What’s in Your Herbal Pills?

Posted 30 September 2016

Firm Promises DNA Testing for Proof

By ANAHAD O’CONNOR Sept. 28, 2016

New York Times

NBTY, one of the nation’s largest makers of popular supplements like ginkgo biloba and ginseng, has agreed to conduct advanced genetic testing to help ensure that its herbal products actually contain the ingredients promised on the label.

The agreement, which affects several popular brands including Solgar, Nature’s Bounty and Sundown Naturals, was announced Wednesday by the New York State attorney general’s office. It follows an agency investigation last year that found that four out of five of the products tested from major retailers did not contain any of the herbs promised on their labels. Instead the agency said the bottles often contained pills made of cheap fillers like powdered rice, asparagus and houseplants, and in some cases, substances like nuts and soy that could be dangerous to people with food allergies.… Read the rest

Towards more effective supplement regulation in Canada

Posted 26 September 2016

Currently, natural health products are regulated in a manner similar to drugs – manufacturers must apply to Health Canada for a licence to sell and products are assigned a unique number that must appear on product labels to signal the department’s approval. But unlike drugs makers, natural health product manufacturers are not required to provide robust evidence that a product works before it’s allowed on the market.

Under the proposed new system Health Canada would bring natural health products, over-the-counter drugs and cosmetics under one set of rules and regulate them based on the potential health risks they pose.

The new regime would classify many vitamin, mineral and homeopathic products and cosmetics as “low risk,” meaning they would not be licensed by Health Canada. Manufacturers would still have to meet Health Canada’s quality standards, but they would be prohibited from making disease treatment or prevention claims Read the rest

Oregon expands lawsuit against GNC

Posted 26 September 2016

The Oregon Attorney General has expanded its lawsuit that charged General Nutrition Corporation (GNC) with selling dietary supplements that contain illegal ingredients.

The original complaint, filed in October 2015, concerned picamilon and BMPEA.

Picamilon is a synthetic chemical that is not approved in the United States, but is used as a prescription drug in some countries to treat neurological conditions. BMPEA is a powerful stimulant and amphetamine-like substance that is sometimes sold as a weight-loss or performance-enhancing supplement.

The original complaint alleges that GNC violated the Oregon Unlawful Trade Practices Act (UTPA) by misrepresenting the products as lawful when they are not legal to sell as dietary supplements in the United States.

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Don’t use herbal enemas!

Posted 23 September 2016

KwaZulu Natal health boss warns: Don’t use herbal enemas

Nivashni Nair | 23 September, 2016

Times Live

Children in KwaZulu-Natal are suffering from medical complications after being given herbal enemas.

Provincial health MEC Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo on Friday issued a stern warning about the dangers of using herbal enemas for the treatment of ailments in children.

The department said the warning followed a spike in the number of children arriving at healthcare facilities with complications after being given the treatment in recent months.

“In certain households, enemas are used to treat, among others, constipation, diarrhoea and vomiting, abdominal pain, abnormal stool colour or for bowel-cleansing,” the department said in a statement.

Dhlomo warned that some enemas produce strong herbal toxins that are dangerous to the rectum and internal organs.

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No benefits of testosterone treatments for men

Posted 22 September 2016

Researchers say there are no benefits of testosterone treatments for men.

Analysis of more than 200 studies conducted since 1950 finds no validity to drug industry’s portrayal of testosterone as akin to a miracle drug for ageing men

[quote]”The benefits and safety” of testosterone treatments, the agency [FDA] said in the order that ground the marketing campaign to a halt, “have not been established”.

Now, a group of researchers have announced that they have established the benefits: none.[/quote]

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Strip ‘quacks’ of tax breaks, say scientists

Posted 19 September 2016

Strip ‘quacks’ of tax breaks, say scientists: Health charities that promote ‘dangerous’ homeopathic treatments could lose bank perks

By Richard Marsden and Justin Stoneman

Daily Mail. Published 15 September 2016

  • The Good Thinking Society campaigns against ‘pseudoscience’
  • It plans to mount High Court battle to force Charity Commission to take ‘dozens’ of alternative health organisations off register
  • In their sights: Vaccination Awareness Network, Maun Homeopathy Project, Gentle Touch Healing and Keys College of Radionics


Health charities that promote ‘dangerous’ homeopathic treatments should be stripped of their tax breaks, a group of scientists has urged.

The Good Thinking Society, which campaigns against ‘irrationality and pseudoscience’, plans to mount a High Court battle to force the Charity Commission to take ‘dozens’ of homeopathic and alternative health organisations off its register.

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Does l-carnitine result in weight loss?

Posted 13 September 2016

A recent review (October 2016) in Obesity Reviews of the use of l-carnitine in weight-loss concludes in the summary (abstract) that “[W]e conclude that receiving the carnitine resulted in weight loss”. [1] Without reading the full article, this study may be used by supplement sellers to support their claims that this ingredient is effective for weight-loss.

This study was a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials, which examined the effect of the carnitine on adult weight loss. However, note: Nine studies of a total of 911 of adequate methodological quality were included in the review. The authors write: “Results from meta-analysis of eligible trials revealed that subjects who received carnitine lost significantly more weight (MD: −1.33 kg; 95% CI: −2.09 to −0.57) and showed a decrease in body mass index (MD: −0.47 kg m−2; 95% CI: −0.88 to −0.05) compared with Read the rest

Immunadue – ASA ruling, again.

Posted 07 September 2016

ImmunadueDr Eyal lodged a consumer complaint with the ASA against a radio commercial that was broadcast on Jacaranda FM during July.

The commercial states as follows:

“7.2; the most important number in your life, because 7.2 is the ideal pH balance for your body. Drop below 7.2 through stress and poor diet and you’re vulnerable to certain cancers, diabetes, cholesterol, arthritis. But by taking Immunadue each day you can restore your pH balance. Get back to 7.2 with Immunadue. The only natural, non chemical multivitamin to help balance your pH levels each day. Immunadue the meaning of life”.

The complainant submitted that the commercial makes numerous false claims, in particular that the product will normalise the body’s pH levels. It also incorrectly quotes the optimal pH level and mentions that the product is clinically proven, all of which are untrue and contradicted by prestigious medical journals.… Read the rest

Advertising Standards Authority – proposal to become Advertising Ombudsman

Posted 06 September 2016

Mr. Ebrahim Mohamed, the Commissioner of the National Consumer Commission (NCC), has published a proposed industry code and ombudsman scheme for the Advertising Standards Authority of South Africa (ASA) for  public comment in terms of section 82(3)(a) of the Consumer Protection Act 68 of 2008(Act No. 68 of 2008).

The Code specifically deals with the resolution of complaints of prohibited conduct and the failure to comply with required conduct in respect of advertising and marketing of goods and services to consumers as provided for and envisaged by and within the scope of the Act.

The code incorporate the recognition of an ombudsman scheme for alternative dispute resolution of complaints. In accordance with section 82(3)(a) and (b) of the Act No. 68 of 2008, the National Consumer Commission is required to publish the proposed industry code for  public comment and consider any submissions made during the public  … Read the rest

Many Weight Loss Supplements Still Contain Banned or Discouraged Ingredients

Posted 02 September 2016

New research shows that many weight loss supplements readily available to consumers contain at least one ingredient, such as ephedra or dimethylamylamine (DMAA), that is banned by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) or is advised against for use in dietary supplements. Fifty-one products were identified from retail stores with at least one banned or discouraged-use ingredient on the product label. Ingredients were identified as “discouraged-use” based on adverse event reporting on the FDA website. Out of the 51 products, 33% contained at least one ingredient that is banned and 90% contained at least one ingredient that is discouraged. Sports and nutrition retail stores offered the greatest number of products with banned or discouraged-use ingredients.

Source: Integrative Medicine Newsletter

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