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Period: July 2, 2011 to July 16, 2011
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Research, Studies, Advice  

Reason For Random Kava Toxicity Remains A Mystery

A meta-review by Danish and U.S. researchers of 85 studies on kava toxicity has failed to clear up the mystery of why some people can consume it safely while others become ill. Kava has been used without adverse effects as a sedative for centuries by Pacific Island cultures. Within the last twenty years, the substance has been used in the West as an herbal supplement to treat anxiety, emotional stress and sleep problems. However, reports of liver damage among Westerners began to surface in 2001, and some countries have banned or regulated kava. Numerous studies have tried to find out why kava sometimes has toxic effects, and several theories have been offered. But this meta-review found no consensus on the reasons for kava toxicity.

"Constituents in Kava Extracts Potentially Involved in Hepatotoxicity: A Review", Chemical Research in Toxicology, July 13, 2011

Norway Finds No Adverse Effects From Consuming Large Amounts Of Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Any adverse effects reported for taking large amounts of omega-3 fatty acid supplements are probably due to problems with the intake of oily substances, rather than with the intake of EPA or DHA, a Norwegian food safety (VKM) has ruled. The panel reviewed safety data on EPA and DHA , two forms of omega-3 fatty acids, finding that levels as high as 6.9 grams a day led to no unfavorable effects. Scientists looked at dosages and effects for an array of conditions such as bleeding times, lipid peroxidation, inflammation and immunity, glucose metabolism and gastrointestinal disturbances. “Negative health effects regarding gastrointestinal function … have been reported, but seem to be associated with intake of an oily substance” rather than with EPA or DHA,” the committee concluded.

"Evaluation of negative and positive health effects of n-3 fatty acids as constituents of food supplements and fortified foods", Norwegian Scientific Committee for Food Safety (VKM), June 28, 2011

Higher Folic Acid Intake During Pregnancy Does Not Cause Childhood Atopic Diseases

A study revealed that folic acid supplementation and higher intracellular folic acid (ICF) levels during pregnancy are not associated with atopic diseases, such as asthma and wheeze, in childhood. Researchers conducted multivariable logistic and linear regression analyses of data gathered via the KOALA Birth Cohort Study. They also defined folic acid use as standalone and multivitamin supplements based on the period of use before and during pregnancy. Results of the study showed that increased ICF levels during pregnancy slightly decreased risk for developing asthma.

"Folic Acid Use in Pregnancy and the Development of Atopy, Asthma, and Lung Function in Childhood", Pediatrics, June 20, 2011

Toxic Mineral Oils From Printing Inks And Recycled Cardboard Can Contaminate Food Products

A case study in Zurich, Switzerland, found that toxic mineral oils from printing inks can contaminate food products using recycled cardboard packaging. Results of tests conducted on packs of fine noodles showed that food speedily soaks up 10 times the suggested limit for concentration of these polluting oils from transport box. Researchers found that during the test period, the corrugated board contaminated the lowest packs inside the box with 6.1mg/kg mineral oil saturated hydrocarbons (MOSH), 10 times the migration limit of 0.6mg/kg. Improved recycled paperboard showed mineral oil migration amounting to 4.9mg/kg, while a printing ink with 3g/kg MOSH also contaminated the fine noodles with 0.6mg/kg MOSH.

"Migration of Mineral Oil into Noodles from Recycled Fibres in the Paperboard Box and the Corrugated Board Transport Box as well as from Printing Inks: A Case Study", Packaging Technology and Science, June 10, 2011

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