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Past News Items - June 2017

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In the News

Complementary medicine in Switzerland now a mandatory health insurance service

Kids with Low Vitamin K2 Status at Greater Risk for Fracture: New Study

Study Finds Most Cardiologists Lack Heart Healthy Diet and Up to Date Nutrition Education

The Institute For Functional Medicine Names Patrick Hanaway, MD, As The 2017 Linus Pauling Award Recipient

Released: 06/16/17

Complementary medicine in Switzerland now a mandatory health insurance service

Complementary medicine in Switzerland now a mandatory health insurance service
The Swiss Federal Government announces that specific medical services using complementary medicine are to be covered by mandatory health insurance (basic insurance). The Swiss Umbrella Association for Complementary Medicine and the Union of Associations of Swiss Physicians for Complementary Medicine welcome this decision. It implements one of the key demands of the constitutional referendum held on 17 May 2009. With this decision, the Swiss Federal Council is acknowledging that complementary medicine in Switzerland meets statutory regulations when it comes to effectiveness, guaranteeing high quality and safety.
At the 17 May 2009 constitutional referendum, the Swiss people voted in favour of complementary medicine being included in public healthcare by a two-thirds majority. A key requirement of the new constitutional article 118a on complementary medicine is that mandatory health insurance (basic insurance) also has to cover specific services using complementary medicine.
It is now decided that the following disciplines of complementary medicine will be fully covered by mandatory health insurance (basic insurance) as of 1 August 2017: anthroposophical medicine, classical homoeopathy, traditional Chinese medicine and herbal medicine, provided that these are practised by conventional medical practitioners who have an additional qualification in one of the four disciplines as recognised by the Swiss Medical Association (FMH).
The Swiss Federal Health Insurance Act (HIA, 1996) together with constitutional article 118a provide everyone with access to complementary medical services (according to the solidarity principle). Despite these
regulations, the implementation was followed by several years of controversy about how to cover the costs of complementary medical services. Scientific programmes commissioned by the government were abused for political ends, meaning that, for a while, such services were no longer covered.
With today's decision, the Swiss Federal Government is finally acknowledging that complementary medicine meets the regulations of the HIA when it comes to effectiveness, guaranteeing high quality and safety. By law, only those services that are effective, appropriate and cost-effective (art. 32 of the requirements of the Federal Act on Health Insurance) can be covered.
The government's decision is important for any person or family that cannot afford private supplementary insurance and for people with indications for which the only available options in conventional medicine carry a higher potential risk.
The Swiss Umbrella Association for Complementary Medicine and the Union of Associations of Swiss Physicians for Complementary Medicine are pleased with the Federal Council's policy decision to strengthen support for complementary medicine in basic medical care.


  • Dr Hansueli Albonico, former Chairman of the Union of Associations of Swiss Physicians for Complementary Medicine: +41 79 595 79 48 /
  • Dr Gisela Etter, Chairwoman of the Union of Associations of Swiss Physicians for Complementary Medicine, member of the Board of Directors of the Swiss Umbrella Association for Complementary Medicine: +41 79 312 64 42 /
  • Walter Stüdeli, Head of Policy and Media of the Swiss Umbrella Association for Complementary Medicine: +41 79 330 23 46 /

The Swiss Umbrella Association for Complementary Medicine
The Swiss Umbrella Association for Complementary Medicine campaigns for the recognition of complementary medicine within the Swiss healthcare industry. The association was set up in 2009 to implement the core requirements associated with constitutional article 118a:

  • To promote integrative medicine (cooperation between conventional and complementary medicine)
  • To include complementary medicine disciplines as practised by physicians in basic insurance and other forms of social insurance (Suva accident insurance, military and disability insurance)
  • To promote teaching and research
  • To establish national qualifications and cantonal professional licensing for non-medical therapists
  • To ensure the availability of a variety of therapeutic products

The founding members include associations of physicians and therapists, hospitals, schools, health organisations, the Swiss druggists' association and the manufacturers' association for complementary medical products and therapeutic products of plant origin.

The Union of Associations of Swiss Physicians for Complementary Medicine

The Union has been successfully campaigning for complementary medicine as practised by physicians to be recognised within the healthcare industry since 1996 and calls for complementary medicine to be afforded equal status in practice, teaching and research. It is committed to making complementary medicine a fundamental part of basic medical healthcare and promotes cooperation between the affiliated associations of physicians.

Released: 06/13/17

Kids with Low Vitamin K2 Status at Greater Risk for Fracture: New Study

Kids with Low Vitamin K2 Status at Greater Risk for Fracture: New Study

0.1 increase in amount of inactive K-dependent protein ratio results in 19.2462 x fracture risk


OSLO, NORWAY and METUCHEN, NJ (June 13, 2017) – A new study abstract has been presented at the International Conference on Children’s Bone Health in Würzburg, Germany highlighting the increased risk of fracture risk in children with low Vitamin K2 status. While Vitamin D has an established role in the prevention of fractures, this is the first study to evaluate both D and K2 status in healthy children with low-energy fractures (i.e., the result of falling from standing height or less) and in the control group without fractures.


The authors write: “Bone fractures are very common in children and their number is growing every year. Vitamin D has a proven role in the prevention of fractures… [but the] past decade has seen increased interest in the role of Vitamin K, especially K2 menaquinone-7, in bone health and prevention of bone fractures. There is a scarcity of research examining the effects of vitamin K deficiency on bone health in children and adolescent populations. The aim of the current study was to evaluate the Vitamin D and K status in healthy children with low-energy fractures and in the control group without fractures.”


“This is a significant study as it supports what NattoPharma’s clinical research1 has already revealed: that children have the most pronounced K deficiency, making them most in need for K2 supplementation,” says Dr. Hogne Vik, Chief Medical Officer with NattoPharma, leaders in vitamin K2 research and development. “Further, our research with healthy prepubertal children2 has also shown that just 45mcg daily of K2 (as MenaQ7®) improves K status and increases the activation of osteocalcin, the K-dependent protein responsible for binding calcium to the bone mineral matrix, therefore improving bone health.”


The study group of 20 children aged 5 to 15 years old, with clinically confirmed low-energy fractures was compared with the control group of 19 healthy children, aged 7 to 17 years old, without fractures. Total vitamin D [25(OH)D3 plus 25(OH)D2], calcium, BALP (bone alkaline phosphatase), NTx (N-terminal telopeptide) and undercarboxylated (ucOC) and carboxylated osteocalcin (cOC) serum concentrations were evaluated in every patient. Ratio of serum undercarboxylated osteocalcin to serum carboxylated osteocalcin ucOC:cOC - UCR -  was used as an indicator of vitamin K status. Logistic regression models were created to establish UCR influence for odds ratio of low-energy fractures in both groups.


The results revealed there were no statistically significant differences in the serum calcium, NTx, BALP or vitamin D levels between the groups; however, the statistically significant difference in the UCR was observed. The median UCR in the fracture group was 0.4709 compared with the control group value of 0.2445 (p<0.000004). In the logistic regression analysis, the odds ratio of fracture for UCR were calculated. Increase of the UCR by 0.1 increases the risk of fracture by 19.24 times (p=0.003).


Children with bone fractures have two times lower vitamin K status expressed by UCR than healthy controls,” the authors wrote. “Increase of the UCR by 0.1 increases the risk of fracture by 9.62 times.


The better vitamin K status expressed as the ratio of ucOC: cOC - UCR - have positively and statistically significantly correlated with lower rate of low-energy fracture incidence,” the authors concluded.



1 Theuwissen E et al. Food & Function, 2014;5(2):229-34.

2 van Summeren MJ et al. Br J Nutr. 2009; 102(8):1171-8.


# # #


About NattoPharma and MenaQ7®

NattoPharma ASA, based in Norway, is the world’s leader in vitamin K2 research and development. NattoPharma is the exclusive international supplier of MenaQ7® Vitamin K2 as MK-7, the best documented, vitamin K2 as menaquinone-7 (MK-7) with guaranteed actives and stability, clinical substantiation, and

international patents granted and pending. The company has a multi-year research and development program to substantiate and discover the health benefits of vitamin K2 for applications in the marketplace for functional food and dietary supplements. With a global presence, the company established its North American subsidiary, NattoPahrma USA, Inc., in Metuchen, NJ, and NattoPharma R&D Ltd. in Cyprus. For more information, visit or


For more information, please contact:


Kate Quackenbush, NattoPharma Director of Communications

Phone: 609-643-0749



Released: 06/12/17

Study Finds Most Cardiologists Lack Heart Healthy Diet and Up to Date Nutrition Education

Study Finds Most Cardiologists Lack Heart Healthy Diet and Up to Date Nutrition Education


Like most Americans, even cardiologists fail to eat to enough fruit and vegetables. And, while cardiologists overwhelmingly believe their role includes personally providing patients with at least basic nutrition information, less than a third describe their nutrition knowledge as "mostly up to date" or better. These are among the findings from the report A Deficiency of Nutrition Education and Practice in Cardiology, published by The American Journal of Medicine and authored by a dozen physicians and healthcare professionals in the United States and Spain. 

"Although cardiovascular guidelines describe nutrition as a foundation of care, neither education nor practice among cardiologists and cardiovascular team members reflect that priority," said lead author Stephen Devries, M.D., executive director, Gaples Institute for Integrative Cardiology. The nonprofit provides advocacy and education that empowers healthcare professionals and the public to promote heart health through greater attention to nutrition and lifestyle. "While the report notes serious deficiencies, it highlights tremendous opportunities to improve cardiovascular care, save lives and reduce healthcare costs. We hope these findings serve as a call to action for much greater emphasis on nutrition in the training and practice of cardiovascular specialists."



The report is based upon what is believed to be the largest survey of physicians and healthcare professionals – and the only such survey of cardiologists – on personal dietary habits, level of nutrition education, and attitudes and practices regarding nutrition in patient care. Cardiologists, fellows-in-training and cardiovascular team members completed 930 online surveys.

Even though poor diet is the leading cause of premature death and disability in the U.S. with heart disease as the condition most responsible, cardiologists reported inadequate training in nutrition. Ninety percent reported receiving no or minimal nutrition education during cardiovascular fellowship training, 59 percent reported no nutrition education during internal medicine training and 31 percent reported no nutrition education in medical school.  Further, nearly two-thirds of cardiologists reported spending just three minutes or less per visit discussing nutrition with patients.

"Using nutrition as medicine is probably one of the most cost effective ways to treat disease but is incredibly underutilized by healthcare providers," explained Andrew Freeman, M.D., cardiologist, National Jewish Health, Denver, Colorado, and one of the study's co-authors. "If we could empower healthcare providers with information on how to implement this in daily practice, we could transform healthcare rapidly, prevent healthcare cost explosions, and reduce morbidity and mortality."

The report noted the total annual cost related to heart and vascular diseases in the U.S. is a staggering $315 billion. Given that dietary changes have reduced documented cardiovascular events between 30 and 70 percent, the potential cost savings to be realized through increased nutrition education is substantial.

Survey respondents agree. Nearly 90 percent believe that "dietary interventions are likely to provide substantial additional benefit to patients with cardiovascular disease who adhere to guideline-based pharmacologic therapy."

The diets of the healthcare professionals surveyed were no better than the public at large with only 20 percent of cardiologists noting they ate the recommended five or more daily servings of fruits and vegetables. The implication of this finding extends far beyond the cardiologists' own heart health as the report notes strong evidence that physicians with healthier personal behaviors are far more likely to counsel their patients about lifestyle changes than physicians with less favorable lifestyle habits.  

"Cardiologists with the most vegetable and fruit consumption were also more likely to believe it was their responsibility to discuss detailed dietary information with their patients," explained Dr. Devries. "Therefore one way to possibly improve patient counseling and health is for physicians to first optimize their own diet."

The report cited a concerning development that heightens the sense of urgency to improve nutrition education in medicine and patient counseling. For more than a decade, the mortality rate from cardiovascular disease had been on the decline but, because of the high prevalence of diet-related obesity and diabetes, the mortality rate has now plateaued.

The report, available at, outlines recommendations to improve nutrition education across all stages of cardiovascular specialist training and continuing education programs. 


Released: 06/06/17

The Institute For Functional Medicine Names Patrick Hanaway, MD, As The 2017 Linus Pauling Award Recipient

The Institute For Functional Medicine Names Patrick Hanaway, MD, As The 2017 Linus Pauling Award Recipient


On the final day of The Institute for Functional Medicine's 2017 Annual International Conference, held June 1-3, 2017, in Los Angeles, CA, IFM recognizes Patrick Hanaway, MD, as the honored recipient of the Linus Pauling Award. Dr. Hanaway receives this award for his innovation in medical education and pioneering work in clinical outcomes research.

Dr. Hanaway is a board-certified family physician with a medical degree from Washington University and residency training from the University of New Mexico. Dr. Hanaway was the chief medical education officer for The Institute for Functional Medicine from 2012 to 2014 and then worked as the medical director of the Center for Functional Medicine at the Cleveland Clinic. He helped develop the clinical model, supported the research agenda, and promoted education change at the Cleveland Clinic. He is currently the director of research at the Center for Functional Medicine, where he has developed randomized clinical trials (RCTs) as well as innovative research in outcomes and total cost of care. Dr. Hanaway's interests are in the development of healthcare delivery models that learn from traditional medical systems and promote research to demonstrate improved value in patient outcomes per dollar.

Dr. Hanaway served on the executive committee for the American Board of Integrative Medicine and as president of the American Board of Integrative Holistic Medicine. He cofounded Family to Family: Your Home for Whole Health Care with his wife in Asheville, NC. Dr. Hanaway promotes systems medicine and teaches on the clinical application of nutritional biochemistry, with an emphasis on digestion, immunology, mitochondrial function, and wellness.

Laurie Hofmann, IFM's chief executive officer, states, "IFM is thrilled to present the Linus Pauling Award to Dr. Patrick Hanaway for his longtime dedication to and advocacy for the Functional Medicine community. We salute Dr. Hanaway for a career spent at the forefront of the effort to advance Functional Medicine as the standard of care globally."

Dr. Hanaway's work in support of Functional Medicine is critically needed to reverse the epidemic of complex chronic disease and to demonstrate a new, viable model for health care. His leadership in transforming the healthcare system, along with his advocacy, dedication, and spirit, have guided and inspired the Functional Medicine movement and community. 

The Linus Pauling Award recognizes a visionary clinician or researcher who has made a significant contribution to the development of the Functional Medicine model or to the extension of the reach of Functional Medicine nationally or internationally.

About The Institute for Functional Medicine (IFM): IFM is the global leader in Functional Medicine. The mission of IFM is to serve the highest expression of individual health through the widespread adoption of Functional Medicine as the standard of care. 

Journal news # 2

First-of-Its-Kind Test for HDL Cholesterol Function Could Transform the Way Healthcare Providers Predict Your Risk for Heart Disease

A groundbreaking study published today in AACC's Journal of Applied Laboratory Medicine shows that a new test could improve diagnosis and treatment of heart disease by measuring how effectively a patient's high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) cleans up arterial cholesterol.

While scientists have yet to fully elucidate how HDL-C—the good cholesterol—protects against heart disease, one of its chief functions is thought to be mediating the removal of cholesterol from blood vessel walls. Recent studies have indicated that the ability of a patient's HDL-C to do this—known as its cholesterol efflux capacity—is a better gauge of cardiovascular disease development than HDL-C levels on their own. This means, for example, that a patient with low levels of HDL-C but optimal cholesterol efflux capacity could be protected against heart disease to a greater degree than a patient with high levels of HDL-C but low cholesterol efflux capacity. However, the standard research procedures for measuring cholesterol efflux capacity involve radioisotope-labeled cholesterol and cultured macrophages, making these methods too complex and time-consuming for use in patient testing.

In this study, a team of Japanese researchers led by Amane Harada, PhD, of Sysmex Corporation and Ryuji Toh, MD, PhD, of Kobe University Graduate School of Medicine have developed a test for HDL-C function that is simple enough for clinical use. With a turnaround time of less than 6 hours, the test determines cholesterol uptake capacity—the ability of HDL-C to accept additional cholesterol—which the researchers found correlates with cholesterol efflux capacity but is easier to measure. The researchers evaluated the test in 156 patients who had undergone revascularization (such as a stent or bypass) due to coronary artery disease and who had subsequently decreased their low-density lipoprotein—or bad—cholesterol to <100 mg/dL. The study found that low cholesterol uptake capacity in these patients after treatment was significantly associated with the recurrence of coronary lesions. The researchers also determined that combining cholesterol uptake capacity with established cardiovascular disease risk factors significantly improved the power of established factors to forecast which patients would redevelop heart disease.

If further trials validate this test, in the future, it could enable healthcare providers to use cholesterol uptake capacity in conjunction with HDL-C levels to better predict who is at risk for cardiovascular disease onset or recurrence. This test could also be used to develop new treatments that increase cholesterol efflux capacity and to monitor their efficacy in patients.

"A more efficient enhancement of the atheroprotective functions of HDL may decrease the risk of atherosclerosis and [cardiovascular disease], although it has been difficult to develop therapeutic drugs with the expected effects," wrote Harada and Toh in this paper. "We consider that this can be explained in part by the lack of a convenient assay system to evaluate HDL functionality without complicated or time-consuming procedures. In this respect, our cholesterol uptake assay provides a concise, accurate, and robust system for high-throughput analysis at low cost."


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