Isoflavones reduce postmenopausal insomnia, hot flashes

Alternative Medicine, Mental Health, Nutritional Health, Woman's Health
In a past blog, Natural Medications (Herbs, Vitamins, and Supplements) for Menopausal Symptoms, I discussed the data supporting a trial of isoflavones in women with menopausal symptoms. However, there was not a lot of data. Now, Medscape is reporting, "Isoflavones may reduce insomnia symptoms" in postmenopausal women, according to a small study in the journal Menopause. (more…)
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FDA advises against purchasing drinks sold as supplements for sexual enhancement

Alternative Medicine, Men's Health, Nutritional Health
It seems that there are new warnings almost weekly from the FDA regarding potential dangers of certain over-the-counter natural medications (herbs, vitamins, or supplements). The reason is that these substances are virtually unregulated here in the United States and unscrupulous manufacturers constantly take advantage of this to make money at your expense. (more…)
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Less Than 25% of Valerian Herbal Sleep Supplements Pass Tests For Quality

Alternative Medicine, Mental Health
Long-time readers of this blog know of my admiration for ConsumerLab.com, a leading provider of consumer information and independent evaluations of natural medications (herbs, vitamins and supplements). In fact, I use their findings almost daily in my practice to recommend natural medications to my patients. In its most recent evaluation of a natural medication, valerian, ConsumerLab found that MOST of the valerian herbal supplements tested contained less of the herb than expected and/or were contaminated with lead. Valerian is a popular herbal sleep aid used by approximately 6% of the U.S. population. Valerian accounted for $68 million in sales in the U.S. in 2009, up 10% from the prior year, according to Nutrition Business Journal. Among nine leading and best-selling products selected by ConsumerLab.com for review, only TWO passed testing.…
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Problems Persist With Ginseng Supplements

Alternative Medicine, Men's Health, Woman's Health
Long-time readers know of my fondness for ConsumerLab.com. Their independent testing of natural medications (herbs, vitamins, and supplements) guides my teaching and my prescribing. Now, a review by ConsumerLab.com finds 45% of ginseng products don’t provide the full amount of the ingredient indicated on the label, or worse, are contaminated. ConsumerLab.com is now reporting that five out of eleven of the most popular ginseng supplements in the U.S. were selected for testing and contained less ginseng than expected from their labels or were contaminated with lead and/or pesticides. Problems with the quality of ginseng supplements have been reported by ConsumerLab.com since 2000. Ginseng is a popular herb with U.S. sales last year of $83 million according to Nutrition Business Journal. "Consumers need to be wary of the quality of ginseng…
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My Recommendations for Glucosamine, Chondroitin, and SAMe for Osteoarthritis

Alternative Medicine
Several readers have requested that I post the advice that I both use in practice and teach other healthcare professionals when it comes to a topic on which I frequently teach, Natural Medications for Osteoarthritis: An evidence-based evaluation. This year I've given this talk in several hospitals and to state and national gatherings of physicians and PAs. Let's start with the take home recommendations: The Bottom Line Take Home Point #1 All patients with osteoarthritis should take part in an active exercise regimen and reduce weight (if overweight or obese). I also recommend they begin a diet high in fruits, vegetables, and low in unsaturated fats. Antioxidants in pill form probably won't help. Instead, I advise patients to boost consumption of vegetables and fruits that provide lots of vitamin C, vitamin E,…
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Dietary supplements found to contain prescription drugs (once again)

Alternative Medicine, Nutritional Health
Instant Access to All Product Review Reports Covering Latest Test Results for Over 900 Products Quality Ratings and Product Comparisons by Brand Expert Tips on Using Supplements Price Checks on Popular Brands Encyclopedia of Natural Products e-Newsletter with Updates and Alerts New and Archived Recalls and Warnings As I’ve told you in many past blogs, U.S. law prevents the regulation of natural medications (herbs, vitamins, and supplements). Such regulations could protect consumers from purchasing product with all types of contamination. You can read more about this in my book, Alternative Medicine: the options, the claims, the evidence, how to choose wisely. Anyway, it’s past time for this sort of regulation to be enacted. Here's another example why: The Los Angeles Times "Booster Shots" blog reported, "Here are two recalls that…
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Parents cautioned about giving children dietary supplements

Alternative Medicine, Children's Health, Nutritional Health, Parenting
On the front of its Personal Journal section, the Wall Street Journal reports that increasingly, Americans are giving their children dietary supplements. However, groups such as the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Dietetic Association, caution that food is the best source of nutrition. In addition, many supplements, if taken in excess, can prove dangerous. Nevertheless, physicians concede that children who are picky eaters may need certain supplements, although experts urge parents to be wary of nutrition claims, particularly since the FDA does not regulate supplements to the same extent that it does drugs. I have much more information about natural medicines (herbs, vitamins, and supplements), in general, and giving natural medicines to children, in particular, in my best-selling book, Alternative Medicine: the options, the claims, the evidence, how…
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A hot product on the Internet, but should you consider L-methylfolate instead of plain old folic acid?

Alternative Medicine, Nutritional Health
My favorite natural medicines website is the Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database. The NMCD has new information about L-methylfolate which is being heavily promoted, especially on the Internet, by some manufacturers as a more active form of folic acid. Are they telling the truth? Here's the information from NMCD: L-methylfolate is in many prenatal vitamins such as Optinate, Neevo DHA, Prenate Elite; and regular vitamin supplements including Optimized Folate, MegaFolinic, and others. It's also being used in medical foods for memory loss or depression, in products such as CerefolinNAC and Deplin. According to the NMCD, "folates" are a mixture of different forms of the vitamin that occur naturally in food. Most supplements contain folic acid, a synthetic form of the vitamin. In the body, all of these forms are converted to…
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Stricter government oversight of dietary supplements may be moving closer – thank goodness

Alternative Medicine, Nutritional Health
Whenever I give talks on natural medications (herbs, vitamins, and supplements), whether to healthcare professionals or laypersons, people seem shocked to learn that these substances are virtually unregulated in the United States. I've written about the many problems this causes healthcare professionals and consumers in my book, Alternative Medicine: The options, the claims, the evidence, how to choose wisely. So, I was very happy to read an AP article reporting "Stricter government oversight of dietary supplements is moving closer, thanks to an agreement among senators to include guidelines in" the Dietary Supplement Safety Act. The report says that in a letter sent to Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA), chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, Sens. John McCain (R-AZ) and Byron Dorgan (D-ND) outlined "four key areas of…
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Herbal remedies need real regulation

Alternative Medicine
In my best-selling book, Alternative Medicine: The Christian Handbook, I explain the reasons that natural medications (herbs, vitamins, and supplements) received so little regulation in the United States, and the many problems this causes for health consumers. Now, David Frum, a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, the author of six books, including "Comeback: Conservatism That Can Win Again," and the editor of frumforum.com, has weighed in with a thoughtful article on CNN: Did you know that there exists an all-natural remedy for memory loss? Weight gain? Macular degeneration? Prostate enlargement? These products are so successful that clinical testing has already begun! Just listen to the following testimonial from an unidentified person ... As these ads blare at you from your favorite AM radio station, perhaps you wonder: How…
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Some herbal supplements associated with dangerous blood lead levels in women

Alternative Medicine
Reuters Health carried a very interesting report indicating that some herbal supplements may boost the levels of lead in the blood of women. A study, published in November showed that among 12,807 men and women age 20 and older, by Dr. Catherine Buettner, at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, Massachusetts, and colleagues found blood lead levels about 10 percent higher in women, but not men, who used specific herbal supplements. When they examined herbal supplement use among women of reproductive age (age 16 to 45 years old), "the relationship with lead levels was even stronger, with lead levels 20 percent higher overall, and up to 40 percent higher among users of select herbal supplements compared to non-users," they report in the Journal of General Internal Medicine. Lead accumulates…
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No Science to Back Actress Somers’ Potentially Harmful Menopause Advice

Alternative Medicine, Woman's Health
Miserable in menopause, Elizabeth Alsgaard pondered an awful choice: Drenching hot flashes or hormone therapies that might raise the risk of cancer. What former actress Suzanne Somers raved about held much more appeal — custom-mixed "bioidentical" hormones, just like ones the body makes. "Anything I can put into my body that's natural has to be better," said Alsgaard, a California audiologist who admitted having "no knowledge base to go on other than fear" when she took Somers' advice. Millions of women have tried custom-compounded hormones or herbal supplements like black cohosh and red clover since 2002, when a big federal study found risks from traditional hormone replacement therapy, or HRT. Alternative remedies are especially popular with upscale, educated women who like to research and find their own solutions to medical…
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Physician calls for increased FDA regulation of dietary supplements

Alternative Medicine, Nutritional Health
In my book, Alternative Medicine: The Christian Handbook, I lament the lack of regulation of dietary supplements in the U.S. Because of this lack, it's very difficult for consumers to know, when it comes to herbs, vitamins, and supplements, if what they purchase actually contains what the label says. It's almost impossible to know if the natural medication is contaminated or not. As a result, there are now other voices beginning to call out for at least some regulation of these substances. (more…)
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The Ten Commandments of Preventive Medicine – Part 8 – Alternative Medicine

Children's Health, Men's Health, Nutritional Health, Parenting, Woman's Health
In my latest book, 10 Essentials of Happy, Healthy People, I teach people how to utilize these ten essentials that are necessary to live a happy and highly healthy life. Under The Essential of Self-Care, teach what I call “The 10 Commandments of Preventive Medicine. Here’s the eighth installment of this ten-part series. (more…)
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Study Links Herbal Medicines to Lead Poisoning. How can you find safe herbs?

Alternative Medicine, General Health, Health Headlines, Medical Economics, Men's Health, Nutritional Health, Woman's Health
Fox News is commenting on a study published in the August 27 issue of JAMA in which medical researchers say that one-fifth of Ayurvedic herbal medicines sold on the Internet contain dangerously high levels of lead, arsenic and mercury. How’s a consumer to protect themselves? My Take? (more…)
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