Category: Herbs & Supplements

About Herbs: an app to avoid

Medicine has an intellectual hierarchy. Supposedly the best and the brightest are in the academic medical centers and are the thought leaders in their field. Those of us lower in the hierarchy are well aware of some of the warts present on our betters, but I would expect those at the top would adhere to the highest intellectual and ethical standards. People...

/ June 24, 2016
Is Vitamin D a panacea? The evidence says otherwise.

The rise and inevitable fall of Vitamin D

It’s been difficult to avoid the buzz about vitamin D over the past few years. While it has a  long history of use in the medical treatment of osteoporosis, a large number of observational studies have linked low vitamin D levels to a range of illnesses. The hypothesis that there is widespread deficiency in the population has led to interest in measuring...

/ June 23, 2016

Fooling Myself

The first principle is that you must not fool yourself — and you are the easiest person to fool. –Richard Feynman I like to think of myself as a rational person, but I’ve been fooled by my own experience again and again. I’ve made bad decisions and wasted time and money believing what I was seeing, instead of being objective and looking...

/ June 2, 2016

Supplements, Lies, and a Lengthy Transcript

On October 21, 1993, there was a hearing before the U.S. Senate Committee for Labor and Human Resources, with the long-winded title: Examining How the Federal Government Should Regulate the Marketing and Use of Dietary Supplements and Related Measures, Including S. 784, To Strengthen Federal Standards with Respect To Dietary Supplements. S. 784, sponsored by Sen. Orrin Hatch, would eventually be enacted...

/ May 26, 2016

CAM use and chemotherapy: A negative correlation

So-called “alternative” medicine is made up of a hodge-podge of health care practices and treatments based on beliefs that are unscientific, pre-scientific, and pseudoscientific. These modalities include practices as diverse as homeopathy, traditional Chinese medicine, reflexology, reiki and other forms of “energy medicine” based on vitalism, chiropractic, and naturopathy, and that’s a short list of the quackery that falls under the rubric...

/ May 22, 2016

Where science meets supplements

For those of you that missed the Science-Based Medicine day at NECSS last week, I’ve put the highlights in the following post: The supplement industry is big business, and the popularity of these products seems to keep growing. I once worked at a small independent pharmacy that specialized in supplements, homeopathy and “alternative medicine” as way to differentiate itself from the big...

/ May 19, 2016

Parents Convicted in Death of Toddler

This is a very sad and tragic case, and I have great sympathy for the extended family of Ezekiel Stephan, the 19-month-old who died of meningitis four years ago. In my opinion, there are many victims in this case. The jury, apparently, agreed. Yesterday they returned a guilty verdict for Ezekiel’s parents, David and Collet Stephan, who now face sentencing for failing...

/ April 27, 2016
Three Stooges doctors

Functional medicine: The ultimate misnomer in the world of integrative medicine

Functional medicine. It sounds so...scientific and reasonable. It's anything but. In fact, functional medicine combines the worst features of conventional medicine with a heapin' helpin' of quackery.

/ April 11, 2016
Will this help you recover from exercise?

More drugs, more supplements, and potentially more problems

Early in my career I was fortunate to be offered a role as a hospital pharmacist, working on an inpatient ward along with physicians, nurses, and a number of other health professionals. My responsibilities included conducting a detailed medication review with each newly admitted patient. We would sit together, often with family members, going through what was sometimes a literal garbage bag...

/ March 24, 2016

Not natural, not safe: Grapefruit Seed Extract

Grapefruit-seed extract is claimed to be a cure-all for nearly every type of infection. But there's a dangerous problem with GSE that supplement manufacturers haven't fixed.

/ March 10, 2016