Nutrition and supplements

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Nutrition and supplements

Postby ed » Sun Dec 24, 2017 12:36 pm

I was listening to some Saturday radio yesterday, you know, where shills buy time on stations that have otherwise respectable content.

A large number of these shows featured dietary supplements that "cleansed" or added important "alpha somethings" or, and this was a fave, "antioxidants".

Now they didn't make specific claims, there was a lot of "you'll feel better" but it seems to me that if there is a difference in anything, with and without this stuff, one could demonstrate it fairly easily. Controlled groups, pre-during-post etc etc.

Does such research exist? Whole thing seems like bullshit to me. Is it, as I suspect, a scam?
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Re: Nutrition and supplements

Postby Pyrrho » Sun Dec 24, 2017 1:59 pm

Basically, they are good for producing expensive urine.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3309636/

Lots of other scientific papers there.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/?term=vitamins

Now I could tell you a story about a woman who was diagnosed with breast cancer and "decided to go the juicing route," instead of "the chemo route," but that would be a tale of pain and woe, last-ditch chemotherapy, radiation therapy, spinal fractures, surgeries, and agonizing death.
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Re: Nutrition and supplements

Postby sparks » Sun Dec 24, 2017 8:00 pm

Yep. Snake Oil(tm).
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Re: Nutrition and supplements

Postby Anaxagoras » Mon Dec 25, 2017 1:20 am

If you eat a reasonably healthy diet you probably don't need any supplements.

The only ones I think that have been shown to have a real benefit are like riboflavin for pregnant women, and maybe calcium supplements for women at risk of osteoporosis.
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Re: Nutrition and supplements

Postby Bruce » Mon Dec 25, 2017 6:54 am

anti-oxidants
Those used to be called preservatives before "preservatives" went from a good word (keeps your food from rotting/oxidizing) to a bad word (might cause cancer, we're not sure, the boys in the lab fed a shitload of them to rats in the 80s, but as it turns out, everything causes cancer in rats). They slow the rate of oxidation. Aging is an oxidation process. Anti-oxidation. Anti-aging. Stay young!!

electrolytes
Used to be called sodium before "sodium" became a bad word. Sodium gives liquids the ability to carry a charge. Charge has to do with electricity. Electricity is energy. Salty stuff gives you energy. Energy is EXTREME!

cleanse
Prior to having a colonoscopy, you are given a series of drugs that "cleanse your colon". Marketing people adopted this term and it has become a favorite. There are lots of products these days that have not been approved by the FDA and do not treat, cure, or prevent disease, but they are advertised to cleanse your body from toxins. I prefer to cleanse my system with KFC every so often. Give it 5 hours and the toxins come pouring right out. :P
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Re: Nutrition and supplements

Postby Abdul Alhazred » Mon Dec 25, 2017 10:29 am

Hmm.

I seem to recall something from when I was an hydraulic oil salesman ...

{ google google }

http://renewablelube.com/products/hydraulic-oils/

Yup. Anti-oxidant. :mrgreen:
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Re: Nutrition and supplements

Postby Witness » Mon Dec 25, 2017 6:23 pm

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Re: Nutrition and supplements

Postby Pyrrho » Mon Dec 25, 2017 9:14 pm

It purports to cure herpes virus infections.

Herp-Eeze™ Next Generation contains a unique blend of natural ingredients and synergistic antioxidants which have numerous, documented biological activities. Together, this unique chemistry functions to promote homeostasis in the body. Homeostasis is a state of stability and balance in the body’s internal environment. This balance is achieved by cellular systems, i.e. the immune system, nervous system, endocrine system, etc. and chemical mechanisms, i.e. inflammatory cascade, immune reaction, hormonal release, etc. that act in synchrony to control and regulate the body’s state of being. When homeostasis is disrupted by environmental or physical stresses, the proper functioning of the body’s systems may be compromised. The immune system is instrumental in maintaining homeostasis in the body. It includes the cellular and molecular components of the body that function as a defense against invasion of the body by foreign organisms and infectious agents. Some of the major components of this intricate system include white blood cells, antibodies and chemical factors such as interleukins and leukotrienes. Herp-Eeze™ Next Generation is a unique and proprietary combination of selected ingredients that work together with your immune system to assist the body to achieve cellular homeostasis.



Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid)
Zinc (AAC)
Proprietary Blend
Self Heal (Prunella vulgaris), Lysine,
Olive Leaf Extract, Clove Flower
Powdered Extract (Syzygium
aromaticum), Bitter Melon (Momordica
charantia), Rosmarinic Acid, and Acerola
Extract (Malpighia glabra).
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Re: Nutrition and supplements

Postby Anaxagoras » Wed Dec 27, 2017 1:57 am

Apparently calcium and vitamin D supplements don't help to prevent bone fractures.

http://beta.latimes.com/science/science ... story.html

f taking more vitamin and mineral supplements is part of your plan for a healthier new year, a new study may prompt you to reconsider.

Researchers who scoured the medical literature for evidence that calcium and vitamin D pills could help prevent bone fractures came up empty.

Their analysis focused on adults older than age 50 who lived on their own (that is, not in a nursing home or other type of residential care facility). Fractures are a serious health concern for this population — previous studies have found that about 40% of women in this age group will wind up with at least one "major osteoporotic fracture" at some point in their lives, and that among adults who break a hip, 20% died within a year of their injury.

The researchers, led by Dr. Jia-Guo Zhao of Tianjin Hospital in northeastern China, combed through clinical trials, systematic reviews and other reports published in the last decade, since late 2006. They identified 51,145 people who were included in studies assessing the role of calcium and/or vitamin D in preventing bone fractures.

Their findings appear in Tuesday's edition of the Journal of the American Medical Assn.

Among the 14 trials that pitted calcium supplements against either a placebo or no treatment, there was no statistically significant relationship between use of the mineral (in pill form) and the risk of suffering a hip fracture. Nor was there any clear link between calcium supplements and fractures involving the spine or other bones.

Even when the researchers accounted for each study participant's gender, past history of bone fractures, the amount of calcium they consumed in their diets and the dose of the calcium pills they took (if they did), there was still no sign that supplements were helpful.

An additional 17 trials examined the role of vitamin D, which helps the body absorb calcium. Once again, they found no statistically significant link between supplement use and hip fracture risk. Ditto for fractures in the spine and elsewhere.

Upon drilling down to certain subgroups, they found that for people who started out with at least 20 nanograms of vitamin D per milliliter of blood, adding more vitamin D through supplements was associated with a greater risk of hip fractures. The same was true for people who took high doses of vitamin D supplements just once a year.

Finally, there were 13 trials involving people who took a combined calcium-vitamin D supplement. As before, there was no statistically significant link between supplement use and the risk for any kind of fracture or combination of fractures. That held up even when accounting for gender, past fractures, supplement dose, dietary calcium or baseline blood levels of vitamin D.

The researchers noted that thousands of people in this final group were participants in the Women's Health Initiative, a long-term study sponsored by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute in the U.S. Earlier reports based on data gathered by the Women's Health Initiative found that calcium and vitamin D supplements were associated with a lower risk of fractures, but only for women who took hormone therapy after menopause. To get a clearer picture of the direct link (if any) between supplements and fracture risk, Zhao and his colleagues opted not to include data from women on hormone therapy.

It's still possible that calcium and vitamin D supplements are useful for people who live in nursing homes or other residential facilities, the study authors wrote. Such people are more likely to have osteoporosis, due to a combination of poor diet, less sun exposure (which the body needs to synthesize vitamin D) and other factors.

But for older adults who live on their own, they wrote, the results are clear: "These findings do not support the routine use of these supplements."


So that leaves the only one that I think has been conclusively studied by science as folic acid for pregnant women. There's a bunch of other things they tell pregnant women to take, like iron supplements, but I'm not sure that's been conclusively proven to make a difference. It's also possible to get enough folates in food, but the supplements make it easier to know that you are taking enough.
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Re: Nutrition and supplements

Postby gnome » Wed Dec 27, 2017 5:48 am

My physician is fairly insistent that fish oil supplements are helpful if I don't wind up with enough actual fish in my diet -- which is true, as nobody else in the house will eat it besides me and the person that does the cooking.
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Re: Nutrition and supplements

Postby Anaxagoras » Wed Dec 27, 2017 6:44 am

gnome wrote:My physician is fairly insistent that fish oil supplements are helpful if I don't wind up with enough actual fish in my diet -- which is true, as nobody else in the house will eat it besides me and the person that does the cooking.


Well, it probably can't hurt. The scientific evidence seems to be spotty however:

https://nccih.nih.gov/health/omega3/introduction.htm

Key Facts

There has been a substantial amount of research on supplements of omega-3s, particularly those found in seafood and fish oil, and heart disease. The findings of individual studies have been inconsistent. In 2012, two combined analyses of the results of these studies did not find convincing evidence these omega-3s protect against heart disease.


See, they do so many studies that you can in fact find a few of them that show a beneficial effect. Reproducibility is a problem though. We're also learning about something called publication bias. A study that finds an effect is more likely to be published than one that finds no effect. And there are other research biases. Generally the standard for statistical evidence is 95% confidence, so at base level you would expect that 1 in 20 studies would be wrong, but things like publication bias and p-hacking will end up skewing that even more. Your doctor is probably honestly telling you what he thinks the evidence shows, but even doctors can be misled. For the scientists who study these things, their very careers may depend on finding something positive, so even though they are basically honest people, there is an incentive to put a thumb on the scale.

In 2012, two groups of scientists conducted meta-analyses of these studies; one group analyzed only studies in people with a history of heart disease, and the other group analyzed studies in people both with and without a history of heart disease. Neither meta-analysis found convincing evidence of a protective effect.
In 2014, researchers examined the results of the newest high-quality studies of omega-3s, all of which were completed in 2005 or later. Of nine studies that examined the effects of omega-3s on outcomes related to heart disease, such as heart attacks or abnormal heart rhythms, only one found evidence of a beneficial effect.

One in nine sounds remarkably close to what you might expect due to simple random distribution. Roll a d20 nine times and there's a halfway decent chance of getting at least one 20. Then you have to ask how many variables did each study look at.
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Re: Nutrition and supplements

Postby Witness » Sat Dec 30, 2017 5:11 am

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Re: Nutrition and supplements

Postby ed » Sat Dec 30, 2017 11:44 am

Anaxagoras wrote:
gnome wrote:My physician is fairly insistent that fish oil supplements are helpful if I don't wind up with enough actual fish in my diet -- which is true, as nobody else in the house will eat it besides me and the person that does the cooking.


Well, it probably can't hurt. The scientific evidence seems to be spotty however:

https://nccih.nih.gov/health/omega3/introduction.htm

Key Facts

There has been a substantial amount of research on supplements of omega-3s, particularly those found in seafood and fish oil, and heart disease. The findings of individual studies have been inconsistent. In 2012, two combined analyses of the results of these studies did not find convincing evidence these omega-3s protect against heart disease.


See, they do so many studies that you can in fact find a few of them that show a beneficial effect. Reproducibility is a problem though. We're also learning about something called publication bias. A study that finds an effect is more likely to be published than one that finds no effect. And there are other research biases. Generally the standard for statistical evidence is 95% confidence, so at base level you would expect that 1 in 20 studies would be wrong, but things like publication bias and p-hacking will end up skewing that even more. Your doctor is probably honestly telling you what he thinks the evidence shows, but even doctors can be misled. For the scientists who study these things, their very careers may depend on finding something positive, so even though they are basically honest people, there is an incentive to put a thumb on the scale.

In 2012, two groups of scientists conducted meta-analyses of these studies; one group analyzed only studies in people with a history of heart disease, and the other group analyzed studies in people both with and without a history of heart disease. Neither meta-analysis found convincing evidence of a protective effect.
In 2014, researchers examined the results of the newest high-quality studies of omega-3s, all of which were completed in 2005 or later. Of nine studies that examined the effects of omega-3s on outcomes related to heart disease, such as heart attacks or abnormal heart rhythms, only one found evidence of a beneficial effect.

One in nine sounds remarkably close to what you might expect due to simple random distribution. Roll a d20 nine times and there's a halfway decent chance of getting at least one 20. Then you have to ask how many variables did each study look at.


hmmmm ... recall the prayer research. They captured a myriad of "dependent" variables from a hospital population and then "prayed" over half of the patients and looked for a correlation.

Putting aside the ethical issues, the study had one major, killer flaw: one does not lightly engage in repeated measures.
Meet the Bonferroni Correction: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bonferroni_correction

Statistical hypothesis testing is based on rejecting the null hypothesis if the likelihood of the observed data under the null hypotheses is low. If multiple hypotheses are tested, the chance of a rare event increases, and therefore, the likelihood of incorrectly rejecting a null hypothesis (i.e., making a Type I error) increases.


The Bonferroni correction compensates for that increase by testing each individual hypothesis at a significance level of alpha /m, where alpha is the desired overall alpha level and m is the number of hypotheses. For example, if a trial is testing m=20 hypotheses with a desired alpha = 0.05, then the Bonferroni correction would test each individual hypothesis at alpha =0.05/20=0.0025}.


At first glance the problem is not obvious, in fact, it looks like some sort of pseudoscientific precognitive hocus pocus. It is an explicit recognition of your point about a bunch of tests: one out of 20 will show an incorrect positive. This corrects for that.

In my ancient experience, medical doctors make for really lousy researchers.
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Re: Nutrition and supplements

Postby Bruce » Sat Dec 30, 2017 3:55 pm

In my ancient experience, medical doctors make for really lousy researchers.


They don't even have time to keep up on current research.

Mrs. Bruce and I both went through several doctors before we each found one that was adequately competent. There are a scary number of doctors out there who are still using treatmenta that were debunked ages ago and give you blank stares when you ask about modern treatments.

The worst one I encountered was a doctor that misdiagnosed a rash for a mite infestation and prescribed a cream that he said to use only once and throw away. I did so and felt horrible an hour later, like I had been poisoned. Turns out I was poisoned because that cream had been outlawed for human use more than a decade ago.

I went to see a dermatologist, but by the time I got an appointment, my leg had swollen to the size of a log. Turns out the rash was a common eczema flare, which is easily treated at first, but can spread throughout the body if left untreated.

I was a mere day or two away from a hospital stay and possibly losing my leg. The dermatologist was so outraged by my doctor's misdiagnosis and prescription of a known poison that he said that he was going do something about it. I don't know if he followed through, but I never went back to that doctor and his practice is no longer there.

The lesson here is that information is now readily available to do your own research, and you should do so.
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Re: Nutrition and supplements

Postby Bruce » Sat Dec 30, 2017 4:27 pm

A couple of years ago, my mom had a heart transplant. After she had recovered, I went to visit her and noticed she was taking a crazy number of pills. Turns out she was seeing three different doctors, her general practioner, her endocrinologist, and her cardiologist. All three were prescribing her a cocktail of drugs and none of them were paying attention to what the other had prescribed. My mom never questioned and didn't keep the other doctors updated on what all she was taking.

I noticed that all three were prescribing calcium suppliments, and several of the drugs already had calcium in them. It made me curious if it were possible to overdose on calcium. A quick Google search later and I found a recent publication from the American Heart Association. They found that taking more than 1g of calcium per day will actually damage the heart. My mom was taking a grand total of 5g per day.

I made her take the article to her cardiologist along with the list of other meds and for god sakes, mom, ask questions. You don't want to fuck up your new heart. Thankfully, the cardiologist straightened things out.

The lesson here is that if you are seeing more than one doctor, you have to keep them up to date on what other drugs you are taking and ask questions. If one or more of those doctors doesn't think this is important or doesn't follow up, then it's time for a new doctor.
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