The New York State attorney general’s office accused four major retailers on Monday of selling fraudulent and potentially dangerous herbal supplements and demanded that they remove the products from their shelves. The authorities said they had conducted tests on top-selling store brands of herbal supplements at four national retailers — GNC, Target, Walgreens and Walmart — and found that four out of five of the products did not contain any of the herbs on their labels. The tests showed that pills labeled medicinal herbs often contained little more than cheap fillers like powdered rice, asparagus and houseplants, and in some cases substances that could be dangerous to those with allergies. [NYTimes], [WaPo] [more inside]
Scientific evidence for popular health supplements from information is beautiful [Snake Oil not included]
Fish oil: it's been touted as a solution to heart health, dementia, glaucoma, and a host of other ailments. Unfortunately, it turns out that most of the evidence for its benefits is equivocal at best. And it turns out that fish oil isn't particularly useful for our pets, either. Worse, it turns out that the foundational study that kicked off interest in fish oil as a supplement is not quite as promising for fish oils as it is usually construed and cited. Given that fish oil can induce strokes in high quantities (and may interfere with treatments like chemotherapy), is poorly regulated, and is expensive, should we be promoting fish oil supplements as strongly as we do?
Ever wonder what giant people eat? Ever have the feeling that you're a "weird eater"? Ever feel like you need some inspiration to eat more? EliteFTS, a website geared mostly towards selling powerlifting gear and educating competitive strength athletes, has put together a list of what their staff and sponsored athletes typically eat for lunch. [more inside]
A new study has identified product substitution and contamination in the herbal supplement industry on a massive scale. As the New York Times reports, one-third of the US herbal supplements tested by researchers had no trace of the advertised herb in the product, and many products were entirely composed of fillers such as rice, or contained dangerous contaminants and allergens. Only two of the 12 companies tested exclusively sold products that did what they said on the tin. Pro-supplement organisation the American Botanical Council has questioned the findings, due in part to what it says are flaws in the DNA technology used to identify herbal ingredients.
Is your breakfast giving you cancer? "Chances are, you started your day with a generous helping of folic acid. For more than a decade, the government has required enriched grains — most notably white flour and white rice — to be fortified with folic acid, the synthetic form of the B vitamin folate. Many food manufacturers take it further, giving breakfast cereals, nutrition bars, and beverages a folic acid boost, too. Yet, historic reviews have linked too much folic acid to an increased cancer rate. [more inside]
Is Vitamin C worth taking or not? Does Echinacea kill colds? Am I missing out not drinking litres of Goji juice, wheatgrass extract and flaxseed oil every day? A generative data-visualisation of all the scientific evidence for popular health supplements by David McCandless and Andy Perkins. (Still Image) (data) [via] [more inside]
Sports drinks and sodas are adding antioxidant vitamins to transcend their caloric nature and appear "healthy". Antioxidants defend against reactive oxygen species, which are purported to be causative agents in aging and cancer. However, a recent study has shown that supplementation with large amounts of antioxidant vitamins negates many of the beneficial effects of exercise.
The Coral Calcium scam. Coral Calcium products are on fire right now, with infomercials and brochures claiming that the miracle supplements can cure everything from fatigue to cancer. Of course there is no scientific evidence supporting any of these claims and one of the two men featured in the infomercials is a convicted felon named Kevin Trudeau. New FTC actions are ongoing and The Mayo Clinic has just sent out a letter to patients warning that the broad range of benefits claimed by those marketing some Coral Calcium products are simply too good to be true and that if the calcium indeed comes form the Okinawa area as claimed, it could be contaminated with lead.
Ginkgo supplements don’t help...Um...................um...... A new study suggests ginkgo supplements do nothing to quickly improve memory in healthy people, a finding that goes against years of well-publicized claims that helped turn the supplements into a multimillion-dollar industry.
In case other forms of augmentation isn't a viable option, now women can order Bloussant, "an all-natural herbal tablet, which, when taken daily will increase ... bust size by up to two cup sizes." The site also has the commercial for the product in Windows Media and QuickTime formats.