Complementary medicines: When regulation results in revolution

Posted 30 May 2017

This article, published in the South African Medical Journal (SAMJ), is in related to the recent publication of regulations and drafts that will regulate so-called ‘complementary medicines (CAMS). The authors point out that “[T]he majority of complementary medicines that were on the market before the General Regulations came into effect, are now under threat and the nature of the industry will change once the new laws are fully implemented”. The important point is made that the Amendments do not change the process of regulation of complementary medicines.

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Study finds children can be taught to detect dubious health claims

Posted 29 May 2017

Vox has has described a remarkable series of interventions in which grade school children were taught to detect “bullshit health claims.” In 2009, a researcher challenged aged from 10 to 12 to figure out whether M&M candies could help them write more quickly or cause them to develop stomach pain or dizziness. When they readily figured out how to do randomized controlled experiments, he began working with researchers around the world to develop lesson plans and textbooks for critical thinking skills to school children. In 2016, his research team tested some of the materials in a trial of 10,000 children in central Uganda and found that the children who were exposed to them did remarkably better than those who were not. The results of the study were published this month.

Reference: Nsangi A and others. Effects of the Informed Health Choices primary school intervention on the Read the rest

Will a juice cleanse will ‘detox’ you after an unhealthy eating binge?

Posted 26 May 2017

The myth of the juice cleanse is a stubborn one – and one frequently promoted by celebrities – but it’s both wrong and unhealthy.

First of all, your body naturally removes harmful chemicals through the liver, kidneys, and gastrointestinal tract – there’s nothing about juice that will hurry that process along.

Secondly, juicing is mostly a way of removing helpful fibre from fruits and vegetables – many sugary fruit juices are as bad for you as sodas. You’re making the fruit less healthy by ‘juicing’ it.

Source: Science Alert

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Clicks’ GNC – Consumer lawsuit in the USA

Posted 23 May 2017

Clicks is the owner/distributor of the USA GNC product range in South Africa.

The USA’s Truth in Advertising, Inc., has published a history of government actions against General Nutrition and its associated companies. The government actions have included three by the U.S. Justice Department actions, three major FTC actions, at least four FTC actions against companies whose products were sold at GNC, more than a dozen false representation actions by the U.S. Postal Service, at least six actions by State agencies, and at least ten actions initiated by the FDA. There also have been more than 100 consumer lawsuits.

[GNC: No stranger to regulatory enforcement., May 22, 2017]

The takeaway message is that government regulation is limited and consumers need to be very skeptical of claims made about dietary supplements.

Source: Consumer Health Digest #17-21, May 21 2017

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People love probiotics, but do they really help?

Posted 22 May 2017

[quote]“The field resembles the Wild West,” says Claire Fraser, director of the Institute of Genome Sciences at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. Although there are some intriguing results pointing to the beneficial effects of probiotics, Fraser says, there needs to be additional studies before scientists can translate that information into clinical recommendations.[/quote]
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Advertising cosmetic services that include schedule 4 substances

Posted 15 May 2017

A media release from the Australian TGA:

The following advice is for health professionals and cosmetic/beauty clinics who advertise cosmetic services that involve therapeutic goods containing Schedule 4 (prescription-only) substances.

These groups are reminded that advertising of prescription-only products to consumers is illegal. Generally, it is an offence under section 42DL(1)(f) of the Therapeutic Goods Act 1989 (the Act) for a person to publish or broadcast an advertisement about therapeutic goods that contains a statement referring to goods, or substances or preparations containing goods, included in Schedules 3, 4 or 8 of the Standard for the Uniform Scheduling of Medicines and Poisons (SUSMP) (the Poisons Standard). This offence attracts a maximum penalty of $10,800 for an individual and $54,000 for a body corporate[1].

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Sports supplements sold to children

Posted 12 May 2017

This article was published in Huisgenoot. The article tackles the serious issue of companies such as USN targeting children to sell supplements to. This deplorable issue. We addressed this issue in CamCheck on the 21st April 2016.

In this previous article, we highlighted Elaine Swanepoel’s article, published in Die Rapport, where she wrote: “Yet says Albe Geldenhuys, head of USN, to Die Rapport, that primary school children should not under any circumstances be using supplements”. Yet the Sportsmax website clearly advertises and markets to children. SportMax products include MassMax (SportMax recommended dose is only for people older than 12 years) and Vitamax (12 years).  As we noted in the original posting, the product, ToneMax, contains Garcinia cambogia, an ingredient never tested in children, and associated with reports of liver failure!

The article is reproduced below, but available in PDF format

Part A
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There’s no good way to kill a bad idea

Posted 02 May 2017

We have often wondered why individuals believe in crazy claims being made for CAMS. In spite of great evidence refuting the evidence, many will continue to believe the nonsense. This article published in Quartz, tries to make sense of this.

[quote]Millions of people refuse to recognize man-made climate change. Americans spend billions on homeopathy. Around 12 million people believe that lizards are secretly ruling the world. The world is filled with bad, baseless, factually inaccurate ideas that refuse to die. If you’ve ever found yourself unable to halt someone else’s idiotic plans once they were already in motion, you’re not alone.[/quote]

Read the article at Quartz

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Turmeric might interact with immunosuppressant

Posted 01 May 2017

This abstract from Natural Medicines, Integrative Medicine Newsletter of 25 April 2017, points out a risk of high doses of tumeric and tacrolimus .

A new case report suggests that adding turmeric to the diet while taking the immunosuppressant tacrolimus might cause a serious interaction. A 56-year-old man with a liver transplant who was taking tacrolimus was admitted to the emergency room with worsening edema. Tacrolimus levels were 29.9 ng/mL, well above the previous level of 9.7 ng/mL taken 11 days prior. The patient revealed that he had been consuming turmeric around 15+ spoonfuls daily in his food starting 10 days before being admitted to the ER. It was thought that turmeric increased levels of tacrolimus due to cytochrome P450 3A4 (CYP3A4) inhibition. People taking tacrolimus should avoid large doses of turmeric.

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Garcinia Linked to Liver Damage

Posted 28 April 2017

Garcinia is found in a number of USN and Herbex products, as well as other weight-loss products. This abstract from Natural Medicines, Integrative Medicine Newsletter of 25 April 2017, points out the risks of liver damage.

Garcinia contains the constituent hydroxycitric acid (HCA) which is purported to have a role in weight loss. Taking garcinia extract in doses providing up to 2800 mg of HCA daily has been used with apparent safety for up to 12 weeks; however, there is concern about liver damage. There are several case reports of liver toxicity in people who have taken garcinia alone or in combination with other ingredients for as little as one week. It’s unclear if garcinia is the actual cause of liver problems in these reports or if it is due to other factors.

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