(Dr. Edward F. Group) If you’re looking for a supplement that can help you feel energized, promotes healthy aging, and keeps you feeling your best, look no further than CoQ10. Supplemental CoQ10 benefits include increased energy levels, healthy and youthful-appearing skin, mental sharpness, and immune system support.
(Neville Goddard) In part 3 of The Neurogenesis Regimen, we will finish this article series with another three supplements, two foods and one exercise to help support brain, memory and nervous system health.
When you buy supplements, you expect them to contain the advertised ingredients, right? And I’m sure you certainly don’t expect them to contain any pharmaceuticals, such as Viagra. But a U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) analysis published in JAMA Network Open reveals that hundreds of dietary supplements actually contain pharmaceutical drugs. And yes, that includes Viagra, a drug that treats erectile dysfunction (ED). 
Researchers found unapproved and potentially dangerous drugs in 746 dietary supplements. The majority contained sexual enhancement drugs, but some contained weight-loss or muscle-growth drugs.
The team reviewed an FDA database of contaminated supplements from 2007 to 2016, and most of them tested positive for sildenafil, a.k.a., Viagra, as well as other ED drugs in sexual enhancement products. Additionally, the analysis found sibutramine and the laxative phenolphthalein, both banned by the FDA, in weight-loss supplements; and steroids or their analogues in muscle-building products.
Some of the Shocking Findings
Of the 746 supplements:
80% were contaminated by 1 pharmaceutical.
20% contained at least 2 pharmaceuticals.
2 of the supplements contained 6 unapproved pharmaceuticals.
One supplement contained a drug that increases blood pressure and another drug that lowers it.
However, fewer than half of the products were recalled. What’s more, 97.6% of the pharmaceuticals found in the products weren’t listed on the products’ labels.  
The authors of the report state that the presence of unknown pharmaceuticals in supplements “poses a serious public health risk.” Take Viagra, for instance. The erectile dysfunction medication can cause severe side effects, such as priapism (a painful, long-lasting erection), sudden hearing loss, increased intraocular (eye) pressure, heart arrhythmias, and even heart attack.  
According to Medical News Today, sildenafil is particularly dangerous for men who:
Take nitric oxide donors, nitrates, and organic nitrites;
Are advised to avoid sexual intercourse because of cardiovascular risk factors;
Have severe liver impairment;
Have kidney disease;
Have hypotension (low blood pressure);
Have had a heart attack or stroke, and
Have hereditary degenerative retinal disorders.
More than 50% of the U.S. population takes dietary supplements, believing them to be carefully regulated and accurately labeled. In reality, the FDA has little to do with supplements, unless it comes to light that something is wrong with them.
The Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 dictates that dietary supplements are regulated as food. That means the products are not subjected to the same premarket safety and effectiveness testing as pharmaceutical drugs.
Dr. Pieter Cohen, a general internist at Cambridge Health Alliance in Somerville, Massachusetts, wrote in a commentary accompanying the study: 
“The agency’s failure to aggressively use all available tools to remove pharmaceutically adulterated supplements from commerce leaves consumers’ health at risk.”
However, Daniel Fabricant, president of the Natural Products Association, a supplement industry trade group, says that sexual enhancement, weight-loss, and muscle-building products shouldn’t fall into the same category as vitamins and other traditional dietary supplements. The contaminated products found in the FDA database are “fringe products” made by unscrupulous manufacturers that are sold online or in convenience stores. 
As a general rule of thumb, if you wouldn’t eat gas station sushi, you shouldn’t take gas station supplements.
“We’re completely on the FDA’s side here. This is someone spiking the product. They’re saying it’s a supplement. It’s not a supplement in any way, shape, or form.”
He said he hopes the FDA will bring misdemeanor charges against companies that add pharmaceuticals to their so-called supplements.
We have to agree, especially considering previous research by Cohen and his colleagues shows that adulterated supplements continue to be sold in stores even after they’ve been recalled. They were left on the market possibly due to the FDA’s inability to reach manufacturers to get them to issue a recall. It is also possible that some of the companies simply denied the agency’s request to recall their products. 
Asleep at the Wheel
Though the FDA does not regulate supplements, the agency is not powerless to stop shady companies that manufacture adulterated products. The health watchdog can send companies warning letters, visit factories, and issue mandatory recalls.
The study found, however, that the FDA rarely dips into its bag of tricks to stop the sale of potentially-dangerous products. Out of the 146 companies involved in the manufacturing of the tainted supplements, the FDA issued just 7 warning letters. No mandatory recalls were ordered.
“There’s just no way to interpret this other than the FDA is simply not doing its job.”
A viable solution to the problem would be for Congress to change dietary-supplement regulations to force companies to register supplements with the FDA before they can sell them. That would require each supplement to have an identifying registration code that would allow the FDA to know exactly what supplements are being sold in the United States. If a supplement was found to be tainted, the agency could “deactivate” the code so customers couldn’t buy it, Cohen explained.
Researchers announced in April that they may have figured out how eating meat causes heart disease. The nutrient choline, an essential nutrient found in meat and eggs, may feed a certain gut bacteria which produce a compound that makes blood sticky and prone to form blood clots. These blood clots can lead to heart attacks and strokes. 
The study, led by Dr. Stanley Hazen of the Cleveland Clinic, was a small but intense one involving 18 participants – 8 who were either vegans or vegetarians and 10 who routinely ate meat, dairy, and eggs. Each volunteer was given a supplement of 500 mg of choline per day. The recommended daily choline intake for women is 425 mg, and for men it’s 550 mg.
After a month, the participants’ blood levels of a compound called trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO) rose 10-fold. Tests showed that their blood became much more likely to form clots, leading the team to surmise that “TMAO supercharges platelet function.” Hazen added:
“What is clear from this study is if you increase the choline in your diet, the TMAO level goes up and that changes your platelet function.” 
Both the vegans and the vegetarians had significantly lower choline levels at the beginning of the study than the meat-eaters did. Their levels were still much lower than the meat-eaters’ after taking choline supplements.
The researchers did not find, however, that the volunteers who took the choline supplements had an actual higher risk of heart disease. The study did not last long enough or include enough participants to demonstrate such a conclusion.
But they did discover that other compounds found in animal products had a similar effect on gut bacteria. The team wrote:
“We previously showed gut microbial production of trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO) from dietary nutrients like choline, lecithin, and L-carnitine is linked to the development of cardiovascular diseases.” 
The scientists also found that taking low-dose aspirin seemed to reduce the stickiness of platelets and also reduced the choline-associated increases in TMAO and platelet clotting, although it didn’t completely eliminate them. The finding is of particular concern for people who are at an elevated risk for cardiovascular problems, whose increased risk of blood clots may not be overcome by low-dose aspirin. 
It also got the researchers to thinking that it might be worthwhile to study whether low-dose aspirin might help otherwise healthy people who have high levels of TMAO in their blood. First things first, though – they need to figure out why aspirin seems to lower TMAO before they can proceed. Besides, aspirin can cause its own slate of health problems.
So, what is the best way to avoid excess, clot-promoting choline? Well, the team isn’t recommending that people stop eating animal products, but they are urging people to avoid choline supplements. Hazen says:
“Foods that raise TMAO may increase your risk for clotting and thrombotic events. Unless prescribed by your doctor, avoid supplements with choline. A Mediterranean or vegetarian diet is reported to help reduce TMAO.” 
Mediterranean diets have a long history of being heart-healthy. There is no specific guide to follow when it comes to the eating pattern, but Mediterranean diets are rich in fruit, vegetables, beans, nuts, legumes, lean cuts of poultry and fish, and olive oil. Little to no red meat is included in the diet.
Resveratrol – a substance found in red wine, peanuts, and berries – may reduce artery stiffness in people with Type 2 diabetes, according to a new study presented in early May at the American Heart Association’s 2017 Scientific Sessions in Minneapolis. 
The study’s senior author, Dr. Naomi M. Hamburg, of the Boston University School of Medicine, said:
“This adds to emerging evidence that there may be interventions that may reverse the blood vessel abnormalities that occur with aging and are more pronounced in people with Type 2 diabetes and obesity.”
For the study, researchers recruited 57 obese, middle-aged patients with Type 2 diabetes. Nearly 2/3 of the participants were African American, and slightly more than half were women.
The aorta, the largest artery in the body, stiffens with age and illness, increasing the risk of heart attacks and strokes. Researchers tested the participants’ arterial stiffness using a test called the carotid-femoral pulse wave velocity, or CFPWV, after the volunteers consumed daily doses of 100 mg/day of resveratrol for 2 weeks, followed by 300 mg/day of resveratrol for 2 weeks.
The test was performed a second time after participants underwent comparable placebo dosing for a total of 4 weeks.
In addition, researchers assessed the ability of the participants’ blood vessels to expand and relax as needed to allow for changes in blood flow, an important indicator of healthy blood vessel function.
Overall, the study found that participants who took the resveratrol supplements had less arterial stiffness, but it wasn’t statistically significant.
In a subset of 23 patients who had severe aortic stiffness at the beginning of the study, however, the 300 mg dose of resveratrol reduced aortic stiffness by 9.1%, and the 100 mg dose reduced aortic stiffness by 4.8%. 
Among the patients that took a placebo for 4 weeks, aortic stiffening worsened.
Past studies in animals showed that resveratrol activates a gene (SIRT1) that seems to delay aging and development of several diseases. To test whether the same thing occurs in humans, researchers took samples from the blood vessel linings of 7 patients and looked at SIRT1 activity. After resveratrol supplementation, they found that gene activity increased slightly in humans.
That doesn’t necessarily mean that the antioxidant can undo age-related changes in the arteries, but it’s a step towards helping scientists figure out how resveratrol can reverse age-related changes in the arteries.
Lead study author, Dr. Ji-Yao Ella Zhang, Ph.D., also of the Boston University, said:
“We found that resveratrol also activates the longevity gene SIRT1 in humans, and this may be a potential mechanism for the supplements to reduce aortic stiffness.
However, the changes in this small and short-term study are not proof. Studies with longer treatment are needed to test the effects of a daily resveratrol supplement on vascular function.” 
Hamburg cautions that resveratrol may not be as beneficial to people without Type 2 diabetes.
“The effect of resveratrol may be more about improving structural changes in the aorta, and less about the relaxation of blood vessels, and people with more normal aortic stiffness may not get as much benefit.”