ProIBS – Does it really work?

Posted 31 November 2016

ProIBS is being fairly extensively advertised on Radio 702 daily. It claims to be effective for IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome).

It claims that its efficacy has been confirmed by a clinical study.

Are these claims true?

Well, . . . . . not really, not factually.

The study in question does not fully support the claims being made in the advert.

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Historian’s view of quackery 40 years ago posted

Posted 23 November 2016

Quackwatch has posted previously unpublished observations about quackery written in 1974 by James Harvey Young, Ph.D. [Young JH A historian’s view of quackery in 1974 with comments by Stephen Barrett, M.D. Quackwatch, Nov 14, 2016]

The article describes how quackery thrived during the previous 100 years and the gradually increasing but insufficient efforts of our government to curb it. Dr. Young, whose books included  The Toadstool Millionaires and The Medical Messiahs, was considered the foremost authority on the history of quackery.

Source: Consumer Health Digest #16-43, November 20, 2016

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USA: Homeopathic ‘treatments’ to obey the same labelling standards as medicines

Posted 22 November 2016

CamCheck does not focus on homeopathy but limits its focus to other CAMS.

Here are two articles that relate to homeopathy, scientific evidence, and claims:
“[T]he Federal Trade Commission issued a statement this month which said that homeopathic remedies have to be held to the same standard as other products that make similar claims. In other words, American companies must now have reliable scientific evidence for health-related claims that their products can treat specific conditions and illnesses”.

This is interesting for many other CAMS in the USA do not. Similarly in South Africa, as CamCheck points out, many CAMS do not have reliable scientific evidence for health-related claims.

  • The US government is finally telling people that homeopathy is a sham
  • A new ruling finally requires homeopathic ‘treatments’ to obey the same labelling standards as real medicines

The full wording of the US FTC’s … Read the rest

Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) South Africa to join ASA as core member

Posted 21 November 2016

Readers may be aware that the Advertising Standards Authority is in trouble. They have instituted a Business Rescue plan. This has resulted from among other, legal action by Herbex, Antagolin, USN, Homemark and others, challenging the ASA’s jurisdiction in the High Court. The ASA have also applied to the National Consumer Commission for accreditation as the ombudsman over all advertising.

It is therefore very interesting that “IAB SA resolved at its AGM on 26 October 2016 to apply for core membership of the Advertising Standards Authority of South Africa (ASA), a move which the IAB Board believes will bolster the self-regulatory framework established by the advertising industry 48 years ago and bring much-needed digital best practice and know-how to the ASA”.

Read more in BizCommunity

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Calcium dementia link is reminder of the dangers of supplements

Posted 18 November 2016

Published in New Scientist INSIGHT 24 August 2016

TAKING a daily vitamin or mineral supplement is widely seen as a common-sense way of looking after yourself – a kind of insurance, like wearing a seat belt.

But evidence is growing that it might not be such a healthy habit after all. The latest finding is that calcium supplements, taken by many women after the menopause to strengthen bones, are linked to dementia. Among women who have had a stroke, taking calcium was associated with a seven-fold rise in the number who went on to have dementia (Neurology,

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Studies Show Little Benefit in Supplements Personal Health

Posted 17 November 2016

This article by Jane E. Brody, published in the New York Times, points out that Americans “spend more than $30 billion a year on dietary supplements – vitamins, minerals and herbal products, among others – many of which are unnecessary or of doubtful benefit to those taking them. That comes to about $100 a year for every man, woman and child for substances that are often of questionable value”.

[quote]In an  editorial entitled “The Supplement Paradox: Negligible Benefits, Robust Consumption” accompanying the new report, Dr. Pieter A. Cohen, of Cambridge Health Alliance and Somerville Hospital Primary Care in Massachusetts, pointed out that “supplements are essential to treat vitamin and mineral deficiencies” and that certain combinations of nutrients can help some medical conditions, like age-related macular degeneration. He added, however, “for the majority of adults, supplements likely provide little, if any, benefit.”[/quote]

Read the article on … Read the rest

Advertising Standards Authority – Business Rescue: Press reports

Posted 16 November 2016

Following a media release from the ASA of the 15th November 2016 with regard to voluntarily commencing Business Rescue proceedings, the following related articles have been published in the media:


Sunday Times / Times Live (essentially the GroundUp article)


Business Day

SA Creatives

Fin 24


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Advertising Standards Authority of South Africa placed into Business Rescue.

Posted 15 November 2016

It is sad to read that thanks to, among other, legal action by Herbex, Antagolin, USN, Homemark and others, challenging the ASA’s jurisdiction, has had a major impact on the operating funds of the ASA. Even the Health Products Association of South Africa (HPA) has not renewed its membership. This has resulted in the ASA having to be placed into Business Rescue. As documented on CamCheck, these companies are responsible for selling products with little or no evidence of efficacy to consumers. The ASA’s role has been to prevent South African consumers from being duped by companies making false claims, and therefore defrauding consumers.  All of the companies are represented by the lawyer, Saul Shoot of Fluxmans.

It must be noted that the court cases have not challenged the ASA’s rulings on the merits of the advertising. It’s been more of an issue … Read the rest

Comedian John Oliver blasts Multilevel Marketing (MLM) , e.g., Herbalife

Posted 14 November 2016

Multilevel marketing companies claim to be legitimate businesses, but some seem awfully…pyramid shaped. John Oliver and Jaime Camil demonstrate how they work.  

In a 30-minute satire, John Oliver explains why multilevel marketing should be regarded as an “endless chain pyramid” and exposes the gamut of ploys used to trick prospective distributors and minimize government regulation.

The video, which has had more than 5 million YouTube views, ends with the promise that if each viewer sends it to five other people who do the same, it will reach every person on earth in just 14 referral cycles.

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Liver toxicity related to herbs and dietary supplements: Online table of case reports.

Posted 07 November 2016

[quote]Over the past 50 years, approximately 19 herbs (minus germander and usnic acid that are no longer sold) and 13 dietary supplements (minus the six no longer sold and vitamin A & niacin due to excess) posed a possible risk for liver injures in certain individuals. The top three herbs with the most number of reported publications (but not cases studies) in descending order, were germander, black cohosh, kava extract, and green tea extract.[/quote]
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