Category: Herbs & Supplements

Shred360: The Weight Loss Product with the Stupidest Hype Ever

There was a half-page ad in my local paper, thinly disguised as a “Special Report” by a Health and Fitness Editor, for a new fat-melting pill that “could put diet industry out of business by 2016.” I have seen a lot of ridiculous ads for weight loss products, but this one takes the cake. It’s arguably even worse than the one that...

/ March 17, 2015
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Medical marijuana as the new herbalism, part 3: A “cannabis cures cancer” testimonial

Medical marijuana is often touted, primarily in the form of cannabis oil extract, as a cure for cancer that “they” don’t want you to know about. While some cannabinoids do have modest antitumor activity in vitro, there is no compelling evidence that cannabis can cure cancer. Yet that doesn't stop a proliferation of testimonials claiming that cannabis cured cancer. They are no...

/ March 16, 2015
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The Gerson protocol, cancer, and the death of Jess Ainscough, a.k.a. “The Wellness Warrior”

Less than four days ago, a young Australian woman died of a very rare type of cancer. Most of my American and probably many of my European readers have never heard of her, but in Australia she had become quite famous over the last seven years as a major proponent of “natural health.” Her name was Jess Ainscough, but, like a certain...

/ March 2, 2015

The Hippocrates Health Institute: Cancer quackery finally under the spotlight, but will it matter?

I first came across Brian Clement, the proprietor of the Hippocrates Health Institute in West Palm Beach, Florida, a little more than a year ago based on the story of Stephanie O’Halloran. Ms. O’Halloran was—word choice unfortunately intentional—a 23-year-old mother of an 18 month old child from Ireland who was diagnosed with stage IV breast cancer in 2013, with metastases to her...

/ February 23, 2015

2015 NHIS Report on Complementary Health Approaches (whatever that means)

Back in 2004, data from the 2002 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) appeared in a report titled “Complementary and Alternative Medicine Use Among Adults: United States, 2002.” It showed a whopping 62% of adults had used CAM in the past 12 months, but only if prayer for health reasons was included. With prayer excluded, the percentage was substantially lower, at 35%. “CAM”...

/ February 19, 2015

Glucosamine Update

Osteoarthritis, the “wear-and-tear” type of arthritis, affects a great many of us as we grow older. Knee pain is a common symptom. The diet supplements glucosamine and chondroitin have been proposed as a more “natural” treatment than pharmaceuticals, and they are components of a number of proprietary “joint health” formulations like Osteo Bi-Flex. The GAIT study (Glucosamine/Chondroitin Arthritis Intervention Trial), compared glucosamine,...

/ February 17, 2015
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Searching for the supplement in your supplement

While the supplement market continues to grow, it's becoming harder to identify products that are truly safe and effective. We need better regulation and product quality to ensure there's a market where consumers can purchase supplements with confidence and use them safely.

/ February 12, 2015

Lies, fraud, conflicts of interest, and bogus science: The real Dr. Oz effect

  I thought I’d written my final post on the Dr. Oz-fueled green coffee bean extract (GCBE) diet supplement fad. But now there’s another appalling chapter, one that documents just how much contempt The Dr. Oz Show seems to show for its audience, and how little Dr. Oz seems to care about providing advice based on good science. This week it was...

/ January 29, 2015

Another Misguided Cancer Testimonial

An economic analyst, Mike “Mish” Shedlock, wrote a blog post to describe how he beat prostate cancer. When laymen and patients write about cancer, they are likely to get some things wrong. Mish’s story is full of typical misunderstandings and misinterpretations. He interpreted his experience in his own way and did his own research into the medical literature, something he was not...

/ January 27, 2015
Lactobacillus acidophilus

Gut Check. Probiotics and Metabiome.

I always cringe when I see an acupuncture headline with ‘needle’ or ‘point’ in the title. Can’t the writer avoid the clichéd pun? I had an editor who commented that the titles of my essays are often obtuse. Probably true. In going back over my essays on SBM I often can’t tell from the title what I have written about until I...

/ January 23, 2015