Tagged With supplements

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Probiotics are beloved by many health-conscious folks. They fit that sweet spot between natural (always good, right?) and medical (must have health benefits). I get legit hate mail if I write anything less-than-glowing about probiotics.

One charming gentleman called me “fake news” and suggested I get my head out of my “pharma fog,” as if Big Pharma and other major corporations weren’t very into selling probiotics for money.

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When you’re laid up with sniffles and a sore throat, few things offer real relief. (Rest, fluids, and behind-the-counter Sudafed are most of those things.) But there are plenty of “natural” items on health store shelves that claim to help.

Today we’re looking at one with a teensy bit of scientific evidence behind it: elderberry syrup.

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Healthy skin contains plenty of springy, elastic collagen, so it’s tempting to think that any product with “collagen” in the name is going to be good for your skin. But even though you can buy collagen powder to add to drinks, there’s little to no evidence that your skin directly benefits.

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Pharmacies are full of things that won’t necessarily heal us — vitamin C, homeopathic drops, probiotics — but we shrug and buy them anyway because, hey, they can’t hurt. But now we have some concrete evidence that probiotics can hurt, if they aren’t exactly the right ones for the health condition you’re trying to treat.

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We all need vitamins, but that doesn't mean you need to take a vitamin. This week, science gave us another brick for the giant "vitamin pills are useless for most of us" sign that's been under construction for a while. (It's a metaphor, but I imagine it as something like the Hollywood sign, except nobody looks at it because they're all busy shopping for vitamins in the valley below.)

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You'd think that by now we'd all stop falling for supplements which promise to "blast belly fat" or "drop pounds while still eating cupcakes," but you'd be wrong. Powerful marketing continues to dupe vulnerable people into wasting their money. Here are the common selling points (ahem, lies) that you'll find on the label.

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Have you ever wondered if the supplements you're taking actually do anything? Me too. New labels proposed by the Therapeutic Goods Administration may help separate the wheat from the chaff, with "complementary medicines" falling under tighter regulation. Here's what you need to know.

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Supplements aren't regulated like drugs. Their makers don't have to prove that they're safe or effective. Let's talk about some of the pitfalls of using supplements, and how you can improve your chances of getting a pill that does what it's supposed to.

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Put simply, cryotherapy is the process of using cold temperatures for medicinal purposes, usually to treat pain. In recent years, it's become a popular in spas and sports centres to soothe aching muscles, improve arthritic symptoms, "slow ageing" and even help you lose weight. Your bullshit meter might be going off by now, and rightfully so. Here's the bottom line.

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If you're having trouble sleeping, melatonin is a popular and easy remedy. It's effective for many people, doesn't have any serious safety issues and is available as pills or gummies for only a few cents a dose. It's also misunderstood, though: melatonin is not a traditional sleeping pill.

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Video: This video explains why we're always hearing about promising treatments -- for cancer, say -- despite very few of those breakthroughs ever showing up in the clinic. The reason isn't a Big Pharma conspiracy or incompetent doctors. It's because lab findings rarely survive real-world tests.