Desire for a ‘natural’ cure drives demand for supplements

New York Times photo

New York Times photo

[Star Tribune, March 7, 2015] Blois Olson’s ankles hurt so much that the pain made him walk “like an old man.”

The St. Louis Park man consulted his doctor, who told Olson he had early arthritis and recommended a supplement — glucosamine — for relief. For the next six months, Olson downed glucosamine tablets every day.

He’s among the more than half of American adults who take dietary supplements to prevent or treat health problems.

Use of supplements — including vitamins, minerals and herbs — has become a $32 billion industry, despite scant evidence of their effectiveness.

At the Penny George Institute for Health and Healing, in Minneapolis, supplements are included in many treatment plans. The institute’s philosophy: People want to use supplements, so doctors need to provide guidance.

“We encourage people to always come in for some sort of provider consultation first,” said Dr. Courtney Baechler, cardiologist and vice president of the institute. To read the entire article, go to

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