Vitamin Supplements: Do You Believe in Magic?

The Atlantic recently published an excerpt from Dr. Paul Offit’s book Do You Believe in Magic?: The Sense and Nonsense of Alternative Medicine, which takes a closer look at the vitamin supplement industry and the harm it is inflicting [1].

Vitamin supplements

The Facts on Flax

Flax, or linseed, has been cultivated for centuries. Its fibers were used to make linen in ancient Egypt. More recently, flax seeds have become popular among health-conscious consumers. Several studies suggest that it may help reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer, stroke and diabetes. Flax contains high levels of three nutrients that are good for our health.

Flax seeds

Study Reveals How Green Tea Improves Memory

Green tea has been enjoyed for centuries, and its benefits have been widely touted. It is reputed to help treat many of modernity’s worst ills, including cancer, heart disease, diabetes, HIV infection, and neurodegenerative diseases. New work done in China furthers the observations that green tea can help prevent neurodegeneration. The report, published in Molecular Nutrition and Food Research, starts to elucidate the mechanism by which it does so [1].

Green tea

The Evidence Supporting a Chocolate Diet: Correlation or Causation?

A new study published in the journal Archives of Internal Medicine finds that chocolate consumption is associated with lower body mass index (BMI) [1]. In the news and across the web, reporters are touting this as evidence that eating chocolate lowers BMI.

Assorted chocolatesImage credit: Assorted chocolates via Shutterstock

Supplemental Vitamin E and A, Worth The Risk?

Perhaps among the most confusing of nutrition and wellness decisions that the average consumer must make is whether to take dietary supplements. The available information is deeply contradictory; while some supplements — like folic acid for pregnant women and vitamin D for babies — are considered nearly essential in medical care, research suggests that other supplements may be ineffective or even deleterious to health. A recent research summary published in The Medical Letter On Drugs and Therapeutics may help consumers and practitioners to wade through the conflicting information on supplements, as many supplements have both risks and benefits associated with their use [1].

Vitamins E and A