Here’s our trending supplement news for the week of June 18th. Keep up with all the latest supplement news on TSR every day.
Dr. Oz. Taxes on weight loss supplements. Kids flocking to alternative medicine. Vitamin D and breast cancer. Supplement stories are dominating news feeds more than ever these days. But if you’re anything like us, you found it hard to catch all the news you wanted to this week. (World Cup, anyone?)
Here’s our weekly roundup of the most important supplement stories you might have missed between June 18 and 22.
Dr. Oz settles mega-lawsuit over dietary supplements
No matter how much you might like the guy’s personality, it’s difficult to ignore Dr. Mehmet Oz’s penchant for pseudoscience. The TV personality—who actually is a licensed doctor—has already been in hot water for promoting supplements that don’t work on his wildly popular TV show. He’s had to defend his health claims before Congress, and a major journal article debunked some of his health cures as baseless.
And now, the celebrity doctor has reached another milestone in his history of promoting “iffy” products: a $5.25 million settlement in the class action lawsuit filed by a group of plaintiffs who purchased green coffee bean extract and garcinia cambogia after seeing the products promoted on an episode of Dr. Oz’s show. As part of the settlement, Dr. Oz agreed never again to air the two episodes targeted in the lawsuit.
But Dr. Oz hasn’t always come out the loser in court. Earlier this year, a judge dismissed a lawsuit that the North America Olive Oil Association filed after Dr. Oz aired a show in which he claimed 80% of olive oil in supermarkets was fake.
Should we really be taxing weight loss supplements?
Research shows that teens are often the biggest abusers of weight loss supplements like diuretics and laxatives, which in turn contribute to eating disorders and body dysmorphia. A recent article published in the journal Preventative Medicine explores a controversial solution for curbing the trend: a 20% tax on weight loss supplements.
The researchers simulated what effect a 20% tax would have on the percent of households that purchased diuretics, weight loss and detox products. Overall, 14,151 houses reported buying at least one product across those three categories. A 20% tax would reduce those purchases by 5.2%. Among the households with kids between the ages of 12 and 16, the 20% tax would decrease weight loss supplement purchases by 17.5%. Households with a daughter reduced their purchases by a little over 10%.
But is a tax on weight loss products a suitable public policy move? Not surprisingly, this controversial topic was quickly countered by leading supplement industry groups. The Council for Responsible Nutrition, which publishes one of the most in-depth studies of supplement use each year, said that the abuse of weight loss supplements isn’t nearly as widespread as the study’s authors would make you believe. CRN’s CEO said the group will keep fighting to make sure that consumers have access to safe, legal dietary supplements—not be taxed on them.
More kids are taking dietary supplements
Meanwhile, more kids than ever are using alternative medicines. And doctors are pretty worried about what that means for their health.
The number of kids using herbal and nutritional supplements doubled between 2003 and 2014. Although the number of kids taking alternative medicines overall is still less than 7%, 33% took some form of dietary supplement. Omega-3 fatty acids and melatonin drove much of the boom in kids’ supplement use. The study’s co-author, an assistant professor of pharmacy systems at the University of Chicago, said that the lack of research into supplement effects on children makes this a public health issue.
Certain amounts of Vitamin D could lower your breast cancer risk
But here’s a ray of hope: researchers think a common hormone could impact your breast cancer risk. The study, published in the journal PLOS ONE, found that certain concentrations of Vitamin D in the blood were correlated to lower risks of breast cancer. In case you didn’t know already, you can get Vitamin D through the sunshine, a wide range of dairy products and increasingly common supplements.
If you’re going the supplement route, take your Vitamin D with magnesium to boost its effectiveness. The market for Vitamin D supplements is projected to hit $2.5 billion by 2020, fueled in large part by an aging population that’s becoming more interested in wellness and particularly concerned with warding off bone mass loss. But now, thanks to the breast cancer study, there’s yet another reason to reach for that Vitamin D.