The “Wild West” of Supplement Safety

March 20, 2012
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DatelineThis week, Dateline NBC ran a “shocking exposé” of “dangerous supplements.” We separate fact from fiction.

The episode, which aired this past Sunday, was mainly about a vitamin and mineral concoction called Total Body Formula that was sold four years ago by a store in Georgia. After several users reported horrific reactions—hair falling out completely, fingernails falling off, etc.—an investigation revealed that the formula contained extraordinarily high levels of selenium.

It turns out the manufacturer misread the formula when creating the supplement, resulting in selenium levels 200 times higher than the amount indicated on the label. On top of that, the supplement was produced using methods that no reputable manufacturer would use—for example, they strained the mixture through pantyhose!

To add insult to injury, an analysis by the product’s certification lab, Atlas Bioscience, didn’t even detect those dangerous selenium levels. So Dateline launched one of their famous sting operations where they submitted to the same lab two “new supplements” which had been secretly (but deliberately) spiked with arsenic and lead, and even asked the lab to check for them specifically—and once again the lab didn’t detect the dangerous chemicals: the lab had clearly fabricated its results.

Happily, Dateline got good quotes from the Council for Responsible Nutrition and the Natural Products Association, both of whom underscored the fact that the vast majority of supplements are safe. On the downside, the report clearly implied that giving FDA approval power over supplements would make them safer, which is false.

The fact is, FDA approval does not, and cannot, prevent contamination or adulteration. It certainly hasn’t done so for FDA-approved drugs! Supplement quality is maintained through strict adherence to Current Good Manufacturing Practices (CGMPs), which the FDA already has in place, and which are extremely stringent.

In particular because of the CGMPs, but even without the CGMPs, the FDA has full authority to enforce against contamination and adulteration. In this case, the FDA issued an official warning, and the manufacturer voluntarily recalled the toxic product to avoid lawsuits. The problem is not a lack of regulation but a lack of enforcement. As FDA’s Daniel Fabricant confirmed in the interview, it’s partly a matter of resources: FDA has only 22 agents working on supplements, and this is a $28 billion industry.

There is also a widespread belief that at least in the past the agency deliberately decided to minimize enforcement of supplements with the expectation that doing so would lead to a crisis, and a crisis would bring supplements more fully under FDA control. This may sound like a conspiracy theory, but there is evidence to support it.

FDA pre-approval would not only fail to make supplements safer; it would also threaten our access to supplements. And as we have seen with the FDA’s draft guidance for New Dietary Ingredients, a pre-approval system would greatly diminish access to supplements by removing many of them from the market, and also make the remaining supplements far more expensive.

Dateline’s piece paints the regulation of supplements as being like “the Wild West”—that is, without any reliable controls. But FDA certification for laboratories that test supplements is exactly the same as for those that test drugs and food. In both cases, it is a voluntary process.

And more to the point, only one certification lab out of all the labs Dateline investigated, the aforementioned Atlas Bioscience, was alleged to be guilty of being a “dry lab”—that is, of providing fraudulent data. One should not use the actions of one rogue laboratory to draw conclusions about the entire industry.

The burden is on the supplement manufacturer to ensure that the testing is reliable because ultimately, it is the manufacturer who is answerable. The same goes for food and drug manufacturers. As in all industries, there are bad actors, but as the episode points out, the majority of supplement manufacturers provide products that are safe and consumers use them to stay healthy.

Supposed “exposés” like this one never seem to point out that the percentage of adverse event reports for nutritional supplements is much, much lower than those for pharmaceutical drugs and vaccines. If the supplement industry is alleged to be “the Wild West,” what are we to make of the shocking number of deaths and injuries from drugs and biologics? Nobody says that these are unregulated industries.

56 Responses to “The “Wild West” of Supplement Safety”

  1. Lara says:

    This Atlas Bioscience Lab is also the only certification lab used by Aloha Medicinals, an American producer of medicinal mushroom supplements, most of which are completely useless because they do not contain bioavailable components.

    This fact is left out, and the ‘certificates’ supplied by Atlas Bioscience give all these impressive levels of glucans and such, while the product being tested isn’t even the product that is offered to the consumer! It is an extracted version of the product!!

    On top of that, the reported levels are unusually high – in fact technically impossible as everybody that has knowledge about mushrooms and pharmaceutical techniques will confirm.

    A clear case of ‘dry labbing’.

    Cordyceps extracts with over 40% of beta-glucans ? Impossible with Cordyceps, only Agaricus blazei reaches these levels. Although not the Aloha Medicinals Agaricus.

    And Aloha Medicinals are the people proudly stating ‘all-American!’ and ‘does not contain products from China!’ in their marketing – in fact they are worse than the worst Chinese producers and give the US and the many good companies operating there a bad name. They did not even get a GMP certification, now we know why.

       3 likes

  2. Rigzin Dorje says:

    It is common practice in Medicine to put patients on combinations of drugs. The vast majority of these combinations of drugs (especially where 3 or more drugs are involved) have never been studied at all, let alone in double-blind trials ( with the exception of Oncology/AIDS treatment, where the toxicity of the drugs demands study); yet it is frequent practice to prescribe these multiple-drug combinations.

    It is well accepted in Pharmacology that it is scientifically impossible to accurately predict the side effects or clinical effects of a combination of drugs without studying that particular combination of drugs in test subjects. Knowledge of the pharmacologic profiles of the individual drugs in question does not in any way assure accurate prediction of the side effects of combinations of those drugs, especially when they have different mechanisms of action, which is very common because polypharmacy is most often prescribed to patients with “multiple illnesses”.

    More than 100,000 patients in this country die from identified adverse drug reactions (perhaps the 4th to 6th leading cause of death in the U.S.) ; the number who die as a consequence of polypharmacy is, to my knowledge, unknown and unstudied.

    The argument that the prescribing of drugs is the “Art” of Medicine is not valid in defending polypharmacy, because drugs are developed (indications, dose and administration, etc) and approved through a “scientific” process (double-blind, placebo-controlled studies). The fact that the medicines are often prescribed for “different conditions” is irrelevant (especially to the patient’s physiology). The idea that ” we are doing the best we can “, a frequent defense of Polypharmacy, does not in any way uphold a scientific argument in favor of it. (We are, indeed, trying the best we can, with tools which do not improve at the rate we would wish!)

    The fact that “there is a limit to how much research can be done” in no way makes the research unnecessary in order to predict the side effects of specific combinations of drugs.

    It has been said in the past that <30% of medical practice was backed by controlled studies . Has this changed? How do we know? Are we looking closely enough at our way of practicing Medicine?

    Can the use of unstudied polypharmacy really be considered evidence-based, "scientific" Medicine?

       2 likes

  3. thought2u says:

    Thanks for the comment about Glutamate. I keep learning new things almost daily.
    I was put on RX Statins for cholestrol high, starting 2009. Within 3 months, I was suffering extreme muscle pain, extreme muscle cramps. Told doctor, kinda smile at me & dismiss it.
    It continued to get worse . Was then switched over time to RX of 4 more different Statins and my problems with muscles increased most of body. I then got on the Internet into legitimate medical sites and Learned the real Truth!!!! I stopped myself, told doctor 2 months later. I have been permanently muscle damaged but alive. A relative runs a supp.store advise a good dose of Magnesium, Vit.D3, C and B12. Started 1st with just the magnesium. It has really helped the horrid muscle cramps, though the damage is permanent, it has helped me. I then had Doctor Blood test me and came back I was extra low D3, B12…so I am now taking it all. ONLY advise to read labels on vitamin bottles. I had one that had “Carbomer Wax” in it..Geez. A Radiologist I know told me, he would never give radiation or chemotherapthy to a family member!

    Many Pharma drugs OK’d by the FDA that the FDA just takes the drug companys word that their Trial was ok, so FDA ok’s most of it, especially if it is a real needed drug. Also was told to Never take a brand new drug!!! It usually can take up to 5 years before horrid side effects or deaths show up. Be cautious and do your research. Meantime, it is Vitamins and Supplements for me and that is what BIG PHARMA wants so they can control and raise prices up to 400% them.

    Doctors mostly push the drugs that the drug salesmen give them & talk them how great they are.
    Majority of doctors until older, do not know much about drugs or vitamins/supplements.
    They are becoming a bit more aware thank goodness and even many Pharmacists don’t know much about supplements. Some are really learning though as it is a good sales market that people are turning to. FDA and even USDA does not have manpower, labs to even check on Food we eat, never mind drugs, vitamins/supplements. Most of the time, they rely on Pharmas trials and word. Thousands of crates come into our Ports full of foods, drugs etc. Only about 1 1/2% get inspected by EYE and by SMELL. 1/2% get lab inspected out of many many thousands of imported crates of everything. Wash all fruits/veges as good as possible. Buy USA made or organic much as possible. Read the Labels on your Vitamins for all the additives that may…

       0 likes

  4. Tower 20 says:

    Another hit piece from Dateline masquerading as investigative reporting and pandering to their big pharma advertisers. If they wanted to engage in real journalism this piece would have focused on shutting down a bogus lab that was ripping off customers and potentially endangering the public. Then they could have dug in and seen if the labs reputation specifically attracted customers that were seeking deceptive test results. Instead they chose to sow fear into the supplement marketplace. Somehow, the wholesale death of hundreds of thousands of American that result from prescription drugs is perfectly acceptable. Hey Dateline how about an investigation into the number of people who die from pharmaceuticals and the blatant coverups of test results and clinical trials by drug companies? I expect your advertisers might not like that.

       22 likes

    • Tracy Nicholas says:

      I agree 100% with everything you said! “If they wanted to engage in real journalism this piece would have focused on shutting down a bogus lab that was ripping off customers and potentially endangering the public.” Hey Dateline how about an investigation into the number of people who die from pharmaceuticals and the blatant coverups of test results and clinical trials by drug companies? This show really killed me to watch. I’m disappointed with Chris Hanson!

         0 likes

    • Angela says:

      They ran a story on clinical trials a few weeks ago check out their website. It was a great story! I am just happy that the word is getting out about these so called FDA regulated…not..clinical trials!

         0 likes

    • Cheryl MallonBond- says:

      EXACTLY!!!!!!! You took the words right out of my mouth! I can’t stand when these stories show up on these programs! The ignorant general public says….”see, I told you that supplements were malarkey!” But they are like a deer in headlights when it comes to all the harm pharmaceuticals have caused! Makes me crazy!!! Well said!

         0 likes

    • Mishcka O'Connor says:

      This letter is a good one to confront DateLine with. Has ANH-USA contacted Dateline with this perspective? Is there a petition to DateLine your readers can sign? It does little good for us to complain among ourselves. Dateline should be confronted.

         0 likes

  5. D. says:

    Another good reason to underscore the notion that people should be getting their nutrition from real food, not supplements. The FDuh is having a fieldday trying to outlaw most real foods (like raw milk and real beef) by scaring the beejeebies out of people with factless facts. Let’s not give them more fodder by gulping down supplements at the speed of sound. It’s ridiculous to do so because unless you actually see something being manufactured (read: in a lab which is NOT natural) you still don’t have any real idea what you’re consuming when taking a supplement. A lot of supplements contain soy or a derivative of soy. That’s enough to turn me right off.

       10 likes

    • Molly says:

      We cannot possibly get enough nutrients for our cells and organs to function properly from food alone. The way much food is grown strips the land of what few nutrients it has left and there is little remaining in the food at all. Add cooking to that, not to mention microwaving, and we are dramatically lacking in vital nutrients our bodies require to be healthy and fight off disease. At this point in human evolution, we NEED supplementation. Next year, it will be a different story after Ascension, however right now, we reserve the right to supplement. Most of the supplements on the shelves are useless. The ones that are any good recommend a dosage far inferior to what our bodies really need. It’s only companies like USANA Health Sciences that do the research to determine what keeps cells alive and functioning and their products have FAR higher dosages of many nutrients than most tell is to take. Some supplements help us to detox, and that is CRITICAL to rid our bodies of heavy metals and other crud we’ve been ingesting carelessly for so long. That is why people get sick. The body can heal itself if it’s given the proper building blocks and is kept clean and free to function the way it was designed to do. It’s just common sense.

         0 likes

    • banshee says:

      that is to say the supplements manufactured and purchased as isolates

      as everyone knows they government is shutting down herbalists who are making plant medicine which are not the same as ’supplements’ mentioned above.

      everything I use is 100% organic/hypo-allergenic right down to the type of solvent used to extract the medicinal compounds

         0 likes

    • Real food, I guess you consider GMO real food…most of the food we buy is GMO, and we are not allowed to know if it is and the rest is full of pesticide…so yeah, lets get our supplements from the food we eat..

         0 likes

      • wvhillbilly says:

        Another thing–the herbicides farmers use on Roundup resistant crops further strip both the ground and the plants growing in it even further of nutrients. Plus it kills all the beneficial micro-organisms in the ground, leaving the plants increasingly susceptible to diseases. That’s on top of all the other dangers of GMO-and you’re eating totally empty foods.

           0 likes

  6. Grace Adams says:

    I wonder if it might be cheaper within ten years to buy out the big drug firms, kick their leaders upstairs, and give small firms and consumers a free market.

       3 likes

    • BullSmith says:

      Anytime I hear the name FDA I think of it as the extension of big phama, Why would I believe anything the FDA says. & NBC is nothing but crap

         0 likes

  7. Richard T. Wendel says:

    Please clear up your position: Paragraph five says an unidentified …” ‘report’ clearly implies giving the FDA approval power over supplements would make them safer, which (you say) is false”.

    Three lines later, you state “Supplement quality is maintained through strict adherence to CGMP’s, which the FDA already has in place”. And, “The FDA has full authority to enforce against contamination and adulteration”. This provision indeed was enacted and used against the “pantyhose caper” violators (my pun).

    The FDA then already has power over supplements, and enforces this power, making them at least somewhat safe. Is this true?

       4 likes

    • ANH-USA says:

      The FDA does have the power to regulate supplements, but does not have the power to pre-approve them before they reach the market. Their regulatory power is through the cGMPs, and through their authority to seize and/or ban any product that is found to be adulterated or misbranded. They have repeatedly sought to gain the additional power of pre-market approval, which is unwarranted given that their existing power to regulate is already sufficient.

         7 likes

  8. L.P. says:

    Here is where the Liberal…and I mean LIBERAL Media Lies start: ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, MSNBC, CNBC and PBS.
    These are ALL Left-Wing Liberal-Oriented programming. And YES….some *one* IS…pulling the strings….and the Puppet Master is???(Soros?)

       6 likes

  9. Not Buying It says:

    It’s time we stand up to our elected officials and tell them we are not going to take this anymore. A good start would be to vote our conscience instead of who the bought and paid for mainstream media is telling us is leading the pack of GOP hopefuls. Whatever your party affiliation is, one has to see that neither democrats or republicans are serving the needs of the American people. Time for a housecleaning. That’s why I am voting for and helping out Ron Paul’s candidacy. At least he’s honest and thinks about the American people’s liberty and the constitutional limits of the federal government.

       13 likes

  10. Stephen E. Jones Sr. says:

    Thats why I buy all my supplements from Life Extension Foundation

       3 likes

  11. Sherry Moore says:

    I wonder how much of the operating budget of the FDA comes from pharmaceutical sales. It must provide them some money or they wouldn’t be biased in their direction.

       5 likes

    • wvhillbilly says:

      “I wonder how much of the operating budget of the FDA comes from pharmaceutical sales.”

      Plenty of it. The pharmaceutical companies give the FDA big bucks in return for fast track approval of new medicines.
      Plus there are drug company lobbyists and former company officials occupying seats on the FDA, a blatant conflict of interest. Basically, the drug companies are telling the FDA what to do when it should be the other way around.

      It’s commonly known as corruption.

         0 likes

    • brad roon says:

      Their management team is usually exec/mgmt for drug corporations or heading there after working at FDA. Michael Taylor as head of FDA made the legal fiction that GMO food is safe without any safety testing being done. Why? Because he is a Monsanto GMO employee who was VP for marketing after leaving the FDA where he is now again in authority as “FOOD CZAR”.
      The Nebraska drug plant, pharmaceutical, was cited for failure to comply w/cGMP for two years, do they get a SWAT raid like Amish raw milk farmers? Like the Detroit homeschooling mom? Like the raw food private buying club in LA, Like the Nevada group forced to abandon their Utah certified organic food as a biohazard by the local food Nazis? Why do drug companies always get the go ahead and pat on the back and health food industries/practitioners get slammed?
      Because when you know that real food will make your body healthy, the drug companies lose trillions. That annoys them, and they have “the best govt money can buy”.
      Watch your congress. They will toss you treats, but did they sign S510 to strangle supplements? Did they just vote for or against STOCK, the insider trading bill? Most are just going to keep doing what money tells them. Vote almost anyone else & cut the puppet strings.

         0 likes

  12. Bob says:

    That’s ok- ABC did a hit job the night before on a natural health doctor in NC that helped the Washington Redskins cheerleader who was poisoned by the Swine Flu Vaccine to heal. Was she completely healed> No, yet guess what- she was dramatically better after detoxing some of the poisons out of her body. The drug really industry really wants to make her look bad since she was completely healthy before getting the flu shot and then crippled afterward.

       6 likes

  13. Mark Kroger says:

    Hi. Thanks for keeping us informed and working to protect our supplements…

    It’s my guess the whole thing was a manufactured crisis. A setup from the start. The FDA is just a Big Pharma Business Agent. Big Pharma doesn’t like nutrients because a healthy population doesn’t want their drugs, markets shrink & stocks plummet. The whole thing is bottom line driven with us just being a nameless, faceless market or markets.

    The money producing products for a market is also the same money building markets for a product. Behind the veil, the same names start appearing over and over. The rest of the players are just playing Simon Says for the rewards of doing so instead of the consequences of not doing so.

    One of the richest men in the World just died believing Simon’s deadly foolishness.

    We are a context driven bio-integrated environment that has a number of nutrient inter-dependencies that have to be satisfied to enable the integrated whole to functions and purpose. When inter-dependencies aren’t satisfied, systems deteriorate, renegade processes occur and the integrated whole starts to shut down from the inside out.

    So a wise person will be aware of who is talking and why they’re saying it. The wonderful Doctors and Professionals that have decided to forgo Big Money to help us learn how to stay healthy, deserve our support and utmost respect. Thank you so much.
    Mark

       11 likes

  14. Jean Leclair says:

    I think what has been said in the previous blogs, tells 95% of it all. I agree and happy to see other peoples responses. I have been taking supplements and herbal support for almost three years. If it was for this I would have had to take chemo (junk) treatments. Please we all need to keep supporting these supplements. We don’t need our greedy government telling us what to do.

       14 likes

    • chip d says:

      Jean, What supplements that are not expansive say over 100 dollars could I get that you use? I was told the same as you I would need chemo even though I had surgery and my last PET MRI with contrast were clean, I am taking some supp from a company in Alaska even though they were incredibly expensive, how do you know there is no microscopic cells of cancer after you take these supplements and are there any supp that destroy the microscopic cells ? my surgery was july 26 2011 and my PET a month after that was clean.

         0 likes

  15. Lulu says:

    I was gobsmacked to discover that in the case of glutmate additives ( MSG) the FDA and the USDA are under contract with Ajinimoto, the company that invented it, and produces 1/3 of all glutamate additives in the world to do the safety testing on this known neurotoxin. Not surprisingly, Ajinimto found it to be safe, and said that anyone with a bad reaction must have emotional problems that woudl make them ‘think’ they are getting headaches. The FDA and USDA said that was good enough for them, and have refused to ban or even regulate the substance, They don’t even require it to be put o labels, so no one has any idea how much they consuume. Glutamate is used in animal feed to fatten them before slaughter, is used in obesity studies ( because it causes rapid weight gan) and is in vaccines and medicines. It is used as a preservative and a pesticide ( so it’s even on fruits and vegetables. And it is in every processed food you buy – even the ones that say NO MSG ( they combine glutamate with pottassium or other substance for those. You read labels and see “natural flavorings” and think that’s good, right? It’s NOT good. It’s glutamate. Glutamate was introduced to the US in 1948, just before a myriad of neurological disorders either first appeared, or dramatically incresed. ALL of them are affected, if not caused by glutamate. I could send you to hundreds of studies that implicate glutamate, and I encourage you to seek them out and read them ( just google glutamate and your favorite disorder) but the proof is in the pudding. Google “glutamate blockers” and see how many disorders are not treated by this new type of drug. The phramaceutical companies sponsor most of the medical studies done in this country, and they know glutamate is a neurotoxin and a killer ( google it with atrial fibrilllation and other heart disease). But rather than call for a ban or regulations, they compound problems by producing a drug to counteract the ill effects. The FDA does not protect us, the USDA does not protect us. The pharmaceutical companies are NOT on our side. And if you have any sort of magnesium or B12 deficiency or other nutritional deficiency, chances are you’re next in line for a very bad disease caused by this miserable scurge that is in virtually everything but organic produce. Magnesium and B12 are two of the few things we have that protect us from it. Somewhat.

       20 likes

    • Lois Amos says:

      The first time I got a headache from MSG was when I moved to Hawaii in 1982 and didn’t know what was causing it until my neighbor told me that it was the MSG in the Korean and Chinese food because they used much larger quantities than on the mainland. I was used to mostly organic, health food in California but want to sample the quisine in Hawaii. When I stopped eating the restaurant foods that contained MSG, my headaches stopped. Occasionally, I would get a headache when dining in friends homes and when I asked them to check, they always found MSG so I knew that it was the culprit and not some random power of suggestion! Later in life I had 3 whiplash accidents over a period of 11 years and the headaches progressed to Migraines. One of the things that triggered a migraine was MSG so I became extremely vigilant to be sure I never consumed anything labeled containing MSG. Occasionally, I had a migraine and I felt that I had tasted MSG the restaurant said “no MSG” or the label did not list MSG as an ingredient. I am pleased that your information now confirms that there was most likely MSG conbined with Potassium or another mineral or among the ingredients of the so-called “Natural Flavoring”. This really angers me. If you have ever had a Migraine or cared about someone who has had Migraines you will understand my anger. I suffered terrible with an average of 2 a week for 14 years and still have an average of 3 a month. I used Emitrex (prescription med.) for several years but it made my heart ache and my physician no longer recommended it so I found that high doses of magnesium , calcium pyruvate (clears the glutamine from brain) got ride of the migraine usually and if not I added an2 ibyprophen and the Migraine was gone! I am looking for a natural anti-inflamatory and will use the earthing pad I just purchased to see it it can replace the ibyprophen.

         4 likes

  16. Joanne says:

    In general I am in favor of regulation – look what happened to our economy when regulations were lifted from financial institutions! – but the regulators must be independent, not in the pockets of big business (whatever the business being regulated is, in this case big pharma). absolutely feel we have been cheated by the removal of products as much or more than by the approvals. After all, you can just not buy an approved product, but a product that’s been removed you just can’t get. I would say separating food from drugs sounds like a good idea.

       4 likes

    • bonhoeffer says:

      Not true, Joanne. It was the regulators and crooked courts that FORCED lenders to give gobs of money to people who THEY knew could never pay it back under the guise of “fairness” and “equality” that laid the groundwork for the collapse. Then they passed the bad paper around like a weird game of musical chairs, always knowing the music would stop someday, but forced to play the sick game by the do-ggoder liberals in congress. Barney Frank belongs in jail, not bankers and mortgage lenders.

         4 likes

  17. Barbara says:

    Just resign yourselves to the fact that the government is going to control every aspect of your life. If we keep allowing it, there won’t be any business left that isn’t government owned. Check out UN AGENDA 21.

       12 likes

    • SmilingAhab says:

      Agenda 21 was a Dear John written to the world about some market-friendly ways to reduce pollution, reign in overconsumption and help mitigate anthropogenic climate instability. There’s no big one-world agenda to take away your land and guns; most OECD nations don’t even take the UN all that seriously. It’s and international FORUM. Not an international confederacy.

      And before PhRMA started dumping billions of dollars on the FDA and Congress, there were strong laws preventing conflicts of interest. Government gets big when corporate America sees an opportunity to use bloat as a cover to hoodwink state power. Dodd-Frank was 31 pages before the Wall St. lawyers got their hands on it.

      All you see is the hand puppet – time to start looking at whose hand is wearing it.

         11 likes

    • Bob says:

      I will never resign myself to such a fact. My ancestors fought in 1776 for this country to have our freedoms from tyranny and the feudal system- We will not go back!

         2 likes

  18. dave h says:

    i watch this show and i was so disgusted this bias reporting on a national t v show that im not going to watch or support anything to do with that station they wont do a story on labeling food has gmo s in it even after president obama said that he was for labeling gmo s in our food when he was running for president another lie by our politicans and thisso called station does not 1 story what a joke stop supporting these stations and politicans until they get it right if not for our sake then for kids of now and the future this is just shameless and wrong

       10 likes

    • SmilingAhab says:

      And the CPC has introduced numerous GMO bills in Congress and Obama has said that if they survive to his desk he would sign them. But they all die in committee. So whose fault is it really? The office of President is a lot less powerful than most think. There’s a reason Boehner and McConnell can so easily challenge the president – because they’re pretty much as powerful.

         5 likes

      • wvhillbilly says:

        The root of the problem: $$$,$$$,$$$.

        The love of money is the root of all evil… (1 Timothy 6:10)

           2 likes

  19. Wayne says:

    The medical/pharmaceutical cartel is responsible for hundreds of thousands of deaths every year. They get away with it because they have the power, money, political influence, and they make up the rules regarding standards of care that protect them from liability and that all of us must live by. They can determine that the standard of care for cancer treatment is chemotherapy and radiation; two modalities that actually cause cancer. They can prescribe statin drugs for heart attacks that may actually cause you to have a heart attack or muscle wasting disease. They can prescribe bisphosphonates found in Fosamax for osteoporosis to later find out it causes necrosis of the jaw and bone fractures of the femur. These are just a few of the treatments that are the standard of care that can have fatal consequences. Since these treatments are the standard of care (determined by the medical profession) there is no liability on the part of doctors prescribing it. People are endangered every day by the medical/pharmaceutical industry but there is not a peep out of the media. Not even FOX is fair and balanced when it comes to exposing the dangers of pharmaceutical drugs. But let someone take a supplement that causes their hair to fall out and it becomes a major story.
    So why is the liberal media attacking supplements and not the medical/pharmaceutical industry? They are protecting the never ending money train of drug ads. Attacking supplements is a safe victim because it won’t cost the network anything. If a television network started telling the truth about how dangerous the drugs are, the pharmaceutical industry would threaten them with pulling their adverdtizing dollars. By attacking supplements, it is a fear mongering attempt to discredit alternative natural therapies. By remaining silent about the dangers of drugs endorses the use of them. Sell more drugs, get more advertizing, crush the competition. To Hell with what is good for the public, just make more profits.

       18 likes

    • Joanne says:

      By the way, there really is no such thing as the liberal media. Check out this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KYlyb1Bx9Ic&feature=youtube_gdata_player Seriously, the people who have the kind of money to buy out news media are not liberals!

         5 likes

      • Richard Pawley says:

        Many of the Democrats in the Senate are multi-millionaires. Kerry is closer to a billionaire. Soros
        isn’t in the senate but has more power than they do and he is multi-billionaire. That character on HBO who gave Obama a million to be re-elected in not poor. I canceled HBO because he was on it.
        And all those poor liberals who pay $38,500 a plate so Obama can be re-elected and finish off the country, well they ain’t poor. Neither is Michael Moore ($100,000,000.00) and many of the movie stars are liberal and multi-millionaires. Al Gore was a millionaire when he went to Washington but now he is worth many hundreds of millions. I seem to remember his latest house cost $37 million but I could be wrong. The point is there are just as many ubber rich liberals as there are conservatives.
        The latest joke sent to me today from someone who works for the government is by someone named Jodi Miller and goes thus: “One of Warren Buffet’s companies owes the government $300 in unpaid
        taxes. So that’s why Buffet doesn’t mind higher taxes on the rich: He’s not going to pay them anyway.”

        You have to be rich to get elected but you can become amazinglywealthy after you get elected if you play your cards right. Mark Twain said it best, “No man’s wallet is safe when Congress is in session.”

           3 likes

        • Richard Pawley says:

          Of course that $300 in back taxes was $300 million.

          It has been said that liberalism as it is today is more like a religous cult, very myoptic
          and close minded. They know they are right so they don’t need to consider anything
          or anyone else. When the country was founded liberalism was more like what we would
          call the libertarian viewpoint of Ron Paul.

             1 likes

    • SmilingAhab says:

      You’re going to have to show me where this “liberal” media is, because aside from prime-time cartoons, most Hollywood fare and the liberal power-hour that doesn’t begin until about 8 pm on MSNBC and PBS, all I see is pro-corporate center-right reporting.

         8 likes

  20. dorsey thompson says:

    The food and drug agencies should be seperant agencies. We will make the population ill with this that is loosely called food, so that they can treat the symtoms of poor nourishment with daily pharmaceuticals. The drug companies are who the fda are looking out for . Wake up people.

       8 likes

    • SmilingAhab says:

      While it is called the food and drug administration, most of its food responsibilities have been passed off to the USDA.

         2 likes

  21. Michael G. Potrocky says:

    I watched Dateline and was very angry with their unscientific approach to science. Isn’t there a way to boycott NBC or contact sponsors to bring them to a level of accountability?

       12 likes

    • SmilingAhab says:

      Nope. In a free market, accountability laws are big government interference and banding together to punish a company is bolshevism.

         0 likes

  22. Thank you for your addendum and clarification to the Dateline show. I have been in the CAM camp for over 30 years now; A registered nurse working in Allopathic style medicine for the first 5 years, and then gradually became acquainted with Preventive, non-Invasive, Health optimizing protocols.
    There are supplements and practitioners on both sides of the fence who are not the most competent. Conversely, there are those in both fields, that I would seek for diagnosis, and intervention recommendation. It has been said that it takes 30+ years for something to be come GRAS and accepted into status quo society. I am seeing that now in these last 30 years. Whether by reason of economic advantage, or research results, main line pharmaceuticals are embracing herbal and vitamin-mineral specifics for a stated health promotional effect. Our responsibility is to let our legislators know frequently that we, as citizens, want the right to choose our practitioner, and we want to have a choice…..In Oregon, stress is on to limit our access to CAM care. Speak up!

       8 likes

  23. Barb says:

    Thank you for helping show the big picture, taking out the sensationalism intended to increase viewership. Keep up the good work!

       1 likes

  24. Juanita says:

    I trust the FDA as far as I can pick up my house and throw it. I hope and pray that they don’t gain any authority over supplements because such action would further victimize consumers by restricting or eliinating our accessibility to what is good for us and stamping approval on things that are harmful–even fatal–for us. Hands off, FDA.

       10 likes

  25. Another aspect that is completely ignored by the media is the influence of drug company advertising on the slant taken by networks such as NBC. A recent JAMA article showed that drug company advertising has had an adverse impact on both the types of health stories covered by the media, and their objectivity. The Dateline story should be examined more closely with that study in mind. Who is the network truly beholden to, the public, or Big Pharma?

       7 likes

  26. As a critical care RN for over 20 years, I have cared for 100’s of patients who were in the ICU related to adverse effects from their prescription medications-however, not a single patient related to vitamins!

       9 likes

  27. Dennis P. Finn says:

    Supplements do need to be regulated as do the testing labs and this is a prime example of why! You’re right about the FDA, but, if drug companies would stop faking their trials there would not be this problem.

       4 likes

    • TSvi says:

      I am certain you are correct that much more damage occurs from taking prescription drugs than supplements. But that is of course how it should be. Supplements are basically foods that have had some of their basic elements extracted, maybe concentrated and combined. This is why we have so far been able to keep them out of extremely costly FDA approval processes.

      Large parts of the MD medical industry definitely do show strong bias against supplements and other healing disciplines such as Traditional Chinese Medicine and Naturopathy. And we do need to be vigilant against the narrow mindedness that propagates from this. And big Phama is known to do some awful things promoting questionable products.

      However, Big Pharma also produces life saving products against terrible diseases and sometimes the bad side effects that go with such drugs are worth the risk. They are playing in a more dangerous part of the healing game. Things do go terribly wrong even with drugs worth having.

      I am on both sides of this Allopathic vs CAM issue. I have cancer (CLL) and am following a non-standard protocol that relies on “supplements” and some big Pharma drugs. I need both. It is not wise to ignore wisdom from any good source. Thankfully, so far my “integrated” medical approach has allowed me to live beyond the medium lifespan for my disease and I have so far have avoided the toxic chemo that is the normal MD/Allopathic standard. But I would not be alive now without some Allopathic drugs that include potentially dangerous side effects…at least for some time duration.

      TSvi (Portland OR)

         1 likes

  28. Suzanne says:

    This is awful but taking selenium off the market wouldn’t be smart nor would keeping the RDA for selenium as low as it is. People in Africa with lots of selenium in the soil don’t get HIV where people without selenium in the soil do. Selenium is an amazingly helpful supplement.

    Doctors like Abram Hoffer and Harold Foster realize that because they knew nutrition. Most doctors in the AMA don’t. Things have to change on that front.

       6 likes

    • SmilingAhab says:

      The AMA also only represents about 13% of doctors in the USA. 13% of the total, but 80-something-% of those are doctors and scientists employed by pharmaceuticals and for-profit hospitals that publish medical articles. At least the WHO represents a large number of actual blood on the gloves doctors.

         4 likes

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