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The FDA does NOT oversee testing for safety or efficacy of dietary supplements. That means that as long as a supplement is not illegal, anyone can putanythinginto supplemental form and sell it withanyhealth claim they choose. They can charge you whatever price they want and do not have to include the product’s potential risks or side effects.
Recent estimates suggest at least 55,000 supplemental products are available in the US with various health claims. Weight-loss products account for 1/4 of all single-product ER visits. Energy-boosting products account for 10% of ER visits. A recent study published by WebMD found that 71% of melatonin supplements examined did NOT contain what they claimed on their product label!
Some supplements like calcium, vitamin D and folic acid can be helpful and are proven to provide benefits with no negative side effects. This is not the case for multitudes of other supplements out there that claim to lubricate joints, increase fat burning, improve sports performance or aid in muscle recovery.
Don’t believe everything you read!! A report from mensfittness.com suggests 235-735 mg of calcium to boost “muscular explosiveness”. That is equal to more than 9 cups of coffee!! You should NEVER get more than 400mg of caffeine in a day and not all at one time!! Scary!!!!! If you follow this advise and are also taking other supplements such as 1,3,7-trimethylxan (another name for caffeine), drinking caffeine-containing drinks such as Red Bull, Monster drinks, or even a soda, you could be putting yourself at a high risk for seizures, heart attack or stroke.
Don’t think you’re immune, invincible or too young!!!
Here are a few popular supplements and their potential risks:
Comfrey and kava can cause liver damage
Tumeric can worsen symtoms of reflux
fishoil can increase your risk of bleeding during injury or surgery
St. John’s wort can decrease the effectiveness of birth control and antidepressants.
Quercetin and Bromelain can decrease the effectiveness of antibiotics and other medications and can increase bleeding time by decreasing blood clotting.
Supplemental vitamin Cand E can reduce the effectiveness of chemotherapy
Medium-chain triglycerides (MCT) increases blood lipid levels
Pyruvate can cause nausea and gas
Chromium Picolinate may cause oxidative damage associated with Asperger’s, ADHD, Parkinson’s, Alzheimers, heart disease, heart failure, autism and depression
Here’s a list of a few more popular supplements that make promises with no evidence to support their claims:
Creatine claims to enhance lean body mass and increase strength and muscle size
MCT supposedly increases endurance and promotes fat burn (MCT is a fat!!!!)
Pyruvate promises improved endurance and weight loss
Chromium Picolinate guarantees weight loss
Carnitine assures consumers it burns off fat
Beta-Alanine claims high-intensity exercise performance
fish oil manufacturers declare heart health and improved skin and nails
I could go on for days with these lists. The problem is, you’re paying for something that probably doesn’t even work and can potentially be downright dangerous!
Here’s the problem: when you isolate a beneficial component of food you are taking it away from it’s natural state where it’s effectiveness may depend on the combination of a food’s nutrients which together, create a synergistic healing effect. For example, antioxidants react differently under various conditions. At physiological levels typical of a healthy diet, they act as molecules that prevent the damage of cells from oxidative stress, cell and DNA damage associated with disease. At pharmacological doses typical of supplements, they may behave as prooxidants, stimulating production of cancer-causing free-radicals.
Antioxidants in supplemental form do not improve health and have been proven ineffective in clinical trials for preventing disease.
Some antioxidants you may find in supplemental form alone or in combination with other ingredients:
It’s just as easy to pop a handful of blueberries into your mouth as it is a handfull of supplements.
Carrots, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, spinach, broccoli, cantaloupe, pumpkin and apricots contain Carotenoids, including beta-carotene and lycopene that reduce the risk of cancer.
Citrus fruits contain Limonene and Phenols which facilitate carcinogen excretion and inhibit lipid oxidation and the formation of carcinogenic nitrosamines in the body.
Broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale and brussels sprouts contain Sulforaphane Dithiolthiones that protect cells’ DNA.
Soy and legumes contain Phytosterols, Isoflavones and Saponins which slows tumor growth, prevents colon cancer, reduces the risk of breast and ovarian cancer and prevents cancer cell multiplication
Flaxseed contains Lignans which reduce the risk of breast and ovarian cancer.
Blueberries, prunes and grapes, oats and soybeans contain caffeic acid and ferulic acid triggers the excretion of cancer cells, binds nitrates, preventing their conversion to nitrosamines
Grains contain Phytic acid that binds to minerals, preventing free-radical production
All fruits, vegetables, tea and (thank you, Lord) WINE contain flavonoids that prevent heart disease.
The compounds epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), carnosol and curcumin found in tea, rosemary and turmeric are well-known anti-inflammatory and cancer preventative phytochemicals.
Roasted Seasoned Chickpeas
Curcumin found in turmeric, capsaicin in hot peppers, gingerol in fresh ginger or metabolites catechin found in blueberries, red wine, apples, cherries, pears and raspberries, resveratrol found in red wine and grapes, daidzein and genistein found in legumes such as chickpeas and tofu, currants and raisins have all been shown to fight inflammatory diseases, including diabetes.
I will stop here because it’s dinner time, I’m hungry and I will be eating real food for my dinner; no supplements will be on or beside my plate.
Save your money. Stop buying supplements and start eating real food! To get a variety of health benefits from the food you eat, choose a rainbow of fruits and veggies and whole grains. Throw in a cheeseburger every now and then and enjoy eating healthy!