Entries in DHA (4)


Are 'Spray-On' Tans Safe? New Concerns as Industry Puts Out Warnings

Image Source/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The active chemical used in spray tans, dihydroxyacetone (DHA), has the potential to cause genetic alterations and DNA damage, according to a panel of medical experts who reviewed 10 of the most-current publicly available scientific studies on DHA for ABC News, including a federal report ABC News obtained through the Freedom of Information Act.

Six medical experts in areas ranging across the fields of dermatology, toxicology and pulmonary medicine said they "have concerns" after reviewing the literature and reports about DHA, the main chemical in the popular "spray-on" tan, which has conventionally been referred to as the "safe" alternative to tanning under ultraviolet lights.

None of the reviewed studies tested on actual human subjects, but some found DHA altered genes of multiple types of cells and organisms when tested in different labs by different scientists after the chemical was approved for use in the consumer market.

"I have concerns," said Dr. Rey Panettieri, a toxicologist and lung specialist at the University of Pennsylvania's Perelman School of Medicine.  "The reason I'm concerned is the deposition of the tanning agents into the lungs could really facilitate or aid systemic absorption -- that is, getting into the bloodstream."

Panettieri, like all the experts ABC News consulted with, said more studies should be done.  He emphasized the available scientific literature is limited.  Still, he said, he has seen enough to say the warning signs of serious health concerns exist.

"These compounds in some cells could actually promote the development of cancers or malignancies," he said, "and if that's the case then we need to be wary of them."

The Food and Drug Administration originally approved DHA for "external" use back in 1977, when it was popular in tanning lotions.  Those lotions, previously famous for turning skin orange, were never as popular as current products that produce better tans.  In recent years, the use of DHA has exploded in the newer "spray" application of the product, which provides a more even tan for consumers.

The FDA told ABC News it never could have envisioned the chemical's use in spray tan back in the 1970s, and says "DHA should not be inhaled or ingested" today.  It tells consumers on its website, "The use of DHA in 'tanning' booths as an all-over spray has not been approved by the FDA, since safety data to support this use has not been submitted to the agency for review and evaluation."

The agency advises consumers who spray tan that they are "not protected from the unapproved use of this color additive" if they are inhaling the mist or allowing it to get inside their body.  The agency recommends, "Consumers should request measures to protect their eyes and mucous membranes and prevent inhalation."

However, ABC News found some tanning salons offering consumers advice that directly conflicts with what the FDA has recommended.

In response to ABC News' findings, the tanning industry has announced it will launch a major national training initiative that will hit thousands of salons across the United States over the next few weeks, intended to inform both salons and customers who "spray tan" about the FDA recommendations.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Marketers of Children's Vitamins to Refund $2.1 Million to Consumers in FTC Settlement

Photo Courtesy - PR NewsFoto | Federal Trade Commission(WASHINGTON) -- The Federal Trade Commission on Monday reached a settlement that will require major marketers of children's vitamins to cease false and unproven claims that the supplements promote healthy brain and eye development in children.  The FTC also charged the companies with being deceptive about the amount of DHA, an Omega-3 fatty acid, that is used in their line of Disney and Marvel licensed children's multivitamin gummies and tablets.

As part of the agreement, NBTY, Inc. and two subsidiaries -- NatureSmart and Rexall Sundown -- will pay $2.1 million in refunds to consumers who purchased multivitamins in their Disney and Marvel Heroes line.

The supplements, sold at retailers such as CVS, Walmart, Target, Walgreens and Rite Aid, featured various Disney characters and Spider-Man on the packaging and claimed to contain DHA.  But actually, the products only contained small trace amounts of DHA, according to the FTC complaint.

The $2.1 million refund program will be administered by the FTC, which plans to reach out to affected consumers in the coming months.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Omega-3 May Not Slow Cognitive Decline of Alzheimer’s

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(PORTLAND, Ore.) -- A new trial shows that patients with mild-to-moderate Alzheimer's disease reap no apparent benefits from taking supplements with the omega-3 fatty acid docosahexaenoic acid, or DHA.

In an 18-month trial of more than 400 patients, it was found that the rate of change -- measured on the cognitive subscale of the Alzheimer's Disease Assessment Scale -- actually increased 7.98 points among those given DHA, compared with 8.27 points among the placebo group. The findings were reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association by Dr. Joseph F. Quinn of Oregon Health and Science University in Portland and colleagues.

Patients also showed no rate of change on the Clinical Dementia Rating -- which was an increase of 2.87 points for the DHA supplement group and 2.93 for those on placebo.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Researchers Say Fish Oil Pills Are No Help During Pregnancy

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Researchers say that taking fish oil supplements during pregnancy won't boost a baby's brain development or prevent postpartum depression for mothers, according to MedPage Today.

Maria Makrides of the Women's and Children's Hospital in Adelaide, Australia told MedPage that "overall cognitive scores were nearly identical and language scores tended to be lower in children exposed to docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)-rich fish oil during gestation than scores in controls."

For new mothers, the Journal of the American Medical Association reported there is "no significant difference in the prevalence of depressive symptoms in the first six months postpartum between women who took the fish oil pills and those who didn't."

Dr. Emily Oken of Harvard and Dr. Mandy B. Belfort of Children's Hospital Boston both agree that eating fish may be better than taking a supplement, citing evidence that "points to lower postpartum depression risk and better neurodevelopment with dietary consumption of fish in pregnancy" in comparison to fish oil supplements, MedPage reports.

"It may be that the n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids in fish are more bioactive or that other beneficial nutrients within fish, such as selenium, vitamin D, and iodine, are also important," they wrote in JAMA.

However, Oken and Belfort recommend that "for now, women should continue to aim for the recommended daily intake of DHA through low-mercury, high-DHA fish intake or supplements," MedPage says.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

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