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Joslin Diabetes Center of Harvard University’s Medical School in Boston recently began a 16-week clinical trial on a diet supplement for glucose management and heart health. The powdered product is to be marketed as a drink and pill combination taken as a snack before lunch and before dinner, under the brand name Level Best by Functional Foods Inc. of Belmont, MA.
The product contains chromium and ginseng for glucose management; psyllium, fructose, and barley for their glucose-leveling properties; red yeast rice to manage healthy blood lipids; and willow bark to augment the body’s natural blood-clotting system. "The rapid increase in the incidence of diabetes is a major public health crisis. People who have both diabetes and high cholesterol are at a high risk of developing heart disease. We need to explore aggressive prevention programs and better treatment measures, including the use of functional ingredients," says Joan Hill, RD, CDE, director of education at Joslin.
Hill says the study will look at the beverage/ tablet combination made with nutrients with which many patients already are experimenting. "This study gives us an opportunity to test a group of nutrients, which have already been shown to be individually effective," she points out.
Participants in the randomized, double-blind, crossover study all have Type 2 diabetes and cholesterol levels higher than 200 mg/dL. The product was developed by Functional Foods’ chief science officer, Stacey Bell, DrSc, and Judy Shabert, MD, PPH, RD, clinical instructor in obstetrics and gynecology at Harvard Medical School. Functional Foods plans to offer Level Best initially through physicians’ offices.