroNews) January 21, 2022

Within a paramilitary structure, cadets are challenged to learn coping skills, how to lead as well as how to follow, citizenship and physical fitness. Farkas said the program is very demanding. He was awarded the Robert C. Byrd Distinguished Cadet Award and Adjutant General’s Award for Academic Excellence as well as the appointment to West Point.
“The first day was a shock and the first night was even more so a shock,” Farkas said. “I went to sleep and asked myself,,’Am I really doing this? Am I really sleeping on a cot in the gym on reception day?’”
Farkas is enjoying this success before the next chapter of West Point preparation begins.
“It was worth it,” Farkas said. “Despite the initial challenges it was worth it.”
The next stop for Farkas is one-station unit training at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. He is scheduled to report to West Point in June to begin his college career.

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Sick Day Management for Diabetes: How to Plan Ahead – Healthline

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When you have diabetes, taking care of yourself during an illness has extra importance — even if the condition is as common as the flu or a urinary tract infection.
To avoid complications, it’s a good idea to plan ahead for how you’ll handle sick days, illnesses, and infections.
This article provides some expert guidance on:
When you have diabetes, an illness or infection can deliver a powerful one-two punch to your body. Here’s how.
One reason to plan ahead is because illness or infection can worsen diabetes symptoms.
Your body reacts to them the same way it reacts to stressful events. It produces a surge of hormones, including cortisol. Cortisol is often called the stress hormone.
When your body is flooded with cortisol, your blood sugar can spike for several reasons:
Both of these actions can mean that when your body is dealing with an illness or infection, you may experience a bump in your blood sugar levels.
If you have diabetes, you may have a higher risk of certain kinds of infection or illness.
Research from 2021 shows that people with diabetes are more likely to develop certain kinds of infections, including pneumonia and cystitis (urinary tract infections).
If you do get sick, you may face a higher risk of hospitalization. For example, 2021 research associated diabetes with longer hospital stays, more complications, and a greater risk of death with COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.
That’s why it’s so important to work with your diabetes care team to plan ahead, so you’ll know how to handle an illness, injury, or infection if it happens. Your plan can give you some peace of mind now, and it may protect your health later on.
Advocates at the American Diabetes Association and the National Institute for Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) recommend that your sick-day plan address the following key questions.
Let’s tackle these questions one at a time.
To prepare yourself for the sick days you’re bound to face sooner or later, talk with your diabetes care team about testing, medications, and warning signs.
When you’re sick, your blood sugar may go up for several reasons:
To keep your blood sugar in your target range, keep eating and drinking as close to your usual routine as possible. That may be easier said than done, especially if you have symptoms like nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.
If you’re having trouble eating and drinking, aim for:
If your blood sugar is too low, you may need to follow the 15-15 rule. That means you’ll need to consume 15 grams of carbs, then test your blood sugar 15 minutes afterward.
Talk with your healthcare team about whether hard candies or glucose tablets would work if you’re not able to keep down food or drink.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends testing your blood glucose levels every 4 hours whenever you’re feeling unwell.
Keep a notepad nearby so you have an accurate record to share with your doctor. You don’t want to rely on your memory of the readings at a time when your recall could be clouded by lack of sleep or worsening symptoms.
You may also need to test your urine for ketones. Ketones are a sign that your insulin levels are low and your body is using fat for fuel.
Testing for ketones in your urine can tell you if you’re developing a condition called diabetic ketoacidosis. This condition is life threatening, so it’s important to know in advance how to detect these chemicals in your body.
The NIDDK recommends that you test ketones every 4 to 6 hours during an illness.
It’s also important to track your weight, body temperature, and blood pressure. These metrics are important clues that may tell you if:
It’s especially important for people with type 1 diabetes to test their blood glucose more often when they’re sick. Insulin levels can drop sharply as the body fights an illness or infection.
An illness can change how much insulin you need. Talk with your diabetes care team about when and how much to adjust your dosage of insulin and any other medications you take.
It’s important to keep taking insulin, especially long-acting insulin, on the schedule your doctor recommends. It’s also important to continue taking long-acting insulin even if you’re not eating.
Some over-the-counter (OTC) medications — especially those that treat cough, cold, and flu symptoms — contain sugar. Other types of medication can affect the way your diabetes medications work.
Your diabetes care team may be able to give you a list of medications to avoid when you’re feeling unwell with a common condition.
It’s a good idea to stock up on easy-to-prepare foods, sick-day drinks, medications, and diabetes care supplies so you have these items on hand for those days when you’re not feeling well. Here are some items to include in your sick-day kit:
Keep a ready supply of:
Your sick-day kit should also contain:
Make sure your kit is stocked with:
If you’re experiencing any of the following symptoms, contact your doctor or someone on your diabetes care team right away:
Diabetic ketoacidosis is a medical emergency: It can lead to coma or death. Get medical help immediately if you’re experiencing symptoms such as:
If your employer or insurer offers telehealth services, consider downloading the app or keeping contact information in your phone to make it easier to get advice if you’re not feeling well.
Diabetes can damage your immune system, according to 2020 research. For that reason, it’s important to take good care of your health year-round, not just during cold and flu season.
You can do this by:
The CDC recommends that people with diabetes get flu vaccines every year. It’s especially important for children, who may have more severe flu symptoms for a longer period of time than kids who don’t have diabetes.
Diabetes can make an ordinary illness more challenging — and feeling unwell can make it harder to manage your diabetes.
If you have diabetes, talk with your healthcare team to plan how you’ll respond to an illness or infection. Together, you can decide in advance how to manage your blood sugar when you’re feeling sick.
You can also stock up on food, beverages, testing supplies, and medication you might need.
A good sick-day plan includes information on which medications are safe to take, which to avoid, how best to test your blood sugar, and what steps to follow to keep diabetes or another health condition from sidelining you for longer than necessary.
Last medically reviewed on January 21, 2022









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Newcastle single mum of three dies suddenly after eating snack with peanuts – Daily Mail

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By Aidan Wondracz For Daily Mail Australia
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A single mother-of-three who was allergic to peanuts died suddenly after unknowingly eating a snack containing the allergen.
Hanna Scigala, 31, suffered a fatal anaphylactic attack after eating the snack at her home in Newcastle, on the NSW coast, on January 4.
Her condition spiralled quickly and she went into cardiac arrest, suffered brain swelling and was declared brain dead before passing away on January 7. 
She leaves behind a 12-year-old, nine-year-old and three-year-old boy who will now be looked after by their grandparents. 
A single mother-of-three who was allergic to peanuts died suddenly after unknowingly eating a snack containing the allergen
Hanna Scigala, 31, suffered a fatal anaphylactic attack after eating the snack at her home in Newcastle, on the NSW coast, on January 4
Her death has come as a complete shock to the family who say the single mother was always careful with the foods she ate.
Ms Scigala had been with her three children at home when she started to feel peckish and she reached for a snack. She had no idea it contained traces of peanuts.
The single mother immediately recognised the signs of an allergic reaction and rushed down the stairs and into the garage for the Epipen she kept in her car.
She administered the dose of adrenaline before calling an ambulance while her horrified nine-year-old son phoned family to come and help.
A neighbour managed to perform CPR until paramedics arrived and wheeled her into an ambulance.
Ms Scigala went into cardiac arrest on the way to hospital but paramedics were successfully able to treat her. 
But her condition continued to deteriorate the following day with the single mother suffering from brain swelling before she was declared brain dead on January 6.
Her devastated sister Stephanie as ‘inspiring’ and ‘very fun to be around’.
She leaves behind a 12-year-old, nine-year-old and three-year-old who will now be looked after by their grandparents
‘As a mum, I think her favorite thing to do was to introduce the kids to new things so they could develop new interests,’ she said.
‘Whatever she could think of or saw that she thought they might like she’d get them involved. She’d put them before anyone else.’
Stephanie has launched a GoFundMe to raise money for her children. The campaign was set up to raise $7,000, but has already drawn in $29,792 in donations. 
‘With their grandfather retired and grandmother working only part time, this go fund me has been made in hopes to help them be able to financially provide for their grandchildren,’ Stephanie wrote.
‘These funds will also go towards funeral arrangements and any other memorial type of function.’
Published by Associated Newspapers Ltd
Part of the Daily Mail, The Mail on Sunday & Metro Media Group

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