Archives for: January 2014, 25
I read an article the other day with a headline that screamed something like “Supplements cause Kidney Failure.” I can’t remember where I read it, probably either Drudge or Google News. I am suspicious of news reports like these, because I have watched for years as the FDA has looked for an opportunity to seize control of the vitamin and herb market. Any time I see such an article, I suspect it has been placed to influence public opinion in the government’s favor, and I suspect that it is based on excessive greed of supplement companies.
I read the article, and I was right on both counts. There are several documented cases of people using weight loss supplement concoctions that have resulted in kidney damage. This particular report focused on an extremely obese teenager, who is now on dialysis. The article pointed out that the supplement the teenager had taken was not required to have FDA approval. It also talked about supplements designed to change hormone balance, which can also have serious side effects.
I didn’t save the article, not intending to bore you with my strong opinions on the subject, but this morning I open my email, and there was a newsletter, bragging about - - you guessed it - - another weight loss supplement, guaranteed to work.
Aside from wanting the supplement market to remain free and unencumbered by prescriptions, my attitude about this subject is influenced by the one time that I fell victim to it. Long ago, in the early 80s, I was checking out at my favorite health food store, when I saw a poster. It showed pictures of extreme body types, and said that by taking a glandular supplement you could change your hormone balance and change your body type. I did not like my pear shaped body, and I bought the supplement.
It did change my hormones, but not the way I had hoped. My periods stopped. I was terrified, and went to my doctor. He laughed at me and gave me several reasons why glandular supplements wouldn’t work. He was not convinced by my personal experience. I threw away the rest of the bottle, and a few weeks later my cycle returned to normal. But the experience caused me to accept my body as being the way God had made me. While I keep in shape, I no longer try to alter my body type.
If you are overweight, my advice is exercise more, eat less, and focus on beneficials rather than avoids. Do not fall victim to marketers who are paid big bucks to detach you from your money.
If you wish your libido were like it was when you were younger, my advice is to exercise more, lose some weight, and be kind to your spouse. The last is particularly important, and more effective, in my opinion, than any amount of supplement or prescription medication.
I want to have free commerce of vitamins and herbs. I want supplement companies to have lots of motivation to do research and find out more about how our bodies work. I want no government interference in this part of the economy.
However, I also wish that supplement companies would do a better job of policing themselves. There is plenty of profit to be made from giving our health a little boost in a natural way. I cringe when they rush to market a blend calculated to appeal to the compulsion to be thin and sexy. And I cringe doubly when those blends cause someone serious harm.