Monday, October 8, 2012

Physical Damage Coverage And Personal Injury Protection

When buying car insurance, you must know type of coverage you really need. There are several kinds of coverage you can choose from such as liability coverage, property damage liability, bodily injury liability, fire and theft coverage, comprehensive coverage, collision coverage, physical damage coverage, personal injury protection, underinsured driver coverage, uninsured driver coverage, gap insurance, rental car insurance, and pay-per-mile coverage. Now, we will discuss physical damage coverage and personal injury protection.
          Physical damage coverage is defined as an umbrella under fire and theft, collision, and coverage fall. This type of coverage can be optional when you have paid your car. There are several considerations that will urge you to have physical damage coverage such as if that you have a luxury car or your car retains a much higher resale value. Personal injury protection is also known as no-fault coverage. This specified coverage is a sort of complement to bodily injury liability coverage. If you have this coverage, your medical expenses can be covered up to eighty percent. The medical expenses which can be covered include lost wages, rehabilitation, and funeral costs. In some states, this coverage is an optional coverage. So, you had better check whether you are eligible to get this coverage from your state.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Finding the best life insurance through one-stop resource

Insurance is now becoming an important part in your life. It is because many people, maybe including you, think that insurance can be a preparation to face a bad condition or any kinds of unexpected things. We realize that in life, normally, people cannot predict what is going to happen ahead of them. Therefore, they need to have something to hold on to when they face such bad condition. Unfortunately, not all people can find the best life insurance for them and their family, especially when they are the first time user of insurance. Therefore, life insurance rates is available to help people who want to have the best insurance.
This is actually a one-stop source of life insurance. Here, you can find various offers of life insurance offered by different providers. It means that, it is very possible for you to collect complete information about different insurance providers at one time without having to visit the real company. Not to mention, you can also compare some different providers directly through the site. By comparing them, it is expected that you will be able to select the one, which has the lower price and lower rate, yet with complete coverage and the best service for you.

Get your loan easily in your home with Online Payday Loan!

A payday loans will help us ineverywhere to answer our financial problems. People sometimes deal with those unexpected expenses in their life for examples get a car accident, a home repair, and even family problems. Using online payday loan, you can get a financial increase while you are just staying at home.
To get online payday loan you must be 18 years old at least. You also require showing your proof of employment or another source of regular income of $1,000 or more per month. Then, you must have a bank account in order to get approved. You can get up to $1,500 in a instant payday loan.
Because it is online, the approval process is very fast since your personal data and history can be verified quickly using computerized system. It is also easy for the lender to estimate your potential amount you suppose to borrow. We absolutely will keep your data safely. So, none will ever know your privacy. Are you interested? Contact us for more detail.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Preventing Osteoarthritis in Men Over 50

Over 50? Take action now to limit your osteoarthritis risk
If you're a man over age 50, your odds of getting Osteoarthritis are going up. In fact, research shows that by age 60, most men will have some form of this degenerative joint disease.
Osteoarthritis simply explained is a deterioration of the soft cartilage material lining our joints. The cartilage breaks down, leaving rougher, uneven surfaces where the joint grinds instead of slides. At worst, the cartilage can wear away entirely, leaving direct bone-on-bone contact.
Osteoarthritis normally shows up in the following joints:
  1. Hips
  2. Knees
  3. Spine
  4. Shoulders
While osteoarthritis causes are subject to much discussion, two main factors seem universal:
  1. Joint overuse or repetitive stress
  2. Joint injury
In limiting the risk of osteoarthritis, we will focus primarily on joint overuse and repetitive stress.
Regarding joint injury, leading a high-impact lifestyle, where you're likely to fall hard or impact the joints with blunt force, will increase your osteoarthritis risk. But hey, you gotta live your life, so make these lifestyle decision with discretion.
Osteoarthritis Causal Factors
Most men over 50 don't understand joints very well. For our purposes, it's important to understand that the skeletal system, including where bones connect as joints, aren't really designed to bear a lot of weight.
Our skeletal role is mostly just to provide a rigid structure for muscle attachment. The following two factors can contribute greatly to joint stress:
  1. Obesity; carrying too much weight
  2. Muscle atrophy; weak muscles
For example, if you're a man about 50 and six feet tall, your body weight should be in the neighborhood of 175 pounds, give or take a few. For this same person who might weigh, say 250 pounds, that's an extra 75 pounds of weight your body must support.
On top of that, throw in a sedentary lifestyle where muscles have shrunk to a limited capacity in supporting the joints. After all, a joint is really only as strong as the muscles and tendons that hold it together.
The combined effect is "settling into the joints", placing tremendous loads on the knees, hips, and spine. Now think of joint cartilage as the "contact points" of this load.
After years of abuse the joint cartilage just starts to fall apart.
Risk Prevention
Limiting osteoarthritis risk in men over 50 then is pretty self-evident, but it's up to you as the individual to take the right actions now, so here are the keys:
  1. Lose weight. Universally, this is the single best thing any man over 50 can do to improve overall health. However, specific to osteoarthritis, maintaining proper weight is an imperative.
  2. Strengthen your muscle base. Resistance training (weight lifting) is the best way to achieve muscle strength gains. If you don't have resistance training experience, find a reputable personal trainer to help start you. Any program must include total body strengthening with heavy emphasis on increasing core strength.
Osteoarthritis is not completely preventable in men over 50, however understanding the causes and taking specific action now will limit anyone's risk in a favorable way.
Remember, it's your body, the only one you'll ever have. It's up to you to take the steps required to maintain a healthy body and a healthy, happy life.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Is It Possible to Win the Battle Against the Humble Germ? (Part 2)

In our previous article, we postured that by using strong Chemical cleaners, they may help us to eradicate Germs.
Many of us believe there is a probability that we are becoming sick because we are being exposed to, and contracting these infections, due to ingesting harmful Germs and bugs. Our Doctors are convinced that these Germs are the primary causative factor for many of our common health issues.
This article continues to explore the possibility of our hope to win the battle of the bugs.
Search and destroy
We are engaged in a quest to remove all vestiges of Germs and bugs from every corner of our domiciles. We should pay attention to the Retailers who sell the powerful Cleaning products to u. We should also believe what the Manufacturers Tell us about their Chemical Cleaning supplies; (our erstwhile allies). Should we trust in their propaganda; and diligently stock up on every conceivable cleaning product and pest exterminator that they have made available for us on the Supermarket shelves?.
Chemical weapons?
When we are in possession of their chemical weapons of mass destruction; we are empowered to seek out and destroy the objects of our disaffection easily and conveniently. As we walk down the Supermarket aisles; we can hear that familiar jingle resonating in our ear; "I'm Louie the fly; Louie the fly; straight from rubbish tip to you." This friendly old Jingle, reassures us that we are doing the right thing; (or so we tell ourselves). Stocking up, and using such products like this, makes us feel good too. Have we not done our bit to protect our family's from those horrible bugs?
Filthy critters
They leave their tell tale marks on our windows; our furniture; and worse still; even in our kitchens, The mere thought of their trails being deposited all over our food stuffs and possessions, is enough to make one feel queasy.
We have declared war on everything that is disgusting, and proclaim their doom! The decision is made; they must not be allowed to exist. Cockroaches, silverfish, or other creepy crawlies, will no longer be permitted to roam free around our homes. Let it be known; for us to be victorious, we must remain vigilant. Never let your defences down for a second; otherwise the bugs will surely gain the upper hand.
House cleaners who know what to do.
We know that only the strongest prevail; and so we must therefore utilise the most powerful of chemical cleaners. Using these products will ensure that all of the surfaces in and around our home are washed down perfectly, destroying all of these pests in their wake! If we can afford them; we should insist on engaging knowledgeable Domestic House Cleaners.
They must be Cleaners who know what cleaning products to use.They should carry the strongest chemicals in their cleaning supplies kit!
Cleaning supplies that pack a punch!
No stone must be left unturned, as we inspect every corner of our home, so as to ensure that all surfaces; (which may harbour those nasties we are so concerned about). We must sanitise, disinfect, and cleanse every dark crevice from all grime and residue, We cannot rest, until we have sprayed, scrubbed, and meticulously cleaned everywhere in our homes. It is only at this point, that we may be certain we have destroyed all ofthe Germs.
Can we now begin to reassure ourselves that we are winning the battle of the bugs?
Is this a phony war?
Unfortunately, we may have to eventually concede that we are trying to win an unwinnable war. Do you mean to tell me we may falter; and that we are failing, in spite of a steely resolve to get rid of household Germs and pests?
But we possess the strongest chemical cleaners and sprays don't we? Are you suggesting that success over the bugs is not imminent? Well; it is you who will determine if you really believe in your heart of hearts, that winning such a war against an invisible, elusive and tricky enemy makes sense or not.
The evidence
Think for a moment; have you not noticed that you and your loved ones still continue to fall ill on a regular basis? Is it possible/inevitable, that despite your best efforts to erradicaste these bugs; that they will prevail; and your family will continue to succumb to them?
In our third and final article; we explore the ultimate answer to the question; Is this "Bug fight;" a futile exercise?

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Are Chiropractors Turning Their Backs On An Aging Population?

The Healthcare Industry is Booming, but Who's Getting Paid?

The healthcare industry has become a multibillion dollar monster, but while patients see costs skyrocket and insurance companies, pharmaceutical manufacturers and even attorneys see their profit margin grow, why is it that chiropractic providers are seeing decreased revenue per patient year after year?
Experts consider mismanagement, exorbitant waste and fraud to be some of the main elements that contribute to the out of control numbers and although rarely contributing to the problem, Chiropractors are feeling the pinch. A recent report from The Institute of Medicine found that over $750 billion was attributed to these factors in 2009 alone. This was almost thirty percent of spending for that year. Other factors such as the increase in average age, expensive advances in treatment and care as well as "defensive" care are also responsible for the rise in costs.
Are You Missing Out By Not Catering to The Needs of An Aging Population?
The population is aging and according to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 71 million Americans, or 19.6% of the population will be 65 years old or older by 2030. This is an increase of 7.2% compared to the 35 million Americans 65 years or older in the 2000 census. As the population ages we see an increase in chronic illness such as poor joint health, deteriorating bone density and neurological disorders as well as the need to utilize health care services more frequently, yet the reimbursement to chiropractic and other medical practitioners to care for and treat these patients adequately has decreased. Private practitioners are finding that while they are well versed in patient care, they are not as prepared to keep up with ever changing guidelines for reimbursement. The system lacks the infrastructure to provide Chiropractors with the support they need.
There is also a growing need for more coordination between providers so that treatment is streamlined to properly treat the patient, as well as avoid duplication of services that cost providers in expected reimbursement.
Defensive Care Creates Challenges for Most Doctors while Creating Opportunity for Chiropractic
In 2004, The Congressional Office of Technology Assessment found the need to define defensive medicine. This ever growing issue occurs when the practitioner feels the need to order more tests or procedures to not only treat the patient, but to assure they don't subject themselves to liability issues or frivolous malpractice lawsuits when the patient outcome is less than desirable. This type of care weighs heavily on the system by driving up health insurance costs, medical provider malpractice insurance costs and even causing some doctors to turn away high risk patients. Many of these "high risk" patients could find tremendous benefits from the healing power of Chiropractic care.
Medical Advancements Create a "True Healing" Void?
Advances in pharmaceuticals, biopharmaceuticals and treatment options have provided many patients with treatments and solutions for their ailments, but the money spent on pharmaceuticals in the U.S. is almost twice what is spent in the rest of the world. The biomedical industry has also grown by an average of 10 percent per year since 2004. Chiropractic care could address many of the problems facing these over-medicated members of the U.S. population.
When it comes to health care costs for the patient and the lack of reimbursement for most medical providers the solutions aren't always simple. However, the facts clearly point to a need for shift by the Chiropractic community in both marketing and demographic focus.
Getting Paid to Be The Hero
If the services your practice offers do not cater to the specific needs of our aging community your practice is missing out on a valuable revenue stream and seniors in your area are missing out on affordable wellness. Our senior population has on average a higher level of care plan compliance when compared to other demographics and are extremely vocal about the Doctors they love outperforming every other demographic 2 to 1 when it comes to referrals. Investing both time and capital adjusting your practice to welcome this important patient demographic could be the best business decision you make.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Constipation: An Overview

Constipation is an extremely common condition. It is estimated that up to 4 million Americans suffer from constipation at a given time. Constipation affects children, women, and elderly most commonly, although individuals of all age can be afflicted. If you are having difficulty passing stool, or having incomplete or infrequent passage of stool, it is likely that you are experiencing constipation. For reference, the normal bowel movements varies person to person, but usually range from 3 bowel movements per day to 3 times per week.
The most common causes of constipation includes dietary and life style factors. If you do not take enough fibers, do not drink enough water, or do not exercise, then, there is a higher likelihood of developing constipation. Other factors that are thought to be important in constipation includes medications. Medications that you take for high blood pressure or heart condition, medication for depression, calcium and iron pills are all important in causing constipation. Patients with diabetes or thyroid condition also have higher incidence of constipation. Another important cause of constipation is colon cancer. If you are over the age of 50 and is developing a new onset constipation, this possibility needs to be fully excluded.
In the treatment of constipation, it is very important that we modify certain life style and dietary factors. To do this, you will need to increase fiber intake that will result in increased volume or bulk of stool, and increase hydration to soften the stool. This is analogous to the situation with toothpaste. With a new toothpaste, it is extremely easy to squeeze out the toothpaste. But when there is very little toothpaste left or it is dried out, it becomes very difficult to squeeze out the toothpaste. Thus, it is important to increase the fiber and fluid in your diet to increase the bulk and soften the stool. It is also helpful to exercise on a regular basis to increase colonic activity. Other helpful measures include ingesting dietary fiber supplements. They can be purchased under the brand name of Metamucil or Citrucel. You can also soften the stool by taking stool softener sold under the name of Colace or mineral oil. Colonic stimulants are another type of medications that you can take to relieve constipation. They are sold under the brand name of Dulcolax and Senokot. Medications that require prescription includes Miralax, Amitiza, Lactulose, and Orlistat, and they can be helpful in certain situations.

Monday, July 23, 2012

A Healthier Life Through Chiropractic Care

Let's face it. Today's lifestyle doesn't provide us with many opportunities to stay healthy. Between long commutes and spending hours sitting in front of a computer, we don't give ourselves many options to move around much.
However, this inactivity can cause people to suffer from a variety of issues such as back pain, neck pain, and headaches. Most Atlanta chiropractors recommend that those suffering from these ailments receive treatment.
Another factor affecting our lives in a negative way is nutrition. With an abundance of fast food, junk food, and processed food, it makes it difficult to eat healthy on a regular basis. If you are looking to enhance your chiropractic care, Atlanta chiropractors state that proper nutrition can enhance the treatment.
While some aspects of nutrition may appear to be easy to remember, it helps to put it all into perspective. One of the key elements to good nutrition is hydration. When you're thirsty, your best option is water. Water is an essential part of our body, especially our joints. It keeps our joints lubricated which will prevent any excess friction or wear known to cause osteoarthritis. Dehydration will also cause the discs in your spine to become stiff which could lead to potential injury and a limited range of motion.
While we all know a balanced diet is good for our health, it's also an essential part of musculoskeletal health. When you eat the correct portion of protein, fat, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals, you provide your muscles and bones with the right elements to stay healthy. Every essential nutrient plays an important role in your overall health but it's important to pay attention to a few that stand out.
Calcium promotes healthy bones and can prevent osteoporosis. Omega-3 can reduce inflammation along with many other health benefits. Your Atlanta chiropractor may also recommend that you supplement your diet with glucosamine or chondroitin, especially if you are at risk for osteoarthritis. Glucosamine can prevent cartilage breakdown in joints and chondroitin can actually help rebuild it.
There is some controversy about adding these supplements to your diet. Some research shows the favorable results from them while others have shown no improvements from taking them. Since glucosamine and chondroitin may interact with some prescription medicines, you may want to consult with your doctor before including them in your diet.
Overall, staying active and eating the right nutrients will help to keep you healthy. Consult with your local Atlanta chiropractor to find out more information on how chiropractic care can enhance a healthy lifestyle.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Kidney Stones - Topic Overview

Are you looking for ways on how to dissolve kidney stones? Before you look for ways , it is best to know first some information about their cause. This brief article will give you valuable information about remedies that will surely help you deal with kidney stones formation inside your body.
Quick Facts
· It is a hard and like crystalline minerals formed inside your urinary tract or kidney.
· The medical term for it is Nephrolithiasis.
· The five basic kinds are calcium, uric acid, struvite, cysteine and drug-induced.
· The common symptoms are blood in your urine or hematuria and flank pain that can be severe.
· There can be a formation once there is a decrease in volume of your urine and if you form stone substances excessively in the urine.
· The major reason why there is formation is due to dehydration. If you live in a hotter climate and do not make it a habit to drink water, you are a candidate for formation of stones.
· If you have specific medical conditions like gout or take certain supplements or medications, you are at a higher risk.
· Hereditary and dietary factors can also be a factor.
You will undergo treatment if you have severe conditions of stone formation. However, you need to help yourself dissolve kidney stones through proper diet and following natural remedies for kidney stones.
Your diet is a big factor that leads you to form kidney stones. There are different types of kidney stone formation that can be prevented if you follow a strict diet. Drinking sufficient fluids especially water throughout the day is an excellent preventative.
You must limit sodium or salt because it helps increase your excretion of calcium in your urine. In result, you will form kidney stones. It is much better to reduce your salt intake than to reduce your calcium intake.
Foods that are high in animal proteins like fish-contain purines, eggs and meats can increase your chances of forming calcium stones and uric acid stones. Foods that are rich in calcium can help you prevent in the formation of kidney stones and assist you in maintaining your bone density. Try to avoid as well foods high in oxalates like rhubarb and spinach in order to prevent formation of calcium oxalate stones.
It is best to consult a doctor on how for your best treatment options. Take note, there are different kinds of treatment for a certain type of stone. Some can be treated with home remedies and some must be treated through surgery. Your doctor will be able to help you as well to know the causes of the kidney stone formation. Seek help from a dietician in planning your meals in order to lessen your chances of having to deal with the problem again.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Useful Information on In Vitro Fertilization Treatments

A mother is born the moment she gives birth to her child. Pregnancy is certainly a turning point in a women's life. In today's hectic world, consumption of contraceptive i-pills and eating unhealthy diet can affect the ability of a woman to conceive. This situation affects the physical and mental health of a woman. Unfortunately, there are thousands of women all over the world who are unable to give birth or conceive in the natural way. It is a tough situation for the couple. If you too are one of them, then there is ray of hope as now you can get in touch with a fertility clinic. These clinics help woman who are not able to conceive. Medical experts have introduced In vitro fertilization to help such women.
In vitro fertilization has earned great popularity in the recent years. If you are thinking about the treatment, you need to become familiar with the benefits and IVF cost. Babies conceived through In vitro fertilization are also called as Test Tube Babies. This treatment gives hope to those women who cannot have babies. It is an option for those women who have reproductive complications ranging from tubal blockage, uterine or tubal scarring, or infertility resulting from endometriosis. This treatment consists of the fusion of an egg and sperm in a controlled medical environment. The fertilized egg is then introduced into the uterus of the woman. A single round of IVF involves implantation of about 3 or 4 embryos, as the chances of failure of a single embryo are more. Because of the multiple embryos being implanted into the uterus, there is a greater possibility of the treatment being successful.
The main aim of In vitro fertilization is to help woman to become pregnant with safe treatments. Thus, in case if fertilization is not taking place in her womb, the medical experts fertilize the ovum and sperm in the test tube. After 3 to 5 days the embryo is placed in the woman's uterus. Thus, after the successful implantation of the embryo in the uterus there are better chances that a woman would get pregnant. Normally, IVF costs are about $12,500 a cycle. As the first cycle produces odds of about 25% effectiveness, it may take multiple cycles to produce a viable embryo. This treatment has come as bliss for many couples who can't have babies. It is a less invasive procedure that is a ray of hope for many couples. There are infertility clinic that provide this treatment.
Surrogacy procedures have benefitted a number of gay couples and it has helped them to have their own babies. This medical procedure has made gay parenting possible. If you are a lesbian couple who wants to have your own babies, then you can check for the best clinic that offers Lesbian ivf. The fertilization clinics make sure that you get the best medical treatment so that the chances of the development of the embryo would increase and you can become pregnant. The procedure is very easy if you opt for reliable and trustworthy medical experts. The rate of success depends on the age. You must give it a try now and not wait until it's too late.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Considerations Regarding Treatments For Facial Mole Removal

When you are in the process of looking for a treatment to remove your facial moles, there are sure to be many considerations to be made. We will name four of the most important ones here. It is our aim in this article to fully flesh out these considerations so we can have a better grasp of what we're up against. At a general level, we have to keep it in mind that the removal of moles (just like the removal of all other skin moles), tends to entail the use of certain surgical procedures. Facial moles can also be sometimes excised off the skin with a sharp surgical tool. Anesthesia would have to be administered prior to the actual excision, though. Aside from those, cauterization is also a possibility, as noted by many medical experts.
Now, the first thing you have to keep in mind when seeking mole removal treatment is that the treatment will almost certainly be invasive. We have already mentioned two of these options: excision and cauterization. Those who are looking for less invasive treatments would most likely turn to laser treatment. However, you have to know that laser treatment has not gained much success when it comes to deep-seated moles. Unfortunately that leaves us to make our choice between two highly invasive procedures: cauterization and excision. If you go for cauterization, we must warn you that some excision would still have to be performed before the mole is burned off.
Your next concern would be the cost that mole removal would demand from you, as it could be quite pricey. A health insurance would take care of this problem for you. But if your health insurer deems mole removal as a cosmetic procedure and does not have really anything to do with your health, you might not be able to rely on your health insurance.
The third thought would be: would the treatment leave a scar after the mole has been removed? You would have to think about your options carefully because even if you managed to get rid of the mole, you might be left with an uglier scar.
Next, you have to think carefully and assess if the treatment could possibly lead to you having infections. Remember that, in essence, you are undergoing a surgical procedure if you are having your moles removed. All surgical procedures have a risk of infection, and that includes the mole removal treatment, no matter how simple or straightforward you deem it to be.

Friday, June 29, 2012

What Foods and Diets Cause Low Libido in Men

In another article I mentioned "the big 3" factors on how to increase sexuality in men. I want to get a little bit more specific now on diet. In particular, what foods and ingredients would destroy libido.
Soy is the first culprit here. Avoid this ingredient altogether! Yes soy is a bad thing and can increase estrogen levels in both men and women. Soy is everywhere in processed food so beware! Next time you are out shopping look at the ingredient labels and you'll see what I mean! Some will argue to me and say "what about food like tempeh?" Now here's a little bit of the difference. Fermented and unfermented soy are two different things. Fermented soy is actually fine. I personally wouldn't have too much of it but understand, fermented soy is a big process in preparing food, getting rid of things like phytic acids and such and such. Too much in depth information to cover in a small article. Unfermented soy is the former in which I mentioned. Soy is cheap, easily used as a filler for food and definitely bad for you. Throw away that tofu!
Trans fat is the next thing here. Maybe people will argue with me and say, even yes it is bad, it won't exactly lower libido. I say it does since trans fat clogs your arteries and clogged arteries mean less blood flow to any part of your body. It won't affect libido directly (at first) but it can affect it indirectly. Trans fat is not usually found in the label so you have to look at the ingredients again for this. However, trans fat won't be said on the ingredient label since it's not really called trans fat. To find trans fat just remember the word "hydro" If you see anything with that word then put it back on the shelf. An example is "hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated vegetable oil" etc. Know the margarine on the shelf that stays there for 5+ years and ever wondered how that exactly worked? Trans fat, or that hydrogenated goodness is the reason.
Low fat diets actually cause testosterone to plummet. Our body needs fat and needs a lot of it from food. Saturated fat, polyunsaturated, monounsaturated fat, we need them! Trans fat is the only fat we should avoid. We also need cholesterol too since that is a steroid hormone in our body and our body, even if it produces 70% of its daily requirement still needs it from foods. Fat is what helps cell membranes function, helps hormones get regulated and is what keeps us alive.
I've got journal research articles on my site here listing what the consequences of low libido are, what the benefits of increased libido are and more how to's, stuff to avoid and a fast track to improving your love life. Pass my page or article to all you know. This isn't just about how to increase sexuality in men but it's about how to increase health in people world wide.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Functional Foods: The Lines Have Blurred

The line between food and medicine has blurred considerably in the last two decades. Today our grocery aisles are flooded with foods that promise health benefits beyond their basic nutritional value. These benefits range from memory lapses cured by herbs, to digestive disturbances cured by beneficial bacteria (probiotics), to heart attacks prevented by plant sterols. In between there are thousands of products that claim to promote health or prevent disease.
The market for these so-called "functional foods" has become one of the fastest growing industries in the US. Already a multi-billion dollar industry, experts predict annual growth rates of 7% or higher for the functional food market, but no one dares predict how far this new wave may carry us. The red wine "pill" has already been developed, and some researchers already foresee the day of edible vaccines.
While the trend is certainly good for the health of processed food manufacturers, environmentalists and health policy experts worry that as the clamor for functional additives provide a slippery slope for more genetically modified foods. Nutritionists and scientists also see hazards for the consumer that may outweigh the benefits. Chief among them is simple safety.
Regulatory authorities around the world tend to be years behind the companies introducing these products. Our own FDA requires nutrition facts only for those substances with FDA daily values, such as vitamin A or calcium. Amounts of ingredients such as omega-3 fatty acid and probiotics are not regulated, so consumers can't know how much they should be ingesting, but manufacturers are not required to disclose how much or little they are putting in their foods.
Another concern is the possibility of overdose, or hyper-vitaminosis. The combination of taking multivitamins and also consuming fortified nutrition bars, health drinks and cereals may be too much of a good thing. Vitamin A, for example, is required at low doses, but may be toxic at levels only 10 times those required to prevent deficiencies.
Studies have suggested that long-term intake of a diet high in vitamin A may promote the development of osteoporotic hip fractures in women.
(1) The Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) has also warned about consuming too much folic acid from food. The HSPH doesn't suggest we give up our daily multivitamin-multimineral supplement, but that we avoid heavily fortified foods that deliver a full day's dose--or sometimes more--of folic acid.
(2) The most basic concern, however, is that these new prescription foods might encourage consumers to switch from a diverse, healthy diet to a basically unhealthy one - with an increasing reliance on functional: additives or modifications. The front package claim, "Fortified with essential vitamins and minerals," on products like breakfast cereal and drinks can be a powerful distraction from the fact that these products often contain high amounts of sugar. While enriched or fortified foods can make significant contribution to nutrient intakes, they do not have the same nutritional benefits as the whole foods for which they substitute. The whole food will always be superior.