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 Post subject: Dietary suppliments: worthless to poisonous?
PostPosted: Mon May 11, 2009 6:21 pm 
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Joined: Thu Dec 18, 2008 1:03 am
Posts: 5128
Location: Portland, OR
All,

Like many people, I'd thought that the increasing omnipresence of "alternative medicine" and "dietary suppliments" was due to increasing acceptance by medical professionals. Not so, according to Marion Nestle: instead, Congress voted to completely deregulate the "alternative medicine/suppliment" industry, meaning that just about anything can be in that recycled-glass bottle:

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.c ... 1788VE.DTL

So if you were skeptical about the homeopathy/vitamin/suppliment/alternative stuff before, you should be even more skeptical now.

On the other hand, it doesn't take exotic suppliments to kill us. Domino's pizza continues their quest to find the perfect food which will destroy even a healthy adult in one meal. This week: pasta ... in a bread bowl. With cheese. Yes, really.

http://www.dominos.com/home/index.jsp

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 Post subject: Re: Dietary suppliments: worthless to poisonous?
PostPosted: Tue May 12, 2009 3:19 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jan 16, 2009 7:50 pm
Posts: 2062
I remember watching the whole ephedra thing and thinking "Idiots are going to ruin it for us all." I liked ephedra. Of course, I was using it sparingly for congestion, not in huge doses for its questionable weight-loss value. I experienced far less loopiness with it than I do with pseudoephedrine. But, naturally, there are people who think that anything from a plant must be safe. Nightshade, anyone? It's sad that Mr. Becher died, but at the time, you had to be living under a rock not to have heard the warnings about abusing (and the key word here is "abusing") ephedra.

It comes down to how much hand-holding you want from the government. Right now, they are doing too little, but when you consider how much politics can play in "scientific" decisions made by government agencies, too much can be even worse. Look at the bizarre history of stevia in this country. As a sweetener, it's more dangerous than aspartame, but as a supplement, it's safe as kittens. Oops, until Cargill figures out a way to extract a patentable bit of it, then it's safe as a sweetener, again. :roll: Why does tobacco get off with stern warning, and marijuana is still evil enough to land you in the hoosegow?

It doesn't help that no-one wants to do the research. Drug companies have no incentive, because you can't patent a plant. The FDA has washed its hands of the whole mess. That leaves the consumer with free access to any substance that anybody may once have thought would be useful and the onus to actually wade through the piles of competing claims him/herself. And what the consumer wants is someone in a lab coat to say, "Just take this, you'll feel better."

Don't even get me started on vitamins. Why does the FDA think that beta-carotene counts microgram for microgram as vitamin A? grrrr

Maybe I'm just cranky because my cod liver oil supplement is repeating on me. yuck.


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