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See Inside The Science Behind Your Health

Getting to Know Nutraceuticals

Claims for some of these food-based dietary supplements stand up to scientific scrutiny, but others falter

For many nutraceuticals, the most compelling evidence for efficacy remains anecdotal or, at best, based on hints of benefit from small or poorly controlled studies. Still, Weaver says, that doesn't stop several of the researchers at her institute from using nutraceutical supplements themselves. Anecdotal evidence really shouldn't be very convincing to scientists, she says, but people remain hopeful. That hope, to a large degree, is what fuels the popularity of dietary supplements. But it's good science that ultimately will determine whether the hope is well placed or not.

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