DEAR DR. ROACH: I have recently been hearing from friends that they are spending $400 per month or more on supplements and that a local practitioner is selling lots of pills to them each month. He is also strongly discouraging traditional medicines, and he sends them cards in the mail suggesting that a visit to his office is overdue. All the pill bottles have a statement that says, “This product does not diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.” My friends are avid health-conscious people who exercise every day and are trim and eat healthy foods. Is taking all these supplements a good idea? What advice can you give? — A.F.
ANSWER: I am busily writing a pamphlet that I hope will help answer this question. My short answer is that for most people, only a few (if any) supplements are of ANY benefit (these might include vitamin D).
A recent scientific article, using DNA evidence to look at actual contents of pills, found that many of the supplements sold aren’t what they are supposed to be. I feel that some supplements can be beneficial, but many or even most are at best a placebo, often a waste of money and at worst actively harmful to health.
DEAR DR. ROACH: My question involves knowing that poppyseed consumption can result in urine testing positive for drugs in your body. Right now, there is a health movement that is suggesting that hemp seeds contain good protein and healthy fats and should be part of an anti-inflammatory diet. Would consumption of hemp seeds also result in the same situation, with positive drug-test results? — Anon.
ANSWER: Hemp seeds indeed contain high-quality protein and healthy fats, and may help reduce inflammation. Based on manufacturer’s information as well as a scientific study, the likelihood of having a positive drug test for marijuana is very small.
Dr. Keith Roach is a syndicated columnist.