2 Health Trends to Avoid (and 2 to Try)
Roughly 72 percent of adults say they look online for health information, but with "miracle cures" gaining traction, it can be hard to tell what's good for you and what's baloney.
The healing power of oil pulling is based on the notion that swishing oil (like coconut, sunflower, or sesame) in your mouth can prevent gingivitis, strengthen teeth, and eliminate bad breath. But does it work? The evidence is weak, says dentist Robert Collins, DMD, clinical professor at the University of Pennsylvania's dental school. "No one in the scientific community recommends oil pulling, because there aren't sufficient data to prove it has any advantages." For oral health, Collins suggests brushing with fluoride toothpaste twice and flossing once daily. Both get the job done better than any fad treatment.
Verdict: Skip it.
This supplement, which includes ingredients like calcium, folic acid, and vitamins A, B (notably biotin), C, and D, has taken the haircare industry by storm with its promise of longer, thicker, stronger, more vibrant hair. While the results might not be quite as dramatic as some users claim, it's worth a try, says Seymour Weaver, MD, a dermatologist who specializes in hair loss. "Hairfinity has many of the right nutrients for strength and growth, and I have clients who have seen positive results," Weaver says. "But manage your expectations: Hair grows only about half an inch each month, so you probably won't notice a real difference for three to six months."
Verdict: Try it!
Photo: Elena Elisseeva/Hemera/Thinkstock
Manufacturers of Garcinia cambogia supplements—derived from the dried rind of a Southeast Asian fruit—say that the extract speeds weight loss because of its hydroxycitric acid content, which interferes with fatty acid metabolism and may suppress appetite. But this claim is questionable. A 2011 review of clinical trials published in the Journal of Obesity concluded that the pills were unlikely to lead to sustainable weight loss.
Verdict: Skip it.
Made from green tea leaves grown partly in a shaded environment, matcha is said to contain even more potentially cancer-preventing antioxidants than regular green tea. One study found that matcha has at least three times more epigallocatechin gallate—a tumor-fighting ingredient—than other green teas. So should we drink up? Cleveland Clinic wellness manager Kristin Kirkpatrick says yes, though there's been limited research so far. But if you're tempted to try a matcha tea detox (known on the Internet as a teatox), Kirkpatrick says not to bother. You'll need much longer than a three-day cleanse to see long-term rewards.
Verdict: Try it (but skip the detox)!