dietary supplements

Dietary supplement use, albeit nutritional products or alternative medicines, is a very lucrative industry that is for the most part riddled with overly auspicious claims in support of the notion they are a panacea.

Such faulty, unsubstantiated beliefs abound, yet still these by and large unregulated substances manage to enhance the bottom line of countless companies - making them a multi-billion dollar business especially in the adult sphere. Due to the many preventable adverse drug reactions they cause, a team of researchers set out to quantify their use in the pediatric and adolescent populations where such intake data is unclear.

How was this studied

In a letter just...

One time when I was a little kid, our family visited Arizona. We went to a restaurant somewhere out in the desert that served fried rattlesnake. As you probably guessed, it tastes like chicken.

Rattlesnake meat is perfectly fine to consume. However, snakes and other reptiles, as well as amphibians, can carry Salmonella. That's why it's important for people to wash their hands after handling pet reptiles... or to cook them properly if you plan on eating them. The CDC reports on a person in Kansas who found that out the hard way.

Some people like to take "...

Orrin Hatch, a Republican Senator from Utah, has announced his retirement. When he leaves, the Senate will lose its most ardent supporter of alternative medicine.

Previously, that title was held indisputably by Tom Harkin, a Democratic Senator from Iowa. He is largely to blame for the abomination known as the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), an organization so worthless that it had to change its name so biomedical scientists would stop mocking it.

If Ted Kennedy was the Lion of the Senate, Sen. Harkin was the Snake Oil Salesman of the Senate. Given that his pet project wasted billions investigating pure...

There are many reasons not to take dietary supplements, just take a look at some of the stuff we've written in the past.  But to jog your memory, here are five reasons not to start taking dietary supplements, or multivitamins. 

Elderly people are constant targets. From fearmongering politicians who want votes to scam artists who want money, unscrupulous people try to scare our parents and grandparents into giving them money. 

Perhaps there is no better way to shake people down for cash than by frightening them about their health. Peddlers of organic food and alternative medicine, both multibillion-dollar industries, have profited handsomely by undermining public confidence in the safety of our food supply and the efficacy of modern medicine. 

The dietary supplement industry benefits from this, as well, to the tune of $5.7 billion. The dirty little secret about multivitamins is...

LIVEWELLEvery now and then you get a chance to make a small contribution to the world. When that happens, it can be very fulfilling.

Today, we at the American Council are feeling very fulfilled. The supplement giant GNC, which has been in our crosshairs many times, is finally getting a dose of its own medicine (ironic use of the word medicine intended.) Sales projections look terrible, and there's talk that the company is putting itself up for sale. Shareholders are clearly unhappy.

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Approximately 50 percent of Americans take some sort of dietary supplements whether it's a standard vitamin/mineral mix, herbal or other botanical product, amino acids and proteins or essential fatty acids. The options are aplenty, as there are some 85,000 different dietary supplements in the United States.

Despite their variety, one thing they all have in common is a lack of oversight and regulation, according to a hard-...

We've written many times about the effects of the 1994 Dietary Supplement Health Education Act (DSHEA) on the perception of various supplements as almost magical treatments for a variety of ills (see here, for example). One such perception has been that vitamin D can...

Screen Shot 2016-01-05 at 1.23.36 PMThe issue of hormone replacement therapy for women is not new, and has rarely lacked controversy.

HRT has been heralded as the fountain of youth for women, and also demonized for causing cancer and heart disease. "Facts" have changed overnight, though initially most came from the Women's Health Initiative in 2004, which indicated that HRT posed a significant risk to women who were being...

Girl holding pillsIn early December the FDA sent warning letters to five supplement companies, advising them that an ingredient they included in some of their products does not meet the standard for dietary ingredients. That substance is picamilon, which, the FDA states, is used as a prescription drug in Russia, but is not approved as a drug in the United States.

The FDA posted this definition of a dietary ingredient on...