On Nutrition by Ed Blonz


DEAR DR. BLONZ: What would be the value, other than supplying antioxidants, of drinking wheatgrass juice? I haven't noticed any effect after taking it regularly for a few months. I want to know if this is good to drink, or if there are better drinks or supplements if you do not eat enough vegetables. -- R.R., San Jose, Calif.

DEAR R.R.: It is difficult to support the use of supplements as a substitute for good eating. Having wheatgrass juice will supply a modicum of nutrients along with a bevy of healthful phytochemicals. But aside from testimonials, there is little evidence to support its benefits. It will have the expected "grassy" taste, and it certainly won't hurt you, but it isn't an answer for anyone short on quality foods. Then there's the fact that these drinks and other supplements are usually quite costly.

I encourage you to rethink and reject your "not eating enough vegetables" stance. Good food and physical activity will always be the ticket to health, and are not that hard to accomplish. It is all a matter of priorities and the payoff is one you will cherish as you get older. But enough of my sermonizing.

You mention not noticing any effect on your body; let me say that it is unreasonable to expect that a supplement will have a discernible "effect." What is going on inside your body may not be noticeable, whether it's something wonderful or something dire. Chronic ailments such as heart disease and certain cancers tend to be cumulative, with the ill effects only arriving after the process has been festering for years, if not decades. If you take care of yourself, you increase the odds that your body will be better able to fend off ill health and those processes associated with chronic ailments.

DEAR DR. BLONZ: I read your recent article on glaucoma in the Oakland Tribune. Your article was concise and stressed the importance of regular eye exams and the importance of early detection, with which I totally concur. However, you state that the regular eye exams should be conducted by an ophthalmologist. I don't know if you are aware of the education of today's optometrist. They are licensed to use drops to dilate the pupil, can use medication to treat various diseases of the eye, and with advanced training can supervise the treatment of glaucoma. This has been true for a number of years.

I am pleased when a writer brings to the public the importance of regular exams for health reasons. However, options for the choice of the licensed professional who performs that examination should also be offered. I enjoy your articles and appreciate the information I glean from them. Sincerely, D.J.Z., O.D.

DEAR DR. D.J.Z.: Thank you for pointing out this oversight; my statement of the need for regular eye exams definitely should have included optometrists and shouldn't have been limited to ophthalmologists.

Send questions to: "On Nutrition," Ed Blonz, c/o Universal Uclick, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO, 64106. Send email inquiries to questions@blonz.com. Due to the volume of mail, personal replies cannot be provided.