Few areas of health generate more controversy than nutritional supplements.
More than half of all Americans take them-and at least 25 percent take them
daily. That means millions of people are spending billions of dollars in the
belief that supplements will improve their health. Are they getting their money’s
DON’T ASSUME THAT BECAUSE A PRODUCT IS “ALL NATURAL” IT’S SAFE.
It depends on whom you ask.
You don’t even have to ask the manufacturers and salespeople-they’ll take every
opportunity to tell you that supplements are excellent, even essential. Their
claimsare impressive, and when they appear in print or on a TV or computer screen,
theytake on the voice of authority. Unfortunately, it’s a voice that’s affected by
financialinterest. And since Congress removed supplements from the FDA’s jurisdiction in
1994, salespeople have been able to hype their products without the need to
substantiate their claims.
If you ask a person who takes supplements, you may get an enthusiastic
endorsement. But even though your friends and relatives aren’t motivated by
profit,they’re not a reliable source of information. That’s because testimonials and
anecdotes, however sincere and well intentioned, don’t convey scientific facts.
If you can’t rely on package labels and friends, your next resource is obvious:
your doctor. Keep in mind, however, that the scientific information on most
supplements is scant at best. In addition, physicians have traditionally believed that a
good diet will provide all the vitamins and minerals you need to prevent any deficiency.
That is a valid opinion, but it overlooks emerging information that suggests some
supplements may have benefits above and beyond preventing deficiencies.
SUPPLEMENTS MAY HAVE BENEFITS ABOVE AND BEYOND PREVENTING DEFICIENCIES.
PERSPECTIVES AND PRECAUTIONS
Don’t take supplements to feel or function better; vitamins, minerals and herbs
do not increase energy, improve sexual performance, reduce stress, prevent
infections, promote sleep, or sharpen the mind. If you take supplements, use
them carefully, choosing among those that have a real chance of reducing your
long-term risk of heart disease or other ailments.
Don’t take mega doses. Vitamins and minerals are essential for health in small
doses, but they can be toxic in high doses. Don’t assume that because a product
is “all-natural” it’s safe. Remember that supplements are not subject to the
standards of safety, efficacy, purity and quality that apply to medication.
Don’t waste your money on expensive brands or designer supplements. Natural
vitamins are no better than synthetic vitamins; choose the least costly
preparation from a reputable supplier. Select products that are fully
labeled-with content, dosage and expiration date. Supplements that conform to
the standards of the United States Pharmacopeia are desirable.
Remember that food is the best source of vitamins, minerals and other
nutrients. In particular, vegetables, fruits, and whole-grain products supply
dietary fiber and many other important vitamins and nutrients. Excessive
cooking and processing can remove vitamins from fresh and whole foods.
Above all, never take supplements as substitutes for good nutrition and sound
health habits. Nature is smarter than the finest chemist; vitamins, minerals,
herbs and extracts may not retain the beneficial properties of real food.
Source: Harvard Men’s Health Watch, Vol. 4, No. 7, pp. 1-5
This Harvard Special Report is brought to you in collaboration with Harvard
Health Publications, the consumer education division of Harvard Medical School.
For information on Harvard Men’s Health Watch and subscriptions to other
Harvard medical consumer newsletters and publications, visit their web site at
This is a yes and no question. Science has definately shown that supplements
are helping and fewer people are now having doctor visits. In addition, we are
living longer. Unfortunately, this doesn’t address the new strains of virus
and bacteria that our out there.
The negative side to supplements is that taking the wrong supplement will
depress or short out the thyroid and adrenals. Doing this will yield acid and
are the perfect environments for all disease and illness. Moreover, I have
read where taking the wrong supplement for extended periods of time will
actually rot out organs.
I personally will not take anything unless my clinical kinesiologist tests it
on me. These doctors can muscle test products against your body for weakness
or strength. I have found over the past six years that almost every store
bought product tests out bad on me. I searched feverishly for a natural green
food product and even those tested out bad. My conclusion is that you should
only take supplements for a specific amount of time to correct a specific
problem.. When I have a thyroid problem, my holistic doctor gives me something
for a few weeks and them I am off of it. I get everything that I need from raw
and live foods, essential oils, and distilled water.