Category: Herbs & Supplements

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

Is it ethical to sell complementary and alternative medicine?

Complementary and alternative medicine may be legal to sell - but is it ethical to sell?

/ February 11, 2016

Puritan’s Pride Vitamin Advisor Gives Questionable Advice

The Puritan’s Pride website has a Vitamin Advisor that claims to provide a personalized supplement plan, with expert recommendations chosen just for you. In my opinion it is deceptive, designed not to provide evidence-based personalized health advice, but to sell their products; and one can only wonder what kind of “experts” would support such ill-advised recommendations. Stephen Barrett and I have just...

/ February 9, 2016

Prenatal Multivitamins and Iron: Not Evidence-Based

When I was pregnant, I obediently took the iron pills and prenatal vitamins prescribed by my obstetrician. And I prescribed them for every pregnant patient I took care of as a family physician. I never questioned the practice. It seemed intuitively obvious that it was a good thing; we know pregnancy makes extra nutritional demands and depletes iron stores. It never occurred...

/ February 2, 2016

The consumer lab rat: More questions about supplement safety

Do you take a vitamin or dietary supplement? Over half of all American adults do, making this a $30 billion dollar business. Many of us even take supplements in the absence of any clear medical or health need. I’m often told it’s a form of nutritional “insurance” or it’s being taken for some presumed beneficial effect – like Steven Novella outlined in...

/ January 28, 2016

More Trouble for Antioxidants

Antioxidants are now an iconic example of premature hype making its way into marketing and the public consciousness long before the science is adequately understood. There are multiple lessons to be learned in this story, and a new study just emphasizes those lessons further. A brief history of antioxidants One of the unavoidable consequences of metabolism (burning food for energy) is the...

/ January 27, 2016

Legislative Alchemy 2015: Another losing season for CAM practitioners

One of the main, but perhaps underappreciated, reasons quackery thrives in the United States is that the states legalize it by licensing practitioners of pseudoscience as health care providers. These practitioners are placed under the regulatory jurisdiction of, well, themselves. I call the whole deplorable process Legislative Alchemy, and you can see all posts on the topic here. It gives practitioners an...

/ January 7, 2016
Detoxification

The one thing you need to know before you detox

Before you start your New Year's detox, this one weird tip will save you time, money, and possibly your health.

/ December 31, 2015
Listen to your science: Eat your vegetables

Guess who pioneered chemoprevention through diet?

This is an expansion of a post I did over on the Society for Science-Based Medicine blog about this time last year. The original post, which got far more traffic than is usual for the SFSBM, is a good example of how science works and the good that it can do. The hard work of real science illustrated here serves as a...

/ December 24, 2015