Health Center with Monica Robins: the best health stories for November 8

Today’s roundup of health stories includes an update on baby formula shortages, the flu and more.

CLEVELAND – We have a number of updates for you on a busy Tuesday in health news. Discover Health Hub with Monica Robins:

SHORTAGE OF INFANT FORMULA

The FDA has authorized two foreign companies to sell infant formula in the United States.

Parents can find Aptamil Care Stage One and Two from Danone in Ireland, as well as New Zealand’s The A2 Milk Company Platinum Infant formula on store shelves. Both companies have other products that have been sold in the United States for several years. The FDA has leveraged a number of flexibilities to strengthen formula supply while ensuring infant formula is safe and provides adequate nutrition.

A few U.S. formula makers have also said they plan to expand manufacturing capacity to help maintain inventory supply. The FDA always advises against making infant formula at home or diluting formula. Talk to your child’s pediatrician for options.

SUPPLEMENTS VS. STATINS

A new study from the Cleveland Clinic shows that over-the-counter supplements claiming to help lower cholesterol aren’t very effective.

“What we examined is the effect of 5 milligrams of a low-dose statin compared to placebo and six commonly used dietary supplements for lowering LDL cholesterol in a patient population at intermediate risk for future risk. cardiovascular adverse events,” said Luke Laffin, MD, cardiologist at the Cleveland Clinic.

Dr. Laffin said he studied six supplements, including fish oil, garlic, cinnamon, turmeric, plant sterols and red yeast rice, then compared them to statins, which are prescription drugs. .

The results showed that a low-dose statin was significantly more effective at lowering cholesterol than any of the supplements.

He said they also found that statins were just as safe as supplements.

Additionally, the supplements did very little to lower cholesterol.

So what does this mean for people with high cholesterol?

“If you’ve had conversations with your doctor about taking cholesterol-lowering medications, it’s probably best to continue those conversations and not resort to over-the-counter supplements that generally don’t have valuable data, including in this trial, that they actually lower cholesterol and lower cardiovascular risk,” Dr. Laffin said.

Dr. Laffin said it’s probably best for people taking these types of supplements to treat high cholesterol to stop and switch to a proven drug.

ULTRA-PROCESSED FOODS AND EARLY DEATH

A study in Brazil found that a diet high in processed foods could lead to premature death.

The researchers looked at food survey data to estimate baseline intakes of ultra-processed foods.

They found that more than 500,000 adults between the ages of 30 and 69 died prematurely in 2019 after consuming large amounts of things like frozen pizzas, ready meals, hot dogs, cakes, sweets, sausages , sodas and donuts. We have long known that these foods are linked to an increase in diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer.

THE FLU IS HERE

According to the Ohio Department of Health, we have 135 confirmed cases of influenza in the state that have required hospitalization. That figure includes 14 hospitalizations in northeast Ohio, including eight in Cuyahoga County.

The predominant strain is H3N2, which is type A, and the same strain that caused a pretty bad flu season in the southern hemisphere.

Experts predict that we will likely see a lot of flu here in the coming weeks.

Usually the flu strikes in January, but don’t be surprised to see cases start to rise dramatically in December. The flu vaccine protects against both type A and type B strains, and now is the time to get one before you see the family for Thanksgiving.

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