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Natural Products Expo West 2015 Part One

March 23, 2015 Written by JP    [Font too small?]

The first week of March marked the start of this year’s Natural Product’s Expo West. There, team Healthy Fellow convened with approximately 71,000 other members of the natural health community at the Anaheim Convention Center in California. The purpose of this massive gathering is to learn about the latest offerings in the natural products marketplace. At this year’s convention, over 2,700 companies exhibited products ranging from organic pet food to non-GMO anti-wrinkle creams. In the first column of my five-part series, I’ll feature some of the more innovative and promising supplements we came across at Expo West.

Alternative protein powders were one of the most prominent trends spotted on the show floor. Two that stood out were: organic pea protein and plain, unsweetened goat whey protein. A first of its kind study in the January 2015 edition of the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrient reports that pea protein is at least as effective as whey protein in promoting muscle strength and thickness in adults engaging in resistance training. This is great news for those who are sensitive to dairy and/or are vegan. Unflavored goat whey protein, another alternative to bovine derived whey protein, can obviously be added to protein shakes and smoothies. But, because of its mild, slightly savory flavor, it can also be used in nontraditional recipes, including baked goods, dips and soups. What’s more, according to the June 2014 edition of the journal Nutrients, the addition of goat whey to prepared foods containing carbohydrates moderates the glycemic index and load of the meal or snack. However, it should be noted that the research on the tolerability of goat’s milk in those with a cow milk allergy or sensitivity is mixed. Therefore, anyone with a cow milk intolerance should experiment with goat whey protein cautiously prior to making it a regular part of their dietary routine.

Note: Now Foods manufactures a reasonably priced, organic pea protein. Tera’s Whey makes a soy lecithin free, unsweetened goat whey protein.

The health benefits attributed to berries have become widely known over the past decade. Berry Sleep, a fruit-based dietary supplement, aims to improve sleep with a proprietary blend of three ingredients: tart cherry extract, gogi berry extract and passion fruit extract. I’m aware of at least two studies which show that tart cherry extract, naturally containing melatonin, can indeed support sleep efficiency. There’s also one trial that found that gogi berry juice may be helpful in enhancing sleep quality and reducing daytime fatigue. But, a quibble I have with this product is that it appears to confuse passion flower extract with passion fruit extract. The two are not the same, and to the best of my knowledge the latter hasn’t been studied in relation to sleep. Even so, the formulation looks very safe and unique. In addition, the manufacturer offers a complete, 60-day money back guarantee if Berry Sleep doesn’t deliver the aforementioned benefits.

Recently, I wrote a few columns about high blood pressure and peripheral artery disease. In them, I noted that beetroot juice may be beneficial for both conditions. Since then, new research continues to strengthen the case for natural-nitrate supplementation (aka beet juice) for enhanced exercise performance, cardiovascular and pulmonary function. Having said that, some of my clients have commented that the taste of beetroot juice isn’t very pleasing – making long term use problematic. For them and anyone else who shares this view, I have good news. BeetElite, a unique beetroot concentrate, tastes great and is expertly formulated. Each 10 gram serving equals the nitrate content of about 6 whole beets or a one liter bottle of beet juice. BeetElite’s ingredient list is uncommonly clean and consists of the following ingredients: non-GMO beetroot crystals, natural flavors, malic acid and stevia leaf extract. Personally, I tested both the black cherry and original flavors on four occasions to see what type of effect they would have on my blood sugar. I measured my blood sugar on an empty stomach prior to drinking each serving and thirty minutes after. The results showed minimal effects for the black cherry version (increases of 1 and 4 mg/dl). Interestingly, the rise in my blood sugar was significantly greater with the original flavor (a 6 and 13 mg/dl jump). I would need to do more testing to see if this disparity was a fluke or a consistent pattern. The bottom line on this product is that it is relatively pricey (about $1 – $2 daily, depending on dosage used) but it’s considerably more palatable than other beet powders I’ve tried. Also, the makers of this beet concentrate have conducted some intriguing in-house research to support its superiority over competing products. Combine that with a money back guarantee and I think this is certainly worth trying.

Whenever I review products, I make it a point to reveal any compensation I may or may not have received. To be clear, my sole intent in writing about the products in this column is to share some potentially helpful information with everyone who wasn’t able to attend Natural Products Expo West. I was not influenced or paid in any way for my coverage of the previously mentioned supplements. In my testing, I used free samples that I picked up at various exhibits on the convention floor just like any other Expo West attendee.

Note: Please check out the “Comments & Updates” section of this blog – at the bottom of the page. You can find the latest research about this topic there!

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

Study 1 – Pea Proteins Oral Supplementation Promotes Muscle Thickness Gains (link)

Study 2 – Good Tolerance to Goat’s Milk in Patients with Recurrent Aphthous (link)

Study 3 – Allergenicity of Goat’s Milk in Children with Cow’s Milk Allergy … (link)

Study 4 – Effect of Tart Cherry Juice (Prunus cerasus) on Melatonin Levels (link)

Study 5 – Effects of a Tart Cherry Juice Beverage on the Sleep of Older Adults (link)

Study 6 – A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled, Clinical Study of (link)

Study 7 – Effect of Beetroot Juice Supplementation on Aerobic Response During … (link)

Study 8 – Beetroot Juice Improves in Overweight and Slightly Obese Men (link)

Study 9 – Short-Term Dietary Nitrate Supplementation Augments Cutaneous (link)

Study 10 – Dietary Nitrate Supplementation in COPD: An Acute, Double-Blind (link)

Beetroot Juice Improves Heart Rate Variability

Source: ISRN Physiol. 2014 Feb 23;2014. (link)

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Posted in Alternative Therapies, Exercise, Nutritional Supplements

3 Comments & Updates to “Natural Products Expo West 2015 Part One”

  1. JP Says:

    Update: Tart cherry extract may be particularly helpful for those whose sleep is affected by inflammation …


    Appl Physiol Nutr Metab. 2014 Nov 26:1-10.

    Recovery facilitation with Montmorency cherries following high-intensity, metabolically challenging exercise.

    The impact of Montmorency tart cherry (Prunus cerasus L.) concentrate (MC) on physiological indices and functional performance was examined following a bout of high-intensity stochastic cycling. Trained cyclists (n = 16) were equally divided into 2 groups (MC or isoenergetic placebo (PLA)) and consumed 30 mL of supplement, twice per day for 8 consecutive days. On the fifth day of supplementation, participants completed a 109-min cycling trial designed to replicate road race demands. Functional performance (maximum voluntary isometric contraction (MVIC), cycling efficiency, 6-s peak cycling power) and delayed onset muscle soreness were assessed at baseline, 24, 48, and 72 h post-trial. Blood samples collected at baseline, immediately pre- and post-trial, and at 1, 3, 5, 24, 48, and 72 h post-trial were analysed for indices of inflammation (interleukin (IL)-1β, IL-6, IL-8, tumor necrosis factor alpha, high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hsCRP)), oxidative stress (lipid hydroperoxides), and muscle damage (creatine kinase). MVIC (P < 0.05) did not decline in the MC group (vs. PLA) across the 72-h post-trial period and economy (P < 0.05) was improved in the MC group at 24 h. IL-6 (P < 0.001) and hsCRP (P < 0.05) responses to the trial were attenuated with MC (vs. PLA). No other blood markers were significantly different between MC and PLA groups. The results of the study suggest that Montmorency cherry concentrate can be an efficacious functional food for accelerating recovery and reducing exercise-induced inflammation following strenuous cycling exercise. Be well! JP

  2. JP Says:

    Update: Yellow peas and their components (including protein) moderate blood sugar elevation caused by high carbohydrate foods …


    Appl Physiol Nutr Metab. 2014 Dec;39(12):1360-5.

    Acute effects of pea protein and hull fibre alone and combined on blood glucose, appetite, and food intake in healthy young men – a randomized crossover trial.

    Whether pulse components can be used as value-added ingredients in foods formulated for blood glucose (BG) and food intake (FI) control requires investigation. The objective of this study was to examine of the effects of pea components on FI at an ad libitum meal, as well as appetite and BG responses before and after the meal. In a repeated-measures crossover trial, men (n = 15) randomly consumed (i) pea hull fibre (7 g), (ii) pea protein (10 g), (iii) pea protein (10 g) plus hull fibre (7 g), (iv) yellow peas (406 g), and (v) control. Pea hull fibre and protein were served with tomato sauce and noodles, while yellow peas were served with tomato sauce. Control was noodles and tomato sauce. FI was measured at a pizza meal (135 min). Appetite and BG were measured pre-pizza (0-135 min) and post-pizza (155-215 min). Protein plus fibre and yellow peas led to lower pre-pizza BG area under the curve compared with fibre and control. At 30 min, BG was lower after protein plus fibre and yellow peas compared with fibre and control, whereas at 45 and 75 min, protein plus fibre and yellow peas led to lower BG compared with fibre (p < 0.05). Following the pizza meal (155 min), yellow peas led to lower BG compared with fibre (p < 0.05). No differences were observed in FI or appetite. This trial supports the use of pea components as value-added ingredients in foods designed to improve glycemic control. Be well! JP

  3. JP Says:

    Updated 11/07/15:


    Eur J Appl Physiol. 2015 Nov 4.

    The effects of beetroot juice supplementation on indices of muscle damage following eccentric exercise.

    PURPOSE: Foods rich in antioxidant and anti-inflammatory phytochemicals might attenuate skeletal muscle damage; thus, the present study investigated whether consuming an antioxidant rich beetroot juice would attenuate the muscle-damaging effects of eccentric exercise.

    METHODS: Using a double blind, independent groups design, 30 recreationally active males were allocated to consume a high dose of beetroot juice (H-BT; 250 ml), a lower dose of beetroot juice (L-BT; 125 ml), or an isocaloric placebo (PLA; 250 ml) immediately (×3 servings), 24 (×2 servings) and 48 h (×2 servings) following completion of 100-drop jumps. Maximal isometric voluntary contractions (MIVC), countermovement jumps (CMJ), pressure pain threshold (PPT), creatine kinase (CK), interleukin-6 (IL-6), interleukin-8 (IL-8) and tumour necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) were measured pre, post, 2 (blood indices only), 24, 48 and 72 h following the drop jumps.

    RESULTS: CMJ performance recovered quicker (relative to baseline) in H-BT vs. PLA at 48 (91.7 ± 12.2 vs. 74.4 ± 17.3 %; P = 0.009, ES = 1.00) and 72 h postexercise (93.4 ± 7.7 vs. 86 ± 5.9 %; P = 0.046, ES = 1.25). PPT was greater in both the H-BT and L-BT vs. PLA at 24, 48 and 72 h postexercise (P < 0.001); PPT had returned to baseline in H-BT and L-BT at 72 h postexercise, but was still reduced in PLA (80.1 ± 28.9 % of baseline values). MIVC, CK, IL-6, TNF-α and IL-8 were unaffected by beetroot juice (P > 0.05).

    CONCLUSIONS: Acute beetroot juice supplementation attenuated muscle soreness and decrements in CMJ performance induced by eccentric exercise; further research on the anti-inflammatory effects of beetroot juice are required to elucidate the precise mechanisms.

    Be well!


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