GAO study reveals contaminants in herbal supplements

Alternative Medicine, Nutritional Health
Today I'm in Orlando, Florida, where I'll be speaking to the Florida Academy of Family Physicians on this exact issue. And, I find that most of my patients and most physicians are simply unaware of the danger. The New York Times is reporting, "Nearly all of the herbal dietary supplements tested in a Congressional investigation contained trace amounts of lead and other contaminants, and some supplement sellers made illegal claims that their products can cure cancer and other diseases, investigators found." Although the "levels of heavy metals – including mercury, cadmium and arsenic – did not exceed thresholds considered dangerous," almost half of them "contained pesticide residues that appeared to exceed legal limits." Notably, "Dr. Joshua M. Sharfstein, principal deputy commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, said in an interview…
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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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Kitchens, Bathrooms No Place to Store Vitamins or Medications

General Health
The Los Angeles Times "Booster Shots" blog reported that keeping vitamin C supplements in the bathroom or kitchen may expose them to "humidity and high temperatures" that "may seriously degrade" them, according to a study published online in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. After observing "the stability of two types of vitamin C -- sodium ascorbate and ascorbic acid, both also used as food additives -- under a variety of humidity and temperature states," food scientists discovered that "humidity and temperature caused degradation in both forms." In fact, storing vitamin C above a certain humidity level made the vitamin more unstable under higher temperatures. The UK's Daily Mail quotes a study author saying that the degraded supplements are "not necessarily unsafe ... but why take a vitamin if it…
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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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Vitamin supplement dramatically lessens risk of miscarriage and birth defects

Nutritional Health, Parenting, Woman's Health
Taking a multivitamin before and during early pregnancy has just been shown to be associated with a dramatic 57% reduction in the risk for miscarriage. If you are a woman who is sexually active and not sterile or infertile, whether you are taking birth control of not, you should, in my opinion, be taking a prenatal multivitamin every day. More Information: (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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FDA Cracks Down On Unproved Cancer Cures

Alternative Medicine, Bioethics, Cancer, Health Headlines
The AP is reporting that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is cracking down on teas, supplements, creams, and other products that falsely claim to cure, treat, or prevent cancer, even though they are not agency-approved drugs. All are available for sale on the Internet.  The agency has sent 25 warning letters to companies and individuals marketing these products, FDA officials said Tuesday. Twenty-three of the letters went to domestic companies and two to foreign individuals. (more…)
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