Category: Herbs & Supplements

Do vitamins prevent cancer and heart disease?

It is a triumph of marketing over evidence that millions take supplements every day. There is no question we need vitamins in our diet to live. But do we need vitamin supplements? It’s not so clear. There is evidence that our diets, even in developed countries, can be deficient in some micronutrients. But there’s also a lack of evidence to demonstrate that...

/ November 21, 2013

New concerns about the safety and quality of herbal supplements

If there is one aspect of “alternative” medicine that both critics and fans should agree on, it’s that products should be manufactured to high standards. What’s on the label should accurately describe what’s in the bottle. Product quality standards are essential, whether you’re using herbs or drugs. And when it comes to ensuring the products we buy are of high quality, we’re...

/ November 7, 2013

Full of Energy

Want to know what a craniosacral treatment is actually like? How about reiki? What about Eden energy medicine – do you even know what that is? Read on, because this past Sunday afternoon I experienced all three. But first, the why and where. The local Healing Arts Alliance of the Big Bend (which is what they call the area of Florida I...

/ October 31, 2013

Student Health Professionals and Attitudes about CAM

While I’m now two full decades out of pharmacy school, I am occasionally invited to return to give a lecture or facilitate a workshop. Pharmacy education has changed a lot since the 1990’s. For me, pharmacy was a Bachelor’s degree program you started right out of high school. Today, students must have a few years of university completed before they can apply...

/ October 24, 2013

Integrative Medicine’s Collateral Damage

Integrative medicine combines the practice of medicine with alternative medicine. Proponents tend to take a paragraph or two to say this, but that is what remains when boiled down to its essence. By putting this more concise definition together with Tim Minchin’s often-quoted observation about alternative medicine, you get: integrative medicine is the practice of medicine combined with medicine that either has...

/ October 17, 2013

Licensing Naturopaths: the triumph of politics over science

Naturopaths shouldn’t get too excited about having a special week in their honor. The U.S. House of Representatives gave watermelons a whole month. As between naturopathy and watermelons for my good health, I’ll go with the watermelons any day. You’ll soon understand why. Today is not my usual blogging day. But when David Gorksi announced SBM’s celebration of Naturopathic Medicine Week, I...

/ October 10, 2013

Biotin: Haircuts Plus Health Advice?

A friend asked me, “What do you know about biotin?” I said, “Not much. Why do you ask?” She explained that the woman who cuts her hair at the hair salon recommended she take biotin to strengthen her nails and improve hair growth. She tried it, and within a couple of months, her nails looked better than they ever had in her...

/ October 8, 2013

Dietary supplement industry says “no” to more information for consumers (again)

Once again, the dietary supplement industry is fighting efforts to give consumers more information about the safety and effectiveness of dietary supplements. Big Supp is very clever. It sells consumers on the phony idea that they need dietary supplements for good health. Even as the evidence continues to mount that consumers don’t need supplements and shouldn’t take them, the industry continues to...

/ October 3, 2013

CAM Docket: Functional Endocrinology Update

Sometimes the media gets it right. From time to time, SBM has reported on the disheartening credulity of reporters when they cover so-called “alternative” medicine. Denver’s Channel 7, an ABC affiliate, is a happy exception to the rule. Reporter Theresa Marchetta first broke the story of Brandon and Heather Credeur, chiropractors practicing “Functional Endocrinology.” And for three years Marchetta, with the assistance...

/ September 19, 2013

I’ve been prescribed an antibiotic. Should I take a probiotic?

We are not one organism, we are many organisms. And when we disturb the relationship with our symbiotic partners, we can suffer unpleasant and sometimes life-threatening consequences. One of the most fascinating areas of medical research is the study of how our bodies interact with the the various organisms that we carry around, on us and in us. A focus is the...

/ July 18, 2013