THE SELF-MEDICATION GENERATION

Ask Aili Kaups what she ate this morning, and she'll tell you "half a cantaloupe." But that's only half the story. The Brentwood, Calif., literary-agency administrator also had some potassium (for energy), super-oxide dismutase (an antioxidant), lipotropic formula (to fight cholesterol), chasteberry herbs (alleviates premenstrual symptoms), kyolic (aged dried garlic extract), chromium piccolinate (an appetite suppressant), vegetable phyter (dried vegetable concentrate) and 30 or so other nutritional odds and ends.

And that's just for breakfast. In ever greater numbers, Americans are embracing self-medication: a roll-your-own approach to health care that favors home-designed, prevention-oriented vitamin and drug regimens. "Forty-five percent of the...

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