HealthBeat News

Are Your Supplements Safe? What You Should Know

So, why all the fuss? Why are our Senators getting involved? Are supplements really safe after all? How can you be sure that the supplements you are taking are safe and of good quality? “The dietary supplement market is the wild west” says California Democratic Congressman Henry Waxman. He’s right – Dr. Myatt has known this for a decade, and she has worked tirelessly to bring you the very best products through The Wellness Club.

Dietary and herbal supplements have been used safely for thousands of years. But make no mistake, they are as potent as any drug, and must be used with care. Some can have adverse interactions with medications or other herbs, some can cause adverse effects in the presence of certain medical conditions. Some concoctions can be downright dangerous.

Many supplements may not be all that they claim to be. The popular supplement Glucosamine Sulfate, used to stimulate joint repair and to relieve pain is a perfect example. It is a combination of Glucosamine which stimulates the production of glycosaminoglycans (GAG’s) which are the main structural material of our joints, and elemental Sulfate which is a carrier molecule for Glucosamine and which stimulates the production of joint substances (GAG’s) in it’s own right. When it is bound to Glucosamine, Sulfate acts to carry the Glucosamine molecule into the joint and it helps to activate joint substance production. But here is the rub. There is only one manufacturer that produces Glucosamine Sulfate that is molecularly bound together. This is so important that they have a patent on it. Other manufacturers throw glucosamine and sulfate together in the same capsule and tout it’s benefits based on the research done on molecularly bound Glucosamine Sulfate but it just isn’t the same. Dr. Myatt’s Wellness Club is one of the very few places where you can get the “good stuff” – the molecularly bound product. There are lots of other scams like this out there – poor quality or ineffective supplements, often sold at big prices. Other supplement concoctions claim to have amazing effects (like growing certain body parts “larger” or ending menopause symptoms) but contain only trace amounts of effective active ingredients – “fairy dust” we call them.

How do you protect yourself?

First, Be sure they are safe for you. Don’t take supplements based solely on advertising claims you see in magazines, tabloids, the internet, TV, or elsewhere. Don’t believe that what is good for your friend must be good for you too. A few minutes spent talking with a naturopathic doctor (not the clerk or salesperson in the health food store!) could save you a lot of grief. Secondly, be sure you are buying quality supplements. Don’t take the word of the clerk or salesperson – do the research, or let your holistic medical practitioner do it for you. If it looks like too good a deal, it probably is. When was quality ever cheap? Those supplements on sale for such a low price at your local superstore may have been sloppily manufactured, improperly shipped or stored (most supplements must be kept in carefully temperature controlled conditions), may contain impurities, or may just be old stock. There is usually a good reason for a really low price. Why risk it? Finally, if you have a medical condition or are taking any medications, you really must be in a good cooperative relationship with both your regular doctor and with your holistic health provider and / or Naturopathic Doctor. Only that way can you protect yourself from shoddy or unneeded products and potentially harmful side effects or interactions.

Hot Flashes:

Miracle beverage lowers cholesterol, blocks cancer, fights heart disease, and more!

A nice cup of Oriental Green Tea can be a delicious, relaxing, soothing break in your day. But more than that, recent research is pointing out other benefits as well. A recent article in the Archives of Internal Medicine found that enriched green tea extract may be effective in reducing low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C). Subjects in a treatment study group showed decreases of 6.7% in total cholesterol and 9.6% in LDL-C after only 4 weeks of supplementation, and reductions of 11.3% and 16.4% after 12 weeks! Another study, done at the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University and reported in the journal Carcinogenesis showed that green tea may be useful in the prevention of intestinal (colon) cancer in humans. Yet other studies show it useful in the prevention of heart disease, and there are studies suggesting it may be a potent antiviral, effective in combating HIV. It is further thought to have antimicrobial powers. What is so special about green tea? It is a rich source of catechins – flavinoid phytochemical compounds and polyphenols. Both are potent antioxidants, helping to prevent the damaging effects of free radicals.

Nurse Mark’s comment: Both Dr. Dana and I make green tea a part of our day. Traditional flavors are fine, and newer flavors such as fruit or spice offer a nice change. It is a great pick-me-up, and green tea is thought to have thermogenic properties, helping us to burn fat. There really is no down side, unless you just don’t like the taste of it, in which case you can obtain the benefits of green tea in capsule form as green tea extract capsules from the Wellness Club. Either way, you really owe it to yourself to make this simple, relaxing, and delicious addition to your daily wellness protocol.