We’ve all heard the numbers: millions on the East Coast go without power for weeks in the wake of Super Storm Sandy. But, there are real faces behind these figures, and many of them are our friends and colleagues in the natural products industry.

In recent weeks, the controversy over the possible health risks of energy drinks and supplements has come into the limelight. Here, we dissect the latest issues surrounding their safety, and what the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is doing about it. 

Vancouver, WA—A proof of concept study published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition suggests a branded form of methylsulfonylmethane (MSM, as OptiMSM from Bergstrom Nutrition, based here) may be beneficial for recovery after exercise.

St. Clair Shores, MI—Those caring for loved ones with cystic fibrosis (CF) are often desperate for ways to keep the air passages clear and open. Now, new research suggests magnesium supplementation could be of some help. CF is a serious, life threatening genetic disease that causes thick mucus to build up in the lungs and digestive tract, leading to lung disease.

Washington, D.C.—The Natural Products Association (NPA) and WholeFoods Magazine are working together to help Hurricane Sandy victims (specifically natural products retailers) get back on their feet with the NPA Retailer Relief.

Santa Barbara, CA–Thanks to the generosity of numerous industry members, Vitamin Angels now has extra funds with which to do its good work distributing vitamins to those in need around the world.

Hoboken, NJ—A recent study published in Panminerva Medica indicates that Pycnogenol (distributed in the U.S. by Horphag Research, based here) may help control asthma symptoms. Pycnogenol is a natural plant extract that comes from the bark of French Maritime pine trees. The extract’s combination of procyanidins, bioflavanoids and organic acids has been studied for years in promoting healthy inflammation, but now researchers from the University in Pescara, Italy believe it may have other benefits, too.

Resveratrol wine isn’t just good for your heart—it helped inhibit prostate cancer androgens in a recent lab study. Prostate cancer, the most commonly diagnosed cancer, is cause for the second most cancer-related deaths of American men.

Growing up in the New York /New Jersey area, as well as the natural products industry, has taught me many things. First, we are tough survivors and will do what it takes to overcome. With that in mind, we were tested again with perhaps one of our biggest challenges last month when Super Storm Sandy hit our area.  Many people lost their homes, cars and items of sentimental value. Relief workers are helping them, but it is not enough.