Our colleagues down the hall at Consumer Reports, armed with actual facts, are out to debunk everything that I do when I think I might be coming down with a cold. First, they explained why taking zinc supplements isn’t a good idea, and now they’ve pointed out that taking Vitamin C supplements isn’t all that helpful either. If they debunk lengthy naps next, my cold-coping strategies are all eliminated. [More]
Every year, Americans spend $28 billion on potions that we imbue with magical powers. We mean, of course, vitamin pills and supplements. We take them by the handful even though study after study has showed us that for people who have a deficiency, vitamin pills don’t do very much good, and may harm our health in the long run. Yes, harm. [More]
There are millions of Americans who regularly take prescription proton pump inhibitor (PPI) medications to treat heartburn and ulcers, but researchers claim to have found a link between prolonged use of these drugs and a vitamin deficiency that could increase the risk of dementia, nerve damage, anemia, and other medical complications. [More]
A recently filed lawsuit alleges that the labels Mott’s for Tots Immune Support Fruit Punch are making claims it shouldn’t — namely that the beverage will help support one’s immune system. [More]
I prefer to get my vitamins the old-fashioned way (i.e., in the shape of Flintstones characters), but for those of you who prefer your vitamins in the shape of Disney characters or Marvel superheros, the Federal Trade Commission wants you to know you might be due a refund. [More]
According to a recent study surveying over 60 different multivitamins, “there was almost no connection between price and quality.” [More]
Those daily vitamin supplements may not be doing as much good as you think, and may in fact harm you. A committee of medical experts from the Institute of Medicine released a report that says excessive amounts of calcium and vitamin D aren’t helpful. [More]
Multivitamins come in an array of packages like “Silver,” “Kids Chewables,” and “Schwarzenegger,” but it’s all marketing. Just buy the cheapest. They’re all the same, just in different colored boxes. That’s the advice Consumer Reports is dishing out after it tested 21 different kinds of multivitamins, and finding most were indistinguishable from one another, with two exceptions. [More]
Are you tired of forgetting whether you should add creatine or cinnamon to your kale smoothie? Do you worry that the milk thistle you’ve rubbed on your genitals isn’t helping? The “Snake Oil?” graphic at informationisbeautiful.net can help you out–it provides a graphical overview of 166 different health supplements and arranges them according to how much evidence there is that they actually work. [More]
The Times has a write-up of the Smart Choices campaign, an industry-supported healthy foods labeling program that generously designates foods like Fruit Roll-Ups, mayonnaise, and Cocoa Puffs as good for you. “These are horrible choices,” says the head of the nutrition department at Harvard School of Public Health.
In the wake of FDA warnings about steroids in nutritional supplements, federal officials are studying ways to improve safety in dietary supplements. Mean time, we’ve got a few consumer tips for those of you who take supplements, courtesy of the Wall Street Journal:
Remember the class-action lawsuit against the makers of cold-and-flu-preventing magic potion Airborne? Airborne claimed that it could prevent or shorten colds and flus, without any actual scientific evidence to back those claims up.
John read our post yesterday about Naked Juice‘s decision to remove vitamins and herbal stuff from some of their product line, and forwarded us a response he got from the company a month ago. His question: if Strawberry Kiwi Kick contains 14 strawberries, why does the nutritional label say it contains 0% vitamin C? The answer is a good reminder of the difference between fresh food and food that’s been processed, conveniently packaged, and wrapped up in some healthy-looking branding.
Last October, Quest Diagnostics contacted “thousands of doctors” around the country to notify them that one or more of their patients might have received “questionable” results on vitamin D tests performed over the past two years. It’s offering free retests to anyone who was affected.