Appendix B to Dr. Herbertís Testimony, NY City Council, 2/10/00, re supplements:

Appendix B to Dr. Herbertís Testimony, NY City Council, 2/10/00, re supplements:

Pages 488-89 of chapter 15 ìSupplements and ìHealth Foodsî from the book The Vitamin Pushers by Stephen Barrett, MD, and Victor Herbert, MD, JD, MACP.  Hardcover, 536 pages, published 1994, Prometheus Books, Amherst, NY. ISBN 0-87975-909-7.  

 Glandular extracts: These products, sold as ìfood supplements.î are claimed to cure diseases by augmenting glandular function in the body. Actually they contain no hormones and therefore can exert no pharmacologic effect upon the body. If they did produce such an effect, they would be dangerous for self-medication.

 Glutamic acid: Health-food promoters claim that a variety of substances can increase memory power; one is glutamic acid, the principal amino acid, metabolized by the brain. Although scientists are studying the relationship between memory and the intake of certain amino acids, using supplements with the hope of improving brain function is at best premature and has been harmful. If oneís diet is reasonably well balanced, there is no reason to add any amino acid supplement with the hope of improving memory.

Goat milk: The milk of goats has been touted as a highly nutritious substitute for cow milk; it actually is no more nutritious than cow milk. The late Paavo Airola, naturopath and author of several books advocating questionable nutrition practices, claimed that goat milk contains special factors effective against arthritis and cancer. This is untrue. Like nonpasteurized milk from any animal, goat milk can carry diseases.

Granola:  Granola is the common term used to describe various cereals and candy bars composed largely of oats plus other grains, fruits, seeds, and nuts.

Touted as ìnaturalî and rich in nutrients, granola products tend to be high in sugar (usually brown sugar and/or honey), fats (from vegetable oils, nuts, seeds, and coconut), and calories.

Green-lipped mussel: Green-lipped mussel, harvested in New Zealand and made into supplement capsules, has been marketed by several American companies. Claims that it is effective against arthritis are not supported by scientific studies. During the mid-1980ís, FDA action stopped a major manufacturer from marketing green-lipped mussel as an arthritis remedy. However, similar products are still marketed as ìmucopolysaccharides.î

Guarana:    An herb that contains a significant amount of caffeine.

Gymnerna sylvestre: An herb claimed to decrease the craving for sweets and to inhibit absorption of sugar by the digestive tract, thereby causing weight loss. Although chewing the plantís leaves can prevent the taste sensation of sweetness, there is no reliable evidence that the chemicals they contain can block sugar absorption or produce weight loss.

Honey: Although honey is portrayed as more nutritious than table sugar, there is little nutritional difference between the two. Honey is a crude form of mixed sugars, mainly fructose arid glucose, with a small amount of sucrose and only trace amounts of micronutrients. Table sugar is pure sucrose, whose molecules consist of equal parts of fructose and glucose. Being sticky, however, honey is more likely to contribute to tooth decay. It is also more expensive than table sugar. Honeyís intense sweetness is due to the free fructose it contains.

Inositol: Contrary to popular claims, supplements of inositol will not alleviate baldness, reduce blood cholesterol levels, or aid weight loss. Inositol is not a B vitamin, and the body can manufacture all the inositol it needs. Even if it were a vitamin, supplements would be unnecessary because it is readily available in our food supply.

Kelp: A seaweed common in the Japanese diet. Tablets of kelp are prepared from dried seaweed and promoted in health-food stores as a weight-reduction aid, a rich source of iodide, an energy booster, and a ìnaturalî cure for certain ailments, including goiter. Kelp is high in iodide, a mineral needed to prevent goiter. However, iodized salt furnishes an adequate supply of this mineral to our diet at a fraction of the cost of kelp. Excess iodide can be detrimental to health.

Lecithin: Lecithin is manufactured by the liver and present in many foods, including soybeans, whole grains, and egg yolks. Claims that lecithin supplements can dissolve blood cholesterol, rid the blood stream of undesirable fats, cure arthritis, improve brain power, and aid in weight reduction are unsupported by scientific evidence.

Ma huang: An herb that contains ephedrine, a decongestant and nervous ‚system stimulant. Ephedrine can raise blood pressure and therefore is hazardous to individuals with high blood pressure. Products containing ma huang are marketed as weight-loss aids even though they have not been proven safe and effective for this purpose. Some entrepreneurs are selling ephedrine/caffeine combinations as stimulants. Serious illnesses and deaths have been reported among users of these products.

Octacosanol: Raw wheat germ is claimed to contain an active ingredient called ìoctacosanol.î This substance, present in many plant oils, is not essential in the human diet. Claims that it improves stamina and endurance, reduces blood cholesterol, and helps reproduction are unsubstantiated.

PABA (para-aminobenzoic acid): A vitamin for bacteria, but not for humans. It is claimed that dosages taken orally can prevent or reverse the graying of hair, but no scientific evidence exists to support this claim.

Papain: An enzyme, present in papaya extract, that is promoted as a digestive aid, cure for gum disease, and weight-reduction aid. When taken by mouth,

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