Changing gears

I have decided to move myself away from the entertainment industry a bit. I would like to shift my focus, from here on out,  to that of the exciting world of Pharmacology! As I aspire to one day be a pharmacist, it can’t hurt to start researching its many facets now. 

For my multigenre project I believe that I would like to focus on dietary supplements. Specifically, Ephedra, the mystical chinese herb that is synthesized into Sudafed or into crystal meth, if that be your fancy.

Or maybe some other drug/supplement.

 I recently read an article on nutraceuticals in Scientific American magazine. It went into detail about how america is obsessed with increasing their intake of certain chemicals in order avoid health problems. Take Omega-3 fatty acids to lower risk of heart disease! Sound familiar? What some scientists are finding though is that most of these claims start out as anecdotal evidence at best. Omega-3 for instance was first noticed because it was found to be in high concentrations of eskimos who historically have had a miniscule rate of heart disease in their lineage. This led people to believe that it was because they ate so much coldwater fish which are chock full of Omega-3 fatty acid. With this “fact” under theit belt the dietary supplement industry has catered to the public’s fears and sold them what they wanted.

Why is this “fact” in quotations? Because whenever science trys to duplicate tests with this drug, their results are spotty. Scientists have seen tests that prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that some of these supplements do what they claim but only in a small population of the test group. Other tests show that the placebo had a better effect than the supplement. Other tests show that the supplement might have done what it was supposed to but caused other potentially worse health risks.

My questions are as follow, Why do the american public, usually the most cynical audience in the world, continue to take these supplements without proper evidence of their efficacy? Why put something in your body that hasn’t been proven to do what it claims? Is this market purely corporate controlled, meaning is it just money that these companies are after, or is it that these companies truly want to create a healthier America? Where is the FDA in all this? By their laws, the FDA has stringent regulations on drugs but not supplements. Supplements in their eyes are considered food, in which case, manufacturers do not need to prove if a supplement does what it claims.

These qustions are all interpretation, so let’s define what a supplement is. What exactly does the FDA regulate if not efficacy of these supplements? FACT Where is the dividing line between drug and supplement.

2/7/8

Instead of editing the last post, which in essence is exactly what I’m doing, I’ve decided to expand on it. My topic on the efficacy and regulation of nutraceuticals begins to take ashpe and form. Nutrceuticals are those chemicals, additives or potent substances, derived from food stuffs, taken by themselves or ingested through enhanced food, in order to improve health, increase longevity, or improve quality of life. Anything that states such claims as, “Lower your chlolesterol”, or “improve heart health” can be dubbed nutraceutical. Nutraceutical is a combination of the words nutrition and pharmaceutical.

What interests me about these products, and I’ve stated such ideas above, are the regulations determining safety and efficacy of these products. Where does the FDA stand on these products?

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