I have stories to share with you about dietary supplements spiked with approved and unapproved drugs, but I haven’t found any stories to share with you about approved drug products spiked with supplements. What does that tell you about dietary supplements?
Category Nutrition & Supplements
There is no getting around the physics. If you expend more calories than you ingest, you will lose weight. No diet has ever been shown to produce weight loss without a reduction in calories. The problem is that reducing calorie intake is fiendishly hard to accomplish for many reasons, both physiological and psychological.
If you’re like most Americans, you are probably taking some kind of supplemental vitamin. We spend close to $12 billion annually on them. How do we decide which ones to take? Do we take a multivitamin or do we take vitamins separately? How much do we need? Which brands are better? How do we know if it’s working?
I was actually surprised to find out that the recommended intake of water was in fact in the range of 90 ounces (2.7L) for women and 120 ounces (3.7L) for men (really it depends on age and weight). In other words, more than 64 ounces. However, at least 20% of this will come from your daily food intake.
Protein powder varies widely in price, is often mixed with other additives including creatine, caffeine, flavoring, various carbohydrates, extracts, essences, or magic potions in super-secret-proprietary proportions. They are almost always accompanied by extraordinary claims like “Improved flavor!” (which means it tastes terrible but formerly tasted worse), “Build Muscle FAST!” (Disclaimer: intense exercise not included), “Get Ripped QUICK!” (Disclaimer: intense exercise not included AND don’t expect to eat anything else).
Pyruvate, a ketone and an alpha-keto acid, occurs naturally in the body when glucose is converted into energy. It is part of the Krebs cycle, the complex chain of reactions in which nutrients are metabolised to provide energy. High doses of pyruvate seem to stimulate the breakdown of fat in the body. It is therefore not surprising that pyruvate is used in all sorts of slimming aids; and if the advertising for ‘fat burners’ is to be believed, pyruvate is just the ticket for the desperate slimmer.
As a fitness professional, I often get asked about Microwave Dangers. Questions like, ”Is using the microwave oven bad for my health?” “I’ve heard microwaving changes the molecular structure or water/ food making it less nutritious or unhealthy. Is that true?” “Does the microwave cause cancer?”
Six months after I started working out, I could see progress: I wasn’t on the verge of death during every workout. I was starting to do weight training, seeing and feeling the results. That’s when I considered augmenting my workouts with dietary supplements.
“What medications do you take?”
“What?” She appeared to be sleeping. I guess it took her a moment to realize she was in her hospital bed. I was waiting for her eyes to open. I don’t usually talk to the hospitalized patients directly, but in this case, I had to make an exception.
“I take lisinopril and metformin. Who are you?”
“I’m your pharmacist. I’m dosing the blood thinner your doctor prescribed for you… to help make sure you don’t get a stroke? Your lab work came back all wacky and I’m just trying to figure out why. Do you happen to be taking any dietary supplements?”
“Turmeric” she said. “It helps with my arthritis.”