Archive for the 'Truth About Herbs' Category

The DANGER of Taking Antioxidants…BEWARE!

May 8, 2007

23349167291.jpgScience is ever-changing. One study should not make one take a pill just because it shows the drug to be beneficial. Any research should be carefully done and reviewed and if published in a reputable peer reviewed journal then its worth a second look!

The story about antioxidants and their benefits is one controversy. You may have heard a lot already about the benefits and side effects of Vitamins E and C but what is really the real score?  So before grabbing these vitamins… take to consider the facts below: 

The results of this study came from a meta-analysis of 68 randomized trials with a total of 232,606 patients published in the February 28 issue of JAMA.

  • Vitamin C does not appear to be detrimental but it is not beneficial either.  It likewise did not decrease or increase  mortality.
  • Trials of selenium showed it to be neither of benefit nor harm.

But the most striking results that I want readers to take note is that:

…. Vitamins A and E actually increased the risk for mortality whether it is used alone or in combination….

These data only point to one thing:

…That people should NOT take these over the counter supplements marketed as anti-oxidant vitamins in an effort to prevent illness…because…THEY DON’T!

…And as the usual cliche… we should instead” eat a balanced diet and take regular exercise“… as full proof to healthy living with NO SHORTCUTS…because…

Being Healthy Requires No Shortcuts!

The Harmless Herbs?

August 1, 2006

Imagesfg A lot of my patients are asking about whether it is safe for them to take Herbals… some are given to them by relatives working abroad. Mayo Clinic, a reputable institution posted a warning to people taking herbal supplements with the idea that… since they are herbs…they should be safe! However…be cautious, because some herbal preparations have active ingredients in them that can interact with the medications you’re presently taking and may cause harm.

Be cautious about taking an herbal

supplement if you’re currently


  1. Blood pressure medications
  2. Blood thinners like anticoagulants and anti-platelet
  3. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin, ibuprofen or naproxen
  4. Diabetes medications and
  5. Heart medications

Examples of herbal supplements that may possibly produce harmful side effects when used in combination with certain types of medications include:

  1. Black cohosh
  2. Dong quai
  3. Garlic Ginger
  4. Ginkgo Biloba and Ginseng
  5. St. John’s wort
  6. Chinese Angelica Ephedra (Ephedra sinica)
  7. Ma huang Garlic

The American College of Physicians likewise have published reports of herbal supplements causing liver toxicity and renal failure especially herbs marketed for weight loss purposes…and therefore we as primary health care providers don’t recommend herbal preparations to our patients.

So the next time you pass by a Herbal Supplement Store… remember…

Herbs Are Not Harmless…

Be Cautious!

Does Melatonin Work?

August 1, 2006

Imagesd My sleeping pill worked! It was April 25 in Chicago and I woke up at 5 AM . Definitely, no complaints… a straight 6 hour sleep was good enough for jet lag!

When I wrote my post on Sleepless Nights, I purposely left no note on melatonin… because it deserves its own space in my blog for discussion.

Melatonin is actually a hormone produced by the brain which is at its peak during the night and lowest during the day.  It is available in a tablet form as a supplement marketed to promote  sleep. Several studies have shown melatonin to be beneficial for jet lag especially if taken at the start of the travel at the target bed time period of destination. It should be taken for several days to achieve its full effect.  Dose to achieve an effect varies but one study showed patients who took 5 mg resulted in a better shortened time to sleep and a longer duration of sleep compared to those given lower doses.

Melatonin has also been shown to promote sleep among elderly people with insomnia and in a study involving healthy volunteers with better quality of sleep, and a longer duration of sleep compared to placebo or a sugar pill. 

However…Melatonin is not a Drug but a Supplement and therefore not regulated and approved by FDA as a treatment and not subjected to rigorous testing.  Actual content of different melatonin’s available in the market may vary and therefore safety is of primary concern. Neurological problems like seizure, clotting abnormalities, changes in blood pressure and blood sugar have been reported as side effects of melatonin.

BUT, if taking melatonin has helped you…its use for short duration has not been shown to be harmful! Just Remember… Take it with precaution because…

 Melatonin is a Supplement!