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Mon Nov 18, 2013, 06:56 PM

The dismal news about supplements. Why bother?

Itís not a good time for the makers of herbal and vitamin supplements. The better the research, the fewer benefits it shows.

Herbal supplements

DNA testing is demonstrating what many of us have long suspected: herbal supplements are not necessarily what they say they are.

As the New York Times reports, a recent study shows that many products purporting to be herbal supplements, actually contain rice, corn, or wheat (gluten-sensitive folks beware):

I would feel sorry for supplement manufacturers, if they hadnít brought this on themselves.

First, they lobbied to get Congress to pass the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 (DSHEA). This lets them advertise the benefits of supplements without much in the way of scientific substantiation. It also excused the FDA from doing much regulation.

But DSHEA also required research. Oops. Although the point of asking for research was to demonstrate the benefits of supplements, things havenít worked out that way. Most of the research shows no benefit and, sometimes, harm.

And investigations like this one show what many have long suspected. Without federal oversight, some supplement manufacturers will do whatever they can get away with.

http://www.foodpolitics.com/2013/11/the-dismal-news-about-supplements-why-bother/

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Arrow 33 replies Author Time Post
Reply The dismal news about supplements. Why bother? (Original post)
Addison Nov 2013 OP
djean111 Nov 2013 #1
Addison Nov 2013 #2
djean111 Nov 2013 #4
HuckleB Nov 2013 #10
djean111 Nov 2013 #12
HuckleB Nov 2013 #18
IrishAyes Nov 2013 #15
HuckleB Nov 2013 #19
IrishAyes Nov 2013 #20
HuckleB Nov 2013 #22
IrishAyes Nov 2013 #14
djean111 Nov 2013 #17
HuckleB Nov 2013 #27
IrishAyes Nov 2013 #25
mike_c Nov 2013 #29
IrishAyes Nov 2013 #3
longship Nov 2013 #5
IrishAyes Nov 2013 #6
HuckleB Nov 2013 #11
IrishAyes Nov 2013 #16
HuckleB Nov 2013 #21
IrishAyes Nov 2013 #24
HuckleB Nov 2013 #26
Nay Nov 2013 #7
IrishAyes Nov 2013 #8
Nay Nov 2013 #9
IrishAyes Nov 2013 #13
HuckleB Nov 2013 #23
HuckleB Nov 2013 #28
HuckleB Nov 2013 #30
840high Nov 2013 #31
HuckleB Nov 2013 #32
SheilaT Nov 2013 #33

Response to Addison (Original post)

Mon Nov 18, 2013, 07:05 PM

1. And here my doctor has recommended I take supplements like D3 and such........

 

I think just saying "supplements" is (deliberately) too much of a broad brush.
In any event, I have steered well clear of prescription meds all of my life and attribute the fact that I do not need any prescription meds in my late 60's to that. That crap can kill ya. Says so on the label, says so on WebMD, says so on the Mayo Clinic site.
I will stick to my little list of supplements, methinks!

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Response to djean111 (Reply #1)

Mon Nov 18, 2013, 07:21 PM

2. True . . .

the downside of supplements is (generally) that they'll do nothing for you but drain your wallet; the downside of pharmaceuticals is that they'll kill you AND drain your wallet.

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Response to Addison (Reply #2)

Mon Nov 18, 2013, 08:43 PM

4. WebMD and the Mayo Clinic websites actually do cover lots of supplements, dosage, side effects,

 

etc. I buy the well-established brands. The most difficult part of establishing an understanding with my newest Medicare doctor was getting her to understand that I did not want a prescription for every little thing I mentioned, that I think it is not good to take a pain-killer if ya don't know what the pain is from, and that just because I was a bit stressed about stuff at home was no reason to whip out a Celexa script. Good grief! Googled Celexa, no thanks.
Turns out the most stressful thing for me is the doctor's office - my blood pressure was 165/101 the first time I went - and normally it is 99/70 or thereabouts. Instead of taking meds for that, I just had them wait until the end of the appointment to take the reading - like magic, low blood pressure.

I do think that Big Pharma has no trouble at all with pharmaceuticals that mimic supplements, they just hate to lose that profit. The TPP will get rid of cheaper generics, then getting rid of supplements is next on the firing line.

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Response to djean111 (Reply #4)

Tue Nov 19, 2013, 04:48 PM

10. Study after study shows no guaranties that they contain what they claim.

This is not a one off thing. Further, the evidence for taking anything but Vit D, for some people, and fish oil, for some people is almost nil. The supplement industry is the biggest scam industry of our era. It's time to fully regulate it, and stop thinking that everything else is bad. The evidence just does not support the naturalistic fallacy.

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Response to HuckleB (Reply #10)

Tue Nov 19, 2013, 05:03 PM

12. "stop thinking that everything else is bad."

 

I don't think everything else is bad - I just refuse to take anything that lists horrific side effects and/or horrific withdrawal symptoms. That pretty much covers everything, as far as I can tell. And the off-label stories I have read are scary, too.
Take something for menopause symptoms or osteoporosis - get cancer and see those meds recalled. MMMM, Fosamax and Boniva! Jawbone infections and pharma making fun of that. Great testing process there!!!! Stuff like that makes me uber-cautious.

What exactly do you mean by "fully regulate"? Drive out of business, make unavailable, require a lot of money and a prescription?
Are WebMD and the Mayo Clinic just lying about the supplements they give information on?
I do find it commendable that you worry so much about other people's health and pocketbooks. I wish others would worry just as much about the artificially high cost of pharmaceuticals, the way we taxpayers fund research and then get charged so much for medicine, the way our meat is barely inspected, if at all.......much more harmful things, IMO.

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Response to djean111 (Reply #12)

Tue Nov 19, 2013, 08:06 PM

18. IOW, you don't know how to do a legitimate risk-benefit analysis.

That's exactly what you're posts have shown, so you don't have to spell it out. WebMD and Mayo have been called out for the choice to go with anecdote over science, and popularity over things that actually offer benefits. Pushing logical fallacy after logical fallacy is not going to help. Of course, if you're defending one of the biggest scams in history, then nothing is going to help until you choose to wake up.

Why is the industry afraid of consumers having information that would actually help the consumer? Oh, that's right.

Once again, the dietary supplement industry is fighting efforts to give consumers more information about the safety and effectiveness of dietary supplements.
http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/big-supp-resists-giving-consumers-safety-and-effectiveness-information/

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Response to HuckleB (Reply #10)

Tue Nov 19, 2013, 06:36 PM

15. And just how much of that 'evidence' is produced at the behest of Big Pharma

out in front or behind the scenes? Lots. Am I going to believe them or my lying eyes?

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Response to IrishAyes (Reply #15)

Tue Nov 19, 2013, 08:07 PM

19. And your defense of a scam industry is to offer conspiracy theory BS.

Try to challenge your own preconceptions. It's actually good.

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Response to HuckleB (Reply #19)

Tue Nov 19, 2013, 08:09 PM

20. What I'm relying on is thousands of years of proven efficacy. Not the dubious claims of

Big Pharma. Would they lie? Ooooh noes!

Then of course there are years of what my own lying eyes have seen consistently. Keep challenging me and I'll have to retaliate with the story of how science finally discovered how and why the tree frog wound remedy WORKS.

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Response to IrishAyes (Reply #20)

Tue Nov 19, 2013, 08:11 PM

22. The fallacy of the ancients.

Now that's an oldie, but a goodie. Uh, it's also worthless. There is no thousands of years of proven efficacy. The plural of anecdote is not data. Stop trying to fool people into supporting a scam, just because you fell for it, too.

PS: http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Appeal_to_ancient_wisdom

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Response to djean111 (Reply #1)

Tue Nov 19, 2013, 06:33 PM

14. Remember too that a lot of this negative press could be funded by Big Pharma

which certainly doesn't want us using ancient, proven natural cures instead of their over-priced death pills.

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Response to IrishAyes (Reply #14)

Tue Nov 19, 2013, 06:42 PM

17. Bingo.

 

At the very least, mixing up "they may be adulterated!!!!!" with "they don't even work!!!!!" kind of dilutes the fear-mongering.
Pick one, please.

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Response to IrishAyes (Reply #14)

Tue Nov 19, 2013, 08:25 PM

27. This is just the worst kind of Internet BS.

You're not even supporting your supposed claim. You do realize that your posts here support and unethical industry, and many of the posts are clearly unethical in content.

No one is going to say the pharmaceutical industry is hunky dory. However, shouting "Big Pharma" is not a defense for the scam supplement industry.

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Response to djean111 (Reply #1)

Tue Nov 19, 2013, 08:20 PM

25. You might be glad to know that hemp seeds offer a higher concentration of D3 than most other

sources. Just a thought.

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Response to djean111 (Reply #1)

Tue Nov 19, 2013, 08:30 PM

29. vitamins are a somewhat different case...

...although certainly vitamin manufacturers could misrepresent the contents of their products. But at least the notation 500 IU D3 has some actual objective meaning, and is easily confirmed with testing. Determining whether herbal supplements in particular contain meaningful, standardized amounts of the herbs they claim to contain is another matter, as is determining whether they have ANY of those herbs at all. Or what their potency is. It's all voodoo, and multi-million dollar voodoo at that.

"My god how the money rolls in--
Rolls in, rolls in,
My god how the money rolls in, rolls in.
Rolls in, rolls in, my god how the money rolls in."

Vitamin D is a special case, as most modern humans do not spend enough time naked in the sun to produce as much as they might need. I take 1000 IU daily on my physician's recommendation because blood work showed exceedingly low serum levels of vitamin D-- I live in a cool, cloudy climate and spend most of my time indoors, clothed. Very little sun exposure on skin.

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Response to Addison (Original post)

Mon Nov 18, 2013, 07:45 PM

3. Dealing with the very best and most trustworthy companies can help, such as

Swanson and Puritan. They're the only 2 I use. But if you're determined that all supplements are bad or worthless, nothing will satisfy you.

It is indeed best to get your nutrition from whole foods whenever possible. For instance, today Oz was talking about hemp seed, which has more of the necessary fatty acids than almost anything else available. It can be found in lots of processed foods now, but you're still better off buying actual hemp seeds and eating them straight or adding them to other foods yourself. That way you can be sure of what you're getting.

I make a point of growing as much food as I can, too. Of course I no longer live in a big city, where it could be next to impossible - but there they have better farmer's markets, too.

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Response to IrishAyes (Reply #3)

Mon Nov 18, 2013, 08:53 PM

5. If you want nutrition, eat a balanced diet.

I don't know that people here in the US need to supplement their diets much. There are few, but notable exceptions. Iron for pre-menopausal women who are anemic. And women who intend to get pregnant should take folate. Other than that, a well balanced diet does a body good.

It saves money, too.

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Response to longship (Reply #5)

Mon Nov 18, 2013, 10:26 PM

6. People unable to buy or grow, prepare, and eat whole foods for whatever reason really do

need good supplements, since they're eating processed foods of varying quality. Then again, consider the vast amount of nutrition ignorance among the general public. That really needs coverage! It was a grave mistake to cut home economics classes. A lot of people today don't even have a stove in their 'kitchen'. And if you looked in their cupboards, you'd scream. That's one reason I'd almost rather die than go in a nursing home - I know they'd kill me, even if with their notion of kindness.

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Response to longship (Reply #5)

Tue Nov 19, 2013, 04:50 PM

11. Even in the US, most people do not need supplementation.

It's the world's greatest scam, and it has so many conned by in it in an almost religious way. It's absolutely bizarre.

REGULATION NOW!

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Response to HuckleB (Reply #11)

Tue Nov 19, 2013, 06:42 PM

16. Your ignorance of my knowledge does not make me bizarre in the least.

If you think only man-made products are any good, that's egocentric. Literally thousands upon thousands of years of Aureyvedic medicine (OK, OK - so what if I seldom spell it rite?) trump Big Pharma in my book any day of the week. I'm an herbalist and have doctored myself all my life into a comparatively sturdy old age. I'll stack my health up against pill poppers any day of the week.

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Response to IrishAyes (Reply #16)

Tue Nov 19, 2013, 08:10 PM

21. You think putting words in the mouths of others shows knowledge?

Sorry, but every post you make shows you're ignorance. You can pretend otherwise, and I'm sure you will, but you're supporting a scam industry. That's not progressive. That's just plain old destructive.

Diet Supplements or Nutritional Supplements: A Ruse by Any Other Name is Still a Ruse
http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/diet-supplements-or-nutritional-supplements-a-ruse-by-any-other-name-is-still-a-ruse/

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Response to HuckleB (Reply #21)

Tue Nov 19, 2013, 08:18 PM

24. In whose mouth did I put which words, pray tell?

And btw, as for ignorance, the next to last word in your first sentence - the body, not the title - should be 'your'. At least learn some grammar before your next diatribe against my alleged shortcomings.

Once again, the sole claim you're able to make against me is that disagreeing with you allegedly proves me ignorant. You're going to need a lot more evidence than that, my dear. I'm only willing to play this game with you awhile, not much longer. It wastes my time.

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Response to IrishAyes (Reply #24)

Tue Nov 19, 2013, 08:22 PM

26. You put words in my mouth.

You created a belief for me, that is not mine, and then argued against it. That's BS.

Second, you are arguing for something that is wrongheaded, the evidence is vastly against you and getting larger every day. There is no excuse for pushing this scam on others. It's unethical, and that is being very kind.

Finally, since my failing to think through a specific word is about all you can offer to defend your nonsense, you might want to think about how you have no argument to offer, and maybe you should wonder why that is.

Many Supplements Worse Than Useless
http://www.care2.com/greenliving/many-supplements-worse-than-useless.html

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Response to IrishAyes (Reply #3)

Tue Nov 19, 2013, 12:33 PM

7. I use Swanson as well, and when these reports about fake supplements came

out, I wondered which brands they tested. It would help to know!

I've always cooked (tho I hate it, really), kept the processed foods to a bare minimum (the hubs likes Hamburger Helper), and grown some food in the backyard. But it's hard, I tell ya.

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Response to Nay (Reply #7)

Tue Nov 19, 2013, 01:17 PM

8. Definitely hard, more or less at different times and situations.

The latter part of my working years involved a lot of health care, especially hospice which I absolutely loved; anyhow, along the way I grew fascinated with the concept of aging in place. So when I retired and moved here, I've tried to do things that make it easier for me as I age.

For instance, the first bargain I latched onto was a closeout on the biggest clay pots I've ever seen. A whole dollar for each. I bought all 25. Half were inverted on the ground as a base for the other half which I filled with cheap garden soil plus my own ammendments. Only the top 3" got the more expensive potting soil. This put the work area at perfect height for a short person not to need to bend over at all. It kept out the dogs and all sorts of other critters. Of course they have to be covered well during winter so they don't freeze and crack.

At yard and rummage sales (not to mention curbside freebies) I've always kept an eye out for anything that can be repurposed into elevated planters. Big stock pots, etc., even a double partitioned laundry tub on tall legs. If you grow mainly heirlooms, you don't even need to buy seeds every year. Even my roses are organic, and they provide a rich source of vitamin C., both the hips and the petals.

I'm also lucky that comfrey grows wild in this area. I think it got banned from the marketplace because it is powerful and can be misused; but the gypsies used to call it knitbone for good reason. I fed a bit to my horses when I raised Egyptian Arabians, and they had legs like iron. I also have phenomenally strong bones for an old lady.

But I understand this is a great deal of work; so I tend to concentrate on things that are pricey in stores. Tomatoes, bell peppers, etc. There's no future in raising your own potatoes, onions, or cabbage. Right now I'm mad enough to scream because peanut butter has soared to over $2 a pound at best, so next spring I intend to grow the extra large ancient African variety for myself.

If you can trick yourself into believing all this is more fun than an ice cream social, that's half the battle!

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Response to IrishAyes (Reply #8)

Tue Nov 19, 2013, 02:07 PM

9. I love the idea about comfrey -- may I ask how much you dose yourself with?

I had an estrogen-loving breast cancer removed, and I am on an estrogen-killing drug which also can have the effect of weakening my bones. I take ANOTHER drug, plus extra calcium, to counteract that possibility. I'd love to add comfrey if it is OK with my doc. Maybe it has another calcium/bonesaving property that he'd be OK with.

I also grow tomatoes and bell peppers every year. There's really no comparison.

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Response to Nay (Reply #9)

Tue Nov 19, 2013, 06:30 PM

13. Contrary to what you'll hear some so-called experts say, many herbals from trustworthy

suppliers, not full of weeds and fillers, can be extremely powerful even in low doses. Otherwise why would there be so many warnings against taking some of them with certain prescription drugs???? That's not aimed at you, btw, but rather the snotty naysayers.

Comfrey is one such herb. People using it excessively caused negative press and I'm not even sure its still on the market. I haven't had to buy since moving here and finding a big patch in my yard. I simply dry the leaves and make a weak tea a couple times a week. But then I don't need it at higher levels after so many years. Your doctor may or may not agree with its use at all, but I hope you are able to benefit from its healing properties. If so, just remember less is more with this one.

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Response to Addison (Original post)

Tue Nov 19, 2013, 08:14 PM

23. Diet Supplements or Nutritional Supplements: A Ruse by Any Other Name is Still a Ruse

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Response to HuckleB (Reply #30)

Tue Nov 19, 2013, 10:31 PM

31. I'll keep taking my VitD and COq10.

 

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Response to 840high (Reply #31)

Wed Nov 20, 2013, 12:46 AM

32. Vitamin D won't hurt, especially if it's 1000 iu or less.

Research has hit a dead end with COq10, however. The early results have not been replicated with bigger and more strident studies.

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Response to Addison (Original post)

Wed Nov 20, 2013, 01:55 AM

33. I do not understand why so many are convinced that they need to take vitamins.

 

If our diets were always so awful, then how did the world's population ever make it to seven billion?

Of course, so many in this country eat absolute crap, so perhaps they really do need vitamins. Me, I do a lot of cooking from scratch. I don't drink soft drinks, diet or regular. While I don't raise vegetables in my back yard, I try to purchase the basics.

Oddly enough, I'm the healthiest person I know. I refuse to buy into the bullshit of needing to take vitamins or that everyone is lactose or gluten intolerant. I can touch my toes and do a headstand at age 65. Gasp!

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