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Health Fads—How Do We Know What Is Safe?

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When a heart specialist tells us that the current medical advice about heart disease is wrong, we listen.  Dr. Dwight Lundell, who left his medical practice to focus on the nutritional treatment of heart disease, has written an article about the current thinking on heart disease. “Bombarded with scientific literature, continually attending education seminars, we … insisted heart disease resulted from the simple fact of elevated blood cholesterol. The only accepted therapy was prescribing medications to lower cholesterol and a diet that severely restricted fat intake. “(My Science Academy)

Dr. Lundell goes on to say that he believes the real issue lies in the inflammation of arteries caused by our current diet, worsened by the practice of reducing cholesterol. It’s breath-taking and disconcerting to think that doctors might have gotten it all wrong. Even if he is wrong, one cannot argue with his statement, “despite the fact that 25% of the population takes expensive statin medications and despite the fact we have reduced the fat content of our diets, more Americans will die this year of heart disease than ever before.”

This article, published a year ago, has resurfaced recently. The timing is interesting in light of the recent American Heart Association’s  publication of study results showing that omega-3 fatty acids aren’t helping us reduce heart disease and in fact are contributing to a risk of prostate cancer in men.

I’m reminded of the old time traveling medicine shows, where slick-talking men prodded us into buying the latest elixir to cure what ails us. We have not advanced too far from that in some ways. We jumped on the Omega-3 fatty acids faithfully believing this would insure heart health. In our rush to find a ‘quick fix’ we jump at the newest pill or supplement. We seek out the newest treatments in search of that magic pill. We watch Dr. Oz, buy supplements, and change our diets with every new food craze.

We want someone to guide us in this quest for better health. We want a simple answer so we do not have to think or work too hard. So we turn to public figures and drug/supplement manufacturers. We frequently suspend our skepticism and assume that if it is on the television, the internet, or in our local grocery stores it must be safe and good for us. The truth is that the FDA is overwhelmed with the large numbers of supplements being manufactured today and unable to do a thorough job of testing and approving products before they hit store shelves. In recent weeks I have covered stories about Vitamin B supplements containing steroids, and dangerous stimulants contained in products like Jack3d  a product sold in nutritional stores like GNC.

According to a 2011 study released by the FDA, more than half of U.S. adults used a dietary supplement between 2003 and 2006, compared to 40% between 1988 and 1994. Are we grasping at straws?  It seems that way.  We are looking for a miracle product to make our hair grow, fat shrink, boost muscle development, supplement our fast food diets, have better intimacy and gain energy.   Short cuts, which hardly ever work in making money or being healthy or losing weight.

There are safe supplements out there in the marketplace—vitamins recommended by your doctor and other products for specific concerns. It is important to buy products produced by well-established, reputable manufacturers and to share this information with your doctor. Don’t be swayed by the next best thing.  Ironically, it seems, trying to improve your health might just be the thing that damages your body the most.

1 Comment

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  1. Grovegal says:
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    You are ignoring 15 years of omega-3 research stacked high around the world. It’s amazing you seem to be unaware that powerful pharmaceutical companies fund the AHA! I have numerous charts showing millions received every year for many, many years.

    What do we know about pharmaceutical companies? They want you to buy statins and have a disdain for any natural substances that actually do a world of good – like omega-3.

    I’m sorry Mr. Webb but you’re doing yourself and your readers a disfavor by believing the AHA has our best interests at heart. And if you had read Dr. Lundell’s many books, you would understand the history that forced statins down our throat; you would understand the history of the low-fat, no-fat diet craze that have caused a world of illnesses.

    May I suggest that before try to make 2 + 2 = 5, you read the literature not only Dr. Lundell’s but many other medical communities about Omega-3, statins, low-fat foods, etc.

    You may even save your own life by doing so.