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Natural Products Expo West 2016 Part Two

April 6, 2016 Written by JP    [Font too small?]

The sub-title for this blog is, “Make It Better!”. Year-in and year-out, the one thing you can count on at Natural Products Expo West is a certain degree of flash and showmanship. Many of the exhibits are quite extravagant. You’ll find everything from comic book characters to marching bands all vying for your attention. But, oftentimes, some of the better products aren’t represented in this category. Instead of following the latest trends, they simply build upon traditional wisdom and aim to improve upon it in one way or another.

To be sure, bone broth, mayonnaise, prunes and tofu are not new entries in the health food marketplace. The fact that they’re so familiar to most people is indicative of their staying power. Having said that, long lasting popularity doesn’t necessarily equate to a healthy product. After all, Twinkies have been a best sellers for over 80 years!

Soy-Free Mayonnaise Made Better!

Two new mayonnaise products offer significant improvements on conventional brands. Primal Kitchen Mayo swaps out the usual, GMO soy oil and replaces it with organic avocado oil. What’s more, its ingredients are mostly organic. For those concerned about cardiovascular health, take heart. The latest research indicates that eggs do not increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. And, including monounsaturated fats (like avocado oil and extra virgin olive oil) in your daily diet likely reduces that risk.

Even the healthiest type of mayonnaise isn’t appropriate for those with egg allergies and vegetarians. There are some vegan-friendly mayos currently available. Unfortunately, they typically contain soy, starches and other refined ingredients as a textural replacement for egg yolks. Sir Kensington’s Fabanaise bucks this trend by using aquafaba, the viscus liquid that is left after boiling chickpeas. I see this as an improvement because it puts an ingredient that would be otherwise wasted to good use, and allows egg- and soy-sensitive people to enjoy a mayonnaise-like spread with no adverse consequences.

Sprouted Tofu Made Better!

Although I don’t eat tofu myself, a great many people do – including some of my clients, family and friends. For them, a company by the name of Wildwood Foods has a line of organic, sprouted tofu products that is worth considering. The process of sprouting soy has been shown to increase protein by 13% compared to conventionally produced tofu. Also of note, sprouted tofu is significantly lower in phytic acid (-56%) and trypsin inhibitors (-81%) – naturally occurring substances that interfere with the digestion and absorption of nutrients in soy. As a bonus, a study from 2014 found that sprouted tofu actually tastes better.

Bone Broth Made Better!

Lately, bone broth has become quite the rage in butcher shops, health food stores and restaurants. Personally, I love traditionally made bone broth, whether beef, chicken, fish, lamb, pork or turkey. I’m confident bone broth is a genuine super-food that ought be a staple in most diets, provided that the bones come from healthy animals. However, my belief, for the most part, isn’t rooted in a lot of modern science. The closest I’ve found to recent studies on the health benefits of bone broth or similar products relates to “chicken essence” and collagen peptides. Chicken essence is a variation of chicken soup that has a long history of medicinal use in Asia. Collagen peptides have a similar nutritional composition to bone broth. Basically, collagen peptides are a pure source of gelatin that is made more bioavailable by treating it with digestive enzymes. The end result is a virtually flavorless powder that doesn’t congeal like gelatin.

A company called Epic has a delicious, new line of beef, chicken and turkey broths that contain about 10 grams of protein per cup serving. I suspect the regular use of traditional bone broth, such as this product, will impart comparable effects to that of collagen peptides, namely the promotion of healthier connective tissue. Several trials published over the last two years report that collagen peptide supplements improve facial skin condition, reduce the appearance of cellulite and work in conjunction with resistance exercise to counteract age-related muscle loss in older men.

Dried Plums aka Prunes Made Better!

It’s probably going to take more than this column to make prunes sexy. But, the fact is, dried plums (sounds better, right?) truly deserve their day in the spotlight. The March 2016 edition of the journal Phytotherapy Research documents a plethora of prune-related health benefits, including antioxidant and antiallergic properties, a bone strengthening effect, cognitive enhancement and reduced cardiovascular risk. And then, there’s the most commonly known reason for eating prunes: to alleviate constipation. Irregularity can be particularly apparent and bothersome during travel. That’s why I frequently recommend bringing a resealable bag of organic prunes on trips. This works well, but lugging around a heavy, unwieldy bag of dried fruit isn’t exactly ideal. This is where Fruit Bliss comes into the picture. At this years Expo West, they introduced small, travel friendly bags containing ten organic “mini-prunes” weighing about 50 grams. Tiny! They’re easy to pack, yet boast an appropriate dosage to get things done. The fact that Fruit Bliss uses organic prunes is important as well. Organically grown prunes are higher in antioxidant phytochemicals such as anthocyanins and polyphenols.

I think it’s pretty obvious how to use most of the products highlighted here today. The one possible exception is bone broth. Not everyone enjoys drinking hot, savory beverages on a daily basis. If that’s you, think about adding high quality bone broth to some of your everyday recipes. In particular, try using bone broth instead of water as a base for mashed cauliflower or potatoes, quinoa, rice and soups. This simple swap balances out the nutritional profile of foods that are otherwise light in amino acids. Also, this is an effortless way to bolster the protein content of diets that require more of this essential nutrient without adding a lot of bulk.

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 – Associations of Egg and Cholesterol Intakes with Carotid Intima-Media (link)

Study 2 – Hen Egg as an Antioxidant Food Commodity: A Review (link)

Study 3 – Impact of Avocado-Enriched Diets on Plasma Lipoproteins: A Meta- (link)

Study 4 – Dietary Fat Intake and Risk of Cardiovascular Disease and All-Cause (link)

Study 5 – Effect of Sprouting of Soybean on the Chemical Composition and Quality (link)

Study 6 – Bioavailability of Micronutrients from Plant Foods: An Update (link)

Study 7 – Bioaccessibility of Polyphenols from Wheat (Triticum Aestivum) (link)

Study 8 – Ingestion of Bioactive Collagen Hydrolysates Enhance Facial Skin (link)

Study 9 – Dietary Supplementation with Specific Collagen Peptides Has a Body (link)

Study 10 – Collagen Peptide Supplementation in Combination with Resistance (link)

Egg Breakfast Lowers Diabetic Inflammation and Liver Enzymes (ALT & AST)

Source: Nutrients. 2015 May; 7(5): 3449–3463. (link)

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Posted in Bone and Joint Health, Food and Drink, Nutrition

7 Comments & Updates to “Natural Products Expo West 2016 Part Two”

  1. JP Says:

    Updated 04/06/16:


    Oxid Med Cell Longev. 2016;2016:4389410.

    Skin Antiageing and Systemic Redox Effects of Supplementation with Marine Collagen Peptides and Plant-Derived Antioxidants: A Single-Blind Case-Control Clinical Study.

    Recently, development and research of nutraceuticals based on marine collagen peptides (MCPs) have been growing due to their high homology with human collagens, safety, bioavailability through gut, and numerous bioactivities. The major concern regarding safety of MCPs intake relates to increased risk of oxidative stress connected with collagen synthesis (likewise in fibrosis) and to ROS production by MCPs-stimulated phagocytes. In this clinical-laboratory study, fish skin MCPs combined with plant-derived skin-targeting antioxidants (AO) (coenzyme Q10 + grape-skin extract + luteolin + selenium) were administered to volunteers (n = 41). Skin properties (moisture, elasticity, sebum production, and biological age) and ultrasonic markers (epidermal/dermal thickness and acoustic density) were measured thrice (2 months before treatment and before and after cessation of 2-month oral intake). The supplementation remarkably improved skin elasticity, sebum production, and dermal ultrasonic markers. Metabolic data showed significant increase of plasma hydroxyproline and ATP storage in erythrocytes. Redox parameters, GSH/coenzyme Q10 content, and GPx/GST activities were unchanged, while NO and MDA were moderately increased within, however, normal range of values. Conclusions. A combination of MCPs with skin-targeting AOs could be effective and safe supplement to improve skin properties without risk of oxidative damage.

    Be well!


  2. JP Says:

    Updated 04/06/16:


    Allergol Int. 2016 Jan;65(1):68-73.

    Oral challenge tests for soybean allergies in Japan: A summary of 142 cases.

    BACKGROUND: Soybeans are one of causative foods for infantile onset allergies in Japan. This study aimed to analyze the results of soybean challenge tests that were conducted over approximately 7 years at our institution. Using the test data, we sought to identify the responses and clinical profiles of patients with soybean allergies, and to investigate the relationship between the responses and soybean sensitization status.

    METHODS: Between July 2004 and May 2010, 142 cases (125 patients) underwent food challenge tests (100 g of silken tofu) for the diagnosis of soybean allergy or confirmation of their tolerance. The patients’ characteristics, soybean sensitization status, and responses to the challenge tests were retrospectively evaluated.

    RESULTS: Among the subjects who underwent the soybean challenge test, the male/female ratio was 1.6 (87/55), and the mean age at the test was 2.8 ± 1.7 years. The positive rate for the challenge test was 38.7%. Induced symptoms were observed in the skin (81.8%), respiratory system (50.9%), and gastrointestinal system/mucosal membrane/anaphylaxis (12.7%). Intramuscular epinephrine was administered to all 7 patients who experienced an anaphylactic reaction. The sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value, negative predictive value, and diagnostic efficiency of soybean-specific IgE titers were low for predicting the responses to the challenge test.

    CONCLUSIONS: Soybean allergies were diagnosed in only 18% of the subjects with positive sensitization to soybeans. Therefore, soybean-specific IgE titers are not an effective predictor of a positive response to the challenge test.

    Be well!


  3. JP Says:

    Updated 04/06/16:


    Pediatr Allergy Immunol. 2016 Mar 28.

    Matrix effect on baked egg tolerance in children with IgE-mediated hen’s egg allergy.

    BACKGROUND: Children with IgE-mediated hen’s egg allergy (IgE-HEA) often tolerate baked egg within a wheat matrix.

    OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the influence of wheat matrix and the effects of little standardized cooking procedures on baked egg tolerance.

    METHODS: 54 children with IgE-HEA were enrolled. They underwent prick by prick (PbP) tests and open oral food challenges (OFC) performed with baked HE within a wheat matrix (a home-made cake, locally called ciambellone), baked HE without a wheat matrix (in a form of an omelette, locally named frittata) and boiled HE. Three months after passing ciambellone OFC, parents were asked to answer a survey.

    RESULTS: 88% of children tolerated ciambellone, 74% frittata, 56% boiled HE. Negative predictive value of PbP performed with ciambellone, frittata and boiled HE was 100%. No IgE-mediated adverse reactions were detected at follow-up carried out by the survey.

    CONCLUSIONS: Wheat matrix seemed to be relevant only in few cases. If our results will be confirmed by larger studies, a negative PbP with ciambellone, frittata or boiled HE will allow patients with IgE-HEA to eat these foods without undergoing OFC. Moreover, our study showed that very strict standardized cooking procedures do not seem to be essential, in order to guarantee tolerance.

    Be well!


  4. JP Says:

    Updated 04/06/16:


    J Food Sci Technol. 2015 Oct;52(10):6821-7.

    Sprouting characteristics and associated changes in nutritional composition of cowpea (Vigna unguiculata).

    Cowpea (Vigna unguiculata), is an important arid legume with a good source of energy, protein, vitamins, minerals and dietary fibre. Sprouting of legumes enhances the bioavailability and digestibility of nutrients and therefore plays an important role in human nutrition. Improved varieties of grain cowpea viz. Pant Lobia-1 (PL-1) and Pant Lobia-2 (PL-2) and Pant Lobia-3 (PL-3) were examined for sprouting characteristics and associated changes in nutritional quality. Soaking time, sprouting time and sprouting temperature combinations for desirable sprout length of ¼ to ½ inch for cowpea seed samples were standardized. All the observations were taken in triplicate except soaking time, where six observations were taken in a completely randomized design of three treatments. Results revealed that optimum soaking time of PL-1 and PL-2 seed was 3 h whereas PL-3 required 9 h. Sprouting period of 24 h at 25 °C was found to be desirable for obtaining good sprouts. Significant improvement in nutritional quality was observed after sprouting at 25 °C for 24 h; protein increased by 9-12 %, vitamin C increased by 4-38 times, phytic acid decreased by 4-16 times, trypsin inhibitor activity decreased by 28-55 % along with an increase of 8-20 % in in-vitro protein digestibility.

    Be well!


  5. JP Says:

    Last night I ran into a reader who offered a valuable critique of this particular blog. He mentioned that the price of the mayonnaise products I spotlighted was much higher than he is willing to pay. I replied by making two points: 1) higher quality ingredients almost always cost more and they tend to be more perishable; 2) part of what you’re paying for is the convenience of having something made for you. For instance, consider the cost of a homemade meal and a restaurant meal.

    A much more economical way to enjoy the benefits of the “upgraded” mayonnaise I mentioned in this blog is to make your own. Here’s a recipe that closely resembles Primal Kitchen’s Mayo:


    The Fabanaise product may (or may not) be a bit trickier to copy. To be clear, I haven’t tried to duplicate it at home. But, if you’re so inclined, you could attempt to blend, food process or whisk some of the residual liquid from canned (preferably organic) chickpeas into some avocado oil, lemon juice, mustard and desired seasonings. It just might work! And, it’ll certainly be much less expensive!

    Be well!


  6. JP Says:

    Updated 05/22/17:


    Skin Pharmacol Physiol. 2017 May 20;30(3):146-158.

    An Insight into the Changes in Skin Texture and Properties following Dietary Intervention with a Nutricosmeceutical Containing a Blend of Collagen Bioactive Peptides and Antioxidants.

    BACKGROUND: Skin aging is a multifactorial phenomenon which causes alterations in skin physiological functions and, most visibly, phenotypic changes. In particular, during the aging process, hyaluronic acid, collagen, and elastin fibers undergo structural and functional changes.

    AIMS: This study aimed to give an insight into the photo-protective benefits and efficacy of an oral liquid nutricosmeceutical containing collagen bioactive peptides and antioxidants to counteract the signs of aging.

    METHODS: A double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial was conducted by an independent esthetic clinic on 120 healthy volunteer subjects for 90 days. Subjects were divided into 2 groups: 60 subjects consumed 1 bottle (50 mL) of the nutricosmeceutical daily and the other 60 consumed 1 bottle (50 mL) of the placebo. Outcome measures were related to skin elasticity (expressed as Young’s elasticity modulus) and skin architecture (histological analysis). In addition, the subjects recruited in this study underwent observational assessments through self-assessment questionnaires.

    RESULTS AND CONCLUSIONS: Overall, we demonstrated a significant increase in skin elasticity (+7.5%), p ≤ 0.001 and an improvement in skin texture after daily oral consumption of the nutricosmeceutical. We also obtained a positive patient feedback through the self-assessment questionnaires. Taken together these results show that this nutricosmeceutical supplement may have photo-protective effects and help improve skin health.

    Be well!


  7. JP Says:

    Updated 1/16/18:


    Nutrients 2018, 10(1), 97

    Specific Collagen Peptides Improve Bone Mineral Density and Bone Markers in Postmenopausal Women—A Randomized Controlled Study

    Introduction: Investigations in rodents as well as in vitro experiments have suggested an anabolic influence of specific collagen peptides (SCP) on bone formation and bone mineral density (BMD). The goal of the study was to investigate the effect of 12-month daily oral administration of 5 g SCP vs. placebo (CG: control group) on BMD in postmenopausal women with primary, age-related reduction in BMD.

    Methods: 131 women were enrolled in this randomized, placebo-controlled double-blinded investigation. The primary endpoint was the change in BMD of the femoral neck and the spine after 12 months. In addition, plasma levels of bone markers—amino-terminal propeptide of type I collagen (P1NP) and C-telopeptide of type I collagen (CTX 1)—were analysed.

    Results: A total of 102 women completed the study, but all subjects were included in the intention-to-treat (ITT) analysis (age 64.3 ± 7.2 years; Body Mass Index, BMI 23.6 ± 3.6 kg/m2; T-score spine −2.4 ± 0.6; T-score femoral neck −1.4 ± 0.5). In the SCP group (n = 66), BMD of the spine and of the femoral neck increased significantly compared to the control group (n = 65) (T-score spine: SCP +0.1 ± 0.26; CG −0.03 ± 0.18; ANCOVA p = 0.030; T-score femoral neck: SCP +0.09 ± 0.24; CG −0.01 ± 0.19; ANCOVA p = 0.003). P1NP increased significantly in the SCP group (p = 0.007), whereas CTX 1 increased significantly in the control group (p = 0.011).

    Conclusions: These data demonstrate that the intake of SCP increased BMD in postmenopausal women with primary, age-related reduction of BMD. In addition, SCP supplementation was associated with a favorable shift in bone markers, indicating increased bone formation and reduced bone degradation.

    Be well!


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