Beware Of “Miracle Products”

mps“Step right up, folks! Buy the miracle formula that will cure every ailment. It helps build muscles, keeps you young, ends sleepless nights, keeps your hair from falling out, and improve memory.”

Few of us would taken in by the claims of the snake oil salesmen of the past. Yet millions of Americans today take food and vitamins supplements, hoping to prevent aging, ward off illness, or just feel better.

Do we need supplements to be healthy? How do we distinguish between help and hype in the claims made about supplements? Are some supplements actually dangerous?

The human body requires a balanced variety of vitamins and minerals to grow and to function well. Without these essential nutrients, deficiencies can develop and health will be affected.

Vitamin A, for example, helps maintain healthy skin, hair, nails, vision, and the calcium is key to building and maintaining bones and teeth. Iron is essential in the formation of red blood cells.

Most health experts agree that the best way to get essential vitamins and minerals is to eat a nutritious and well-balanced diet each day. The new food pyramid is an excellent guide.

The base of the pyramid represents foods from grains, such as bread, cereal, rice, and pasta. We should eat 6 to 11 servings a day from this group. Next come vegetables (3 to 5 servings)and fruits(2 to 4 servings).

The next two groups , dairy products and the meat/poultry/fish/ beans groups, should each contribute 2 to 3 servings to the diet. In the tip of the pyramid are fats, oils, and sweets, which should be eaten sparingly.

Not only do these foods contain the vitamins and minerals the body needs, but they also work together to help the body absorb and use the nutrients.

Special Situations

Strict vegetarians, who don’t eat any animal products, may not receive enough vitamins B12, vitamin D, calcium, and iron.

Other people may have special nutritional needs or health problems that require extra vitamins or minerals. Women need more iron than men, and women who are pregnant or breast-feeding babies need extra nutrients.

Harmless to Humans?

Some people decide to take a vitamin/ mineral supplement because they consider it harmless insurance against deficiencies they may not b aware of. If their diet is normal, however, vitamin supplements are not needed.

Researchers are continuing to learn more about the role of these supplements in human health. We do know that some vitamins may help prevent disease, while others taken in large quantities can be dangerous.

The federal government has set guidelines called Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA)for levels of nutrients we need to prevent deficiencies and maintain health. These guidelines are in the process of revision. You may see them referred to as RDI or Recommended Dietary Intake.

If you look at the label on a bottle of vitamins, you’ll see how much of each nutrient each tablet contains. The amount is given a percentage of the RDA.

If a vitamin tablet contains 100 percent of the RDA for vitamins B1. for example, it will provide the amount of that vitamin that most adults need. That’s in addition to any vitamin B1 you take in from the food you eat.

Experts generally agree that it’s safe for you to take a daily multiple vitamin/mineral supplement that provides no more than 100 percent of various nutrients.

New research suggest that taking increased amounts of vitamins C and E, as well as beta carotene (which the body converts into vitamin A), may help reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease. But not enough is known about these relationships to recommend supplement levels.

Certain vitamins and minerals may be dangerous if taken in large quantities, or megadoses. High doses of vitamins A,D, and B6 as well as niacin, iron, zinc, copper, and selenium, may be toxic. Too much vitamin A, for example, can cause nausea, headaches, blurred vision, and birth defects. Too much vitamin D can cause buildup of calcium deposits that can interfere with functioning of muscles, including heart tissue.

The government does not control the manufacture and sale vitamin and mineral supplements. You can walk into any drugstore or health food store and buy supplements in any quantity. You can even get them through the mail. And the government cannot control bogus claims made in print, such as brochures or magazines articles. These are protected by the free speech guarantees of the Constitution. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), however, does prohibit manufacturers from making unproven claims on labels and printed matter packaged with the product.

So be wary of fantastic claims about what food supplements or megadoses can do. Some claims exploit unsubstantiated research results or distort scientific facts.

It’s wise to consult your doctor before you decide to take any supplements beyond the RDA recommendations. And beware the lure of the snake oil salesman.

It’s Bogus

The Mayo Clinic Nutrition Letter warns about bogus claims made about health food supplements and food fads. Exaggerated claims have been made for such products as bee pollen, garlic, ginseng root, and wheatgrass juice.

Watch out for products that appeal to your desire for beauty and sexual attractiveness.

The Fountain of Youth exists only in legend. Products that promise to reverse the changes of aging are bogus.

Food fads that claim to cure everything from arthritis to cancer are not based on accepted scientific research.

The athletic superpill may tempt athletes who want to gain the competitive edge. But promises of athletic prowess through nutritional supplements are fakes.



3 Responses to “Beware Of “Miracle Products””
  1. Lanelle Vonderkell says:

    It is just a marketing strategy. Those that claim it are usually the ones lacking in quality. No matter which product you need, make sure you do your homework before purchasing.

  2. Teena Schmelzer says:

    If you want a result that lasts, whether you want younger-looking skin, you wish to build muscles or lose weight, you should work on it with all your might.Going for the easiest and fastest way toward one ‘s goal usually ends up a failure.

  3. Georgette Longstreet says:

    About a year ago, I tried using an anti wrinkle cream. The product claims it can remove wrinkles in as fast as two weeks. After using it for four months, I never saw any difference. So I opted to just look for natural means to regain my youthful glow. Luckily, I found the perfect ingredient and it was in my kitchen! Now I am sick of believing on these miracle claims!

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