Category Archives: food supplements

Dietary supplements linked with severe health events in children, young adults – Harvard

For the most part I keep it natural. It is easy to avoid the products of Big Pharma, just don’t take any drugs, however, you need to watch out so you don’t get caught up in some of those lurking off the main drag under the guise of ‘supplements.’

Consumption of dietary supplements sold for weight loss, muscle building, and energy was associated with increased risk for severe medical events in children and young adults compared to consumption of vitamins, according to new research led by Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. The study found that, compared with vitamins, these types of supplements were linked to nearly three times as many severe medical outcomes in young people.

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“The FDA has issued countless warnings about supplements sold for weight loss, muscle building or sport performance, sexual function, and energy, and we know these products are widely marketed to and used by young people. So what are the consequences for their health? That’s the question we wanted to answer,” said lead author Flora Or, a researcher with Harvard Chan School’s Strategic Training Initiative for the Prevention of Eating Disorders.

The study was published online June 5, 2019 in the Journal of Adolescent Health.

The researchers looked at adverse event reports between January 2004 and April 2015 in the U.S. Food and Drug Administration Adverse Event Reporting System on the food and dietary supplements database. They analyzed the relative risk for severe medical events such as death, disability, and hospitalization in individuals aged 0 and 25 years that were linked with the use of dietary supplements sold for weight loss, muscle building, or energy compared to vitamins.

They found that there were 977 single-supplement-related adverse event reports for the target age group. Of those, approximately 40% involved severe medical outcomes, including death and hospitalization. Supplements sold for weight loss, muscle building, and energy were associated with almost three times the risk for severe medical outcomes compared to vitamins. Supplements sold for sexual function and colon cleanse were associated with approximately two times the risk for severe medical outcomes compared to vitamins.

Senior author S. Bryn Austin, professor in the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, noted that reputable physicians do not recommend the use of the type of dietary supplements analyzed in this study. Many of these products have been found to be adulterated with prescription pharmaceuticals, banned substances, heavy metals, pesticides, and other dangerous chemicals. And other studies have linked weight-loss and muscle-building supplements with stroke, testicular cancer, liver damage, and even death.

“How can we continue to let the manufacturers of these products and the retailers who profit from them play Russian roulette with America’s youth?” Austin said. “It is well past time for policymakers and retailers to take meaningful action to protect children and consumers of all ages.”

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In Conversation: The History, the Myth, and the Staying Power of Vitamins

“In the case of religion, we put our faith in gods. And in nutrition, we have vitamins,” Price wrote in her book. “Despite the fact that nearly half of us take vitamins as pills, nearly none of us stop to wonder why—out of all of the thousands of chemicals in food—we revere these particular 13.”

Cooking with Kathy Man

How people came to believe the myth that nutritional supplements could make them into better, healthier versions of themselves.

In 1941, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt summoned hundreds of scientists, doctors, and food manufacturers to Washington, D.C. to discuss a weapon that would help the U.S. win World War II: vitamins.

“There was this idea of optimization: ‘What do we need to do to optimize Americans’ health, to make sure we have enough pep and vigor to get us through this war?’” said Catherine Price, the author of Vitamania: Our Obsessive Quest for Nutritional Perfection. “There were all these rumors that the Nazis were restricting vitamins in their conquered people’s foods and giving their young men vitamin supplements and basically race-building through vitamins.”

Three ideas emerged from the National Nutrition Conference for Defense that still exist today. One was the creation of the Recommended Daily Allowances, the first set of guidelines…

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