In an article published in USA Today last week, it was reported that herbal supplement sales in the United States have stalled amid concerns over their effectiveness and confusion over the vast array of products.
The concerns raised in this article seemed reasonable at first glance. The American consumer is relatively new to the herbal market.
Although I have not seen figures from Europe and Asia, I suspect that herbal sales in these regions probably show good, consistent growth.
Herbal supplements in Europe and Asia are considered part of the medicinal armamentarium (medicinal methods and equipment) by doctors, whereas in this country, physicians, by and large, consider these products ineffective at best and perhaps even harmful.
This lack of information or misinformation relates to a general lack of education by U.S. physicians.
Benefits of Ginkgo Biloba
For example, although there have been several good studies in the medical literature documenting the benefits of ginkgo biloba in mild forms of dementia and memory loss, I believe that only a small percentage of doctors in this country recommend it for their patients. This is in contrast to a country like Germany where ginkgo biloba is a prescription nutrient and is recommended by a significant number of doctors (sales of ginkgo in Germany last year were approximately $300 million).
We have the basic concept to educate and inform consumers about nutrition so that they can make intelligent, independent decisions. We stand ready to criticize and critique any studies published in the medical literature about nutritional supplementation where there is either a flaw in the study or an apparent prejudice.
In a second article just published, it was reported that high levels of a protein called homocysteine was linked to poor memory recall in the elderly. There have been other studies in the medical literature suggesting that homocysteine may actually be a neurotoxin.
It is estimated that there are tens of millions of people in this country that have elevations in homocysteine that is a normal by-product of metabolism. Elevations in homocysteine may actually be a more dangerous factor for the development of heart disease than elevated cholesterol and triglycerides.
Fortunately, homocysteine can be lowered in most cases by taking adequate doses of a combination of folic acid, B6 and B12.
Find a supplement that contains optimal doses of these important nutrients, along with other antioxidants, minerals, phytonutrients and herbs that can promote healthy cardiac function.
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