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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Activia Yogurt: Healthy profits from false advertising? What you should know about probiotics.

Many people know about the benefits of probiotics - the healthy bacteria found in your gastrointestinal tract as well as in fermented foods such as sauerkraut, fermented soy products and of course yogurt. In fact, Danone - the makers of popular brands such as Activia and DanActive was the first the tout the benefits of it probiotic yogurt. It was advertised as helping to keep you regular and good for the immune system.

A lawsuit filed back in January 2008 alleged that Danone's own studies failed to support its own advertised claims. And this month, Danone has agreed to set aside a $35 million dollar fund to reimburse customers in an out of court settlement and denies any wrongdoing. Danone has agreed to make changes to how it advertises its yogurt line.

Does this mean that probiotics don't work? No! As my patients already know, I'm a big fan of probiotics especially for certain digestive & immune related conditions. But what people don't know is that the therapeutic dose required to treat diseases vary and that it matters what strain of probiotics you're taking. Certain strains have been shown to be effective at combating MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) which is found in a number of hospitals. Recently, the journal Pediatrics published a study showing that a combination of two specific strains of probiotics was more much more effective at preventing the FLU vs. a single strain of probiotics and even more effective than no probiotics (ie. placebo). The key to probiotic therapy is to know how to effectively dose the probiotics and with which strains. Naturopathic doctors are certainly adept at this and have access to these different strains. I currently have many of my patients & myself on the exact strains published in the journal of Pediatrics for those of us who wish to reduce the risk of catching the flu. Also, I'm hoping that it decreases the risk of catching H1N1 should that get out of hand. Let's hope for the best though.

Yours in health,

Ian Koo, ND
Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine

Naturopathic Essentials Health Centre
"The care you want, the health you need"

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Update: Sigg water bottles contain Bisphenol A......Swiss company apologizes for gaff

Bisphenol A (BPA) was banned in baby bottles last year by Health Canada due to numerous studies showing that it could potentially lead certain cancers, endocrine and neurological problems as well as affecting the gender of animals in studies.

Last year, there was a big move by consumers to discard plastic water bottles in favour of Bisphenol A-free ones. And one of the manufacturers who claimed to be BPA free was Sigg.

Unfortunately, the Environmental Working Group, a U.S. environmental agency discovered this was not the case back in 2006. Sigg has recently apologized for this gaff and is now producing BPA-free water bottles. They are offering to make amends by replacing your older Sigg bottles with their new one. Unfortunately, I don't know how laborious it will be to get these exchanges.


Yours in health,

Ian Koo, ND
Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine

Naturopathic Essentials Health Centre
"The care you want, the health you need"