Is potassium effective against high blood pressure?

I’ve written previously about how salt (sodium) only marginally raises blood pressure, and how the evidence that there is any benefit to reducing salt intake in the diet is weak at best. Now it’s time to look at that other salt, potassium. While sodium raises blood pressure, potassium supposedly lowers blood pressure, and many people have been given the recommendation to replace their table … Read more

Does omega-3 prevent heart disease?

I have a confession to make. For at least the last ten years, I’ve taken an omega-3 supplement every day. Religiously. Why? I literally have no idea. I don’t remember exactly when or why I started taking it. Presumably I read somewhere that it was a good idea. This was before I started studying medicine, and the decision certainly wasn’t based on any thorough evaluation … Read more

Can vitamin C prevent heart disease?

Funnily enough, considering its many purported benefits, vitamin C (ascorbic acid) is one of the vitamins that doctors are least likely to prescribe to patients. Vitamin A is given to all small children in many countries, as is vitamin D. Vitamin D is of course also frequently prescribed to patients with osteoporosis. Vitamin B1 (thiamin) is regularly given to alcoholics, to prevent Wernicke-Korsakoff disease. B3 … Read more

Zinc effective against respiratory infections?

I’ve previously written about the ability of vitamin C and vitamin D to protect against respiratory infections. Vitamin C has been found to shorten the duration of respiratory infections slightly, although it needs to be taken continuously throughout the year in order for there to be any benefit. Vitamin D has been found to shorten the frequency of respiratory infections, by a small … Read more

Is curcumin effective for knee pain?

Two randomized controlled trials have been published in the recent past, one last year, and the other just a few months back, that look at the effectiveness of curcumin as a treatment for knee pain, and more specifically for knee pain induced by osteoarthritis.

A systematic review published in Canadian Family Physician in March found that the medications most commonly prescribed at present are often … Read more

Vitamin C: effective against the common cold?

In 1970, two time Nobel prize winner Linus Pauling published a book called “Vitamin C and the common cold”. In it he argued that large supplemental doses of vitamin C could be used to decrease the length and severity of colds. This was the beginning of decades of controversy surrounding vitamin C (a.k.a. ascorbic acid) and its role in preventing respiratory infections, and resulted in … Read more