While the majority of the research highlighted on this site comes from human trials, some of the scientific studies referenced involve laboratory animals, usually rats. Something I’m not happy about and would like to explain why.
While there may be a limited need for these kind of experiments with unpredictable chemically synthesized compounds, I personally feel animal studies are overused and a very poor substitute for carefully controlled human studies. For that reason I will always favor quoting the latter where possible on Superfood Profiles.
This is especially relevant in the case of food medicines like amla or tumeric that have been used successfully for thousands of years on the Indian subcontinent with rarely reported side effects. It is doubtful any research scientists are reading, but if they are could I respectfully suggest quickly moving on from animal studies of already well-known foods and herbs and getting them to the sick people who need them.
Decades of small dose studies on rats in favor of proper human trials often looks like delaying tactics. Could this be due to research showing superfood extracts producing better results than expensive (and much more profitable) patent drugs, without the side effects. A pumpkin seed preparation outperforming a top arthritis drug and a small dose of Indian gooseberry extract working more effectively than a leading drug to treat diabetes are two examples that spring to mind.
So why write about these studies that all? Personally I’d prefer not to. But often there simply isn’t any human research available because, despite extremely promising animal studies, it simply hasn’t been done.
There will always be some people who, regardless of the huge amount of anecdotal evidence and positive reports, require some form of scientific proof before they will even consider the potential of various superfoods in treating diseases.
Importantly, these are often the same people making the decisions about helping those most in need of these types of foods – the doctors, nutritionists, regulators, etc. Many of them won’t consider any form of treatment for a disease that doesn’t come in a blister pack with a familiar pharmaceutical giants name on it. Or will strictly adhere to only conventional mass produced foods they can find on an antiquated and ineffective food pyramid. They will very quickly dismiss a website like this and anything on it.
It’s my sense though, in recent years, that more and more people in the fields of health and nutrition are starting to look at certain foods, not just as healthy, but as potent treatments and medicines. If those of us who write about the healing potential of food can reach just some of them, with articles supported by scientific research, then maybe we can start to turn the tide against the drug companies dominance of the ‘sickness industry’.
If you read anything on this website that you think could benefit other people out there, you can help in turning the tide by sharing it on facebook, twitter or other social media sites. Some of the best examples of this type of research supported articles here can be found in the health benefits section. These pages are the ones that take the most work to produce as they come from wading through the scientific literature to back up with studies what many of us who use superfoods daily have already experienced.
Change starts with new knowledge and understanding. It tends to happen in small steps, but the more of us who share that knowledge with others the more that momentum builds.