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vitamins and health supplements

Contaminants Found in 90% of Herbal Supplements Tested

The majority of dietary supplement facilities tested were found noncompliant with good manufacturing practices guidelines.

“The U.S. public is not well protected” by current dietary supplement recommendations, an issue I explore in my video . Sometimes, there is too little of whatever’s supposed to be in the bottle, and other times, there’s too much, as I discussed in my video . In one case, as you can see at 0:20 in my , hundreds of people suffered from acute selenium toxicity, thanks to an “employee error at one of the ingredient suppliers.” Months later, many continued to suffer. Had the company been following good manufacturing practices, such as testing their ingredients, this may not have happened. In 2007, the FDA urged companies to adhere to such guidelines, but seven years later, the majority of dietary supplement facilities remained noncompliant with current good manufacturing practices guidelines.

What are the consequences of this ineffective regulation of dietary supplements? Fifty-thousand Americans are harmed every year. Of course, prescription drugs don’t just harm; they actually kill 100,000 Americans every year—and that’s just in hospitals. Drugs prescribed by doctors outside of hospital settings may kill another 200,000 people every year, but that doesn’t make it any less tragic for the thousands sickened by supplements.

Sometimes the supplements may contain drugs. Not only does a substantial proportion of dietary supplements have quality problems, the “FDA has identified hundreds of dietary supplements…that have been adulterated with prescription medications” or, even worse, designer drugs that haven’t been tested—like tweaked Viagra compounds. About half of the most serious drug recalls in the U.S. aren’t for drugs but for supplements, yet two-thirds or recalled supplements were still found on store shelves six months later.

There is also inadvertent contamination with potentially hazardous contaminants, such as heavy metals and pesticides in 90 percent of herbal supplements tested, as you can see at 2:09 in my . Mycotoxins, potentially carcinogenic fungal toxins like aflatoxin, were found in 96 percent of herbal supplements. Milk thistle supplements were the worst, with most having more than a dozen different mycotoxins. It’s thought that since the plant is harvested specifically when it’s wet, it can get moldy easily. Many people take milk thistle to support their livers yet may end up getting exposed to immunotoxic, genotoxic, and hepatotoxic—meaning liver toxic—contaminants. How is this even legal? In fact, it wasn’t legal until 1994 with the passage of the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act. Prior to that, supplements were regulated like food additives so you had to show they were safe before they were brought to market—but not anymore. Most people are unaware that supplements no longer have to be approved by the government or that supplement ads don’t have to be vetted. “This misunderstanding may provide some patients with a false sense of security regarding the safety and efficacy of these products.”

This deregulation led to an explosion in dietary supplements from around 4,000 when the law went into effect to more than 90,000 different supplements now on the market, each of which is all presumed innocent until proven guilty, presumed safe until a supplement hurts enough people. “In other words, consumers must suffer harm…before the FDA begins the slow process toward restricting [a] product from the market.” Take ephedra, for example. Hundreds of poison control center complaints started back in 1999, increasing to thousands and including reports of strokes, seizures, and deaths. Yet the FDA didn’t pull it off store shelves for seven years, thanks to millions of dollars from the industry spent on lobbying.

What did the companies have to say for themselves? Metabolife swore that it had never received a single report of a single adverse effect from any customer. “According to the company, Metabolife had a ‘claims-free history’” when in fact it had gotten 14,000 complaints from customers, but covered them up. Basically, “dietary supplement manufacturers have no realistic accountability for the safety of their products,” and the industry trade organizations have been accused of responding to legitimate concerns with “bluster and denial.” Yes, but are these criticisms of dietary supplements just a Big Pharma conspiracy to maintain its monopoly? No. Big Pharma loves dietary supplements because Big Pharma dietary supplement companies to dip into the tens of billions in annual sales.


Isn’t the supplement issue insane? For more, check out:

  • Heavy Metals in Protein Powder Supplements
  • Do Vitamin C Supplements Prevent Colds but Cause Kidney Stones?

In health,

Michael Greger, M.D.

PS: If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my free videos here and watch my live presentations:

  • 2019: Evidence-Based Weight Loss
  • 2014: From Table to Able: Combating Disabling Diseases with Food
  • 2012: Uprooting the Leading Causes of Death

This content was originally published here.

Categories
vitamins and health supplements

Healthy diet with nutritional supplements support body in fight against COVID-19 – Neuroscience News

Summary: Researchers provide advice about the best foods and supplements to help boost the immune system to stave off COVID-19 infection.

Source: University of Southampton

An international research team, including Professor Philip Calder from the University of Southampton, has published a new report advising how the public can support their immune system and give it the best chance of fighting the coronavirus.

A diet with a diverse and varied mixture of vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds and pulses, along with some meat, fish and dairy products provides the vitamins, minerals and other nutrients the immune system needs for optimal function. However, the researchers recognize that supplements are a safe, effective and low cost way to support an optimal immune system where the diet does not provide enough of certain vitamins, minerals and omega three fatty acids.

Acute respiratory tract infections are a major cause of mortality globally as highlighted by seasonal influenza epidemics and the current outbreak of COVID19, caused by the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2.

A healthy immune system will help the body fight the virus and there are a number of ways in which nutrition can support it in this fight. Despite this, advice on nutrition is often missing in public discussions about immunity and infection.

Whilst vaccination programs can prime the immune response in cases of exposure to viruses, their levels of protection can vary and a vaccine has not yet been developed for COVID-19. The researchers are therefore calling for public health officials to include nutritional strategies in their recommendations to improve public health.

Philip Calder, Professor of Nutritional Immunology, explained “The strength of somebody’s immune systems will not influence whether they get coronavirus; handwashing and social distancing are the best ways to avoid that. However, the immune system helps the body deal with the virus if they are infected and what we want is a system that functions properly when it’s challenged with bacteria and viruses.”

Among the foods Professor Calder recommends are a variety of fruits and vegetables which are a good source of vitamins and minerals that are important for supporting the immune system. Foods that are high in fiber are also important as some of the undigested fiber in the gut can promote the growth of good bacteria which interact with the immune system to make it work better. The third recommendation is oily fish which is a source of omega 3 fatty acids that help to regulate and control the immune system. Finally, meat is important as a good source of nutrients such as iron and vitamin B12, so people who do not eat meat should consider supplements.

Whilst consuming commercial probiotic products can have a role to play—by seeding good bacteria in the gut—Professor Calder recommends plant based food and fiber as an alternative as these provide an environment to grow the good bacteria that are already in the large intestine.

Professor Calder added, “The present situation with COVID-19 shows that we cannot just rely on vaccinations to limit the impact of respiratory infections. Improving our nutrition is a very straight forward step that we can all take to help our bodies deal with infections and limit the emergence of new, more virulent strains of viruses. We therefore strongly encourage public health officials to make sure nutritional strategies are included in all their messaging about coping with viral infections.”

About this neuroscience research article

Source:
University of Southampton
Media Contacts:
Kaj Blennow – University of Southampton
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Original Research: The research article is available via Preprints.

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Categories
vitamins and health supplements

FDA Wants to Restrict Brain Health Supplements Which are a Threat to Big Pharma

Pharma Piracy Threatens Brain Health Supplement

by Alliance for Natural Health

The FDA is complicit in turning another supplement into an expensive drug. 

Earlier this year, the FDA to seventeen companies that, in the agency’s view, were illegally marketing supplements to treat Alzheimer’s disease. One of the supplements in the FDA’s action was piracetam, a derivative of GABA, continuing an FDA trend of attacking brain health supplements to protect drug industry profits.

Piracetam has been on the market as a supplement for years. It is approved as a drug in Europe and prescribed for cognitive impairment and dementia. Researchers think that piracetam helps the brain by in brain cells. As we age, our brain cells decline in their ability to generate energy; this decline in energy causes cellular “debris” to accumulate which can kill brain cells and eventually lead to senility.

The FDA’s treatment of piracetam highlights how broken our system is. This relates to the process we’ve discussed many times. Any supplement that came to the market after 1994 is considered a “new supplement.” Companies that want to sell new supplements must notify the FDA 75 days in advance of marketing the product. In implementing this provision of the law, though, the FDA has been trying to turn this notification process into a de facto pre-approval process. The agency has also adopted an expansive view of what constitutes a new supplement.

Additionally, if a compound is being investigated for use in a drug, and that process started before a “new supplement” notification was filed on that compound, then that substance cannot be sold as a supplement—even if the drug company abandons the research on that compound. This, remember, is , a crucial form of vitamin B6. Additionally,  and have both been turned into drugs through this mechanism.

Which brings us back to piracetam. In 2004, the FDA a new supplement notification for piracetam, saying the submission was incomplete. This is understandable, given that requirements for complying with new supplement notification rules have not been completed by the FDA. The agency published its first draft guidance for new supplement notifications in 2011, almost 20 years after the law was passed. This draft was withdrawn after ANH-USA and other stakeholders pointed out glaring problems in the guidance, and a revised draft wasn’t released until 2016—and still has not been completed. For all this time, companies have been in the dark about how to comply with the FDA’s new supplement policies—but the drug industry can still start researching these compounds to corner the market and prevent supplement versions from being legally marketed.

This is likely what will happen with piracetam. In a , the FDA stated that piracetam was being investigated as a new drug, and since there is no evidence that it was marketed as a supplement before that, it cannot be a supplement.

To summarize, then, supplement companies have tried to file a new supplement notification on piracetam—but the FDA has not completed its policies explaining how to file these notifications. The piracetam notification was rejected, and in the meantime a drug company has started investigating piracetam as a drug, meaning that it can’t be sold as a supplement. Clearly the deck is stacked against the natural products industry.

The FDA has also moved against and , two other brain health supplements. At the same time, major trials for Alzheimer’s drugs …. Is the FDA clearing the way for Big Pharma to turn these natural compounds into expensive drugs? Given the agency’s recent history, this seems the most likely explanation.

Action Alert! Tell the FDA and Congress to protect access to piracetam and other brain health supplements. Please send your message immediately.

Read the full article at ANH-USA.org.

This content was originally published here.

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vitamins and health supplements

Doctors Say ‘Brain Health’ Supplements Are ‘Pseudoscience’

In an opinion piece in a recent edition of the Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA), three neurologists at the University of California San Francisco’s (UCSF) Memory and Aging Center wrote that older Americans are being ripped off and served false hope by the multi-billion-dollar “brain health” supplements industry.

“This $3.2-billion industry … benefits from high-penetration consumer advertising through print media, radio, television and the internet,” the neurologists wrote. “No known dietary supplement prevents cognitive decline or dementia, yet supplements advertised as such are widely available and appear to gain legitimacy when sold by major U.S. retailers.”

The neurologists also warned about a “similarly concerning category of pseudomedicine” involving interventions promoted by licensed medical professionals that are said to counteract unsubstantiated causes of dementia, such as metal toxicity, mold exposure and infectious diseases.

“Some of these practitioners may stand to gain financially by promoting interventions that are not covered by insurance, such as intravenous nutrition, personalized detoxification, chelation therapy, antibiotics or stem cell therapy. These interventions lack a known mechanism for treating dementia and are costly, unregulated and potentially harmful,” the article states.

Earlier this month, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a statement saying it posted 17 warning and advisory letters to domestic and foreign companies that illegally sell 58 products — many of them dietary supplements — that claim to prevent, treat or cure Alzheimer’s disease and other serious health conditions. The FDA said the products are often sold on websites and social media and contain unapproved new drugs and/or misbranded drugs. “These products may be ineffective, unsafe and could prevent a person from seeking an appropriate diagnosis and treatment,” the FDA said.

The recent actions by the UCSF neurologists and the FDA might lead many to wonder what to think about these supplements and how to know whether any kind of supplement is really effective and safe.

Dr. Joanna Hellmuth, one of the authors of the JAMA article, recently browsed the supplements aisle at a natural foods store in San Francisco, finding an entire shelf full of dietary supplements claiming to improve cognitive health and prevent dementia. The dosage instructions on the bottles amounted to a price range of between $20 to $60 per month, she says. She looked up the active ingredients on one of the bottles. “There was certainly data on its efficacy, but it was very poor-quality data in a very low-quality journal,” Hellmuth says.

Motivated by Fear

All of the patients Hellmuth and her colleagues see at the UCSF Memory and Aging Center have cognitive issues. The neurologists wrote the JAMA opinion piece, in part, because their patients frequently ask about brain health supplements, Hellmuth says. They are searching for answers as they face the fact that today, there is no known drug or other intervention that actually stops, slows or prevents Alzheimer’s and other dementias.

In addition, older adults who don’t suffer from cognitive decline but worry about getting it in the future might be intrigued by products that promise to stave off dementia.

“If people really reflect, a lot of this is motivated by fear, which is understandable because these diseases are horrible, they’re frightening,” Hellmuth says. “They are diseases that alter your personality, who you are as an individual. So, understandably, people are driven by fear or compelled to want to do something.”

That fear is what the brain health supplements industry feeds on, she says.

“It’s not that vitamins or supplements in themselves are bad; it’s just that we don’t know of any supplements for brain health that are supported by quality data to suggest that they are effective,” she says.

Brain Health Supplements: Possibility of Harm

There’s also the concern that these products could do harm to people. The FDA doesn’t review dietary supplements — including vitamins, minerals and herbs — for efficacy or safety, although that could soon change, according to a recent announcement by FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb.

In the meantime, not being able to verify exactly what’s in the bottles worries Hellmuth and her fellow neurologists because even natural ingredients can cause health problems and interact with prescription drugs in harmful ways. “And there’s the added fact that a lot of these supplement (manufacturers) are saying ‘we can improve brain health,’ and that’s just ethically incorrect,” she says.

A Naturopathic Doctor’s Perspective

Joanna Calvanese, a naturopathic doctor at Austin Naturopathic in Austin, Texas, agrees with Hellmuth regarding the problems with dietary supplements that are not backed by quality research.

“It’s very challenging for medical people as well as lay people to assess the safety and the effectiveness of supplements, especially these newer ones that are always coming out. There’s so many; it’s a jungle out there,” Calvanese says.

Her practice involves the use of homeopathic medicines — a very different approach from dietary supplements. But she worries that people tend to lump all “natural” medicines and products together, including the brain health supplements.

“Because the claims they make are pretty good, and then people try it and it doesn’t work. So, then people want to just say well, ‘it’s just a natural supplement and it won’t work.’ And that’s not accurate,” Calvanese says.

When a patient asks her about a new dietary supplement, she researches it, including checking for the ingredients within the databases of two independent evaluators she trusts: Consumer Lab and Environmental Working Group. “They haven’t tested every single supplement or every single company, but they have tested a lot,” Calvanese says.

The FDA recommends people talk to a doctor, pharmacist or other health care professional before using a dietary supplement. “If claims sound too good to be true, they probably are. Consumers need to be mindful of product claims such as ‘works better than (a prescription drug),’ ‘totally safe’ or has ‘no side effects,’” the FDA responded in an email.

If you or a loved one tried a dietary supplement that you think caused a negative reaction or illness, the FDA recommends you stop taking the product and submit a complaint using this Safety Reporting Portal.

Both Hellmuth and Calvanese say it’s important for people to realize that no one prescription drug or natural medicine is the answer for everybody. There are prescription drugs that can help some people temporarily with some symptoms of particular types of dementias, but they have side effects. “So, it’s always a risk-benefit (consideration) whether being on a certain medication is helpful for a patient,” Hellmuth says.

A More Effective Prevention Approach

Rather than buying supplements, Hellmuth suggests people would be better off spending their money on exercise classes “or doing more social activities that get you cognitively and socially active — things that we know are associated with positive brain aging.”

“The things we recommend are being socially active, cognitively active and physically active,” she continues. “And for physically active, we follow the American Heart Association recommendations of two and half hours a week of vigorous cardiovascular exercise.”

She also recommends a heart-healthy diet. Basically, Hellmuth says, what’s good for the heart is good for the brain. “So, diet, exercise, getting that cholesterol under control, making sure your blood pressure is well controlled, these are all very important,” she says.

Calvanese also recommended focusing on nutrition and exercise, adding that good-quality sleep helps prevent cognitive decline as we get older, too.

Edie has been a journalist for more than 20 years, reporting and editing for newspapers and magazines. She also worked in communications for a large health care organization. She holds a bachelor’s degree in communications and media and a master’s degree in journalism, both from the University of Wisconsin in Madison. Reach her by email at .

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vitamins and health supplements

Google alters search results to discredit nutritional supplements and natural health websites – NaturalNews.com

(Natural News)
As part of the company’s social engineering “fairness” agenda, Google is reportedly now populating its search engine “autocomplete” function with suggestions that aim to deter users from taking dietary supplements, eating organic food, and opting for naturopathic medicine rather than Big Pharma’s “sick care” system.

Following the removal and many other natural health websites from its search results, Google is now upping the ante by trying to dictate what users search for by completing their queries with all sorts of anti-natural health propaganda.

GreenMedInfo, which was recently banned by Mailchimp for sending out newsletters containing vaccine science, recently conducted an experiment, type the words “organic is a” into Google’s search bar. Here are the autocomplete recommendations that came up:

• organic is a lie
• organic is always non gmo
• organic is a sham
• organic is a myth
• organic is a waste of money
• organic is a marketing gimmick
• organic is always non gmo logo

As you can see, five out of the seven autocomplete suggestions are overtly negative, suggesting that there’s no such thing as organic and that it’s all just a scam. The purpose, of course, is to stop Google users from actually searching for real information about organics, and instead to simply take the cue that they’re fraudulent, and possibly even harmful.

The same types of autocomplete suggestions appear when searching for “supplements are,” as Google wants users to believe that:

Mother Nature’s micronutrient secret: Organic Broccoli Sprout Capsules now available, delivering 280mg of high-density nutrition, including the extraordinary “sulforaphane” and “glucosinolate” nutrients found only in cruciferous healing foods. Every lot laboratory tested. See availability here.

• supplements are bad
• supplements are useless
• supplements are not regulated
• supplements are bad for you
• supplements are not fda approved
• supplements are not regulated by the fda
• supplements are dangerous
• supplements are good for you
• supplements are scams
• supplements are garbage

Once again, an overwhelming majority, nine out of ten, of the autocomplete results are negative, aiming to sway Google users away from having positive opinions about supplements, let alone actually using them.

Be sure to check out EvilGoogle.news to keep up with the latest news about Google’s censorship and social engineering schemes.

Caught in a lie: Google claims that autocomplete is all about “predictions, not suggestions?”

You’re probably asking yourself: Well, is Google just populating its autocomplete phrases with the most popular search phrases, most of which happen to be anti-organic and anti-supplement? Not exactly. As it turns out, according to Google’s own “Trends” system, most Google users are actually searching for information about organics and supplements because they actually want to eat organic and take supplements.

With this in mind, consider the fact that Google vehemently denies that its autocomplete function is used for making suggestions, insisting that it’s instead about “predictions.”

“Autocomplete is designed to help people complete a search they were intending to do, not to suggest new types of searches to be performed,” is the official statement given by Google about its autocomplete function. “These are our best predictions of the query you were likely to continue entering.”

“How do we determine these predictions? We look at the real searches that happen on Google and show common and trending ones relevant to the characters that are entered and also related to your location and previous searches,” the company further claims.

But it’s obvious that , as nobody is performing Google searches for “organic is a myth,” or “supplements are bad.” This is just what Google wants you to think people are searching for.

“This is the very definition of the Orwellian inversion: where Good becomes Bad, and War becomes Peace,” writes Sayer Ji for GreenMedInfo.com, pointing out that five times more people search for “supplements are good” compared to those searching for “supplements are bad.”

Sources for this article include:

This content was originally published here.

Categories
vitamins and health supplements

Herbal Supplements Ineffective for Weight Loss

Herbal supplements don’t work for weight loss, new research shows.

In the first global review of herbal weight-loss supplements in almost two decades, investigators found there was insufficient evidence to recommend any of these “medicines” for this purpose.

“There was no evidence to suggest people should be taking herbal medicines for [clinically meaningful] weight loss,” study investigators Erica Bessel, MND, and senior author Nicholas R. Fuller, PhD, both from the University of Sydney, Australia, told Medscape Medical News via email.

The study findings suggest “healthcare practitioners should continually prompt their patients regarding any over-the-counter weight loss medications they are taking, so they can steer them towards evidence-based care,” they added.

The study was published online February 15 in Diabetes, Obesity & Metabolism.

Global Epidemic

Overweight and obesity have reached epidemic proportions worldwide, with the global prevalence doubling since 1980.

For individuals who are unable to lose a satisfactory amount of weight with lifestyle interventions there are currently five prescription weight-loss drugs approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), three of which have also been approved by the European Medicines Agency and Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration.

The addition of these approved agents to lifestyle interventions increases weight loss but some patients avoid or stop taking these drugs because of side effects and costs.

Many individuals turn to over-the-counter supplements, which are cheaper, easier to access, and may have fewer side effects, the investigators note.

A recent study reported that 16.1% of individuals in the United States who were trying to lose weight had used a weight-loss supplement in the past year.

However, despite the large number of herbal weight loss supplements on the market, few are supported by robust scientific safety and efficacy data.

Not Clinically Significant

To update the available evidence of these supplements, the investigators conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of herbal medicine for weight loss.

The study included data from 54 randomized placebo-controlled trials of herbal weight-loss medicines conducted in 4331 overweight or obese adults in countries around the world that lasted 12 weeks or less.  

Common herbal supplements included in the studies were:

Green tea (12 studies)

White kidney bean (seven studies)

African mango (three studies)

Veld grape (two studies)

Licorice (two studies)

Mangosteen (two studies)

Miscellaneous herbal medicines (17 studies)

In addition, some of the trials investigated a product that contained more than one of these herbs.

Only one study examined traditional Chinese medicine (RCM-104), and three others looked at traditional formulas from Japan (Bofu-Tsusho-San), Korea (Taeeumjowi-tang), and Iran (Triphala).

Although some supplements were associated with a statistically significant difference in weight loss compared with placebo, the weight loss was less than 2.5 kg and therefore not considered clinically significant.

In fact, only one single agent, white kidney bean, resulted in a statistically, but not clinically, significant difference in weight loss compared with placebo.

There were also statistically, but again not clinically, significant weight loss differences with some combination preparations.

Poor Methodology, Poor Reporting

Statistically and clinically significant weight loss was reported for some products that were studied in three or fewer trials, but the investigators note these findings require cautious interpretation because of the small number of studies, poor methodology, and poor reporting of herbal medicine interventions.

The analysis showed most herbal medicines appeared safe for consumption over the short duration of the studies.

However, they also point out that herbal medicines are not subject to the same rigorous safety data collection and analysis as pharmaceutical agents, and therefore the safety of herbal supplements can’t be determined by the current review.

In fact, the investigators note that ephedra can lead to pronounced cardiovascular and central nervous system stimulating effects and that, in 2004, the FDA banned its use in supplements and several other countries restricted its use.  

“Some herbal medicines warrant further investigation in larger more rigorous studies to determine the effect size, dosage, and long-term safety,” the investigators note.

Future randomized placebo-controlled studies of herbal supplements for weight loss would benefit from trial registration and ensuring studies are conducted and reported in a way that minimizes bias, the investigators add.

The research was supported by the National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia.

Fuller is the author of Interval Weight Loss and Interval Weight Loss For Life and has received research grants for clinical trials funded by SFI Research, the Australian Eggs Corporation, Sanofi-Aventis, Novo Nordisk, Allergan, Roche Products, MSD, and GlaxoSmithKline. Coauthor Amanda Sainsbury, University of Sydney, is the author of The Don’t Go Hungry Diet and Don’t Go Hungry For Life, and reports she has provided paid presentations at conferences for Eli Lilly, Pharmacy Guild of Australia, Novo Nordisk, Dietitians Association of Australia, Shoalhaven Family Medical Centres, Pharmaceutical Society of Australia, and Metagenics, and has served on the Nestlé Health Science Optifast® VLCD™ advisory board. Bessel, Maunder, and the other review authors have reported no relevant financial disclosures.

Diabetes Obes Metab. Published online February 15, 2020. Article

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vitamins and health supplements

Vitamin or Mineral Supplements Don’t Prevent Dementia – The New York Times

B vitamins; beta carotene; vitamins C, D or E; zinc, copper or selenium — none proved effective in preventing cognitive decline.

This content was originally published here.

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vitamins and health supplements

7 Myths About Nutritional Supplements – What’s Up, USANA?

Your best friend in the office swears the microwave is killing all the nutrients in her food.

The big guy at the gym with bulging biceps and a t-shirt that says, “Real Men Lift” insists by his diet consisting of protein, protein, and—you guessed it: more protein—is the only way to get that beach body you’ve been dreaming about.

When talking about health and wellness, there’s no shortage of inaccurate information—particularly when it comes to nutritional supplements.

But with so much coming at you from friends, colleagues, and Internet “experts,” how can you separate fact from fiction?

Let’s check out some widely accepted supplement myths, cut through the white noise, and then get to the facts. 

SUPPLEMENT MYTH #1

Believe it or not, dietary supplements are regulated and subject to detailed and comprehensive regulations to uphold safety and quality. It’s just not necessary to hold them to the same standard the government demands of pharmaceutical products designed specifically to treat diseases.

Once a dietary supplement is on the market, the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) has safety monitoring responsibilities. And, sure, there are limitations to the FDA’s regulations, but there are still companies who go above and beyond to make their consumers feel safe by obtaining third-party verification. is just one company some businesses turn to when they need to test their products.

There are even some companies who have their manufacturing facility registered by NSF International—an independent, nonprofit organization that helps protect public health by writing standards for food, water, air, and consumer goods; testing and certifying products based on those standards, inspecting for GMP, and providing ongoing monitoring.

On top of ConsumerLab.com verification and manufacturing in a registered NSF facility, there are nutritional supplement companies that use trusted United States Pharmacopeial testing methods to help ensure they adhere to higher standards than even the FDA requires.

SUPPLEMENT MYTH #2

Although the FDA does not require an expiration date on dietary supplements, it does require that if one is printed on the label it must be supported by stability-testing data. Therefore, if you see an expiration date on nutritional supplements, that date is the latest possible date to which the company can guarantee ideal product quality and potency.

Keep in mind that supplements may not spoil like fresh produce, but they will gradually lose potency over time. While using those expired vitamins may not be dangerous, it’s definitely less beneficial. So get in the habit of taking your dietary supplements regularly as directed on the label to get the most value and benefit.

Technically, supplements that are stored properly in unopened bottles should last at least two years before any loss of potency occurs. Once they are opened, they should hold up for at least one year.

SUPPLEMENT MYTH #3

Vitamin B2 (also known as riboflavin) is the reason you see that bright yellow or orange color in the toilet bowl.

Flavin comes from the word flavus, which means yellow. The body excretes the riboflavin that it doesn’t need at that time, and the amount can vary depending on your diet and lifestyle.

Just because you may get more riboflavin than you need at a given time,  it doesn’t necessarily mean you are getting enough of many other important nutrients on a daily basis. In fact, it’s rare for most people to eat a balanced diet—the fast-paced nature of today’s world makes it incredibly difficult.

Riboflavin Facts:

An Expert’s Perspective:

“Expensive urine is a bizarre argument because a $50 restaurant meal and a bottle of fine wine also lead to expensive urine, but no one seems to be complaining about those things. Numerous studies have shown, however, that vitamin supplements do increase peoples’ blood levels of those nutrients.”

—Jack Challem, veteran nutritional reporter

SUPPLEMENT MYTH #4

We know that children develop so quickly in the early stages of their lives, and due to this rapid physical and mental growth, supplementation is needed to assist with proper brain development and other health-related processes. EPA, DHA, and vitamin D are especially important for growing brains and bodies.

The same is true for the elderly. As our bodies age, medical issues, a decrease in appetite, and even changes to our digestive systems can lead to potential vitamin deficiencies. These often include: vitamin D, B12, and calcium.

But the young and old(er) aren’t the only people who need a little help. Even some of the world’s most elite athletes have been known to supplement because of their intense lifestyle. For instance, five-time WBO Welterweight champion Tim Bradley has been known to go on record saying how much he relies on nutritional supplements, especially during his intense training leading up to a fight.

“I’ve been taking USANA nutritional supplements since 2008, and I have captured five world championships since then. I have the best nutrition in the world and, because of that, I have an advantage when I step foot in the ring since I’m already ahead of the game.”

—Tim Bradley, five-time world champion

Fun fact:

More than half of all Americans take one or more dietary supplements daily or on occasion.

SUPPLEMENT MYTH #5

The quality of nutritional supplements can totally vary from brand to brand, so you should definitely compare nutritional labels to know exactly what you’re getting. Don’t let vague labels like “all natural” persuade you.

Do your research and find out what you need. You know your nutritional needs aren’t the same as your friends’ or coworkers’, so why are you buying into the latest “one-size-fits-all” fad you stumbled across while browsing in the grocery store?

Did you know there are health assessments out there designed specifically to help you discover what nutrients your body may be lacking? They even pinpoint habits that might be creating a negative impact on your health and provide feedback on what you can do to turn those habits into positive lifestyle choices.

Those assessments are great, but there’s really nothing more valuable than the insight you can get from a trusted physician. If you’re really curious about what’s going on with your body, pay a visit to your doctor and get some blood work done.

Ditch the Filler

Scared that what you’re getting is all filler with no real nutritional value? Fortunately, there are dietary supplement companies who take what they do very seriously and take extra care to make sure their supplements are made with the highest-quality ingredients.

Here’s what you should expect from your manufacturer.

Purity—Free from impurities or contamination

Identity—Ingredients in the product are verifiably the ingredients on the label

Composition—Contains exactly what it is suppose to contain in exactly the right proportions

Strength—Offers the proper concentration of ingredients

Quality—Meets all specified exceptions

Do your research! There are companies out there that actually care about your health and won’t take you for granted.

SUPPLEMENT MYTH #6

Just because you’re “eating well” doesn’t mean you’re getting all your servings of each of the five major food groups (the ones found on the USDA food pyramid). That would be really hard!

Here’s a quick rundown of what you would need to eat every day to meet their dietary guidelines for a well-balanced diet:

I don’t know about you, but that is a lot of food to be eating in one day. So I think it’s fair to say that even if you’re eating a well balanced diet, you’re most likely not getting the daily-allotted amount of vitamins and minerals. That’s where supplements come in.

An Expert’s Perspective:

“Those who believe that you can get all the nourishment, including vitamins and minerals, you need to sustain optimal health throughout life from food alone can be very smug. They have the equivalent of an orthodox religious belief—‘food is everything.’ They don’t have to concern themselves with the fact that the nutritional value of foods their patient eats may be greatly inferior to the listed nutritional values given in food tables.”

—William Kaufman, MD

Did you know?

There’s new technology being used in vitamins that nourishes your body with the right balance of nutrients to create the ideal environment for optimal cellular health. The technology has the power to tap into your cells’ ability to preserve and regenerate. It does this by cleaning up the harmful byproduct of energy creation happening deep inside your cells, giving you healthier, longer-living cells. Pretty cool, right? Why wouldn’t you want to use supplements after hearing about that technology?

SUPPLEMENT MYTH #7

Sure, this statement might be true if your kitchen countertop currently looks like the vitamin aisle of your local supermarket. And that can easily happen because there are hundreds of options to choose from. You want a calcium supplement, vitamin D, fish oil, melatonin, vitamin C, glucose, B12—the list goes on and on.

What are you suppose to do—carry all those bottles around all day, every day? Talk about inconvenient.

But did you know there’s a company with a solution?

USANA Health Sciences has developed what is called the True Health Assessment. This revolutionary online tool helps you discover your personal vitamin needs. And once this is determined, they can split your recommended vitamins into convenient AM and PM packs.

Visit their site to create your own personalized MyHealthPak and choose which supplements you want in your 30-day supply. They slap your name on the box and BAM…you’re all set.

Doesn’t get much more convenient than that.

Let’s Recap

1. The best companies follow a strict set of guidelines for purity and quality.

2. Always pay attention to the expiration date to ensure you’re getting the most out of your nutritional supplements.

3. That neon glow in the toilet bowl is a lot more than just expensive pee—that’s proper nutrition at work.

4. Everyone can benefit from supplementation, regardless of age. Chat with your doctor to find out what you need when it comes to nutrition.

5. Some nutritional supplements are in a league of their own when it comes to quality. Do your research.

6. A well-balanced diet doesn’t always equal optimal nutrition.

7. While juggling a dozen vitamin bottles throughout the day is hardly anyone’s idea of convenience, there are still ways to make effective supplementation simple and stress free.

We highly encourage you to share this with your social networks so we can spread the nutritional truth as far as possible!

This content was originally published here.

Categories
vitamins and health supplements

‘Save your money’: no evidence brain health supplements work, say experts | Science | The Guardian

Dietary supplements such as vitamins do nothing to boost brain health and are simply a waste of money for healthy people, experts have said.

According to figures from the US, sales of so-called “memory supplements” doubled between 2006 and 2015, reaching a value of $643m, while more than a quarter of adults over the age of 50 in the US regularly take supplements in an attempt to keep their brain in good health.

But while bottles, packets and jars line the shelves of health food shops – with claims that they help maintain brain function or mental performance – a worldwide panel of experts says at present there is little evidence that these supplements help healthy older people, and that they could even pose a risk to health.

“There is no convincing evidence to recommend dietary supplements for brain health in healthy older adults,” they write. “Supplements have not been demonstrated to delay the onset of dementia, nor can they prevent, treat or reverse Alzheimer’s disease or other neurological diseases that cause dementia.”

However, the team note a lack of certain nutrients, such as vitamins B9 and B12, appear to be linked to problems with cognitive function or brain health, and that supplements might prove useful in people with deficiencies. About 20% of people over the age of 60 in the UK are thought to be lacking in vitamin B12.

But the experts stress it is important to consult a doctor before starting any supplements, and that it is better to get nutrients from a healthy diet.

At present, the team say, they cannot recommend healthy people take supplements for brain health – although they stress further research is needed. Their top recommendation is simple. “Save your money,” they write.

The report by the Global Council on Brain Health looks at the evidence for a range of supplements, including B vitamins, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D, caffeine, coenzyme Q10 and ginkgo biloba.

The team found that few supplements which make claims about brain health have actually been tested for their impact. Where studies do exist they offer little or mixed evidence that supplements improve brain function or prevent dementia.

“The big problem is that these things are being marketed to people as if they have evidence,” said Linda Clare, professor of clinical psychology of ageing and dementia at the University of Exeter and a member of the team behind the report.

The team advise taking a sceptical view of such products, saying many are marketed with exaggerated claims about their impact on mental functions. They also stress that such pills, powders and capsules are usually not subject to the same safety and efficacy tests as medications.

However, Clare stressed the report only looked at the impact of supplements on brain health. “The message is not that all supplements are wrong for everything,” she said.

The report echoes recent findings by the Cochrane collaboration. Their study, looking at evidence for effects of vitamin and mineral supplements on cognitive function in over-40s, found no convincing effect for B vitamins, selenium, zinc, vitamin E, omega-3, and only tentative evidence of any benefit from long-term use of beta‐carotene or vitamin C supplements.

Caroline Abrahams, charity director at Age UK, said of the new report: “These eminent experts have concluded it doesn’t do any good to take supplements to promote your brain health in later life so our advice to older people is to save your money and spend it on a healthy diet, full of delicious fruit and vegetables instead.”

David Smith, professor emeritus of pharmacology at the University of Oxford, said that while the report was sensible, there were debates about what constituted a vitamin deficiency – for example, low “normal” levels might still have a negative impact on brain health. He also noted that while consuming a Mediterranean diet was good for the brain, as people got older they might not be as able to absorb nutrients from food, while medications could potentially lead to deficiencies. What’s more, plants contain no vitamin B12, so people on a vegan diet should consider fortified foods or supplements.

Smith added that while the report called for more high-quality research to improve the evidence base, there was a significant stumbling block. “The problem is that the authorities and drug companies seem to be reluctant to support such trials on vitamins, partly because there is no obvious financial benefit and because no patents can be filed,” he said.

Experts say there are many other steps individuals can take to keep sharp as they age – including not smoking, sleeping well, exercising and keeping socially engaged and mentally stimulated.

Prof Gill Livingston of University College London added that people should also get their blood pressure and hearing checked to prevent dementia. “Drugs for high blood pressure are currently the only known effective preventive medication for dementia,” she said.

This content was originally published here.

Categories
vitamins and health supplements

Herbal 101 – How to Get The Most From Your Herbal Supplements

Herbal supplement usage is on the rise, especially for people looking for alternatives to conventional pharmaceutical products and those seeking support for common issues. With so many options, it can be difficult to know which herbal supplements to choose.

Three tips to help you choose the right herbal supplements.

Tip #1: Have Patience and Do Your Homework

Not all herbs are the same. Different herbs will take different amounts of time to take effect in your body. Some herbs may work quickly to address acute concerns, while other herbs need time to restore balance in the body before you are able to really feel a change. Knowing which herbs offer support in the moment, and which herbs require additional time, can offset disappointment and misunderstanding.

How do you get started? We suggest always reading the product information printed on the package(s) and to research in advance how long these herbs typically need to take effect so that you can manage your expectations. 

When researching ingredients, you may find some say “best results obtained after a month of daily use”. Alternatively, your research could reveal some herbs may indicate usage on an “as-needed basis”. Follow the guidance of trusted herbal reference materials and consult a healthcare practitioner if needed.

Taking the extra time to read labels is important when choosing the right herbal supplementFor example, Gaia Herbs Calm A.S.A.P.™, is a supplement specifically formulated to provide support for occasional anxiousness as needed*. Calm A.S.A.P. uses a proprietary blend of herbs that have been used traditionally to provide a sense of calm and peace when you need it the most, taking you from feeling occasional anxiousness to feeling tranquil.*

Gaia Herbs Mood Uplift™ can be taken daily to support a sunny outlook*. To reap the benefits of Mood Uplift™ and its ingredients, best results will be achieved after prolonged use*. This formula contains a blend of herbs, including St. John’s Wort*. St. John’s Wort’s primary action is a positive effect on emotional and mental well-being*. 

Tip #2: Choose an Herbal Preparation that Fits Your Lifestyle 

Herbs can be prepared, concentrated, and administered in a number of ways. When choosing a specific herbal supplement, you should first review what preparations are available and in what form, such as liquid extracts, capsules, mixes, powders, etc. Determine if there is a formula designed for your specific concern, and if so, which delivery format will bring you the most benefit. In other words, figure out what is most convenient and useful for you that you will be more likely to take according to the suggested use instructions. Maybe you prefer our concentrated and convenient so you can easily toss a bottle in your bag to use during the day, or perhaps you decide you are better off treating yourself to a cup of Tulsi tea each morning for your Holy Basil.

Tip #3: Know the Source, Quality and Purity of Your Supplements

All herbal supplements are not created equal. The purity, integrity, and potency of ingredients used in your supplements will impact performance and results. Look for products that have what you want in them, and nothing you don’t (such as fillers, heavy metals, or pesticides and harsh chemical residues).

knowing where your supplements are sourced is so importantAt Gaia Herbs, we use only organic methods to cultivate more than 6.5 million plants each year on our farms and we test the plants in our analytical laboratory to pinpoint the exact right time to harvest them and extract and concentrate the plants’ healing power in our state-of-the-art processing facility. All of that leads to products exceptional in their purity, potency and integrity.

You can always trust that what you read on a Gaia Herbs label is what you will find in the bottle. To help make it easy for our customers, we created meetyourherbs.com, the world’s first comprehensive herb traceability platform. You can look up any of our products with a bottle-specific Herb ID. Here, you will discover the origin of your herbs, how they were grown, and see validation of your product’s level of purity and potency. We verify at every stage of our products seed-to-shelf journey — because you deserve to know exactly what’s in your herbal supplement.

Connecting Plants and People

For over thirty years, Gaia Herbs has been Connecting Plants and People to nurture health and well-being. To help you learn more about the herbs used in our products, our website features a comprehensive herb reference guide. This is a great tool for those just getting started with herbal supplements as well as those who have been taking supplements for years.

And if you ever have any product specific questions, please feel free to send an email to info@gaiaherbs.com and one of our dedicated product specialists would be happy to help.

We hope you enjoy the journey on your path to well-being!

This content was originally published here.