BetterYou Transdermal Magnesium

Posted 07 December 2014

BetterYou Transdermal Magnesium, although a British company, is marketing their product in South Africa. They claim that using the product will assist relieving stress (sheer nonsense), and that the claims of transdermal absorption is supported by three studies. In fact, the first was conducted on dead pig’s ears, the second by the discredited test called hair analysis, and the third, a study that is pending and has not yet been conducted. Will the study confirm efficacy for the product’s absorption? Who knows, unlikely, but let us see the results.

However, in writing to the owner of the company, he stood by his website claims and did not allude to the fact that the UK ASA had received a complaint, had evaluated the evidence, and threw it out!

Yes, the UK ASA said the claims are not supported by the evidence!

Continue reading » BetterYou Transdermal Magnesium

A Rought Guide to Spotting Bad Science

07 December 2014

From the website,, 12 pointers to spotting abuse of science to make claims:

  1. Sensationalised headlines
  2. Misinterpreted results
  3. Conflict of interests
  4. Correlation & causation
  5. Speculative language
  6. Sample size too small
  7. Unrepresentative samples
  8. No control group used
  9. No blind testing used
  10. ‘Cherry-picked’ results
  11. Unreplicable results
  12. Journals & citations

Read the original pdf for elaboration!

The impact of the Consumer Protection Act on pharmacists

Posted 02 December 2014

This article was published in the South African Medical Journal (SAMJ). Although specifically addressing this issue to health professionals, and in particular with reference to pharmacists, it has pertinence to every consumer and hence we are reposting the article here.

There is some irony in that the one author, Prof K du Toit, supported the claims for Antagolin, a product containing ingredients that have never been shown to have influence on the claims being made, and that was tested on South African consumers without ethical approval or informed consent being obtained from those who were studied. A big mistake! The ASA ruled against the claims for the product.

Continue reading » The impact of the Consumer Protection Act on pharmacists

Complementary Medicines – Health Supplements Quality, Safety, Efficacy

Posted 24 November 2014

The MCC has proposed an additional category, ‘health supplement’, to be included in the definition of a complementary medicine. This category requires to comply with parameters that were to be furnished in a guideline, that would define the requirements for the claims for efficacy, quality, safety, etc. This has now been formally released.  This document, released on the 20th November, is a draft released for comment by 26 February 2015.

“The purpose of this Guideline is to provide clear guidance with regard to the quality, safety and efficacy (QSE) requirements for registration of Health Supplements as a subset of complementary medicines in South Africa. The intent of this document is to ensure that the levels of evidence for QSE are rigorous enough to protect public health and maintain consumer confidence, while providing a clearly defined pathway to register health supplements.”

The document is available here.


Oxygen myths that refuse to die

Posted 20 November 2014

USN once sold an “oxygenated” water, one of the biggest scams produced by this company.

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Dr Harriet Hall who writes for Skeptic magazine, has published on ScienceBasedMedicine an overview of the quackery of oxygen claims which would also pertain to this product.

” Myths about the alleged health benefits of supplemental oxygen refuse to die. Oxygen bars, diet supplements, and other products continue to be sold with fanciful claims ranging from anti-aging to improving test scores, despite a total lack of scientific evidence. It isn’t even plausible that they could raise blood oxygen levels by any significant amount.”

Live blood analysis – real ‘woo-woo’

Posted 17 November 2014

“An evaluation of the cells of the blood can give hints to the presence or cause of many diseases, from vitamin deficiencies to infection to leukemia. The CBC (complete blood count) with or without a differential (the types of cells seen) is part of any initial evaluation of ill patients. With live blood analysis, practitioners take the seed of truth that the evaluation of the blood constituents can give valuable information and grow a forrest of fantasy and magic. It is something to behold.”

From the article, Live Blood Analysis: The Modern Auguries, by Dr Mark Crislip, posted to ScienceBasedMedicine. Dr Crislip explains exactly why this is a scam and how users take facts and extrapolate these into real bullsh_t.

Bioresonance nonsense

Posted 17 November 2014

At the website, Bioresonance Quit Smoking Therapy (, the claim is made that “Bioresonance Quit Smoking Therapy is one of the most advanced bioresonance technologies to help people give up smoking. Usually 3 or 4 sessions with BICOM 2000 is sufficient to make you stop smoking”. Further on the claims are made that “Modern German bioresonance technology has success rate over 90%. The stop smoking therapy helps you quit smoking without the desire for nicotine and without gaining weight”.

The owner appears to be  Jenny Lubasinski, 21 Nightingale Road, Atlasville, Gauteng, 1645

Our skeptic radar was triggered. How is it that such a remarkable success rate has not resulted in this product being more widely available and used?

Luckily for us, Dr Dave Gorski’s ‘insolence’ blog has done us a service by eloquently explaining why this is sheer nonsense, or as he describes it, ‘woo’. He also takes a stab at Live Blood Analysis, previously deconstructed on CamCheck.

Magnesium absorbed through the skin?

Posted 14 November 2014

An advertisement in the UK claimed, among other:

“Under the heading “Why transdermal delivery?” the website stated “Transdermal delivery has been proven as the most effective method of supplementation outside of a hospital environment, increasing the body’s magnesium levels up to five times faster than oral supplementation. This means the positive effects of magnesium are felt faster”.”

A physician, laid a complaint with the UK ASA challenging whether:

1. the claims related to the transdermal absorption of magnesium were misleading and could be substantiated; and
2. in the context of a topically applied product, the efficacy claims were misleading and could be substantiated.

The UK ASA ruled against all the claims (not unsurprisingly!)

Continue reading » Magnesium absorbed through the skin?

Please Don’t Define “Complementary and Alternative Health Practices”!

Posted 06 November 2014

This excellent article, posted by William M. London on October 28, 2011 to, raises a number of very pertinent points: is the use of ‘complementary medicine’, ‘integrative medicine’, and other terms valid or simply marketing ploys?


“Complementary and alternative health practices” is marketing doublespeak that conceals how promoting (via advertising, publicity, direct selling, word-of-mouth, etc.) non-validated or invalidated practices is unethical. When a practice is science-based, it is simply part of good healthcare or health promotion. “Complementary and alternative” jargon is never necessary to describe validated practices in health promotion or health care delivery.

The term integrative medicine is superfluous and should not be used by responsible health professionals. 

The term “integrative medicine” is not needed to offer science-based psychological approaches for managing health problems, but it does help in marketing when you are offering modalities based on vitalism. “Integrative medicine” represents branding, not a meaningful medical specialty. It projects a misleading image of academic seriousness that serves only to obscure its hype and help secure funding for clinical research of dubious need.

Terms such as “alternative,” “complementary,” and “integrative” have become popular euphemisms for non-validated and invalidated approaches to health enhancement—especially approaches with farfetched rationales. The use of such euphemisms facilitates quackery: the promotion of health products, services, or practices of questionable safety, effectiveness, or validity for an intended purpose. 

The full article can be read at

Continue reading » Please Don’t Define “Complementary and Alternative Health Practices”!

Why Is It So Difficult to Lose Weight?

Posted 04 November 2014
“Obesity is notoriously difficult to treat. Effective treatment has been encumbered by traditional assumptions about the cause of the disease. Obesity is typically considered a manifestation of the patient’s dietary misconduct, a simple lack of willpower, or the inability to modify dysfunctional eating habits. Abundant evidence suggests that eating behavior is much more complex than patient choice alone.
Eating and the system of regulating eating and body weight are largely controlled by complex signals from multiple organ systems that monitor food intake, gastrointestinal function, and energy storage and send multiple messages to the brain. The brain coordinates the physiological messages and creates additional signals about eating, appetite, hunger, and satiety.
Multiple survival, environmental, and genetic factors become part of a biological regulatory system that controls eating and body weight. The system appears to be unstable and often becomes dysfunctional, particularly in an environment of abundant food and calories. Despite the difficulty in modifying the regulatory system, opportunities for management of the disease do exist.
Comprehensive lifestyle management can be useful, as can selective pharmacotherapy and bariatric surgery. Public policy changes will likely be helpful in changing community understanding of the disease and its management.”
This excellent overview is from Medscape and is reproduced below in the event that you are not able to access the original.