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News "bites"...too good to be true

Posted Jan 22 2012 7:56pm
First off, I had the most amazing time at the Oakley Global Sales conference in LA! I think I am caught up on sleep and feeling back to my old east-coast self. I had two great workouts this weekend but did not rush the morning routine and took my time by sleeping in until my body woke me up (6:30-7am).
Despite it being a quick trip from the east to west coas and a red-eye on the way, all 48 hours were worth it! I loved being surrounded by so many passionate individuals from around the world. As a humble Oakley Women ambassador, I am proud to support a brand that supports MY ACTIVE lifestyle (Karel is also a BIG fan!). Athlete or fitness enthusiast, the Oakley is a quality brand, built from passionate individuals, who help others live the life you always dreamed of living.


Every night before bed, I read one of my magazines or journals. I have many. I was able to catch up on a bunch of them during my trip and I couldn't wait to share a few news bites with you. As you know, I love keeping up with research so that you don't have to be so confused with all the misleading info available to consumers.

According to the 2012 Feb issue of Consumer Reports, $220 million was the amount that eight pharmaceutical companies paid promotional speakers (overwhelmingly doctors) to talk about their drugs in 2010, according to independent newsroom ProPublica. Beginning in 2013, federal law will require that all companies publicly report such data. Consumer Reports suppored the push for full disclosure.

I found this statement very interesting but I am not surprised. I love reading the fine print on TV commercials and ads, as well as listening to the side effects of medications while the TV "actors" are smiling and skipping on the beach as the announcer talks about risks of death.

In my latest Tufts University Health and Nutrition Letter (Volume 10G), I couldn't wait to read the two page article titled "The bad news about products "too good to be true". The article was about how to be a savvy-and safe-consumer.
I'd like to share two recent headline-making product recalls that were discussed in the article.

-In 2008, the FDA announced a voluntary recall of 14 diet-aid products sold under the Hydroxycut brand, following reports of liver damage associated with the dietary supplements. Among the best-known weight-loss brands, Hydroxycut pills, drinks and powders sold more than 9 million units last year. The FDA took action after 23 reports of serious health problems linked to Hydroxycut products, including at least one death in 2007 and one customer who required a liver transplant.

-A month later, the FDA warned consumers to stop using another popular product, Zicam intranasal cold-remedies, after more than 130 reports of people losing their sense of smell. The warning applied to Zicam producs containing zinc, including Cold Remedy Nasal Gel and Nasal Swabs; the agency cited studies showing zinc can be toxic to nasal nerve receptors. The FDA also issued a warning letter to Matrixx Initiatives, maker of Zicam, directing it to stop marketing the products.

Later on in the article, there was discussion of surprises in supplements.
-Caffeine, for example, must be listed only if it's been added in its pure form; when caffeine occurs naturally in popular supplement ingredients such as guarana, yerba mate, green tea extract or kola nut, there's no disclosure requirement. Recent testing of 53 dietary supplements by Agricultural Research Service scientists found half contained caffeine-but not all were so labeled - up to as much as the equivalent of eight cups of coffee.

Here are 5 Keys to Supplement Smarts (from pg 5 of the article)1) Check with your doctor or healthcare provider - for example, coumadin, ginkgo biloba and vitamin E all have blood thinning effects and combining them can increase the risk of internal bleeding. St. John's wort can reduce the effectiveness of medications for heart disease, depression, seizures and certain cancers, as well as oral contraceptives.
2) Evaluate the reliability of promotional information and web sites - Be skeptical and watch out for overly emphatic language with UPPERCASE LETTERS and lots of exclamation points!!!!!, the FDA advises. Have the studies been published in peer-reviewed scientific journals?
3) Investigate the so-called experts - Are the researchers studying the product independent scientists at reputable academic institutions or are they being paid by the manufacturer? If a physician is quoted, what are his or her qualifications?
4) Does it sound too good to be true?
5) Don't assume that, even if a product won't help you, at least it won't hurt you - "dietary supplement manufacturers may not necessarily include warnings about potential adverse effects on the labels of their products" the FDA warns. "When consumed in high amounts, for a long enough time, or in combination with certain other substances, all chemicals can be toxic, including nutrients, plant components and other biologically acive ingredients." Terms such as "natural" or "herbal" are no guarantee of a product's safety.


As you consider the supplements in your current regime or the ones you are considering, please first take a look at the daily diet. Are you getting advice from unqualified personnel who tell you they have all the answers for your nutrition woes. For if you are eliminating foods that have proven health benefits, perhaps you should re-evaluate your reasons for eliminating them and work with a Registered Dietitian who can address the individual strengths and weaknesses in your current individual diet. Although we all strive for a healthy body composition, don't let your body image (or desire for a certain image) control the way you eat. You only have one body for the rest of your life...do you care enough to take care of it?

Check out my website Trimarnicoach.com if you are in need of nutrition help, either for training or for overall health. Or, email me with any questions or concerns.
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