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Ask Dr. Gott 3/20
Are 'supervitamins' worth super cost?
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    DEAR DR. GOTT: Would you please comment on the supposed supervitamins manufactured by a company named USANA Corp. that is listed on the stock exchange? Are they efficacious and worth the exorbitant prices that they charge for their products?
    DEAR READER: The USANA Corp. is based in Salt Lake City, Utah. The company makes nutritional, weight-management and skin-care products, selling through a marketing system of more than 140,000 independent distributors similar to Amway and Avon. USANA also produces skin and hair-care products under a different brand name. I am unfamiliar with their "exorbitant" prices for the merchandise they manufacture, but I am advised the company reported sales of almost $375 million in 2006.
    Consider that a product is manufactured, packaged, shipped to a sales person and ultimately delivered to your home through a distributor. That's a lot of middlemen getting a piece of the financial pie. With clever advertising, attractive packaging and promises of a better product, any company can feel justified in charging what the market will allow.
    Are the products better? I don't know, but I suggest you review the ingredient panel of one of the vitamins you have already purchased from USANA. Then visit your local chain pharmacy or department store to compare ingredients. Are they the same except for the dramatic difference in price? After all, aspirin is aspirin, and many vitamins are — you guessed it — vitamins. You can purchase a well-known brand name or a generic store brand. You're still getting aspirin or vitamins that give similar results. The decision is up to you. If you are willing, experiment with vitamins containing the same ingredients that cost substantially less and still provide good results. You will be ahead of the game financially. If, on the other hand, you believe you have to spend more to get better results, then stick with a more costly brand.
    To give you related information, I am sending you a copy of my Health Report "Vitamins and Minerals."

    DEAR DR. GOTT: I have been taking Premarin for years and have had terrible night sweats. I stopped the medication, and not only did my sweats stop, but my legs feel better, and I can walk with ease.
    DEAR READER: I cannot speculate on why your sweating occurred, since one of Premarin's purposes is to reduce the incidence of hot flashes. On the down side, leg cramps have been reported with its use. Perhaps hormonal changes and long-term use of the product have played a role in your recent unpleasant symptoms. Listening to your own body is always important, as nature tells you things if you just pay attention. The elimination of your night sweats and leg pain tells me that you did the right thing in stopping the hormone replacement.
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