Every day we see a plethora of natural products introduced and sold as dietary supplements for improving health and well-being of an individual with little evidence behind these claims. Let’s look at the common myths about these popular natural products and the scientific explanation behind them for improved health.
Myth: Herbs such as valerian, chamomile and kava are effective for insomnia.
Fact: Valerian, chamomile and kava used as sleep aids are not effective for insomnia and even safety concerns have been raised on some of these products. For instance, kava supplements have been linked to a risk of severe liver disease. Whereas, relaxation techniques such as progressive relaxation, deep breathing exercises and guided imagery can help improve sleep. Certain studies also point out the fact that melatonin can help in treating certain sleep disorders, jet lag and sleep problems due to different work timings and shifts.
Myth: The passionfruit herb can alleviate stress and improve overall health.
Fact: There are minimum number of studies on passionfruit conducted in people and hence, we don’t have much proof to support any of these claims. Certain scientific evidence suggests the advantage of practicing mindfulness meditation (a mind and body practice that helps to focus and clear attention) to reduce symptoms of stress such as anxiety and depression.
Myth: Consuming Vitamin C supplement daily safeguards a person from the attack of common cold.
Fact: Many reviews propose the fact that prophylactic vitamin C never helps to reduce the occurrence of cold, but maybe useful in minimizing the incidence of cold for people exposed to brief periods of severe exercise (skiers, training soldiers and marathon runners).
Myth: Eating garlic supplements prevents heart disease.
Fact: While there are no evidences supporting the fact that garlic supplements prevent heart disease, minimum evidences exist about their usefulness in lowering cholesterol levels or changing other risk factors for cardiovascular disease.
Myth: Turmeric and Ginkgo biloba supplements aid in preventing the onset of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease in people.
Fact: A small number of laboratory studies support the use of curcumin in affecting brain functionality and causing dementia, but the results have never been demonstrated in clinical trials. Physical exercise is believed to procrastinate the risk or onset of dementia in an individual. For more details on the link between exercise and dementia please visit the website www.firsteatright.com. Ginkgo biloba is not effective against reducing the incidence rate of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease incidence either.
AVOID FRAUD. EAT SMART.
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Dietitian & Nutritionist Dr. Nafeesa Imteyaz.