Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Harvard Doctor Say's Supplements Are Dangerous

The original article posted by Business Insider, was titled "Supplements are more dangerous than other processed foods, according to a Harvard doctor". And I'd say "Yep, you are right if you buy cheap, non-regulated supplements that give no guarantee of potency (meaning what is on the label is in the tablet); purity (lack of toxins or non-intended ingredients); and bio-availability (disintegrates in the gut).

On the back of virtually any bottle of supplements are two words that strike fear into the heart of Pieter Cohen. The words are printed inside a small square on the back of the bottle beneath bold lettering which claims to list the supplement's ingredients: "Proprietary blend." Under the protective umbrella of these two words, a supplement maker does not have to list all of the details of what's in its product, according to Cohen, an assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School.

This "allows companies to put in ingredients without telling us the amounts," says Cohen, who spoke on a recent panel put on by The Forum, an event series organized by the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health. "And those tend to be the higher-risk product." The risks can be serious. Several supplements have been linked with an increase in certain cancers; others have been tied to an elevated risk of kidney stones. Although this research has been widely published, supplements continue to send roughly 20,000 people to the emergency room every year.

Cohen likes to compare the safety framework for supplements with that for food. "In food," says Cohen, "they have to meet what's known as the "generally recognized as safe," or GRAS, standard. That’s not the standard for ingredients introduced to supplements. The standard is not anywhere near that level of scrutiny."

There are some laws regulating dietary supplements, however. In 1994, Congress established the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA) to address the labeling and safety of supplements, and several more recent regulations mandate that manufacturers observe what are known as "good manufacturing practices," or GMPs, including ingredient testing.

MyAchingKnees Comment: Taking supplements that are manufactuered under food grade GMP's don't guarantee you are getting what's on the label; nor if the product is fre of toxins. How many foods, including baby foods, have you see re-calls on? I'll tell you one thing - knowing what I know know, starting this journey of a healthy lifestyle relatively late in my life, I would not consume most of the products off the shelfs of stores,..and I would never, ever take fish oil supplements that were not manufactured by under pharamceutical grade processes.

Under the DSHEA, ingredients listed under the "proprietary blend" category don't have to include information about individual amounts of ingredients in that category. Instead, they only have to list the total amount and list the ingredients within the "blend" in order by their weight. This can be a huge problem when it comes to dosages, as certain amounts of the listed ingredients could have dangerous side effects or negative interactions with prescription drugs. "From a regulatory perspective they’re all presumed to be safe but the reality is many people….are harmed by supplements," says Cohen.

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