Can Anything Be Sold As a "Dietary Supplement?"


The FDA is investigating whether "inhalable caffeine" is safe.

Stop reading this now and just think about that for 30 seconds.

What do you draw from that?

When I used to work in R&D at a vitamin company, they would market all kinds of products under the moniker dietary supplement.

But now we are no longer talking about benign products, but rather dangerous ones.

So it begs the question, are the laws surrounding dietary supplements too soft?

This example of inhalable caffeine would seem to support that notion.

Although nutritional supplements are not allowed to make any direct health claims, they also are not regulated for what they contain (think Chinese imports).

No regulation means a prime market for charlatans and criminals.

That means, for now, it is up to consumers to do their homework.

Read labels and don't buy any suspect nutritional supplements.

For more information, visit the VITAMIN FUN HOUSE, where you can ask questions and get well-researched answers about supplements.





Hi. It's Joe.

I'd like to be able to say I am eating more salads.

Actually, I think I can say it. I am eating my third salad in two days right now.

It's got spinach, mushrooms, green pepper, roma tomato, grass fed beef, chicken, and some Neuman's Own Italian dressing (one of the few dressings that has no added sugar, although it does have a lot of highly processed oil in it).

It's almost totally Paleo, except for the dressing. No cheese, even. I guess the chicken is not strictly Paleo, as I am sure it was raised in an industrial facility. But the 100% grass fed beef was raised on a farm in Montana. Bison would be better, but this will do.



Health Benefits of Beer


I think beer should be classified as a nutritional supplement.

I know some of my readers will read that and think I am being facetious.

But studies have shown that people who drink just a little bit of beer or wine are healthier than people who drink too much or even none at all.

The evidence on the health benefits of light to moderate alcohol consumption is quite a bit stronger than it is for most of the health claims on your average vitamin or herbal supplement. In fact, I am a little surprised the beer companies haven't been more active in promoting these benefits, especially the craft brewers. I guess it is still easier to sell beer with attractive members of the opposite sex than it is to tout the healthiness of beer. But that doesn't change the facts.

I think that since a couple of beers can be shown to have a statistically beneficial health benefit, then why shouldn't it be called a nutritional supplement? I mean, those are the same claims implied by most other nutritional supplement manufacturers.

Now, it is true that a lot of people don't just stop at two or three beers, and alcohol abuse is very unhealthy. But abuse of almost anything is unhealthy. You take 15 aspirin and you will be in the hospital. Even fish oil can have ill effects on the heart and prostate gland in higher than normal doses, and there is the risk of heavy metal toxicity with fish oil from shady sources.

You can overdose on a vitamin or nutritional supplement, if you take too much of it. Vitamin A can be great in normal doses, but causes all kinds of problems in excess. Beta-carotene as a purified isolated nutrient has been shown to actually INCREASE lung cancer risk in smokers. Yet, beta-carotene from the diet (carrots) is protective.

Conventional multivitamins contains pharmaceutically high doses of certain vitamins compared with the amounts found in a healthy diet. They are also purified isolates of nutrients that don't really occur in nature. They can be very harmful if consumed in excess.

Same for beer. But like most other nutritional supplements, a little bit can't hurt you and it might help you. That's all I am saying.

So have a couple of beers and call me in the morning!