The latest information buzz around health products can make your head spin! Claims abound about living longer, looking younger, getting it up, slowing it down, strengthening your immunity, loosening the grip of heart disease or cancer, and, of course, speeding up your metabolism and losing weight. We’ve all seen the latest claims for vitamins derived from newly-identified tropical fruits, or obscure sources of algae, and retail companies are racing to get the latest, greatest miracle cure to your local shelves. So how does one find truth amongst the multitude of health claims? By going to the source, naturally.
A Trusted Source—The Prescriptive Wellness Committee
The Cleveland Clinic Wellness Enterprise removes the confusion from the claims by launching the Prescriptive Wellness Committee (PWC), an impressive team of 30 multidisciplinary doctors and medical experts — including board-certified internists; specialists in women’s health, cancer, and integrative medicine; pathologists; exercise physiologists and nutritionists — to research and evaluate vitamins, supplements and medical products. Committee members determine whether a valid science profile exists to support safe and acceptable patient and consumer use. Wellness products that receive the PWC seal of approval are made available at Cleveland Clinic Wellness retail storefronts, and in the online wellness shop. Cleveland Clinic’s Prescriptive Wellness Committee is the only medical board in the country affiliated with a major hospital to offer this kind of wellness product review and approval.
"More and more consumers are buying vitamins and supplements as a preventive measure," says Joe Sweet, the Director of Operations at the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Enterprise. “With all the offerings, claims and brands, consumers get overwhelmed and confused. Our goal is to make it easier for consumers to purchase what they need from a trusted source.”
Meet the Experts
The PWC provides truth and guidance to help you make informed decisions when purchasing vitamins and supplements.
The Prescriptive Wellness Committee Approval Process
As part of the approval process, committee members review evidence-based information from leading scientific journals and experts in the fields of alternative and complementary medicine. The medical experts carefully consider product effectiveness and safety concerns. Ultimately, a core group of seven to 10 doctors assemble to discuss the merits of a product and to vote on whether to approve the item for sale. The committee has developed a rating system that highlights the effectiveness of each product based on findings in the scientific literature.
Safety at a Glance
This grading system allows readers to identify, at a glance, the level of evidence found by the PWC.
+3 Go! The evidence in humans shows overwhelmingly positive benefit. Our team is highly confident about its therapeutic potential.
+2 Merge: Several well-designed studies in humans have shown positive benefit. Our team is confident about its therapeutic potential.
+1 Proceed slowly: Preliminary studies suggest some benefit. Future trials are needed before we can make a stronger recommendation.
0 Yield: More studies are needed before we can make a recommendation.
-1 Caution: Our team does not recommend this product because either clinical trials to date suggest little or no benefit or the potential toxicity may not be worth the risk.
-2 Stop! The science does not support any benefit. Our team suggests that you consider other alternatives.
Shopping for Vitamins & Supplements
Currently, dozens of approved vitamins and supplements are available in the online wellness store and in Cleveland Clinic Wellness retail storefronts, including probiotics, antioxidants, fish oils and vitamin supplement combo packs. There is also a large assortment of approved medical devices, including light therapy boxes to treat seasonal affective disorder, breath monitors for lowering blood pressure, aromatherapy for relaxation and a wide array of exercise equipment. New products are continually being added with the PWC’s approval.
When you order online at clevelandclinicwellness.com, you can take advantage of the opportunity to become a Wellness Member and to earn Wellness Rewards Points to apply toward future purchases at a discounted rate. Online customers also receive free shipping on almost all orders over $50.
As a true measure of their commitment to quality control, PWC members visited supplement manufacturing plants to familiarize themselves with the best manufacturing processes. Members learned that there is quite a difference in the quality of the products, even when dealing with reputable sources.
While purchase price is never a factor in the approval process, the Enterprise team makes a concerted effort to offer a range of companies’ products with varied prices. Wherever possible, internal standards require the team to increase consumer choice by approving a minimum of two separate qualified suppliers who offer the same product type.