FDA warns about tainted arthritis and pain products

Posted 10 Jan 2024

The FDA has identified 25 products promoted for arthritis and pain management that contain drug ingredients not listed on product labels, including some found in prescription drugs. The agency advises these products are only a small fraction of potentially dangerous products marketed online and in stores. Such products may cause serious side effects and may interact with medications or dietary supplements.

Tainted Arthritis | Pain Products

FDA is notifying consumers of certain products promoted for arthritis and pain management that have been found to contain hidden ingredients and may pose a significant health risk. The public notifications listed below include those products FDA testing found to contain active drug ingredients not listed on the product labels, including some with ingredients found in prescription drugs. These products may cause potentially serious side effects and may interact with medications or dietary supplements a consumer is taking. Consumers … Read the rest

Posted 10 Jan 2024

A small, but well-conducted, study of the effect of CBD oil on bad toothaches neither proves nor disproves whether the drug works. However, some intriguing data could be confirmed in a larger clinical trial. Let’s call this mildly encouraging. At best.

I’m always skeptical of claims concerning therapeutic uses of CBD oil (cannabidiol) and also the results of clinical trials that contain a small number of participants. So when I came across a 2023 paper in the Journal of Dental Research (peer-reviewed) about a clinical trial with 61 participants that examined whether CBD could be used to treat toothache pain, I was tempted to ignore it. But the trial by the Rutgers School of Dental Medicine should not be ignored; it was a double-blinded placebo-controlled randomized clinical trial (RCT) with two different doses

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Australian TGA seizes hundreds of potentially dangerous sport supplements from Sydney retail store

Posted 10 Jan 2024

The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) with the assistance of NSW Police have seized 478 sport supplements containing potentially dangerous substances from a Sydney retail store.

It is alleged that the supplements were intended for supply to consumers. Some of the supplements are alleged to contain substances which are banned from sale and supply in Australia due to their high risk to consumer health.

The seizures were made after the TGA and NSW Police executed search warrants at the Sydney retail store on 19 December 2023 as part of ongoing investigations into the alleged importation, manufacture, supply, and advertising of unapproved therapeutic goods.

In Australia, medicines and chemicals are classified into schedules in the Poisons Standard according to the level of regulatory control required to protect public health and safety. Schedule 4 lists substances regulated as prescription-only medicines and schedule 10 lists substances of such danger to … Read the rest

Do testosterone boosters work?

Posted 20 December 2020

And can they help men improve their mental and physical health?

From Skeptical Inquirer 5 Dec 2023


There are hundreds, if not thousands, of commercial products aimed at increasing testosterone; they represent a drop in an ocean that is swelling with some 30,000 dietary supplements. The ones offered for boosting testosterone range from relatively benign multivitamins to anabolic/androgenic steroids and everything in between, all thriving in an industry lacking effective regulation or validation of claims.

When evaluated, the evidence is found wanting. Of fifty commercial products claiming to boost testosterone, improve libido, or help men feel stronger, only around 25 percent were supported by any evidence. Around 62 percent of supplements had no literature whatsoever, which is a surprise given the 109 unique compounds found among the supplements (an average of 8.3 ingredients per product). With such a litany of ingredients, one would expect … Read the rest

Natural remedies might not be better – so why do we still prefer them?

Posted 28 Nov 2023

People are more likely to reach for what’s ‘natural’ when treating a psychological condition, a study found – because they don’t want to affect their ‘true self’

The Guardian

Shayla Love Mon 13 Nov 2023 17.00 GMT

Let’s say that one day, you wake up incredibly itchy. A doctor recommends two drugs – one natural and one synthetic – to help with the scratching. Or, you start having intense mood swings, and you go to your doctor, who presents you with the option of taking a natural or a synthetic drug.

Which do you pick in each situation, and does the answer change if you’re treating your body as opposed to your mind?

We are bombarded with the word “natural” anytime we buy groceries, supplements, beauty products, household items, wine or cigarettes. People believe that “natural” products, foods and medicines are safer, healthier – and just … Read the rest

Author revises summary of scientific evidence about complementary and alternative medicine

Posted 08 November 2023

Thomas J. Wheeler, PhD, a retired associate professor from the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of Louisville School of Medicine, has published a 60-page revision of his Overview of Complementary and Alternative Medicine on the website of the Kentucky Council Against Health Fraud. The material was originally developed as the first in a series of handouts for an elective course that offered medical students a scientific look at alternative medicine. The topics addressed include:

  • general aspects
  • the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health and its predecessors
  • common themes in alternative medicine
  • adverse effects
  • integrative medicine
  • functional medicine
  • regulatory agencies involved in health claims
  • organizations and websites promoting critical examination of alternative claims
  • legal and ethical issues
  • fraud and quackery
  • antivaccination efforts
  • antifluoridation efforts
  • critical thinking in evaluation of medical claims: philosophical issues
  • nature of science
  • scientific activities and methods
  • skepticism and
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Is Turmeric Good for You? What We Know About Its Health Benefits

Posted 23 October 2023

A new study concluded that it could be effective at alleviating stomach discomfort. But a lot is unknown.

Turmeric has been used as a spice and medicine for thousands of years. And in recent decades, it’s become popular as a dietary supplement, often sold as curcumin — a chemical compound found in dried turmeric — with claims that it can soothe joint pain, reduce inflammation and improve mobility.

In Thailand, turmeric is also often consumed in its spice or supplement form to quell gastrointestinal symptoms like bloating and indigestion, said Dr. Krit Pongpirul, an associate professor of preventive and social medicine at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok. But only a few small studies have evaluated such benefits.

In a trial published Monday in the journal BMJ Evidence-Based Medicine, Dr. Pongpirul and his colleagues tested whether curcumin supplements

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Does Vitamin C Actually Help Your Skin?

Posted 23 October 2023

SCAM OR NOT: Here’s what dermatologists say about this trendy ingredient.

If you’ve spent time exploring the skin care side of TikTok, you know that dermatologists love to tout the benefits of vitamin C serums and creams. They claim the vitamin can brighten and firm the skin, protect it from sun and environmental damage, diminish dark spots and even reduce the signs of aging.

“All of its various benefits make it a top recommendation for most dermatologists,” said Dr. Fatima Fahs, a dermatologist in Michigan.

Yet if you dig into the research on how vitamin C actually affects the skin, a different picture emerges. In one 2021 review published in The Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, for instance, Dr. Fahs and her colleagues evaluated how effective various vitamin C formulations were at improving skin health. They

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Nattokinase hype scrutinised

Posted 11 October 2023

McGill University science advocate Jonathan Jarry took a close look at the hype for nattokinase supplements and was not impressed.
Reference: Jarry J. Nattokinase’s clot-busting promises sway scientists who should know better. McGill Office for Science and Society, Aug 4, 2023

His key messages are:

  • Nattokinase is an enzyme secreted by bacteria when fermenting soybeans during the making of the traditional Japanese food known as natto.
  • Nattokinase dietary supplements are claimed to help prevent and treat cardiovascular disease, although the studies done so far are not rigorous enough to support this claim.
  • It is not known for certain what happens to nattokinase in the human body when taken by mouth.
  • Anti-vaccine influencers are selling nattokinase supplements as a way to “detox” from the spike protein contained in the COVID-19 vaccines, an idea that is not based on good science.
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Menopause treatments – Misinformation

Posted 08 September 2023

Here are some key excerpts from the review published in Cell (abstract below):

“Complementary and alternate medicines (CAMs) for menopausal symptoms have been frequently touted, are widely advertised, and have an overall dismal track record of efficacy when subjected to rigorous scientific study. The best studied of these are phyto (plant) estrogen supplements and black cohosh (Cimicifuga racemosa). Systematic reviews of phytoestrogens do not support benefits in the relief of VMS.122,123 In numerous trials, black cohosh, not to be confused with blue cohosh, which has known liver toxicity, has been shown to be safe with limited efficacy in some single-site clinical trials. However, the HALT study, which was the most rigorous and comprehensive clinical trial to date, consisting of 351 participants, demonstrated no improvement with black cohosh over placebo among perimenopausal women experiencing VMS.124 The dilemma that black cohosh poses to the clinician is a common … Read the rest