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From The CriticsReviewer:Sharon W. Ewing, PhD, FNP, APRN, BS(University of Arizona College of Nursing)
Description:This book provides a commentary on the latest scientific research published about 79 popular dietary supplements, both herbal and nutraceutical. The supplements are listed in alphabetical order by its commonly used name with the Latin name or acronym following in parentheses. This edition has been recently updated, now including 340 new references and 10 additional supplements.
Purpose:It is intended for health professionals or very savvy nonprofessionals who need to keep up-to-date with the potential harms or benefits of common supplements. The authors do a great job of presenting the current research in a balanced way. References commonly cited to lend authority to product advertising are also presented, regardless of the quality of the research.
Audience:The author has successfully prepared a book that should interest any healthcare provider who is curious enough about the claims of the various supplements to look up what is actually known about them. The format is concise and to the point; information is easily located even without an index. Each chapter begins with an efficacy summary for each marketing claim that is drawn directly from the literature, making the weight of research evidence visible at a glance. The author, a registered dietitian herself, has gathered together 15 PhDs and registered dietitians as reviewers, giving the book an uncommon authority.
Features:For nearly 80 popular supplements, the author reviews and comments on the current state of the literature. Media and marketing claims are identified;any warnings or interactions that might exist are listed. The key points of the literature are summarized, possible food sources listed, dosage information or bioavailability described. The author presents the relevant research studies, listing the significant results, pointing out weaknesses where they exist and giving the researcher's conclusions. Each section ends with a bullet list of safety warnings and references. Dietary Intake Tables, a supplement intake assessment, and the government's dietary supplement regulations are found among the six appendixes. A very useful list of web addresses is found there, too.
Assessment:In this fast-developing the field, the update was great to see. This is a reference book more in tune with the scientific training of healthcare professionals. It goes into greater depth about each of the supplements it discusses than Skidmore-Roth's Mosby's Handbook of Herbs and Natural Supplements (Mosby, 2001), and has a greater focus on nutraceuticals. It is definitely worth the price for the assessment of the research studies alone.