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Natural Products Expo West 2013 Part One

March 26, 2013 Written by JP    [Font too small?]

Once again, team Healthy Fellow visited this year’s Natural Products Expo West. Beginning on March 8th and extending through March 10th, we attended a diverse series of lectures, sampled a wide array of health foods and stopped at any and every booth that seemed promising. In the next few columns, I’ll share some of the products found at Expo West that I believe are worthy of your hard earned money and time. To be clear, I don’t consult with or represent any of the companies mentioned. My sole intent is to spread the word about a select group of foods and supplements that I think represent the best and brightest of Expo West 2013.

Conventional physicians frequently recommend a daily aspirin to reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes. In the past, there really wasn’t much in the way of scientifically validated, natural alternatives to aspirin therapy. However, there is now an all-natural supplement that may offer a viable alternative for those who cannot or choose not to use aspirin. The product in question is known as Fruitflow. The active ingredient is a lycopene-free, tomato extract. Much like aspirin, Fruitflow exerts antiplatelet activity which allows for blood to flow more efficiently through blood vessels. In addition, thus far there is no indication that Fruitflow presents the same side effects commonly associated with daily aspirin use, including bleeding risk and gastrointestinal complications.

One of the most impressive new entries in the probiotic market is an innovative product line called Inner-Eco. These dairy free, kefir cultured beverages utilize a base of fresh coconut water. Each all-natural, sugar-free serving yields a minimum of “100 billion active probiotic kefir cultures”. If you’re wondering why you should consider a coconut based kefir instead of a dairy based kefir, the answer lies in a newly published study appearing in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition. In it, researchers discovered some good and bad news about traditional milk containing kefir. On the positive side, dairy kefir was found to have a relatively low glycemic index. However, the dairy version of this probiotic food also presented a high insulinemic index – causing a rise in insulin production. Excess insulin output can contribute to many problems, including increased cancer risk, storage of body fat and a reduction in HDL (“good”) cholesterol. Last, but not least, I like the fact that this particular kefir is sold in amber, glass bottles in the refrigerated section of health food stores and specialty markets. This is clearly the best way to protect delicate probiotics and to ensure that they impart their desired health promoting properties after consumption.

To learn more about the studies referenced in today’s column, please click on the following links:

Study 1 – Natural Products Expo West Wraps Up with Record Attendance (link)

Study 2 – Swanson Vitamins: Fruitflow Circulatory Health Formula (link)

Study 3 – Effects of Antiplatelet Components of Tomato Extract on Platelet (link)

Study 4 – Effects of Tomato Extract on Platelet Function: A Double-Blind(link)

Study 5 – Inner-Eco Fresh Harvested Coconut Water Kefir (link)

Study 6 – Kefir and Health: A Contemporary Perspective (link)

Study 7 – Glycemic Index, Insulinemic Index, and Satiety Index of Kefir(link)

Fruitflow May Reduce the Risk of Thrombotic Events

Source: Am J Clin Nutr. 2006 Sep;84(3):561-9. (link)

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Posted in Alternative Therapies, Food and Drink, Nutritional Supplements

9 Comments & Updates to “Natural Products Expo West 2013 Part One”

  1. Gixer Says:

    Very interesting comparison between Fruitflow and Aspirin but can I ask who you spoke to (company) at Expo West regarding this as none of the products on the market at the moment with Fruitflow are claiming this?

    All product claims are based on “HELPS MAINTAIN HEALTHY BLOOD FLOW” or something similar.

    Very interested to know if a new product is in the pipeline for a replacement to Aspirin.

  2. JP Says:

    Hi Gixer,

    There were at least two companies representing Fruitflow at this year’s expo: DSM, the raw material supplier, and Bricker Labs, a company which just introduced a liquid (juice-based) Fruitflow supplement. To be clear, neither source claimed or inferred that Fruitflow can or should be used as an aspirin-alternative. Doing so would likely put their companies in legal danger. Claims such as “Helps Maintain Healthy Blood Flow” are legally permitted by the FDA. This type of description is commonly referred to as a “structure function claim”.

    It’s highly unlikely that Fruitflow, or any other OTC supplement, will ever be (widely) recommended as an alternative for a conventional medication. Our current medical system isn’t well suited for that sort of process. Having said that, individual patients and physicians can certainly review the scientific data on Fruitflow and consider whether it may or may not be an effective and safe alternative to aspirin or other medications used to address platelet aggregation.




    Be well!


  3. Gixer Says:

    Hi JP,

    Thank you so much for the reply.

    I was aware that Provexis (the company that developed and licensed Fruitflow) has already conducted a clinical trial for Aspirin / Fruitflow comparison (see link) with statistically significant results.


    So your article made me wonder if a new product had come along claiming its benefits against Aspirin.

    I believe that OptiFlow™ from Bricker Labs has had a liquid form of Fruitflow on the market for a while now but they are also bringing out a capsule with Fruitflow that was launched at Expo West.

    Thanks again


  4. JP Says:

    Thank you, Gixer. I appreciate your valuable contribution!

    For all interested: Swanson Vitamins also carries a soft gel form of Fruitflow which is quite affordable and currently on the market.


    Be well!


  5. BG Says:

    Hello JP

    Fascinating mushroom information – thank you.

    My wife was born with an atrial septal defect (tiny hole in the heart). This eventually became detectable as she passed middle age and after a range of drugs to control arrhythmia/tachycardia, then ablation of electrical heart pathways, had a pacemaker fitted in 2000.

    This was replaced last year and based on pacemaker readings the surgeon said daily Warfarin was no longer necessary and replaced it with 75mg aspirin daily alongside Arythmol (Propafenone Hydrochloride).

    Conflicting advice from different cardiovascular experts leaves me uncertain if even this low dose has long term health implications. Any comments will be appreciated.

    I note that Provexis (thanks for the links Gixer) is based in Windsor, UK where I was born! If my wife decided to trial replacing aspirin with Optiflow, can you say if a regular INR (as for Warfarin) would be sufficient to monitor its effectiveness?

    Keep up the fine work, Brian

  6. JP Says:

    Hi Brian,

    Let me see what I can find out. I’m currently on a work trip and have limited online time. I promise to post a response as soon as I’m back in the office – in a few days.

    Kind regards,


  7. JP Says:

    Hi Brian,

    So, I’m back home. And, I have some sort of an answer for you. Firstly, I contacted Provexis and asked them to send me the full text of the study they described in their press release. Hopefully, they’ll send it soon and we can review it. The study in question should define which measures of platelet aggregation they used in their analysis.

    Based on my understanding, INR isn’t used to assess the efficacy of aspirin. However, there is an FDA-approved test which determines how well aspirin affects clotting potential. This test *may* also be useful in evaluating the effects of Fruitflow.


    In my opinion, replacing an existing aspirin regimen with Fruitflow ought to be done in consultation with a physician. Using Fruitflow instead of aspirin is one thing. Halting aspirin therapy and replacing it with Fruitflow will likely require some professional oversight. Here’s why:

    “What happens if you stop taking aspirin every day?

    You might be surprised to learn that stopping daily aspirin therapy can have a rebound effect that may increase your risk of heart attack. If you have had a heart attack or a stent placed in one or more of your heart arteries, stopping daily aspirin therapy can lead to a life-threatening heart attack. If you’ve been taking daily aspirin therapy and want to stop, it’s important to talk to your doctor before making any changes. Suddenly stopping daily aspirin therapy could have a rebound effect that may trigger a blood clot.”

    Source: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/daily-aspirin-therapy/HB00073/METHOD=print

    I’ll report back if I received the study from Provexis.

    Be well!


  8. geos1991 Says:

    hello jp,
    i am a bit concerned towards that research which shows that kefir is an insulinogenic product because that doesnt make sense if we examine the product’s nutrition data and characteristics.for example, my home made kefir is made by using low fat goat milk which claims that every glass has 8g of carbs on average and since it is made by kefir strains then it is supposed to have even lower levels of lactose due to the fermentation process.How can someone classify a substance which has less than 8 carbs per glass “insulinogenic”?sounds like a paradoxic claiming if u ask me..and if we also add to the equation the fact that every person who drinks or eats fermented dairy in a daily base seems to have a decent amount of lactobacilus bacteria in his gut, supporting a better lactose tolerance, then this research-based claim makes even less sense.

    keep up the good work!

  9. JP Says:

    Hi Geos,

    I understand your reservations about the kefir data I presented. It was a surprise to me too.

    Apart from the study I cited, there’s very little in the way of research regarding kefir and insulin. However, studies evaluating the insulinogenic effect of yogurt consumption are uniformly positive:

    Yogurt has no effect on post-meal insulin http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstract?fromPage=online&aid=8785661

    Yogurt benefits diabetic health, causes no change in inulin http://www.nutritionjrnl.com/article/S0899-9007%2811%2900310-8/abstract

    Yogurt doesn’t negatively impact insulin levels in healthy subjects http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/72/6/1474.long

    I wouldn’t be concerned about continuing onward with your homemade kefir. If you consume it with other foods that are rich in (healthy) fat, fiber, phytochemicals and protein … even better. All of these food components can further augment blood sugar and insulin in a decidedly positive manner.

    Be well!


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