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The Truth About Nutrition Supplements

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Who's making sure that the nutrition supplements, vitamins, and minerals you're taking are safe and effective? Actually, nobody. Here's the 411 on the pills you're swallowing.

What's Really in Your Multivitamin?

You value your health, so you take your vitamins and supplements, right? Well then, this just may make you sick: In one recent test, nearly 30 percent of multivitamins on the market had contamination problems or ingredient shortfalls. When you swallowed the pills, you swallowed whatever story the pill makers put on the label. And that could be almost anything.

Seven in 10 Americans are now gobbling down billions of vitamins and supplements on the promise that they will improve health, performance, longevity, skin, outlook, sex, hair, something, everything. According to a 2002 Harris Poll, more than half of us believe that a government agency like the Food and Drug Administration is keeping a watchful eye on the $20 billion supplement industry.

Supplement Regulations

It's not. The federal regulators who would normally be all over poor-quality supplements had their hands tied by a piece of legislation signed into law by President Clinton in 1994 called the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA). The bill was intended to make dietary supplements -- including vitamins, minerals, and herbs -- more widely available by classifying them not as drugs, like aspirin or ibuprofen, but as foods. In practice, that means supplements not only don't have to do what they promise (such as protect against disease) but don't even have to be safe.

Dangerous Contaminants

The results have been predictable: In 2004 alone, more than 24,000 "toxic exposures" to supplements were reported, while other research showed that some supplements contain potentially dangerous contaminants such as lead, mercury, pesticides, mold, and bacteria.

No wonder some consumer advocates say that this regulatory loophole has helped create a marketplace that fails to protect consumers from contaminated, adulterated and, in some cases, deadly supplements. "People just assume that because vitamins, minerals, and herbs are naturally occurring, they're also safe, but that's not always the case," says Bill Gurley, PhD, a professor of pharmaceutical sciences at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences.

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mauth06 wrote:

dthoma03, do you work for Shaklee? It sounds like you're a little biased. I've never heard of that company or their supplements, but I do know that the govermental regulations in this article or inaccurate. I stick with the facts.

11/9/2009 03:16:25 PM Report Abuse
dthoma03 wrote:

In the 2007 Landmark Study conducted in collaboration with researchers from the UC Berkeley School of Public Health, Dr Gladys Block found people who took Shaklee supplements had markedly better health than those who took a mulitvitamin or no supplements at all. Yoru authors should really do their homework before rendering an opinion. Facts are facts and they did not present them.

11/4/2009 11:35:46 AM Report Abuse
dthoma03 wrote:

Shaklee has over 100 scientific papers 90+ published in peer reviewed journals that support the effectiveness of the Shaklee products. Shaklee has invested over 250 million dollars in clinical testing, research,& development.

11/4/2009 11:35:32 AM Report Abuse
dthoma03 wrote:

Shaklee products have no parabens, triclosan, phthalates, sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), sodium lauryl ether sulfate (SLES), 1,4-dioxane or propylene glycol. There are no banned substances, no dyes, no trans fats & no artificial sweetners or flavors. There is no animal testing. The packaging is safe & free of toxins bisphenol-A, phthalates & toxic links. (see further comment)

11/4/2009 11:33:55 AM Report Abuse
dthoma03 wrote:

This article is grossly inaccurate. Shaklee corporation conducts over 350 tests on every single new ingredient for heavy metals, pesticides, or any of hundreds of other harmful contaminants. They conduct over 80,000 quality tests annually to guarantee the purity & safety of each & every product. (see further comment)

11/4/2009 11:33:07 AM Report Abuse

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