Wednesday, January 6, 2010

discuss among yourselves

The natural supplement Ginko biloba has been debunked by a long term study. While safe, scientists have concluded that it does nothing to help cognitive disorders like Alzheimers or dementia. In 2008 sales of this useless supplement totalled $99 million. Meanwhile more children than ever are getting free or reduced hot lunch at public schools. One possible conclusion is that it's easier to pop a pill than to eat a healthy diet. Another is that our priorities are profoundly flawed when we have $99 million to spend on a useless dietary supplement in a single year but can't muster sufficient funds to provide adequate food for kids. Reading this in the news set me off on a 5 minute rant ... Mr. D blew me off as a hyperactive nutcase.

For the record, I don't believe in supplements--my husband has a row of bottles of pills he pops, but I'm healthier than him and I don't take anything extra--no Vitamin C, E, D, B, zinc, euchanichea, folic acid, nothing.
I should also add I give Mr. T a dose of fish oil every morning to help boost his brain power. So I guess I believe in some supplements...kind of forgot about those.

What say you, reader?




24 comments:

  1. I am right there with you. I feel that way about a lot of things. Like bottled water for example. People die everyday because they have to drink contaminated water. Can you imagine if the money we spent on bottled water went to providing wells for those people?

    I'm not a suplement user either. While I freely admit that I eat too many sweets, I try to eat a well balanced diet otherwise. It seems off to me that we would "need" things like multivitamins. If humanity were that fragile how would we have made it this far?

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  2. I'm always wary of the idea that anything is better in a supplement than getting it naturally. So, although over the years I have taken vitamin supplements on and off, I'm not taking any at the moment, and I agree with you generally. By the way, if it is nutritionally important to eat foods rich in color, M&Ms meet that standard, right?

    XO

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  3. I once worked (as a temp) at Roche Pharmaceuticals U.K. IN THE COMPLAINTS DEPARTMENT! It cured me of ever wanting to take vitamins, or give them to my kids.

    I sometimes now take Brewer's Yeast tablets, and so do the kids, because we don't eat much meat and it's a long-time vegetarian supplement. And I sometimes give the boys cod liver oil, like now that it's winter, just because. They actually love the taste. Weirdos!

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  4. "...it's easier to pop a pill than to eat a healthy diet..."

    So true...and thank god for that. Ginko Biloba may have been "debunked" as a preventive measure for alzheimers and dementia, but it has other more practical applications...for one, it is a 'perky-making' herb, and often found in energy drinks and energy supplements.


    I do believe that taking dietary supplements - vitamins, herbs, enzymes, amino acids, minerals - can be helpful to the individual as much of the food in the world has been processed in ways that diminish its nutritional value.

    For instance, the mere idea of eating yogurt makes me gag....but I can take an acidophilus supplement to help keep my 'flora' (*ahem*) in balance. I have never intentionally eaten a vegetable in my life, so I am very grateful to be able to take kelp and algae supplements, which contain chlorophyll and other nutrients people usually get from green veggies.

    Also: the FDA has sort of messed with the "recommended daily allowance" of vitamins and minerals over the years, skewing our idea of what we really need vs. what we are getting in the food we buy.

    If you eat "right" and feel that you don't need supplements or extra vitamins, well that's fine...but I don't agree with treating the whole vitamin/supplement business as a bunch of snake-oil hooey. I personally will testify to the positive effects of most of the supplements I have ever taken in my long life.

    Just don't make them illegal, please. They really help me.
    * : )

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  5. I take lots of vitamins and herbs. The vitamins are because even with my organic diet it's hard to get everything I need all the time. I know I'm low on B12 (blood test), often low on iron, and I have Fibromyaglia so I need extra of somethings.

    The problem I think comes from people thinking vitamins can replace eating healthy when they should be used (I believe) to help make sure you get everything you need.

    You won't die without them but they can help. Magnesium for one is good for cramps. Also our food has lost a lot of it's nutritional value and while organic is closer to what it once was we still don't get as much of everything we need as we once did.

    I think if you are a normally healthy person a good multivitamin is enough and while most the time you likely don't need all the things in it, it's also unlikely you are getting all the vitamins you need each day so it does often help fill in gaps. However if you have health issues or are at high risk for health problems (like heart disease) vitamins and herbs can be a big help.

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  6. Oh by the way I'm not sure if you are also talking about herbs because I'm a HUGE supporter of natural medicine.

    Whenever anyone in my house starts to get sick they will be found drinking elderberry juice, colloidal silver and oil of oregano. And homeopathic meds are also used. Let's just say I have had less drugs (not counting asthma meds) in my life than any of my friends and I can get the same illness as someone else and be over it way faster. :)

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  7. I absolutely believe every nutrient and boost we need can come from a good diet. However, since only about ten Americans know what a "good diet" is, there's the need for supplements. I did start taking Omega-3 (fish oil) supplements a couple of years ago, when I found myself casting about for words I couldn't remember (and I hate fish, btw), and I have noticed, anecdotally, that my brain seems a bit more able to cough up the info I need.

    Well, mostly.

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  8. Interesting discussion...I forgot to mention that I DO give Mr. T a fish oil tablet every morning to boost his brain power. Just so you have FULL disclosure!

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  10. I think that supplements are useful in some cases. For example, even though my family eats a balanced diet of healthy foods, there are some things that I still need additional help with. For example, I take magnesium to help with my migraines, glucosamine for my bad knee, and niacin and fish oil for my cholesterol. In all cases, my doctor suggested these in lieu of medicines.

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  11. I absolutely agree with you on the misplaced sense of priorities. Then again, I find it ridiculous that drug companies waste time getting FDA approval on "medications" for lifestyle and cosmetic "improvements" rather than funneling dollars and effort into medications that can save lives.
    Then again, I do have my own blind spots and moments of hypocrisy (uh-oh.)in the use of some of the very products drawing those research funds.
    If you want to really get worked up, look into what is spent on pampering pets (not necessary care, but pampering) compared to the relatively little needed for things like clean drinking water worldwide. Ugh.

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  12. I do take Calcium - I can't eat/drink enough dairy in a day to get what I'm supposed to need. Also, i am a FIRM believer in Melatonin to help get sleep patterns back on track.

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  13. I do the multi-vitamin, extra iron (I've been anemic for 30 years--no matter what I eat) and Melatonin.

    In general I agree with you and I don't think any supplement is a magic bullet.

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  14. http://213.198.110.171/la-traversee/forum/viewtopic.php?p=60323
    http://letautismspeak.com/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=165594&p=240223
    http://forum.scottdayman.com/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=64169&p=100330

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  15. I say ditto!
    And I find it really interesting that my husband also loves his vitamins while I just try to eat my veggies. I can't remember...is your hubby an engineer too? Maybe it's related somehow.

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  16. Crazy! I must admit...I never really 'got' the whole fuss over ginko. (I also didn't get how to pronounce it.) I'm not a supplementer myself (other than a daily multi-vitamin)--give me a well-rounded meal any day...three times, please.

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  17. I take Vitamin C and D3, both recommended to boost the immune system. I eat an orange every day (thank goodness for the high school music dept. fruit sale!) for the vitamin C and fiber, but mostly because I like them. :)

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  18. Several years ago my mother called and said in an excited tone, "They have a pill you can take now that helps your memory!" I asked her what is was and then there was silence on the other end of the phone and then quietly, "I forgot what it is called." She was talking about Ginko.

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  19. Uh oh....I'm sort of with the Mr. on this one....but I don't believe in just going to the store and buying and taking supplements because someone says it might help you. I believe in being tested to see if you are lacking in anything and if so, then you buy and take the supplements. I take a multi, calcium/magnesium, fish oil and vitamin D.

    I am a vegetarian and I don't eat fish either. I also don't always eat the things I should be eating. The multi helps with that. All women should take calcium unless they really, really get a ton of it in their diet and I don't. Fish oil is good for you and good for your heart. If you eat fish regularly...awesome. I don't, so I take it. I am about 2 points from being vitamin D deficient. The things I take were all recommended by a doctor after blood work. So, I do believe in supplements, but not just taking things if you don't know that you need them. :)

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  20. I am sooooo sporadic with just my plain old multivitamin....I do think I should take one though....I just can't remember!

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  21. I hate taking pills for anything. Unfortunately, I have this stupid high cholesterol thing which requires TWO freakin' meds. I take fish oil and CoQ10 in hopes of adding whatever boost they can offer. And, believe it or not, my cholesterol was the lowest ever a few weeks ago...176. Woohoo!

    But I still hate pills.

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  22. I'm w/Fannie on the Melatonin, it's awesome. I also am a firm believer in Vitamin C and Chiropractic care to ward off viruses. My kids are very healthy (comparatively and for which I am grateful) and I don't think it's just good luck. Their dad is a stickler on a well-balanced diet too (who would have though!).

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  23. I'm doing Calcium and Vit D on the advice of my GYN. I'm smack in the middle of almost-menopause and there is a high incidence of Osteoporosis in my Mom's family.

    I have never gotten into herbs. When I was a pharmacy tech, our pharmacist said there is too much inconsistency in the manufacture of those supplements.

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Spill it, reader.