Monday, September 12, 2011


I don’t often wander through the nutraceuticals* section of the grocery store or pharmacy (mostly because the stuff is way too expensive and the results are too sketchy), but I was looking through a Costco coupon book and came upon the ads for nutraceuticals.

Now the ads don’t make a lot of health claims, though there is the “Green Tea Fat Burner” that clearly seems to be making a claim. But there are some really odd ones out there. There’s “Grape Seed.” Um, couldn’t I just eat grapes and chew the seeds? And “Cranberries.” I’ve got those in my freezer.

What about CoQ10—it sounds like a French chicken dish. Don’t forget Acai Berry Cleanse. I’m not sure what that’s supposed to be, except there’s a picture of a woman’s stomach on the front. So it’s some kind of intestinal gut soap? I thought that many kinds of intestinal bacteria were good and made important things like vitamin K.

What about “CinSulin?” That sounds like something you’d hear preached against on Sunday mornings. My favorite was “Flush-Free Niacin.” Would you really want to put something like that in your mouth? Eew.

I’m sure I’ve stepped on some toes. (I don't mean to--if they help your health, great). Nutraceuticals are big business in the US and a lot of people swear by them. But it seems to me that you could be taking a LOT of these things. I counted 26 different supplements, and those are the ones on sale.  (Okay, I don’t need “Prostate Health” because I haven’t got one of those.) But it seems to me that a balanced diet and exercise would be a cheaper, more proven route to health.

On the other hand, my fingernails are still recovering from the paint/lacquer stripper I used on the bathroom doors. Maybe I need to try “Hair, Skin & Nails,” which is probably a modern version of Knox gelatin that teenage girls used to drink/eat to make their nails stronger. I never tried it; flavorless jello would never make it past my gag reflex.

*Note a “nutraceutical” is a combination of the words “nutrition” and “pharmaceutical.” It’s a food or food-based supplement that is supposed to bring health or medical benefits.


  1. The magazine "Woman's World" has a feature EVERY WEEK that lists another batch of "must-take" health store supplements. Who in the world can afford to take all those things? They aren't regulated, either, which increases my wariness. However, I do take CoQ10, and plan to write an article about it.

  2. The flush-free niacin isn't as bad as it sounds. Wayne was given a prescription for niaspan to lower cholesterol since another drug wasn't doing all it should be. We filled the niaspan order and found out that it wasn't on the normal drug formulary, so even with the drug insurance it cost $1 per pill.

    I went online and found out it was basically niacin, but niacin can cause flushed cheeks, so they came up with flush-free niacin. The idea is to have healthy pink cheeks...not flaming red, take me to an E.R. now, cheeks and forehead :>)

    I think the dr. forgot he was supposed to be taking we conveniently forgot about it, too~

  3. Hi Connie,
    I didn't know another way to contact you, so I hope you don't mind that I'm doing it through your comments.

    I'm reading Screwing up time next week and reviewing it on my blog on the 27th, and I wondered if you'd be willing to do a blog interview with me on friday the 30th. I'd email you the questions by the 23rd and there would only be 10-15.

    Thanks so much! I hope to hear back soon :)

    - Amy