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Researchers warn of hazards of inadequately regulated dietary supplements

Posted 15 Jan 2024

After a review of several databases, researchers with Touro College of Pharmacy and Nova Southeastern University’s College of Pharmacy have identified a total of 79,071 reported adverse events related to the use of dietary supplements. The events were reported to U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN) between 2004 and 2021. Their searches for adverse-event reports included the use of vitamin E (vitamin derivative), beta-sitosterol (plant sterol) yohimbine, kava kava, kratom, garcinia cambogia, herbal products, and OxyElite Pro (marketed for weight loss).

Key points made in their paper include:

  • Vitamin E supplementation has documented interaction with several routine medications.
  • Over a thousand adverse events regarding the use of a prostate support supplement called Super Beta Prostate containing beta-sitosterol were reported to CFSAN in the past two decades. Most of the reports involved finding blood in the urine.
  • Poison centers
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Does Vitamin C Actually Help Your Skin?

Posted 23 October 2023

SCAM OR NOT: Here’s what dermatologists say about this trendy ingredient.

If you’ve spent time exploring the skin care side of TikTok, you know that dermatologists love to tout the benefits of vitamin C serums and creams. They claim the vitamin can brighten and firm the skin, protect it from sun and environmental damage, diminish dark spots and even reduce the signs of aging.

“All of its various benefits make it a top recommendation for most dermatologists,” said Dr. Fatima Fahs, a dermatologist in Michigan.

Yet if you dig into the research on how vitamin C actually affects the skin, a different picture emerges. In one 2021 review published in The Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, for instance, Dr. Fahs and her colleagues evaluated how effective various vitamin C formulations were at improving skin health. They

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Vitamins and supplements: what you need to know before taking them

Posted 03 February 2023

The Conversation

If you were to open your medicine cabinet right now, there’s a fair chance that you’d find at least one bottle of vitamins alongside the painkillers, plasters and cough syrup.

After all, people are definitely buying vitamins: in 2020, the global market for complementary and alternative medicines, which includes multivitamin supplements, had an estimated value of US$82.27 billion. The use of natural health products such as minerals and amino acids has increased – and continues to rise, partly driven by consumers’ buying habits during the COVID-19 pandemic.

People sought out vitamins C and D, as well as zinc supplements, as potential preventive measures against the virus – even though the evidence for their efficacy was, and remains, inconclusive.

Multivitamins and mineral supplements are easily accessible to consumers. They are often marketed for their health claims and benefits – sometimes unsubstantiated. But their … 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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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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Evidence does not support vitamin supplementation for heart health

Posted 11 June 2021

Researchers who searched PubMed for the phrase “vitamin supplements and cardiovascular health” have found no significant evidence that supplementation with vitamins A, B6, B12, C, D, E, or K, folic acid, or multivitamins improved cardiovascular functioning or decreased the incidence of heart attacks or strokes in the general public. Their review, based on 87 studies that met their inclusion criteria, concluded:

A recommendation to suggest vitamin use to maintain and/or improve clinical cardiovascular outcomes cannot not be made for the general public. Instead, counseling people to follow a healthy diet, rich in fruits and vegetables seems more appropriate to improve and maintain cardiovascular health.

Reference: Simsek B. and others. Effects of vitamin supplements on clinical cardiovascular outcomes: Time to move on!—A comprehensive review. Clinical Nutrition ESPEN 42:1-14, April 2021

Source: Consumer Health Digest #21-22 June 6,, 2021

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Covid-19: Can ‘boosting’ your immune system protect you?

Posted 11 April 2020

Forget kombucha and trendy vitamin supplements – they are nothing more than magic potions for the modern age.

“Spanish Influenza – what it is and how it should be treated,” read the reassuringly factual headline to an advert for Vick’s VapoRub back in 1918. The text beneath included nuggets of wisdom such as “stay quiet” and “take a laxative”. Oh, and to apply their ointment liberally, of course.

The 1918 flu pandemic was the most lethal in recorded history, infecting up to 500 million people (a quarter of the world’s population at the time) and killing tens of millions worldwide.

But with crisis comes opportunity, and the – sometimes literal – snake oil salesmen were out in force. Vick’s VapoRub had stiff competition from a panoply of crackpot remedies, including Miller’s Antiseptic Snake Oil, Dr

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Most doctors agree: You don’t need vitamin and mineral supplements

Posted 15 January 2020

By Malibongwe Tyilo• 14 January 2020

Daily Maverick

The wellness industry is a multi-billion dollar behemoth promising optimal health through supplementation and other methods. Does science back their claims?

“The marketing and selling of multivitamins, and supplements to the general population is perhaps one of the most successful marketing ploys of pharmaceutical companies since we started making medicine. If you have a normally working gut and you do not have a severe malabsorption disease, or if you don’t have a documented vitamin deficiency, like vitamin D or vitamin B12, you do not need routine vitamin supplementation,” says Cape Town-based endocrinologist, Dr Jocelyn Hellig.

“Our stance on that as a medical fraternity is quite clear: there is no evidence for routine multivitamin supplementation in people who do not have documented vitamin deficiencies, or a malabsorption syndrome.”

Dr Jacques Badenhorst, a gastroenterologist based at the Netcare Read the rest

Sixty seconds on . . . vitamin drips

Posted 27 July 2019

From the British Medical Journal

Sixty seconds on . . . vitamin drips

Abi Rimmer The BMJ
BMJ 2019; 366 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.l4596 (Published 08 July 2019)

Vitamin what?

Vitamin drips. In the latest trend to sweep the “wellness” market, some people are now choosing to get their vitamin hit through “intravenous (IV) drip therapy.” Vitamin injections or “shots” are also available.

Why?

The companies offering these drips say that they have a whole host of benefits, ranging from basic hydration to anti-ageing. IV Boost UK, for example, offers “skin brightening IV therapy,” which it says “lightens and brightens for clear glowing skin”—for £180 (€201; $225).1 And REVIV says its IV infusion therapies “target a variety of wellness needs.”2

Are they a problem?

Some people have expressed concern over the claims these companies are making. On 2 July a company called Get A Drip withdrew its £250 … Read the rest

16 supplements are useless when it came to heart health and longevity — even vitamin D, iron, and multivitamins

Posted 16 July 2019

Scientists looked at 16 supplements and found most were useless when it came to heart health and longevity — even vitamin D, iron, and multivitamins

Julia Naftulin , Business Insider US

Jul 14, 2019, 12:22 PM

  • A new study, published June 8 in Annals of Internal Medicine, further suggests that investing in supplement pills and powders won’t reduce your risk of heart-related disease or lengthen your life.
  • Researchers looked at more than 100 prior studies including 16 kinds of supplements and found that only two types, folic acid and omega-3, helped reduce people’s heart-related disease risks.
  • Supplements that combined vitamin D and calcium were found to increase a person’s risk of stroke.

There’s plenty of evidence that suggests stocking up on vitamin supplements to stay healthy is a waste of money, if not harmful to health, and a robust new study adds even more weight to Read the rest