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Contents: Overview | Supplements - Generic & Proprietary


The 2007 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), which included a comprehensive survey of CAM use by Americans, showed that approximately 38 percent of adults use complementary and alternative medicine (CAM).
CAM is a group of diverse medical and health care systems, practices, and products that are not presently considered to be part of conventional medicine. Complementary medicine is used together with conventional medicine, and alternative medicine is used in place of conventional medicine.

Much of CAM is based on traditional Chinese medicine, a whole medical system that originated in China. It is based on the concept that disease results from disruption in the flow of qi and imbalance in the forces of yin and yang. Practices such as herbs, meditation, massage, and acupuncture seek to aid healing by restoring the yin-yang balance and the flow of qi., and is among the oldest healing practices in the world.

They include:

Some of alternative medicine can be explained with science and some cannot.

Science has made some progress; see Building the Evidence Base for Complementary and Alternative Medicine | (nccam.nih.gov)

What Is Complementary and Alternative Medicine? | National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH)
Yahoo, Google

Alternative medicine includes a variety of medical and health care systems, practices, and products such as: Herbal Medicine (echinacea, Ginkgo, Ginseng, St. John's Wort, Glucosamine and chondroitin, ...), Acupuncture, Homeopathy, Chiropractic, Massage

The only trusted study that looked at ginkgo for memory enhancement was published in JAMA and concluded:

"When taken following the manufacturer's instructions, ginkgo provides no measurable benefit in memory or related cognitive function to adults with healthy cognitive function."
See Also: Slate Article

They also include Mind-Body Interventions such as: Meditation, prayer, mental healing, and therapies that use creative outlets such as art, music, or dance.

Alternative Therapies Asian techniques that include movement, meditation, and regulation of breathing such as: Yoga, Qi gong and Tai Chi may also be considered alternative medicine.

It is defined by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) as:

A group of diverse medical and health care systems, practices, and products that are not presently considered to be part of conventional medicine.1 While some scientific evidence exists regarding some Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) therapies, for most there are key questions that are yet to be answered through well-designed scientific studies--questions such as whether these therapies are safe and whether they work for the diseases or medical conditions for which they are used.

The list of what is considered to be CAM changes continually, as those therapies that are proven to be safe and effective become adopted into conventional health care and as new approaches to health care emerge.

1 Conventional medicine is medicine as practiced by holders of M.D. (medical doctor) or D.O. (doctor of osteopathy) degrees and by their allied health professionals, such as physical therapists, psychologists, and registered nurses. Some conventional medical practitioners are also practitioners of Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM).

Dietary Supplements:
There are a variety of generic supplements which have achieved general acceptance for their benefits. They include:
Green tea - Fights fat,
Fish oil -
Vitamins -

However, a January 11, 2010 NY Times Article "Healthy Aging, With Nary a Supplement" says:
"Each year millions of people fall prey to false promises that this, that or the other formula or fortified food can protect their hearts, prevent cancer, improve memory, strengthen their bones, uncreak their joints, build their muscles, even enable them to burn extra calories without moving."

"Unfortunately, sound evidence for the benefits of most such products is sorely lacking; in some cases the best scientific evidence has shown no benefit, and in a few cases has even shown harm. Human chemistry is far more complex than visionaries thought just two decades ago, when reputable scientists pushed for fortifying foods with substances they believed would prevent cancer and heart disease."

"Supplements of antioxidants failed to protect against disease the way a diet rich in fruits and vegetables seems to. Rather than isolated nutrients, combinations of them, along with other perhaps unidentified substances in foods, are now thought to confer the observed health benefits."

Benefits have been shown in a "Medeterranean diet", But the Mediterranean diet does not come in a pill or potion. You have to eat the foods to reap the rewards.

In an October, 2013 Forbes article by Steven Salzberg "The Top Five Vitamins You Should Not Take" he says,
  Close to half of the population in the U.S. takes vitamins, with multi-vitamins being the most popular.
  If you don't have a serious vitamin deficiency, taking supplemental vitamins doesn't provide any benefit, in almost all cases that have been studied. What's even more surprising is this: routinely taking mega-doses of vitamins might actually harm you.
the top 5 vitamins that you should not take (unless your doctor recommends it):

  1. Vitamin C
    Vitamin C doesn't prevent or cure colds.
    Although Vitamin C is generally safe, megadoses of 2000 mg or more can increase the risk of kidney stones.
  2. Vitamin A and beta carotene.
    Smokers who took vitamin A were more likely to get lung cancer than those who didn't.
    Vitamin A plays an important role in vision, but too much vitamin A can be toxic, causing multiple serious side effects.
  3. Vitamin E.
    A study found that the risk of prostrate cancer increased for men taking vitamin E.
    Evidence suggests that regular use of high-dose vitamin E may increase the risk of death from all causes by a small amount.
  4. Vitamin B6.
    People almost never get too much vitamin B6 from food. But taking high levels of vitamin B6 from supplements for a year or longer can cause severe nerve damage, leading people to lose control of their bodily movements.
  5. Multi-vitamins.
    The overall risk of death increased with long-term use of multivitamins, vitamin B6, folic acid, iron, magnesium, zinc, and copper.

Herbs and Supplements at MedlinePlus at the National Library of Medicine at the NIH.
About Herbs, Botanicals & Other Products at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center
Common Herbs and Supplements at DrugDigest.org
Supplement Dictionary at HerbalRemedies.com
Dr. Perricone's 10 Superfoods at Oprah.com

Proprietary Diet Supplements:
There are several products marketed thru multi-level sales structures (sometimes called pyramid marketing) where independent entrepreneurs sell to their friends and family and recruit friends to be part of their sales network.
They frequently use affinity groups (Religious or Ethnic communities) to gain trust.
Popular ones include noni, Ambrotose, mangosteen juices, Goji, XanGo, Zrii (Amalaki juice), Açaí berry products (Mona·Viemonavie & Amazon Thunder) and Himalayan Salt Lamps.

The main product websites usually make claims like "they support/maintain your immune system", but have disclaimers like "This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease."

The sales people and other "unofficial" web sites have a lot of word of mouth testimonials as to their effect on general health, cures for cancer, arthritis, and other diseases, and refer to studies and other research by various Ph.D's or M.D.s, but there are no clinical or scientific studies published in the normal medical journals or in the US medical database, PubMed.
These benefit claims are generally considered "Pseudoscience".

They are also good at creating a network of seemingly independent web sites that link to each other promoting the products and thus moving them up in google hit lists.

The truth about exotic juices!

Tahitian Noni® juice
Their website says:
Noni, known scientifically as Morinda citrifolia, is a tropical fruit found primarily in the South Pacific. A fruit puree is used in TAHITIAN NONI® Juice to deliver superior antioxidants, increase energy levels and maintain a healthy immune system.
  • Noni Cancer Inhibition Study describes a paper "Angiogenic Inhibition by Noni" by Conrad A. Hornick, Ph.D and others showed that "Noni was effective in inhibiting the initiation of new vessel sprouts from placental vein explants." These vessel sprouts would normally feed cancer cells.
    [It does not appear that this research was published in any of the standard medical journals. Their control was salt water. It seems to me that a better test would be to compare the unique ingredient "Morinda citrifolia" with the other ingredients "grape juice" and "blueberry juice" to see which one is providing the benefit. Ed.]
  • Who is this for? at DrugDigest
  • Noni for cancer? at Health and Age says:
    "A search of the medical literature shows that there are no published reports of clinical trials of noni for use in the treatment of any disorder, including cancer. There is one ongoing clinical trial in patients with advanced cancer for which there is no other treatment. It is being run by the US National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM); no results are available yet."

Ambrotose® from MannaTech
Their website says:
"Ambrotose AO combines an extremely potent, synergistic blend of antioxidants called MTech AO Blend™ with the life-enhancing benefits of Ambrotose complex, the plant-based glyconutritional that provides support for the human immune function. The result is what we believe to be the most effective cellular protection strategy on the market today."
They are targeting the Christian community; Manna refers to the food from heaven provided to the Israelites while in the Sini Desert [Exodous 16:].
  • Testimonial
    "In March of 1999, my 75-year-old mother, Neoma Counts was diagnosed with "terminal cancer". The Doctors said that it was not curable and recommended chemotherapy to slow it down and buy some time.
    he began drinking carrot juice daily and making smoothes using tofu and fresh fruit. We decided on a vegetarian diet containing no meat, dairy products or sugar. The diet contained a large amount of soy products. She used a large amount of products from the Mannatech Co. including Ambrotose (an immune system modulator with aloe vera), Phytaloe (freeze dried fruits and vegetables) and Manna Cleanse (a product containing fiber, probiotics and omega 3 fatty acids). She also took pancreatic enzymes, maitake & shaitake mushrooms, green tea, Essiac tea, alpha lipoic acid, ground flax seed, garlic, selenium and a full spectrum of vitamins, anything that we read about that was good for cancer we added to the regimen.
    Four months after quitting chemotherapy she returned to her gynecologist for a check up. ... There was no cancer anywhere. He only saw some scar tissue. We had received a miracle.

  • Ambrotose®: A Cure for Cancer? a note from Dr. Moss
    He says: "Glycobiology is a promising avenue of research, to be sure....
    For Ambrotose in particular, we see an enormous popularity in publications by and for lay people but nothing listed in the standard medical literature to substantiate claims of health benefits, at least not under this particular brand name."
  • The "Journal of Nutraceutical Medicine" is the only publication that endorses Mannatech's products. But if you look closely, you will see that this supposed "medical" journal is really just a publication of the companies that produce these products.
    Source: scam.com
  • Issues with ManaTech at the Rick A. Ross Institute

    Other links: Multilevel marketing Watch
    Mannatech Consumers Investors Get Two Tales

Açaíacai Acai Acai berry products:
Açai berries, which grow on palm trees mainly in Brazil and Guyana have been eaten by indigenous communities for hundreds of years. Açaí (ah-sigh-EE) has twice the antioxidants of blueberries and 10 times that in red grapes. It also has monounsaturated (healthy) fats, including Omega 3, 6 and 9, dietary fiber and phytosterols to help promote cardiovascular and digestive health.

It become popular since Dr. Perricone listed it as one of his 10 Superfoods on Oprah show in Oct. 2007.

ORAC, short for Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (antioxidant), is a test tube analysis that measures the total antioxidant power of foods and other chemical substances. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) researchers in healthy eating at Tufts University have found that in order to provide meaningful antioxidant health benefits in a nutritional supplement you need at least 2400 to 3000 ORAC in your daily diet. The diet of an average human being, provides 1000 units ORAC daily.
ORAC per gram of fruit (varies a lot depending on study):

Açaí        167 490 (2nd number is for freeze dried)
Prune        86  58
Pomegranate 106  33
Blueberries      24
Cranberry    95  18
Strawberries     15
ORAC levels at: OptimalHealth.cia.com.au, SuperFoodUK.com, bounties-of-nature.com, TheNibble.com/zine

Amazon Thunder is a pure acai berry product.
$40 / 32 oz. bottle

Amazon Thunder Review at acai.vg
U. Florida study on Açai to fight cancer.

Mona·Viemonavie mona-vie: MonaVie is a blend of 19 fruits, including Açai, apricot, aronia, acerola, purple grape, passion fruit, camu camu, banana, lychee fruit, hashi pear, kiwi, pomegranate, prume, wolfberry, pear, bilberry, cranberry, blueberry, white grape.. They say it also contains g;ucosamine for healthy joint function.
However they don't say how much Açai it contains.
It's $40/25 oz. bottle = $160/month

Goji :
Goji berries come from China and the Himalayas.

Contains 19 amino acids including the 8 essential amino acids, more Beta-carotene than carrots, has a complete spectrum of antioxidants, 500 times more Vitamin C by weight than oranges, contains the anti-inflammatory agent beta-sitosterol which lowers cholesterol and takes care of sexual health plus other vitamins and minerals.

See: GojiBerryJuice.org/

MultiLevel Marketing Links:
Lookup supplements at Scam.com.
MultiLevel Marketing (MLM) Watch

Other Links:
Inflammation treatment
At Why you don't want to buy Goji, Noni or Mangosteen or other brands of Acai at AmazonThunder.com, they claim most of them are processed in China using harsh chemicals and preservatives with low quality control.

- Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition at the FDA
- FDA/CFSAN Dietary Supplements: Other Sources of Information
- List of dietary supplements Ingredients for which the FDA has issued warnings
All About Nutritional Supplements: Consumers Review Supplements, Vitamins, Herbs and Prescription Drugs at NutritionalSupplements.com
Vitamins at Harvard School of Public Health
The Vitamin Center at the Vitamins & Nutrition Center
Natural (Herbal) Medicines and Nutritional Supplements at PDRhealth
Counterfeit Drugs

Cancer Treatment:
Many of the above links refer to regiments which strengthen your immune system and will help you avoid cancer.

See Cancer for some suggestions in treating cancer. As far as I know none have been proven to work with rigorous medical trials.

Online Stores for Herbal Medicine:
Greatest Herbs On Earth™

Alternative Therapies (Reflexology, Acupressure, ...)

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last updated 10 nov 2013