A new independent newsletter free of financial conflicts may help people make better choices in the baffling, hype-infested marketplace of vitamins, minerals and botanicals.
The Dietary Supplement, a 16-page quarterly published in Rockville, Md., is reported, written and bankrolled by nutritionist Paul R. Thomas, former staff scientist for the National Academy of Sciences Food and Nutrition Board.
In its first issue the newsletter tackled echinacea (fittingly: It was Thomas' difficulty choosing an echinacea product for himself that prompted him to launch the newsletter).
It has since reported on the value of vitamin E for ailing hearts and investigated the use of glucosamine and chondroitin supplements for arthritis.
An analysis of ginkgo biloba is scheduled for the October/December issue.
The goal, Thomas says, who has a doctorate in nutrition education from Columbia University's Teachers College, is to help people figure out whether a supplement is worth taking. For each product type, Thomas locates and analyzes the best and latest peer-reviewed articles in scientific journals.
He also offers roundups of retail products, comparing price, ingredients and label information. Thomas admits the detailed report is not necessarily for the novice, but for "a fairly well-educated, health-conscious consumer."
The newsletter has accepted no money for advertising or sponsorship. Thomas is self-funding it until -- he hopes -- subscription revenues pay the bills. Meantime, Thomas is keeping his day job with a startup Internet company.
The Dietary Supplement, $28 annually, (301) 881-7008, www.thedietarysupplement.com
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