NutraIngredients-USA’s Top 10 most read articles of 2021

By Stephen Daniells contact

- Last updated on GMT

© levoncigol / Getty Images
© levoncigol / Getty Images

Related tags: NAC, N-acetyl-L-cysteine, Kratom, COVID-19, immune support, Vitamin d

As the year draws to a close, we thought it would be worthwhile to review the most read articles, with NAC, FDA kratom seizures, vitamin D benefits, and Elysium Health making the top 10.

1. CRN: ‘This is not the final word on NAC’​            

Published in May when Amazon was moving ahead to remove NAC-containing dietary supplements from its website, this article, which pulled in over 80,000 page views, covered CRN’s response to the ongoing situation. Fast forward seven months and there has still been no resolution of the issue with FDA continuing to state that it has not yet reached a final decision.

2. FDA seizes ‘adulterated dietary supplements’ containing kratom worth $1.3 million​ 

Another article from May, this time around the seizure of over 207,000 units of dietary supplements and bulk dietary ingredients containing kratom worth approximately $1.3 million by US Marshals, acting at the request of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

"There is substantial concern regarding the safety of kratom, the risk it may pose to public health and its potential for abuse,"​ said Judy McMeekin, Pharm.D., the FDA's Associate Commissioner for Regulatory Affairs, at the time of the raid.

3. House Resolution aims to recognize vitamin D's benefits for COVID-19​   

There has been a lot of interest in the associations between vitamin D status and outcomes of COVID-19, and this article covered the introduction of a resolution in the US House of Representatives to recognize the benefits.

Rep. Glenn Grothman (R-WI) introduced the resolution in February to “unite the voice of the House of Representatives in the search for additional ways to limit the negative effects of COVID-19 and hopefully encourage our public health establishment to issue much-needed guidance as to truly how effective vitamin D can be in preventing serious symptoms, complications, or death from the coronavirus.”

4. Vitamin D supplements linked to increased microbiome diversity

Our reporting on a study published in the Scientific Reports about vitamin D’s potential to beneficially shift the composition and diversity of the gut microbiota in vitamin D-deficient/insufficient, but otherwise healthy, women, was the fourth most read article of 2021.

Commenting independently on the study’s findings, Glenn Gibson, Professor of Food Microbiology and head of Food Microbial Sciences at the University of Reading in the UK, told NutraIngredients-USA: “This is a very well-done study showing interesting in vivo results. The positive effects of vitamin D on the micro biome are noteworthy.

“Moreover, the trial may have relevant for the current COVID pandemic given that both seem to have an involvement in helping entomology.”

5. Judge rules to invalidate two NR patents in win for Elysium Health​          

Lawsuits and countersuits between New York-based Elysium Health and California-based ChromaDex started back in 2016, and there were a couple of judgements handed down in quick succession in the second half of 2021. Closing out the top five of our most read articles was our coverage of the decision by US Judge Colm Connolly, United States District Court for the District of Delaware, to granted the request from Elysium Health to invalidate two Dartmouth College patents licensed by ChromaDex relating to nicotinamide riboside.

Elysium had been accused on infringing on the two patents - U.S. Patent No. 8,383,086 and U.S. Patent No. 8,197,807. However, Judge Connolly granted Elysium’s motion for summary judgement, stating that the patents in question were invalid because nicotinamide riboside, a form of vitamin B3, is a naturally-occurring vitamin, and therefore patent ineligible (Alice Corp. Pty. v. CLS Bank Int 'l, 573 U.S. 208, 216 (2014)).

6. Study: Curcumin extract combats the one-two punch of gut discomfort and anxiety​ 

Curcumin & turmeric remain ‘hot’ botanicals, and a study published at the start of 2021 found that a daily 500 mg dose of DolCas’ branded Curcugen ingredient was associated with greater improvements in digestive complaints and anxiety levels in adults with self-reported digestive complaints.

Data from the eight-week study were published in BMC Complementary Medicine and Therapies.​  

7. Patients with more omega-3s in blood less likely to die from COVID-19, pilot study finds​         

This pilot study focused on analyzing blood samples from 100 patients treated for COVID-19 at the Cedars Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. The samples were analyzed using the OmegaQuant test for the Omega-3 Index, with the results showing that people with highest levels of EPA and DHA in their blood were 75% less likely to die compared with those in the lower three quartiles.

The data was posted on the medRχiv portal, and was not peer-reviewed.

Lead author Arash Asher, MD, Director of Cancer Survivorship & Rehabilitation at Cedars-Sinai, said the results are strongly suggestive, and promising.

“While not meeting standard statistical significance thresholds, this pilot study — along with multiple lines of evidence regarding the anti-inflammatory effects of EPA and DHA – strongly suggests that these nutritionally available marine fatty acids may help reduce risk for adverse outcomes in COVID-19 patients. Larger studies are clearly needed to confirm these preliminary findings,”​ he said.

8. Study: Vitamin D levels associated with depressive symptoms​     

Vitamin D made another appearance in our most-read article list, this time with a study from the summer indicating that higher levels of the sunshine vitamin may be associated with fewer symptoms of depression.

“To the best of our knowledge, this is the first work examining the role of inflammation in the relation between depressive symptomatology and serum vitamin D levels using mediation and moderation analyses in a community sample. We found negative correlations between vitamin D levels and depressive symptomatology (assessed by CES-D Score) and three inflammatory markers (CRP, IL-6, WBC), which were in turn positively associated with depressive symptomatology,” ​wrote the researchers.

9. Review concludes magnesium relieves diabetes symptoms​            

More science in the top 10, with results of a systemic review and meta-analysis of data from 25 placebo-controlled randomized controlled trials indicated that oral supplementation with magnesium may improve glucose parameters in diabetics.

Writing in Nutrients​, scientists from Italy, Sudan, and the UK also reported that magnesium supplementation could also improve glucose and insulin sensitivity markers in subjects at high risk of diabetes.

10.  ABC article highlights purslane’s long history of use as Chinese researchers uncover additional constituents of plan

Closing out the top 10 was our coverage of an article published in HerbalGram about purslane, a succulent ground cover plant with fleshy, oval leaves. 

The plant’s medicinal potential has been a subject of interest since antiquity, with modern research focusing on purslane’s benefits in cases of asthma and diabetes. Other studies have focused on its neuroprotective effects. It may even have anti-tumor activity and antimicrobial properties.

Thank you!

The team at NutraIngredients-USA would like to wish you a very happy and healthy holiday season.

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