Blanco County News
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Health and Wellness
Pills, Potions, and Gadgets
Wellness Consultant
Wednesday, March 21, 2012 • Posted March 22, 2012 9:46 AM

With so many nutritional products on the market today and so many claims being made about them – you need to find products and companies that distinguish themselves by providing solid, independent evidence that their product works.

The next time you are presented with something you might put in your mouth or on your body, see something advertised, or see a sign on a telephone pole, ask the following three questions. If the person presenting the product can answer all three of these correctly, keep listening! If they miss one, I suggest you get away as fast as you can. 1. Where is the research to substantiate the claims being made? 2. In what professional journals has this research been published? 3. To what professional organization has this research been presented?

When you ask these questions you eliminate 99.9 percent of all the products being marketed today in stores, on television, in magazines and newspapers, etc. The American Nutraceutical Association estimates that clinical research is conducted on far less than one-half percent of nutritional products. Much of the "research" that is being done is not up to the highest scientific standards and thus fails to pass the rigorous peer review required for publication in professional journals.

Products will say, "Clinical Studies say ...." What clinical study? Where is it published? Where has it been presented? What doctor recommended this? Doctor of what? What are his or her credentials? As a consumer, I would ask for a copy of the study and make my judgment about the product based on the quality of who conducted the study, where the work was done, and whether or not it was accepted by and published in, a peer-reviewed professional journal.

Look for research that substantiates the claims being made. Has it been analyzed to determine what's in it, where it goes in the body, and what it does when it gets there? Has the product been tested on a variety of conditions, in a variety of circumstances, at leading universities and research hospitals? Is the research independent of the company (owners, employees, stock holders), is it peer-reviewed, and has the results been substantiated by being published in credible professional journals?

Another problem with much of the research used to promote nutritional products is that generic nutraceuticals rely on studies performed by other companies or organizations. This is considered "borrowed" science and most companies do it. Raw material suppliers research an ingredient they want to sell. Different manufactures will then use that ingredient in their products. This is being done to cut costs and save time, to support the retail environment and the short commercial life of a product.

Primary research uses the entire product formula and it is extremely unusual to be done on a branded formula. Research projects are very expensive and time consuming but validate and demonstrate the effectiveness of the product. The studies are done by independent university faculty researchers with no affiliation with the product's company. It provides solid information not hype or testimonies. The products that are most successful and recommended the most by health professionals are those with solid clinical research of their own, conducted by qualified healthcare professionals, with results published in peer-reviewed journals.

There are so many "products" out there, make sure you look at the research behind whatever you plan to put in or on your body. Make sure it is from major universities and hospitals. If there was a "fat-loss pill" or an "energy booster pill" that actually did what the advertising said, with no adverse side effects, and was supported with good scientific research that was published in professional journals and presented to professional groups, don't you think this would be headline news all over the world?

See how you fared on last week’s quiz: 1. True, we are surprised if we keep notes. 2. False, butter is better. 3. False, over 61% are obese! 4. True, soy products are high in protein. 5. False, juices not drinks. 6. False, foods are temperature sensitive. 7. False, most bottled water contains no minerals but make sure the tap water is non-chlorinated or filtered. 8. True, nuts contain some fats. 9. False, grains and produce are required for fiber. 10. True, breakfast is the most significant meal of the day. 11. False, 20 minutes. 12. True, make time to eat together. 13. False, we do not yet even know all the nutrients available in natural foods and can not reproduce them artificially.

Disclaimer: Facts in these articles are obtained from medical and clinical journals, scientific publications, and published trade books. These articles have been written and published strictly for information purposes. Consult your health care provider for your specific medical needs. For any questions, comments or suggestions contact Maryella at or

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