Conference Explains Myths and Facts About Natural Supplements

Medical experts present an evidence-based review of natural supplement safety and efficacy in 2008

San Diego, Calif. – Does fish oil really help with depression? Will flaxseed reduce inflammation? Can ginseng boost energy? And how do you judge a supplement’s quality?

These and many other questions will be answered at the Scripps Center for Integrative Medicine’s fifth annual conference on natural supplements. Open to both health care providers and the public, Natural Supplements: An Evidence-Based Update will be held January 17-20, 2008 at the Paradise Point Resort in San Diego.

“People of all ages are turning to natural supplements to complement their health care. Americans spend in excess of $20 billion annually on herbal and dietary supplements—and most of the time, they do so without the guidance of a health care practitioner,” says Robert Bonakdar, M.D., director of pain management for Scripps Center for Integrative Medicine and one of the conference directors. “Clinicians need timely, evidence-based information for discussing the risks, benefits and regulatory issues related to the use of natural supplements in order to provide the all-inclusive care patients are actively seeking.”

Board-certified physicians, biochemists, government officials and renowned researchers in botanical medicine will present a balanced report on current research in nutritional supplements. In addition to workshops covering a wide range of issues related to the roles of foods, herbs and supplements in the management of common medical conditions, the conference will include information on bringing integrative medicine into a clinical practice and a Q & A with faculty representatives.

The conference faculty includes experts such as:

  • Donald Abrams, M.D., director of clinical programs, UCSF Osher Center for Integrative Medicine
  • Rebecca B. Costello, Ph.D., director, grants and extramural activities, Office of Dietary Supplements, NIH
  • Jeffrey Bland, Ph.D., chairman, Institute for Functional Medicine
  • Mark Blumenthal, founder and executive director, American Botanical Council
  • Steven Pratt, M.D., Scripps ophthalmologist and best-selling author, SuperFoods Rx
  • Mary Hardy, M.D., medical director, Simms/Mann Integrative Oncology Program, Ted Mann Family Resource Center at UCLA
  • David Kiefer, M.D., clinical assistant professor of medicine, Integrative Medicine, University of Arizona
  • Roberta Lee, M.D., medical director, Continuum Center for Health and Healing, New York
  • Victor Sierpina, M.D., professor of integrative medicine, University of Texas Medical Branch

Conference keynote speaker Mimi Guarneri, M.D., co-founder and medical director of Scripps Center for Integrative Medicine, will explore the physical, emotional and spiritual mysteries of the human heart through stories and science. Dr. Guarneri is the best-selling author of The Heart Speaks.

“A botanical garden tour and a research competition round out this conference,” says Dr. Bonakdar. The winners of the research competition will be published in the Journal of Complementary and Alternative Medicine.

Continuing medical education credits are offered for physicians, physician assistants, nurses, nurse practitioners, nurse midwives, pharmacists, dietitians, chiropractors, and psychologists. To register for the conference, call 858-587-4404 or go to

Part of Scripps Health, Scripps Center for Integrative Medicine offers conventional and scientifically validated complementary medicine. Through clinical research, education, prevention and lifestyle changes, the center seeks to empower its patients to take charge of their health. More information about the Scripps Center for Integrative Medicine and the conference can be found at

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