Adaptogen hype scrutinised

Posted 28 June 2022

“They are claimed to cure everything, even long COVID. But the science on adaptogens is very disappointing.”

Adaptogens are said to be substances, often plants (such as ginseng and golden root), that help the body adapt to stress with no side effects. A recent article makes these points:

  • Their long-term safety has not been demonstrated.
  • Regulation of this market is poor.
  • Some adaptogenic herbs are known to have potentially serious side effects.
  • Evidence for effectiveness usually comes from animal studies and a few published studies in humans that tend to be small and lacking in rigor.

Reference: Jarry J. The problem with adaptogens. McGill Office for Science and Society, June 9, 2022

Source: Consumer Health Digest #22-26, June 26, 2022

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Why Too Many Vitamins Feels Just About Right

Posted 23 June 2022

This editorial published in JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association) asks:

“Essential nutrients plus clever marketing: it is clear why vitamin and mineral supplements are so appealing. But that begs the question of why it is so easy to market the unproven benefits of these products while it is so difficult to convince people to receive lifesaving vaccines.”

The article is though provoking and worth reading here

In the event of difficulty accessing the site, it is copied here.

JAMA Editorial
June 21, 2022

Why Too Many Vitamins Feels Just About Right

JAMA Intern Med. Published online June 21, 2022. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2022.0119

Currently, US adults spend more than $10 billion per year on vitamins and dietary supplements,1 believing against most evidence that fortified gummy bears and water infused with vitamins will improve their health and well-being.

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Can Supplements Really Help With Depression or Anxiety?

Posted 17 June 2022

SCAM OR NOT

Here’s what the evidence says about what works (and what doesn’t).

St. John’s wort “promotes a positive mood.” Valerian root reduces “levels of anxiety and stress.” Lavender oil is “calming for body and mind.”

If you are among the tens of millions of people in the United States who suffer from depression or anxiety, it is easy to be captivated by the promise of mood-boosting supplements. Take these pills daily, their marketing suggests, and soon you’ll be happily bouncing through verdant, sun-soaked fields, no prescription required.

But, while experts say that some mood-lifting supplements are better studied than others, the wider evidence on their effectiveness is shaky at best. “I’m not saying that there’s evidence that these things aren’t useful,” said Dr. Gerard Sanacora, a professor of psychiatry at the Yale School of Medicine

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Paediatric melatonin poisonings increasing

Posted 12 June 2022

Melatonin, which is regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as a dietary supplement, is widely used as a sleep aid. According to an analysis of 260,435 reports of ingestion of melatonin by teenagers and preteens made to the American Association of Poison Control Centers’ National Poison Data System from 2012 to 2021:

  • 94.3% of the ingestions were unintentional
  • 83.8% were among children under age six
  • 17.2% involved symptoms, mostly of the gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, or central nervous systems
  • 99.0% occurred in the home
  • 88.3% were managed on-site
  • among 27,795 patients who received care at a health care facility, 19,892 (71.6%) were discharged, 4,097 (14.7%) were hospitalized, and 287 (1.0%) required intensive care
  • most of the hospitalized were teenagers with intentional ingestions
  • 4,555 (1.6%) resulted in more serious outcomes including five children who required mechanical ventilation and two died
  • pediatric ingestion reports increased from 8,337 in
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