- Page 2 21st Century HGH Blog on Health and Fitness - Part 2
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Global Vitamin and Supplement Market Trends

It’s no surprise that the global market for vitamins and supplements is growing at a high rate. People are becoming more and more concerned about protecting their health through maintenance rather than spending huge amounts of money on medical procedures to correct health issues. So, they are turning to vitamins and supplements to ensure that their bodies are getting all of the nutrients they need to stay as healthy as possible.

Overall, the global market for vitamins and supplements was worth $104 billion dollars as of 2013. A recent report shows an overall growth of 4% annually.

It is also being reported that there are a few different interesting trends with the growth of the vitamin and supplement market. One being that though women are one of the biggest consumers of vitamins and supplements, men have recently overtaken women as buyers of supplements. It has also been noted that brick and mortar stores have stopped increasing any floor space to sell vitamins and supplements.

In 2013, vitamins and daily supplements for children in the United States grew 12%. Walmart and online retailers are both making similar numbers on sales of vitamins and supplements. Of the sales made online, two thirds were made by retailers that have e-commerce businesses without a physical location. Online vitamin and supplement sales were about $1.7 billion dollars in 2013.

Asia-Pacific has become the largest market for vitamins and supplements due to the large number of seniors in the population. In North America, people are becoming more educated about their health, as well as being concerned about the increase in healthcare costs. Because of this, the market in North America continues to grow. In Europe, chronic disease is on the rise, fueling the market for supplements there.

Not only are consumers becoming more aware about their health and what they need to do to protect it, they are also realizing that spending more money on better quality supplements can be worth it. When you do your research and pay more money you are more likely to end up with a product that will provide the health benefit that your body seeks.

The global market for nutritional supplements alone is projected to earn more than $60 billion in 2021. In 2012, just nutritional supplements earned $32 billion. That’s a projection of almost double in only eleven years, yet another sign that consumers all over the world are taking their health and wellness into their own hands.

The growth in the market can be partially attributed to the change in the demographic of consumers. Vitamins and supplements no longer belong just to weight lifters and gym rats. Men and women of every age are now using vitamins and supplements to fill in nutritional gaps and prevent medical problems from occurring.

Vitamins and supplements are set to continue to sell well and increase in the coming years. Older consumers are taking their health matters into their own hands, while parents of children are purchasing supplements for their children as a preventative measure and to bolster their health in their early years. The trends for the market of vitamins and supplements are changing but they will likely continue to grow at a robust rate in the near future.

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Killifish and Anti-Aging Research

The study of the human aging process is an important but difficult one. Since the time it takes to study the lifespan of a human takes almost a decade, making progress in the field is difficult.

Studies have been done on other species that share certain attributes with humans, but the results are not always useful. Worms, mice and primates have been studied, and that information has been studied in conjunction with human aging. However, a new animal has surfaced that might be the ideal test subject.

Discovered in 1968, the turquoise killifish is native to East Africa. What makes the killifish unique is the length of its lifespan, or rather, the shortness of it. Killifish live in ponds that develop during East Africa’s rainy season. The eggs laid by the previous season’s killifish wait in suspended animation until the pond forms again. The killifish grows to its full size of 2.5 inches in only 40 days. In about four months, the killifish are born, grow to adulthood, mate and lay fertile eggs for next season, then die. This abbreviated lifespan is just one of the reasons the killifish is the ideal test subject for the study of human aging.

Though mice live only four years, there are still limits as to what can be learned from their aging process. Nematode worms are also used to study aging, but there are physical traits humans have that worms do not, such as bones, leaving more gaps in the research. This is where the accelerated life span of the killifish comes into play. The killifish has a lifespan of only four months, greatly increasing the amount of information that can be gathered about the aging process over the years. Unlike nematode worms, the killifish is an invertebrate, as well as sharing other physical characteristics that humans have. They have an adaptive immune system, blood, and even similar stem cell biology, making them an excellent candidate for human aging studies.

The short life span of the killifish means that scientists will be able to gather information much faster than with mice, and information more pertinent to humans than nematode worms. The prolific reproduction rate of the killifish means that researchers can raise and study hundreds of killifish offspring and their various genetic makeups over the course of only a few months. Not only is more efficient and productive research of the aging process made possible by the killifish, but the testing of anti-aging drugs can be done with a much faster conclusion than other methods. An anti-aging drug that adds two weeks to the life of a killifish could add years to a human life.

Anne Brunet and her colleagues at Stanford University are researchers that are on the edge of a major breakthrough in the study of human aging using killifish. Once they begin using killifish in multiple studies by multiple teams of researchers, the increase of information on the aging process will be greatly accelerated. Many are looking forward to the wealth of information that this new type of study will bring.

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The Trend Towards Bodyweight Workouts

Joining a gym can be intimidating. It can be a struggle to find the time to make the trip, pay for membership, learn how to use complex equipment, or to overcome feelings of self-consciousness. When taking these things into consideration, it’s clear that going to the gym isn’t for everyone.

Since the gym isn’t something that everyone wants to do, it’s not surprising that a new trend among health-conscious exercisers is on the rise. Bodyweight workouts are an alternative to traditional gym workouts, using exercises that build strength using the weight of your body. Many exercisers are choosing to forgo the gym for strength training and use bodyweight exercises when it’s convenient for them.

Most of the exercises used in bodyweight workouts are familiar to most, such as push-ups, planks and squats. Other exercises in this category include mountain climbers, crunches and jumping jacks. It is recommended that those who use bodyweight workouts for strength training also do a cardiovascular exercise as well, since bodyweight workouts do not replace cardio workouts which are necessary for heart health.

Some suggest that bodyweight workouts might even be more effective than traditional strength training, since it allows your body to move at more natural angles, making bodyweight exercises easier on joints and bones. Strength training with free weights or other machines run the risk of injury or stress to your body.

One of the major benefits of bodyweight workouts is versatility. Since many bodyweight exercises can be done without any equipment, this opens up a lot of possibilities for when and where you can fit strength training into your life. They can be done on a lunch break, at night in the comfort of your home, or any other time or place that suits you, since you aren’t constricted by travel time and gym hours.

If you want to take bodyweight training to the next level, pull ups and gymnastics require a type of equipment but still use only your bodyweight as the resistance. Once you’ve mastered push-ups with ease, and if you want to elevate your strength training to the next level, work on the one arm pushup. While there are certain limits to bodyweight training compared to nearly unlimited weight that you can train with in traditional strength training, unless you plan on becoming a serious body builder, bodyweight training is a more than adequate substitute for free weights and gym equipment.

In fact, in some ways, bodyweight workouts can do things that traditional strength training can’t. For instance, when you are using bodyweight exercises to increase your muscle strength, you can do much faster intervals than with free weights or equipment. It takes mere seconds to go from working your arms in a push-up to strengthening your abs in a crunch.

It’s no wonder that more and more people are turning to bodyweight workouts to strengthen their muscles. It’s convenient, requires little to no equipment and isn’t limited to one location, like the gym. Bodyweight workouts are easier on your body, and improve your strength in ways that traditional weight training can’t. It’s very likely that more and more health-conscious individuals will turn to bodyweight workouts instead of the gym.

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Add Garlic for Good Health

While garlic is a well-known and widely used ingredient, it’s also been used for ages for its medicinal properties. Once you learn what all the garlic buzz is about, it will be easy for you to use it for pasta sauces and pizza or as a natural remedy.

Garlic has been used medicinally as far back as the beginning of recorded history. Ancient Egypt, Greece, Rome, China and India all have medicinal texts that recommend the use of garlic for various illnesses. It was believed to strengthen and increase productivity in manual laborers, improve heart health, and treat parasites.

Science is now showing that garlic actually does have some very real medicinal properties, likely due to the allicin in it. Allicin is the biological component of garlic that is responsible for the health benefits that garlic provides. It has antibacterial, antimicrobial, antioxidant, and certain cancer inhibiting effects.

While some of the effects of garlic are still being scientifically proven, there is a lot of information that suggests garlic is much more than an herb for cooking.

● Heart Health: Garlic has been shown to prevent the hardening and narrowing of arteries that happens as the human body ages, as well as reduce blood pressure by up to 7% or 8%. It’s also an anticoagulant, preventing clots in the blood stream.
● Treating Inflammation: In a recent study done on garlic, there were four sulphuric compounds in garlic that were shown to decrease inflammation, including skin inflammation such as that caused by psoriasis. It can also help those who suffer from inflammation as a result of autoimmune disease, especially if it’s a regular part of their diet.
● Immune Strength: Garlic is packed with antioxidants. Antioxidants battle free radicals in your body, and can also strengthen your immune system, preventing you from getting sick or helping you to fight off sickness faster.
● Preventing Food Poisoning: Some research suggests that the antibacterial properties of garlic can prevent the development of E. coli and Salmonella. This is only to be used in conjunction with safe food handling procedures.
● Preventing Colon Cancer: There has been some research that indicates that eating garlic daily can prevent the development of Colon or Rectal Cancer. These studies also suggest that you can take a high dose aged garlic supplement in order to prevent the growth of new tumors.
● Treating Fungal Infections: Garlic also has antifungal properties, making it a great treatment for ringworm, athlete’s foot and jock itch. These are fungal infections that grow in moist environments, and are highly contagious.
● Prevent Tick Bites: A recent study shows that people who eat large amounts of garlic over a five month period have a reduced number of tick bites.

There is some controversy over the best way to eat or use garlic for its medicinal benefits. Because raw garlic has such a strong, potentially overwhelming flavor and smell, most people prefer to cook garlic before they consume it. However, research indicates that cooking garlic can reduce its effectiveness to treat or prevent illness. The best way to cook garlic is to crush it and let it sit for 10 minutes so that the components that produce the allicin can be activated, then add it to your meal at the end, so that it doesn’t get too heated.

It seems that the ancient civilizations were right about the power of garlic. Try adding it to your diet, you may be surprised at what it does for your health!

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March is National Nutrition Month

Every year we celebrate National Nutrition Month in March. This month is created annually by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics in an effort to educate people about how they can make changes for a healthier lifestyle, starting with food. The theme for 2015 is “Bite into a Healthy Lifestyle.”

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics was founded in 1917, in Cleveland, Ohio. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics was created by a group of women that wanted to assist the government in the conservation of food and in boosting public health during World War I. Today, there are over 75,000 members, including registered dietitian nutritionists, and other dietetics professionals.

As the years have gone by, the mission of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has evolved with the times. They are committed to making a positive change in the health of the nation by the power of research, accessible education, and advocacy for the specific help that dietitian nutritionists can provide. One of the tools they use to pursue this goal is National Nutrition Month.

National Nutrition Month was instituted in 1980, and ever since then the public interest in nutrition and health has only grown. NNM is a great opportunity to learn about proper nutrition and what it takes to keep your body healthy. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has a ton of resources for those who are interested in learning more about nutrition during National Nutrition Month.

Tips from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics are detailed on the many handouts made to help reach out to the public. From coloring pages for young children to nutrition-themed Sudoku games for adults, every demographic is addressed in a way that is accessible to them. The goal of National Nutrition Month is to make information about being healthy easy to find and easy to learn.

To give you a better idea of what National Nutrition Month is about, here’s just a small portion of the information that NNM is getting out there.

● Eat a breakfast with lean protein, whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables.
● Half of your plate should be fruits or vegetables.
● Be careful about portion size. Make sure you’re not eating too much or too little.
● Be physically active. Children need an hour of exercise per day and adults need 2 ½ hours per week.
● Cook at home rather than eating out. You have more control over the health of the ingredients and portion size.
● Drink plenty of water to avoid hunger between meals and avoid sugary sodas and drinks.
● Explore new foods. You never know what kinds of healthy new foods you might enjoy, giving you a new way to get necessary nutrients into your diet.
● Learn how to read food labels. Once you know what to look for, you can more easily choose foods that are good for you and stop buying the ones that are unhealthy.

National Nutrition Month is a great opportunity to learn more about how you can live a healthier lifestyle. If you want more information, go to www.nationalnutritionmonth.org.

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Andy Pettitte and the HGH Issue

Professional athletes are under a lot of pressure to perform at their best each and every game. Some athletes choose to use illegal substances such as steroids to get ahead of the competition. Other times, athletes begin to stand head and shoulders above the rest, then feel pressured to maintain their legendary status by turning to illegal substances.

Baseball player Andy Pettitte of the New York Yankees claims none of the above reasons for his use of the human growth hormone. Instead, he insists he was trying to speed up his body’s healing process after injuring his elbow in 2002. The human growth hormone is naturally produced in the body, but synthetic injections of HGH have been shown to speed up cell regeneration.

Pettitte further tried to explain his use of the human growth hormone in a release made to the Associated Press after details of his use emerged in the 2007 Mitchell Report. “I felt an obligation to get back to my team as soon as possible. For this reason, and only this reason, for two days I tried human growth hormone…I wasn’t looking for an edge. I was looking to heal.”

The Mitchell Report (fronted by Former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell) was the result of a 21 month long investigation into the use of performance enhancing drugs in Major League Baseball. Released on December 31st, 2007, it names 89 MLB players who allegedly used performance enhancing drugs while playing in the Major League. Huge names like Gary Sheffield, Jason Giambi and Barry Bonds were outed in this report.

The use of the human growth hormone for the enhancement of athletic performance is not only prohibited by the MLB, it’s illegal. There are very specific restrictions on the use of the human growth hormone. Whoever prescribed Pettitte his HGH (or himself, if he self-prescribed) technically could face criminal charges.

Fortunately for Pettitte those charges were not filed, however, it’s very likely he’s lost his chance at entering the Baseball Hall of Fame. Pettitte has tried to rationalize his behavior, though some don’t buy his story. “This is it – two days out of my life; two days out of my entire career, when I was injured and on the disabled list.”

This summer, the New York Yankees will retire the number of Pettitte’s jersey, an honor that only the true baseball greats receive. It’s not the Hall of Fame, but it is a sign that his contribution to Major League Baseball was greater than his fall from grace. “What an honor. … I’m just so fortunate to have played for the organization [which] put me around such great players every year [with] an opportunity to win. “, said Pettitte while on “The Michael Kay Show” on ESPN New York 98.7.

Despite his illegal use of the human growth hormone, New York Yankee’s number 46 will forever belong to Andy Pettitte while other great players who used performance enhancing drugs have been publicly shamed, fined, and even banned.

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New HGH Agreement Between Pfizer and OPKO

The human growth hormone seems to be the future. Pharmaceutical company OPKO Health Inc. has just made a $275 million agreement with Pfizer (also a pharmaceutical company) to begin developing and commercializing a special version of the human growth hormone.

The drug, called hGH-CTP is a longer lasting human growth hormone treatment than the typical hGH that is available now. Human growth hormone shots are, at the present time, given once a day. The hGH-CTP is a treatment that can be given only once a week, making it more convenient for the patient.

There should be a high rate of patients following through with treatments if they are only once a week, as opposed to once a day. The human growth hormone is given as a treatment to adults who have a growth hormone deficiency (GHD), or children born small for gestational age (SGA) who have not caught up by the age of two.

This is a bold move, one that hints at the potential future use of human growth hormone to become more and more widespread. Off label use of the human growth hormone could also become more widespread.

The fact that the human growth hormone has not been approved by the FDA has not deterred physicians from prescribing it for anti-aging purposes. It is often lauded by marketers or doctors as the fountain of youth, melting away body fat, restoring hair growth, increasing your energy level as well as sex drive, quality of sleep, vision, and even memory.

Human growth hormone (and products claiming to increase your body’s production of it) has not received the proper testing required for anti-aging purposes. The long-term effects of using the human growth hormone for anti-aging purposes are unknown and the side effects that are known can be concerning.

Some of those side effects include nerve or muscle pain, edema, and high cholesterol levels. It has also been known to increase the risk of diabetes. One of the purported benefits of the human growth hormone is the more speedy regeneration of cells, however, this is not limited only to healthy cells. It can speed the growth of dangerous cancer cells as well.

“Prescribing and administering GH has become a routine intervention in an industry that is variably called anti-aging, regenerative, longevity or age management medicine. Hundreds of thousands of patients who have received GH in recent years as a purported treatment for aging are unaware that they are receiving the drug illegally,” said Thomas Perls, MD, MPH, from Boston University School of Medicine in Massachusetts in a news release.

While this new agreement is a positive development in the use of the human growth hormone, it remains to be seen if this partnership and development will spark growth in awareness and use of hGH. Surely it will help those who have conditions that require hGH injections adhere to their course of treatments. With further research, it is hoped that additional uses of the drug will be proven to be beneficial as well.

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Ibuprofen and Anti-Aging

While many medical researchers are looking for a new drug to prevent aging, researchers at the Buck Institute of Novato, California are eyeing a drug that’s a staple in most medicine cabinets across the nation.

Ibuprofen is now one of the most promising anti-aging drugs in research. Ibuprofen is an NSAID, a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug used for pain relief, reducing fever, and reducing inflammation. However, it seems there is much more to these popular pills than their typical purposes.

The ibuprofen study by the Buck Institute and led by Chong He, PhD, found that ibuprofen inhibits cells ability to use tryptophan. Tryptophan is an amino acid, found in turkey that induces the well-known post meal sleepiness. It seems that the less tryptophan in the animals in the study, the longer they lived.

Michael Polymenis, PhD, also worked on the ibuprofen study, starting with yeast and moving on to flies and worms. “We are not sure why this works, but it’s worth exploring further. This study was a proof of principle, to show that common, relatively safe drugs in humans can extend the lifespan of very diverse organisms,” he said.

Ibuprofen has been available for decades, but became available over the counter in the 1980s. Brian Kennedy, CEO of the Buck Institute said “Ibuprofen is a relatively safe drug, found in most people’s medicine cabinets. There is every reason to believe there are other existing treatments that can impact healthspan and we need to be studying them.”

Other studies have even suggested that people who regularly took ibuprofen over an extended period of time had a lower risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease or Parkinson’s disease. In the study done by the Buck Institute, the model organisms had a lifespan extension on average of 15%.
While ibuprofen is generally considered a safe drug, there are some adverse side effects that are possible, including distress in the gastrointestinal tract, and potentially overloading the liver and kidneys at high doses.

Chong He, the lead in the study, said that the life extension of the model organisms would be equal to potentially twelve years or more of healthy life for people. The Buck Institute’s focus is not on squeezing more years onto the end of human life, but rather increasing “healthspan,” meaning the healthy years of a person’s life. They study not only the specifics of aging, but they also focus on age related diseases.

CEO Kennedy also said of the ibuprofen study, “Not only did all the species live longer, but the treated flies and worms appeared more healthy. The research shows that ibuprofen impacts a process not yet implicated in aging, giving us a new way to study and understand the aging process.”

It’s possible that ibuprofen is not the only common drug that can aid in extending the healthy years of human life. This study is a tremendous breakthrough that could prove very viable as an anti-aging option. The Buck Institute seems to be looking in the right direction for the extension of healthy years for humans.

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The Health Benefits of Chocolate

Wouldn’t the world be a brighter place if chocolate was considered a health food? Studies are beginning to show that chocolate is a hair’s breadth away from being considered “healthy.”

There are many ways in which chocolate can possibly benefit your health. When you are looking for a healthy chocolate to benefit your health, you need to be sure that you’re choosing the proper kind of chocolate. Milk chocolate has far less health benefits than dark chocolate does, especially dark chocolate with a high percentage of cacao. While dark chocolate does contain some saturated fat, it is a much less harmful kind of saturated fat than others, called stearic acid. Stearic acid doesn’t elevate blood cholesterol levels in the way that other saturated fats do. However, some chocolate will have additional sources of fat in them, such as milk fat, vegetable oil, or coconut oil.

Cocoa butter is the only fat source you want to see on the ingredient list of the chocolate you purchase for health purposes. The other sources of fat are harmful additives that are very likely to have a negative effect on your body. What is it in chocolate that benefits our bodies? There are several answers to this question, however the biggest one is flavanol, an antioxidant that can reduce cell damage, potentially inhibiting the development of heart disease. Chocolate also contains tryptophan, a chemical the brain needs in order to produce the “happy chemical” serotonin. Chocolate has also been shown to (when taken regularly) aid blood vessels and arteries in relaxing in order to let blood pass through, which is essential for cardiovascular health. In a recent study done in Italy, researchers found that the patients who regularly ate dark chocolate had a significantly lowered insulin resistance, which is a pre-diabetes condition. Many people struggle with chronic fatigue. A recent study shows that its possible that chocolate is the answer. In a study done of people suffering from chronic fatigue, those that had a regular intake of dark chocolate reported feeling more energized.

There is, of course, some caution to be taken. If you want the health benefits of chocolate, you have to ration the amount you get per day. Using chocolate in order to aid your overall health is not a “more is better” situation. If you overeat chocolate, you risk significant weight gain which is not conducive to a healthy body. Moderation is the key to using chocolate as a health food. Be choosy when it comes to what kind of chocolate you put into your body. Steer well clear of chocolate with additives like milk, vegetable oil and other cheap ingredients. Some brands of chocolate have even been known to use wax in their chocolate for a smoother texture.

Remember, when searching for the best chocolate for your health, be sure that its one with a high percentage of cacao and only cocoa butter as a fat source in the chocolate. Here’s to a delicious way to improve your health!

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Natural Supplements Conference

The Scripps Center for Integrative Medicine of San Diego, California is hosting a Natural Supplements Conference that is geared towards health providers but is also open to the general public. The event takes place from Jan 16th – Jan 18th, 2015 at the Paradise Point Resort in Mission Bay.

Studies have shown that some supplements or herbal remedies can actually improve overall health, and even control symptoms of diseases. The popularity of using natural supplements has grown exponentially in recent years, with American’s spending over $30 billion annually. The goal of the Natural Supplement’s Conference is to give health providers and consumers the knowledge necessary to choose the proper supplements for specific needs.

The Scripps Center for Integrative Medicine was founded in 1999. The Scripps Center is unique in its blend of scientifically backed alternative therapies with more conventional Western medicine. First and foremost they focus on preventing disease, then the healing and overall improvement of health when disease or illness occur.

Sponsored by Nordic Naturals, the conference has several well-known speakers lined up. The keynote speaker is Tieraona Low Dog, MD, whose book, Life is Your Best Medicine, helps guide women to take steps for better overall health. The book stresses that natural remedies and medicine are not competitors, but allies.

Tieraona Low Dog says in her book, “The division between conventional and traditional medicine is as artificial as the division between science and nature. They can be woven together in a fashion that meets our physical, emotional, and spiritual needs. This is the foundation upon which integrative medicine is built.”

The conference aims to give more concrete information and details about the various natural supplements available, the side effects, potential drug interactions and complementary combinations. One of the speakers at the conference, Robert Bonakdar, M.D., says “When it comes to natural supplements, clinicians and consumers need reliable and timely information. This program is a great place for people to do their homework and get the answers they need to make informed decisions.”

The topics at the Natural Supplement Conference span many different topics, such as “Natural Supplements for Optimizing Immune Health” given by Robert C. Rountree, MD. Another is “Obesity Related Pain/Inflammation”, by Robert Alan Bonakdar, MD, FAAFP, ABIHM. There are also several workshops available, like “Integrative Cancer Care” with David Leopold, MD, ABIHM and Ashwin Mehta, MD, MPH and “Detox Fundamentals” by Deanna Minich, PhD, MS, CNS, RYT.

Sunday, the final day of the conference will feature a talk on “Natural Approaches to Mental Health” with Scott Shannon, MD, ABIHM, as well as “Neuroprotection: Nutrients to Protect the Brain from PTSD, Injury & Aging” given by Michael D. Lewis, MD, MPH, MBA, FACPM.

As previously mentioned, the conference is tailored towards health care providers such as doctors, dieticians, nurses, nurse midwives or chiropractors, but could also benefit members of the general public. The Natural Supplement Conference is a valuable resource for the healthcare community to learn the most recent, up-to-date scientific information on the marriage of alternative medicines and supplements with conventional medicine.