A Physician Who Founded a Nutraceutical Company

Physicians who question the credibility of nutraceutical manufacturers might have their doubts quelled by Seth J. Baum, MD, a cardiologist in Boca Raton, Fla. He also is the head and founder of Vital Remedy MD (www.vitalremedymd.com), a maker of renal and cardiovascular vitamins and supplements since 2002.


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“I’m on both sides of the fence here because I’ve got one foot on the industry side and one foot heavily steeped in the conservative medicine side,” Dr. Baum said.


Dr. Baum, who formulates all of his company’s products himself, said he understands why his medical colleagues might be worried about products marketed by some of his industry associates. “Unfortunately, you have a lot of charlatans out there who are promoting products that have no evidence behind them,” he says.


“But then there is a large segment that does have evidence [of nutraceutical efficacy], perhaps just not the standard that we’d like to see in the world of evidence-based medicine, because of the expense of doing trials.”


Doctors who flatly dismiss nutraceuticals should “have the confidence as physicians to try something and not be terrified that they’ll hurt a patient with a nutraceutical, unless there’s some real evidence of risk. We need to return to the foundation of medicine as art for physicians. We need to read as much as possible, learn as much as possible, and then put the picture together as best as we can and make recommendations based upon our knowledge and our experience.”

l-Carnitine May Reduce LVH in Dialysis Patients, Study Finds

l-Carnitine supplementation decreases left ventricular mass in hemodialysis patients, according to investigators at the Kidney Center of Shinrakuen Hospital in Niigata, Japan.


In a study, 10 patients received 10 mg/kg of oral l-carnitine three times per week over 12 months immediately following their dialysis sessions. Tai Sakurabayashi, MD, and colleagues used echocardiography to measure left ventricular fractional shortening (LVFS) and left ventricular mass index (LVMI) before and after the study period.


l-Carnitine treatment increased serum free creatinine from 28.4 to 58.5 mmol/L in patients. LVFS remained unchanged among both the treated patients and a control group of 10 untreated patients, according to investigators. LVMI fell significantly in the treated group from 151.8 to 134.0 g/m2. No significant LVMI change was observed in the untreated group.


“Supplementation with l-carnitine induced regression of left ventricular hypertrophy in patients on hemodialysis, even for those with normal systolic function,” the researchers concluded in Circulation Journal (2008;72:926-931).


In addition, l-carnitine supplementation also was associated with a 31% reduction in erythropoietin requirements but did not change hematocrit or BP levels during the course of the study.