Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Posion-laced supplements?

Would you like some arsenic with your kelp supplements?

If a waiter in a restaurant asked you a question like that, you would think that he was crazy. Yet a report in Environmental Health Perspectives last April indicated that most kelp supplements on the market are contaminated with arsenic.

The story starts with a 54-year-old California woman using kelp supplements who reported a two year history of hair loss, fatigue and memory loss.

Her primary care doctor couldn't find anything wrong with her and told her that her symptoms were probably related to menopause.

Since conventional medicine had not given her a diagnosis or treatment, she increased her intake of kelp supplements hoping that would help.

Over the next several months the woman's short- and long-term memory became so impaired that she could no longer remember her home address. She also reported having a rash, nausea and vomiting, which made it very difficult to work and forced her to leave a full-time job.

At that point her doctors became suspicious of arsenic poisoning. Tests revealed high levels of arsenic in her blood and urine. The doctors told her to discontinue the kelp supplements and in a few weeks her symptoms disappeared.

The doctors then purchased 9 different kelp supplements from local health food stores and sent them to a lab to be analyzed.

8 of the 9 were contaminated with arsenic and 7 had arsenic levels that exceeded the tolerance levels for arsenic in food products set by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

So why am I telling you this? Most of you probably aren't using kelp supplements. In fact, I can't think of any good reason to take kelp supplements.

I'm telling you this to remind you that "nobody's minding the store". The FDA does not current test food supplements for safety and efficacy and there is no requirement that the manufacturers test their products either.

That's why you should trust your health to a company that runs over 300 quality control tests on a single product and over 80,000 quality control tests a year.

That's why you should put your trust in a company that will not market a product unless they have proven it to be both safe and effective.

That company is Shaklee!

Thanks to Dr. Steve Chaney for this post.

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