Drug Free Sport Staff Writers

Drug Free Sport Staff Writers

Friday, October 7, 2011

Dietary Supplements – The quackery of healing

A common claim of dietary supplements is their ability to heal. Whether it be healing an injury or helping cure a disease, there is always some substance, and in turn hundreds of dietary supplements, claiming to be beneficial. This can be dangerous, especially if individuals forgo regular medical treatment for a dietary supplement, believing that the supplement will cure them and they don’t need medical treatment. An athlete who believes the supplement they are taking is helping them heal faster, may begin training or competition before an injury has fully healed, causing more serious injury to ligaments, muscles, and joints. FDA labeling laws for dietary supplements prohibit companies from making claims that their products can cure, treat, diagnose, mitigate or prevent any disease.

We often refer to the claims made by these products as quackery. People believe these claims every day. Not only are there health consequences quackery can have economic consequences as well, causing individuals to spend money on a product that is not proven to work. Quackery can also cause a spread of misinformation and a push to weaken consumer protection laws.

Here are a some examples:

Debbie Benson died of breast cancer after refusing additional treatment after she had a lump removed. She went to a naturopath who gave her herbal treatments. Debbie ignored a swollen lymph node as she was told it was just an effect of the herbal products. When she finally went to the doctor, she found out it was cancer. She continued treatments with alternative healers but her condition deteriorated until she died .

In this story, Susan Fox and her husband were thousands of dollars in debt after pursuing a “work from home” project with Herbalife which required they purchase thousands of dollars in product, training materials, and phone plans. http://www.mlmwatch.org/13Victims/fox.html

Neuro Replete by CHK Nutrition. CHK has been at the center of attention for some time now because they have made health claims about their products. You can find additional information here: http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm271703.htm

Cracking Down on Health Fraud - http://www.fda.gov/Drugs/EmergencyPreparedness/BioterrorismandDrugPreparedness/ucm137261.htm

FDA issues warning letters to marketers of unapproved "alternative hormone therapies" (items promoted for treatment or prevention of cancer, heart disease, and osteoporosis) http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/2005/ucm108515.htm

H1N1 scams - http://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm187728.htm

Recent conventions for illegally selling drugs - http://www.fda.gov/ICECI/CriminalInvestigations/ucm248636.htm

While there are may be alternative therapies for a condition, make sure there is sound, scientific evidence behind a product, substance, or therapy before you rely on them.

To learn more about quackery visit http://www.quackwatch.com/.

To learn about evaluating health information on the web visit http://www.fda.gov/Drugs/ResourcesForYou/Consumers/BuyingUsingMedicineSafely/BuyingMedicinesOvertheInternet/ucm202863.htm

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