Wednesday, March 30

The Magic Pill

We all want the magic pill. You know the one. The one that makes the pounds melt away as we sit on the couch watching Oprah. And then we want the other pill, the one that keeps the weight off while allowing us to remain on the couch watching Oprah and noshing on chips, dip, soda, burgers, fries and cheesecake.

Yeah, I want THAT pill. And while we’re at it how about a pill that’ll give me a tight, Playboy-photo-shoot-worthy booty. And legs without a hint of cellulite. And skin like porcelain.

I could keep going, my list is endless, as I’m sure yours is too.

Sadly, those pills don’t exist. But that doesn’t stop companies from marketing miracle cures, touting the benefits of their concoctions, tapping into our desire for the easy way out. I wish it were that easy too. Really I do.

But it’s not. And believing that a pill will do all that it claims can be dangerous, even deadly.

Last fall Consumer Reports did a front-page story on the danger of supplements, highlighting the fact that these substances don’t go through the same rigorous testing and approval as other drugs. According to Consumer Reports, “Of the more than 54,000 dietary supplement products in the Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database, only about a third have some level of safety and effectiveness that is supported by scientific evidence.”

That means that two-thirds, some 36,000 products are being marketed and sold without ANY research to back their claims.

Supplements for weight loss, sexual enhancement and bodybuilding are particularly troublesome. They have been known to include hazardous ingredients which can cause serious health issues—changes in blood pressure, liver injury, kidney failure, heart attack and stroke. The FDA warns consumers to be extremely cautious with any product in these categories.

Click here to go to Consumer Reports' list of the dirty dozen of supplement ingredients. These compounds are considered dangerous as they can produce serious side effects. Consumer Reports recommends avoiding products with any of these ingredients.

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