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  1. Kratom warning

    Concerns about kratom continue as the FDA identifies traces of heavy metal, including lead and nickel, in some kratom products. This warning serves as another reminder to stay away from kratom. Any use runs the risk of abuse, overdose, and possible death.

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  2. Safety concerns: Supplement use in elderly

    According to a recent survey, up to 77% of older adults use supplements. About 34% believe they are risk free. Most of them are also taking prescription drugs. Remind your patients that “natural” doesn’t mean “safe,” and that some supplements can cause serious side effects and interact with drugs. Our interactions and adverse effects checkers are great tools to help counsel your patients on supplement safety.

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  3. NEW CE/CME: Natural Medicines for Anxiety

    Anxiety disorders affect about 18% of the population in North America. Take our new CE course to learn about kava, passion flower, skullcap, and other natural medicines and mind-body practices that might help with some types of anxiety disorders. Also, find out about potential safety concerns with using natural medicines for anxiety, and learn which supplements might make anxiety worse.

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  4. Nootropics: memory supplements are often mislabeled

    Nootropics is a class of drugs or supplements intended to improve thinking skills and memory. But many nootropic products on the market contain multiple ingredients, and some of these products contain none of the ingredients listed on the product label at all.

    Over the past decade, the nootropic supplement market has boomed in the US. As the demand for these supplements increases, the number of ingredients under the “nootropics” umbrella has broadened.

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  5. Fish oil for heart health: does it help or not?

    The fish oil debate continues. Over the years, research on using fish oil for heart health has been conflicting and confusing. Whether fish oil SUPPLEMENTS offer the same benefits as regularly eating fish continues to be a point of contention.

    In 2018, the American Heart Association recommended that healthy people eat 1-2 servings of fish weekly to lower the risk of heart disease. This recommendation was based on previous research that showed modest benefits. However, a new meta-analysis found that increasing fish oil intake from the diet OR supplements offers no benefit. The reason for this conflicting data is likely because most of the studies included in the analysis evaluated only fish oil SUPPLEMENTS rather than dietary fish intake. So, while fish oil supplements don’t appear to help healthy people prevent heart disease, eating fish regularly, especially if it replaces a less healthy protein, might modestly reduce the risk for heart disease. Also, fish has nutritional benefits beyond heart disease prevention. People should continue to eat fish and other foods that provide omega-3 fatty acids.

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  6. Palm oil ban: what you should know

    Palm oil is a versatile fat used in various foods, soaps, makeups, and cleaning products. But several European countries have banned this ingredient. This may have some people wondering if palm oil is unsafe.

    Safety isn’t the issue. When eaten in food amounts, palm oil is likely safe for most people. It’s solid or semi-solid at room temperature, has a neutral taste and smell, and is a healthier alternative to trans fats. It’s also cheap, making it a useful and long-lasting ingredient in a variety of products. Despite its versatility, the UK supermarket chain Iceland recently announced that it will be removed from all of its branded products. So what’s the issue?

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  7. Counseling on common food allergies: is sesame now a concern?

    According to a new study, the most common food allergens in the US are shellfish, milk, peanut, tree nut, fish, egg, wheat, soy, and sesame. However, only the first eight of these foods must be clearly identified on a food label.

    Patients with confirmed or suspected sesame allergy may have heard that the FDA is considering adding sesame to the list of major allergens. If sesame is added to the list, food products containing sesame will be required to clearly note it as an ingredient on the food label. But for now, there’s no guarantee that sesame will be added to the list. Until sesame is classified as a major allergen, it can still be listed on food labels as simply “spice,” “flavoring agent,” or “tahini.” Tell patients with sesame allergy to continue avoiding foods with these questionable listed ingredients. Also, remind anyone with a confirmed severe food allergy to make sure they carry a rescue medication (epinephrine) with them at all times.

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