MD, PhD, FMedSci, FRSB, FRCP, FRCPEd.

‘HELLO’ is, of course, a most reliable source of information when it comes to healthcare (and other subjects as well, I am sure). Therefore, I was thrilled to read their report on Meghan Markle’s list of supplements which, ‘HELLO’ claim, she takes for “calming any stress or nerves ahead of the royal wedding on 19 May.” The list includes the following:

  • Magnesium,
  • Vitamin B-12,
  • Multivitamins,
  • ‘Cortisol Manager’ (30 tablets cost US$ 65)
  • Ashwagandha.

Not only does ‘HELLO’ provide us with this most fascinating list, it tells us also what exactly these supplements are best used for:

Magnesium helps to keep blood pressure normal, increase energy, relieves muscle aches and spasms, and calms nerves, all of which will be beneficial to Meghan. Meanwhile, B12 drops will ensure Meghan doesn’t become deficient in the vitamin due to her diet, which is largely plant-based and contains very little animal products, which are one of the main sources of B12.

A multivitamin will provide Meghan with her recommended daily intake of various vitamins and minerals, while Cortisol Manager is a “stress hormone stabiliser”, which is designed to support the body’s natural rise and fall of cortisol, helping promote feelings of relaxation and aid better sleep. The supplement contains L-Theanine, Magnolia, Epimedium and Ashwagandha – although Meghan said she sometimes takes additional doses of the herb, likely at periods of high stress.

Ashwagandha is a herb that helps to moderate the body’s response to stress, bringing inner calm and also boosting energy. The supplement comes from the root of the ashwagandha plant and can be taken in tablet form…

I hope I don’t spoil the Royal wedding if I run a quick reality check on these supplements. Assuming she is generally healthy (she certainly looks it), and now being aware that Meghan eats a mostly plant-based diet, here are the most likely benefits of the above-listed supplements/ingredients:

  • Magnesium: NONE
  • Vitamin B-12: DEBATABLE
  • Multivitamins: NONE
  • L-Theanine: NONE
  • Magnolia: NONE
  • Epimedium: NONE
  • Ashwagandha: NONE

Personally, I find Ashwagandha the most intriguing of all the listed ingredients, not least because Meghan said she sometimes takes additional doses of the herb. Why might that be? There is very little reliable research on this (or any of the other above-listed) remedy; but I found one placebo-controlled study which concluded that Ashwagandha “may improve sexual function in healthy women”.

Before my readers now rush out in droves to the next health food shop, I should issue a stern warning: the trial was flimsy and the results lack independent confirmation.

PS

She also seems to have a weakness for homeopathy

21 Responses to Good news ahead of the wedding: “Meghan Markle is a fan of alternative medicine”

  • Still- ashwa whatever the heck it was you said.
    Must be good.

  • Hello.
    Does ‘Hello’ have any rivals in its market place for readers who are gullible and desperate, living out their humdrum lives vicariously through celebrities?

    If so, their editors might like to review the Professor’s piece and run a spoiler?
    ‘Private Eye’; ‘OK’; ‘Journal of Psycho-sexual Medicine’; ‘BS Weekly’; all the above?
    Do copy them in and let them know Prof, you owe it to humanity!

  • Any idea if I could use ashwagandha to replace oregano? Maybe 50–50?

    Re Vitamin B-12. I remember my father being prescribed injectable Vitamin B-12 for low blood pressure back in the 1950’s. I jokingly mentioned it to a resident when I was in the medical clinic a couple of years ago and she was quite indignant.

    Come to think of it, it might have been Vitamin B-6.

    • B-12 injections have been used by the medical profession as a more ethical alternative to sugar pills. The act of giving in injection instead of a pill seems to enhance the placebo effects without significantly increasing the risk. The possibility of a small effect helps one to CYA. When dealing with the “walking worried”, doing nothing may make them seek something more harmful.

      • The problem in my father’s case was, as far as I know, he was not among the “walking worried”.I think he was in the doctor’s office for something else and the doctor noticed low blood pressure. Harry, the doctor, may have thought that it was a valid treatment. There were a few wild treatments kicking around in the 1950’s though most doctors had dropped bleeding and leeches by then. 🙂

        B-12 injections have been used by the medical profession as a more ethical alternative to sugar pills.

        Self-administered injections, ignoring the fact it is a placebo, as a more ethical alternative to sugar pills does not strike me as terrible rational. Poking needles into oneself is unlikely to be safer than swallowing a sugar pill.
        Obviously Dad should have been proscribed ashwagandha but medical science was not that advanced in the 1950’s.

  • Ms Markle will fit in nicely with the Royals, eh? Nice to know that gullibility is an interternationial trait. Do the schools take any responsibility for failing to instill the slightest bit of skepticism in the young?

    • Do the schools take any responsibility for failing to instill the slightest bit of skepticism in the young?

      They do, and they are quite proud of it too. They call it “religious freedom and respect for our students’ personal beliefs”.

  • At least her urine becomes more precious ?

    • Please be more precise. “More precious” her urine will become after the wedding, because of the wedding. Or after eating fly agaric, for certain aficionados. But I guess you meant more expensive (to produce)? And that is already in the upper echelons. – I am much more surprised to not see a direct link to this brilliantly named Cortisol Manager. @Edzard: Isn’t this the source for most of her herbals (Like Whitania)? Reading your quip on this I thought the mag claimed that she ingested quite a handful of pills. But it looks as if she just takes a few “multis” (Rationale: the more pills they take the crazier they are. Who *really* needs a dozen placebos when a few royal ones will do just as fine 😉

  • B12 shots were used commonly in the 70 and 80’s as placebos for malaise, etc. It was my impression that the often patient requested treatment became less common as science based medicine was more prevalent in basic medical education and CME courses/journals. Of course this excludes the real B12 deficiency proven by lab testing that causes Pernicious Anemia with peripheral neuropathy and other features, which was a small percentage of those getting supplementation. In Pernicious Anemia a gut protein is deficient that aids absorption of Vit B12 . So oral supplementation did not work and therefore injection was used for true B12 deficient patients, until the last 10 or so years when it was discovered that these patients often will absorb enough via oral route if the dose is adequate, and levels are monitored. Even today most B12 supplements are still given as placebo, and mostly by alternative to real doctors.

  • Please, please, please…
    This blog is one of my regular sanity boosters, so piling royals atop future royals on s bed of other odious nonsense means I’ll have to take an extra dose of “more harm than good” tomorrow morning.
    However, I’ve made a note in my diary to cut myself off from “news” media on 19th, 20th and 23rd May.

  • She could always try a healthy diet. Would do her good.

  • The “remark” about the supplements is of course simplistic. Only blood tests for nutritional deficiencies can tell if there are shortages or not.. It is clear that people who have a healthy lifestyle reduce the pressure on health care. The majority of people do not really care about that (healthy lifestyle) and you can see that when you look around you.
    In NL where I live, more than 1 million people have been diagnosed with diabetes. In UK the situation will not be much better.
    Meghan can become a role model if she promote this (a healthy lifestyle) occasionally. And -to be honest- Meghan looks fantastic, maybe with some additional help from the supplements ;).

  • Most people that are interested in a healthy and active lifestyle do this to prevent diseases like obesity and diabetes. They are interested in healthy foods and (often-mostly) take some additional supplements.
    If you are not interested in healthy foods (you eat whatever you want) obesity and diabetes type 2 (can) arise as a side-effect ;).

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