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Bleeding risks of dietary supplements after surgery and anticoagulant use spotlighted

Posted 03 January 2023

After identifying the 47 most popular dietary-supplement ingredients in the U.S., researchers reviewed the literature on the risks of bleeding they pose to patients postoperatively and while taking anticoagulant medications. [Hatfield J and others. Dietary supplements and bleeding. Baylor University Medical Center Proceedings. 35:802–807, 2022]

They found:

  • Garlic and hawthorn supplementation is strongly associated with surgical bleeding.
  • Cordyceps sinensis, echinacea, and aloe vera were each associated with surgical bleeding in just one case report.
  • Ginkgo biloba, chondroitin-glucosamine, melatonin, turmeric, bilberry, chamomile, fenugreek, milk thistle, and peppermint are associated with bleeding risk for patients taking anticoagulants.
  • Fish oil, ginseng, and saw palmetto are not linked to bleeding.
  • Evidence for overall bleeding risk of St. John’s wort, ginger, ginkgo biloba, or cranberry supplementation is conflicting.

Source: Consumer Health Digest #23-01, January 1, 2023

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Chlorophyll water can’t clear your skin or detox your liver.

01 Dec 2022

But this TikTok trend got one thing right

Published: November 30, 2022 in The Conversation

By : Senior Lecturer (Food Science and Human Nutrition), School of Environmental and Life Sciences, University of Newcastle

If you follow health trends online, you might have heard about “chlorophyll water”. Claims range from clearing your skin, stopping body odour, increasing energy and oxygen, to detoxing your liver and preventing cancer.

Chlorophyll water is sold as a liquid concentrate or already mixed with water. Numerous TikTok videos claim its health benefits.

Then there are celebrity endorsements for chlorophyll water, including from Kourtney Kardashian on her lifestyle channel.

So, what is chlorophyll water? And is it really a healthy choice?

 

Remind me again, what’s chlorophyll?

What you might remember about chlorophyll from high-school science might sound pretty healthy.

Chlorophyll is the pigment that gives plants (and … Read the rest

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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Unsubstantiated collagen supplementation claims spotlighted

Posted 11 March 2022

Collagen, a component of skin, hair, nails, joints, bones, tendons, and cartilage, is marketed by major retailers as a dietary supplement product for health and beauty. Noting that there are over 8.5 million posts with the hashtag “collagen” on Instagram alone and Google searches for collagen supplements have increased rapidly since 2015, researchers: (a) watched and analyzed the first 100 YouTube videos resulting from a search of “collagen,” (b) analyzed the top 50 Instagram photographs with the hashtag “collagen,” (c) reviewed the scientific literature regarding skin, nail, and hair effects of collagen, and (d) reviewed websites of popular collagen brands for claims related to skin, nail, and hair.
Reference: Rustad AM. Myths and media in oral collagen supplementation for the skin, nails, and hair: A review. Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, 21:438-443, 2022

Their findings included:

  • Over 75% of YouTube videos and Instagram posts recommended collagen
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Intravenous Nutrient Drips: An Expensive Solution to A Nonexistent Problem

Posted 02 March 2022

Nick Tiller
February 21, 2022

Skeptical Enquirer

On the ground floor of a shopping mall in southern California, nestled between a kiosk selling hot pretzels and another selling mobile phones, customers relax in carefully arranged leather sofas while drip bags containing clear liquids drain slowly through veins in their forearms.

These “treatments,” which cost between $200 and $500, are increasingly popular, with similar kiosks and pop-up stores found along high streets and strip malls in the United States and Europe. Even at the exhibition for the Los Angeles Marathon, where runners flock in tens-of-thousands each year to collect their race credentials, runners were waiting up to forty-five minutes to receive a Fitness Drip or an Energy Drip, convinced the infusion would improve their chances of an elusive personal record.

For every ailment, there’s a nutrient drip.

What Are Nutrient Infusions and How Do They Work?

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Comprehensive resource on dietary supplements updated

Posted 23 February 2022

Thomas J. Wheeler, PhD, a retired associate professor of biochemistry and molecular biology at the University of Louisville School of Medicine, has updated the Dietary Supplements section of “A Scientific Look at Alternative Medicine.” Part 1 addresses general aspects including an overview, regulation and labeling, adverse effects, scientific critique, conventional nutrition, antioxidants, phytochemicals, and reviews and major trials of multiple supplements. Part 2 discusses 175 individual products, arranged in alphabetical order, that are marketed as supplements. The original compendium was part of a handout for an elective course that taught medical students to carefully consider the evidence regarding claims for “alternative” products and services.

Source: Consumer Health Digest #22-08, February 20, 2022

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Does Zinc Really Help Treat a Cold?

Posted 02 November 2021

In 1771, the German physician Hieronymus David Gaubius introduced the western scientific community to “a medication with many promises” – zinc.

More than 200 years later, we can find it amongst the many supplements on pharmacy shelves. It’s even known to be one of the rare things that might help fight off a common cold. Or does it?

Evidence for zinc supplement use is limited, study results have been mixed, and dosage, formulation and length of prescription have not been investigated properly to date.

A new meta-analysis of 28 randomized controlled trials has now strengthened the notion that supplementing zinc could prevent symptoms and shorten the duration of viral respiratory infections, like the common cold or the flu.

“It is commonly thought that zinc’s role in preventing and treating infections is only for people who are zinc deficient; our findings

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Drug-related liver injury: call for better regulation of supplements

Posted 26 July 2021

Medical Journal Australia – InSight 

DOCTORS at a Sydney liver transplant centre have raised concerns about the rising rate of drug-induced liver injury (DILI) cases linked to herbal and dietary supplements, warning these cases are often at the severest end of the spectrum.

Paracetamol remains the drug most commonly linked to DILI, a study of DILI cases at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital’s AW Morrow Gastroenterology and Liver Centre found.

There were 115 paracetamol-related cases and 69 non-paracetamol related cases at the centre over the 12 years to 2020. Of the non-paracetamol DILI cases, antibiotics and antifungals were the most commonly implicated medicines (19 cases). However, the proportion of cases linked with herbal and dietary supplements (15 cases) grew steadily over the period, from 15% to 47% of the non-paracetamol cases.

Cases linked with herbal or dietary supplements had especially poor prognoses, the study found, with 90-day … Read the rest