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.… Read the rest

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.”

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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.

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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 Read the rest

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!)

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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 Read the rest

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
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Health Canada seizes Miracle Mineral Solution

Posted 04 November 2014

Health Canada has seized a supply of Miracle Mineral Solution (MMS), which was sold as a treatment for serious diseases such as cancer through the website MMS contains sodium chlorite, a chemical used mainly as a textile bleaching agent and disinfectant, which cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and symptoms of severe dehydration, if ingested. An alternate format of MMS, labeled as CDS, also sold through this Web site, would pose similar risks. The seizure included bottles of MMS, packaging, labeling, and raw materials used to produce MMS. The agency said that it took the action because the company had failed to comply with an order to cease sales. In 2009,the FDA ordered one MMS distributor to stop making illegal health claims for MMS, and in 2010, both agencies issued public warnings. Presumably as a result, manufacturers have changed the product label to specify that Read the rest

South African Health Review 2013/14

Posted 03 November 2014

The South African Health Review (SAHR) 2013/2014 was launched in Pretoria on 29 October 2014. Now an officially accredited peer-reviewed journal that chronicles the development of South Africa’s health system, the South African Health Review offers current, evidence-based insights into the status of integration of policy and implementation in a range of healthcare structures, protocols and processes.

One of the chapters addresses  Health Policy and Legislation, authored by Andy Gray and Yousuf Vawda. The complete chapter can be accessed here. A highly pertinent part of this chapter is that addressing Medicines and Related Substances Act.

This is reproduced below.

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When lightening strikes, it brings pale ailments

Davids warns that the demand for skin-lightening products has led to a surge in the availability of ‘unsolicited, untested’ products on the market.  “Very often the good products are out of the price range of the majority of the people, with the result that many people are going to be looking for cheaper products.”

“These cheaper products are unsolicited, untested and have hit the market at a staggering rate. This is going to lead to, frighteningly, an increase in skin damage, or potential skin damage.”

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