Logan Shannon / NHPR

The word vitamin has only been around for just over 100 years.  But today vitamins are a $36 billion dollar-a-year industry. 

On today’s show, the history and science behind the mostly unregulated vitamin market.

And, with new measles outbreaks discovered each week, parents who choose not to vaccinate their kids are in the cross hairs. We’ll talk to reporter who asks: are mothers to blame? And the story of an extreme athlete who balances work, family, and 400 miles of running and biking per week.

Listen to the full show and click Read more for individual segments.

Have Youth Sports Become Too Intense?

Aug 25, 2014
Amherst Patriots / Flickr/CC

There’s a lot of concern these days that an ethic of winning at all costs, promoted by over-zealous parents or coaches, is ruining youth athletics. And kids are paying the price, from sports injuries at ever-younger ages, to constant practice that cuts into family time. But now, some adults are crying “foul” and calling for change.

Runar Eilertsen via flickr Creative Commons

Today's Word of Mouth is chock full of the stories that keep us on our toes. Why would a Crossfit gym sue scientists? Guest Warren Cornwall gives us the scoop. We're also continuing our examination of higher education with two segments: one about the NCAA Pay-for-Play debate; the other about a brain-y college course.

Listen to the full show for these and more, and click Read more for individual segments.

Johnhenryf via Flickr Creative Commons

In the words of author Stephen Amidon, “no other figure is the focus of so much passion, controversy, expectation, and disappointment…” regardless of whether it is football or soccer, figure-skating or hockey, watching the world’s top athletes borders on hypnotic… and sometimes stands as proof of our ability to exceed physical human limitations and become something like the gods. That’s the name of long-time sports-lover and novelist Stephen Amidon’s new cultural history of the athlete, detailing sport from the first Olympic Games, to the rise of Lebron James.

Sam Evans-Brown

A lot of Americans are struggling to lose a whole lot of weight, and they try all kinds of crazy things.

Ernest Gagnon — a man from Billerica, Mass. — decided to shed pounds by getting into the often intense, high-adrenaline sport of cyclocross: racing road bikes on obstacle courses.

Two years ago, Gagnon tipped the scales at 570 pounds. He was depressed and embarrassed to leave the house.

Photo Credit briandeadly, Via Flickr Creative Commons

Gold medal victories of Michael Phelps, Carl Lewis, Kerry Strug, and Joan Benoit...these moments of triumph, sometimes against all odds are what make the Olympics stand apart from other sports competition. The idea that a human being can achieve feats most of us can only imagine.