Does Your Vitamin or Herbal Supplement Contain What It Claims?

By Lori Newman, Special to Lifescript
Published February 12, 2015
Nutritional supplement users were shocked by a recent report saying that some herbal products may not contain the active ingredients. Here’s how to tell if a supplement is safe and effective…

Do you take ginkgo biloba to improve your memory? Echinacea to boost your immune system? St. John’s wort for a better mood?

You may not be getting what you pay for, according to New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman.

On Feb. 3, his office accused four major retailers – Walmart, Walgreens, Target and GNC – of selling fraudulent store-brand supplements. DNA testing found that nearly 4 out of 5 bottles contained little or none of the plants listed on the label, it claimed.
Schneiderman said he sent letters to these retailers warning them to stop selling the products. He also asked for detailed information about how the supplement capsules were produced, processed and tested, and to explain what quality control measures were in place during their manufacture.

Walmart’s Spring Valley brand fared the worst during testing: just 4% of the bottles tested contained any DNA from the advertised plant, according to the release.

The 6 products tested from each retailer were ginkgo biloba, St. John’s wort, ginseng, garlic, echinacea and saw palmetto.

What did the tests reveal?
Only 21% of the products tested actually contained any DNA from the plant species advertised on the label, Schneiderman reported. And 35% of the products contained DNA from plant species not listed on the labels – which Schneiderman called “fillers and contaminants.”

“A large number of the tests did not reveal any DNA from a botanical substance of any kind,” Schneiderman stated.

In the four store brands analyzed, unlisted ingredients found in various capsules included carrots, wheat, rice, allium (onions or garlic), beans, asparagus and leaves from house plants.

“This study undertaken by Attorney General Schneiderman’s office is a well-controlled, scientifically based documentation of the outrageous degree of adulteration in the herbal supplement industry,” says Arthur Grollman, M.D., professor of pharmacological sciences at Stony Brook University, in the press release.

A Consumer Controversy
Representatives of the supplement industry and some consumer groups disagreed with the report’s findings, saying that the kind of testing done on the products was an ineffective way of analyzing processed herbs. The tests, conducted by an expert from Clarkson University in Potsdam, N.Y., used “DNA barcoding” techniques, in which genetic markers are examined to identify plant species.

“DNA testing seldom is able to properly identify chemically complex herbal extracts, because often DNA doesn’t get through the extraction process,” Mark Blumenthal, director of the American Botanical Council in Austin, Tex., told the Associated Press.

“All GNC products are submitted to rigorous and generally accepted testing before they reach our customers,” said that company’s CEO, Michael Archbold, in a statement.

“When industry-wide standards are used to authenticate the ingredients in our products, the results demonstrate they are pure, safe and fully compliant,” Archbold said.

Controversies over supplement quality are magnified by the fact that they aren’t regulated like products labeled as drugs. Manufacturers are “prohibited from marketing products that are adulterated or misbranded,” but aren’t required to get Food and Drug Administration approval before producing or selling them, the FDA says.

“Supplements do not undergo the [FDA’s] rigorous evaluation process which scrutinizes everything about the drug — from the design of clinical trials to the severity of side effects to the conditions under which the drug is manufactured,” Schneiderman said in his Feb. 2 press release.

They do, however, have to “make sure that all claims and information on the product label and in other labeling are truthful and not misleading,” the FDA states.

The federal agency also requires that all ingredients not listed on a product’s “Supplement Facts” panel must be listed in “other ingredients” beneath that panel.

Herbal products not listing every ingredient on their labels “can cause serious harm to consumers unaware of the actual ingredients in the pills and capsules they ingest,” because they could cause allergic reactions or interact poorly with medications, Dr. Grollman says.

Be Smart About Supplements U.S. consumers spend nearly $20 billion per year on dietary supplements, according to the Natural Products Foundation. But with so many different brands on the market, it can be difficult to know which ones to buy.

What should you do? First, check with your doctor before taking any supplement, notes nutrition expert Robert Wildman, Ph.D. Some may not be recommended for certain health conditions or can interact poorly with medications.

Then, purchase brands you trust. If you aren’t sure, there are organizations that can help.

    • tests vitamins, minerals, herbs and other products for active ingredients and potentially harmful contaminants. Results are made available to paid subscribers for $3 per month.
    • U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention (USP) is a nonprofit organization that tests some supplements; those that meet its standards can display the USP seal of approval on their labels.
    • Other seals of approval include the Natural Products Association’s GMP certification, which means the manufacturer has met standards of good manufacturing practices. NSF certificationensures that products don’t contain unacceptable levels of contaminants.
  • The FDA’s website provides an in-depth Q&A section about dietary supplements. Topics include how they’re regulated, what kinds of claims manufacturers can make about a product, and how consumers can inform themselves about supplements’ safety.

Chocolate generates anti-inflammatory nutrients in your gut



Thursday, April 03, 2014 by: Ethan A. Huff, staff writer
(NaturalNews) A team of researchers from Louisiana State University has made a fascinating new discovery with regard to the health benefits of chocolate. Announcing their findings at the recent 247th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society in Dallas, the group explained how beneficial bacteria in the gut actually convert chocolate compounds into anti-inflammatory nutrients that help protect against stroke and heart disease.

Using three different types of cocoa powder for their experiments, the scientists tested the effects of chocolate consumption using a model digestive tract made of test tubes. The tubes were filled with typical bacteria colonies found in a healthy human digestive tract and exposed to chocolate for the purpose of initiating the anaerobic fermentation process, which is what converts food into digestible nutrients.

Cocoa powder, in case you were unaware, contains a variety of polyphenolic antioxidant compounds as well as dietary fiber, both of which are poorly digested and absorbed during the initial stages of consumption. But when these substances eventually reach the colon, they are apparently broken down by special bacteria that convert them into different compounds that the body can actually use.

“In our study we found that the fiber is fermented and the large polyphenolic polymers are metabolized to smaller molecules, which are more easily absorbed,” stated John Finley, Ph.D., lead author of the study, during his presentation of the study. “These smaller polymers exhibit anti-inflammatory activity.”

Gut probiotics: your body’s natural food processors

Specific probiotics in the gut, the team discovered, literally consume ingested chocolate before it is fully metabolized in order to transform it into more basic nutrients that the body can use for health maintenance. In other words, beneficial gut bacteria act as microscopic food processors during the digestive process, converting whole foods into their many nutritional metabolites.

“The good microbes, such as Bifidobacterium and lactic acid bacteria, feast on chocolate,” stated Maria Moore, an undergraduate student and one of the study’s researchers, at the meeting. “When you eat dark chocolate, they grow and ferment it, producing compounds that are anti-inflammatory.”

Dr. Finley agrees, having observed that not only does the gut take charge in converting chocolate into what can only be described as anti-inflammatory medicine, but it also works with the prebiotic fibers found naturally in chocolate to accomplish this. It is these fibers, which the human body is unable to process on its own, that feed probiotic bacteria and lead to their multiplication and spread, which in turn boosts immunity and protects against disease.

“When you ingest prebiotics, the beneficial gut microbial population increases and outcompetes any undesirable microbes in the gut, like those that cause stomach problems,” he added.

Stick with all-natural cacao for maximum health benefits

Though the research team used cocoa powder for its experiments, the best way to take advantage of the health benefits of chocolate is to consume cacao, and preferably raw cacao. Many cocoa powders and chocolate products contain cocoa that has been treated with alkali, an agent that reduces its antioxidant potential. Many conventional chocolate products are also loaded with processed sugars and genetically modified (GM) soy lecithin, which can cause other health problems.

Besides containing the natural prebiotic fiber necessary for the activation of nutrient-producing probiotics in the gut — processed chocolate lacks this fiber — all-natural cacao is an excellent source of bioavailable magnesium, as well as mood-enhancing nutrients like phenylethylamine (PEA), anandamide and theobromine. Cacao is also highly neuroprotective, which means it can help protect against cognitive decline.

To learn more about the health benefits of cacao, check out this piece on cacao nibs published by The Huffington Post:

Sources for this article include:

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Why turmeric may be the diseased liver’s best friend

Sayer Ji
Fri, 12 Jul 2013 15:09 CDT

You know turmeric has health benefits, most notably reducing inflammation, but did you know it may also protect and heal the damaged and diseased liver? 

A new clinical trial published in the journal BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine is shedding light on turmeric’s remarkable liver protective and regenerative properties.[1] 

South Korean researchers at the Clinical Trial Center for Functional Foods, Chonbuk National University Hospital, tested their hypothesis that turmeric may improve liver function by administering a fermented form to subjects, 20 years old and above, who were diagnosed mild to moderate elevated alanine aminotransferase (ALT) levels, a maker for liver damage and/or dysfunction. 

Sixty subjects were randomized to receive 3.0 g per fermented turmeric powder (FTP) or placebo 3.0 g per day for 12 weeks. The treatment group received two capsules of FTP three times a day after meals, for 12 weeks. 

What were the results? 

Not only did FTP significantly reduce ALT levels in subjects but also reduced serum aspartate transaminase (AST) and gamma-glutamyltransferase (GGT), two additional enzymes which when elevated are commonly associated with liver damage. The effects were maintained as long as the subjects remained on the treatment. Also, FTP was well tolerated and without significant adverse effects. 

This study adds additional weight to a rather vast body of preclinical research that has accumulated over the past two decades confirming turmeric and its primary polyphenol curcumin’s liver protecting properties. The database now contains 86 studies demonstrating the ability of turmeric (and curcumin) to protect the liver against a wide range of chemical and drug exposures.[2] We recently featured a study published in the Journal of the Medical Association of Thailandwhich revealed the potential of turmeric to protect and regenerate the diabetic liver.[3] 

Turmeric May Also Kill Liver Cancer 

What may be even more remarkable is the accumulating research on the anti-liver cancer properties of turmeric (and curcumin). The has 26 preclinical studies showing it kills liver cancer cells and tumors, including one case study involving a 6-month old infant with a life-threatening liver vascular tumor (hemangioendothelioma) who was reported treated successfully with a dietary supplement of curcumin, with 6-year follow-up.[4] 

One of the most remarkable facts about turmeric as a potential drug and chemotherapy alternative is its exceptionally high margin of safety. A 2001 study in cancer patients reported that quantities of curcumin up to 8 g, administered per day for three months, were not toxic and resulted in significant anti-cancer properties in a number of those treated.[5] Considering that turmeric is only 3-4% curcumin by weight, this implies that a larger quantity of turmeric can be consumed safely, as well. 

Of course, while these results are promising, the real solution to elevated liver enzymes is to identify the underlying causes, e.g. infection, NSAID use, chemical exposures, dietary intolerances, etc., and remove them. Failing that, those within the integrative medical field who are looking for evidence-based ways to address the sometimes inevitable hepatotoxicity of standard drug-based treatments may find a role for turmeric (curcumin) in their practices. Other folks, simply looking for ways to improve their health and to prevent liver problems may wish to consume smaller doses through incorporating the spice (which must be organic to avoid the dangers of irradiation) into traditional recipes at culinary doses. [see our EATomology project for guidance on this] 

For more information on Turmeric’s amazing healing properties read our article: 600 Reasons Why Turmeric May Be the World’s Most Important Spice. 


Aspartame linked to leukemia and lymphoma: only one diet soda per day significantly increases risks

WorldTruth TV
Wed, 21 Nov 2012 00:00 CST

multiple myeloma and non-Hodgkin lymphoma in men, according to new results from the longest-ever running study on aspartame as a carcinogen in humans. Importantly, this is the most comprehensive, long-term study ever completed on this topic, so it holds more weight than other past studies which appeared to show no risk. And disturbingly, it may also open the door for further similar findings on other cancers in future studies. 

The most thorough study yet on aspartame – Over two million person-years 

For this study, researchers prospectively analyzed data from the Nurses’ Health Study and the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study for a 22-year period. A total of 77,218 women and 47,810 men were included in the analysis, for a total of 2,278,396 person-years of data. Apart from sheer size, what makes this study superior to other past studies is the thoroughness with which aspartame intake was assessed. Every two years, participants were given a detailed dietary questionnaire, and their diets were reassessed every four years. Previous studies which found no link to cancer only ever assessed participants’ aspartame intake at one point in time, which could be a major weakness affecting their accuracy. 

One diet soda a day increases leukemia, multiple myeloma and non-Hodgkin lymphomas 

The combined results of this new study showed that just one 12-fl oz. can (355 ml) of diet soda daily leads to: 

– 42 percent higher leukemia risk in men and women (pooled analysis) 
– 102 percent higher multiple myeloma risk (in men only) 
– 31 percent higher non-Hodgkin lymphoma risk (in men only) 

These results were based on multi-variable relative risk models, all in comparison to participants who drank no diet soda. It is unknown why only men drinking higher amounts of diet soda showed increased risk for multiple myeloma and non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Note that diet soda is the largest dietary source of aspartame (by far) in the U.S. Every year, Americans consume about 5,250 tons of aspartame in total, of which about 86 percent (4,500 tons) is found in diet sodas. 

Confirmation of previous high quality research on animals 

This new study shows the importance of the quality of research. Most of the past studies showing no link between aspartame and cancer have been criticized for being too short in duration and too inaccurate in assessing long-term aspartame intake. This new study solves both of those issues. The fact that it also shows a positive link to cancer should come as no surprise, because a previous best-in-class research study done on animals (900 rats over their entire natural lifetimes) showed strikingly similar results back in 2006: aspartame significantly increased the risk for lymphomas and leukemia in both males and females. More worrying is the follow on mega-study, which started aspartame exposure of the rats at the fetal stage. Increased lymphoma and leukemia risks were confirmed, and this time the female rats also showed significantly increased breast (mammary) cancer rates. This raises a critical question: will future, high-quality studies uncover links to the other cancers in which aspartame has been implicated (brain, breast, prostate, etc.)? 

There is now more reason than ever to completely avoid aspartame in our daily diet. For those who are tempted to go back to sugary sodas as a “healthy” alternative, this study had a surprise finding: men consuming one or more sugar-sweetened sodas daily saw a 66 percent increase in non-Hodgkin lymphoma (even worse than for diet soda). Perhaps the healthiest soda is NO SODA AT ALL. 

Sources for this article include:


If you get a heart attack, insist on magnesium!

Ronald Grisanti
Your Medical Detective
Mon, 25 Mar 2013 10:45 CDT

If you end up in the emergency room with a heart attack, make sure you insist on a 2 cc injection of magnesium sulfate

In double-blind, placebo-controlled scientific study, they looked at 273 patients who were admitted to the hospital for a heart attack. The study published in one of the most prestigious medical journals revealed that after 4 weeks, the people who received the magnesium, only 7% died versus 19% who did not get the magnesium. That means magnesium cut the death rate a walloping 63%. 

What was interesting is the fact that the study indicated that the people in the study were give far less than the 2 cc of magnesium recommended above. 

Furthermore, the injection of magnesium decreased arrhythmias by 55%. Remember having a heart arrhythmia is one issue doctors are seriously concerned about following a heart attack. 

In another study in the same medical journal approximately ten years later revealed that magnesium produced a 24% reduction in the number of deaths in one month after the heart attack. 

Besides the proven benefits for victims of a heart attack, another study showed people who were given IV magnesium had a76% reduction in death from a fatal blood clot. And by the way this same study showed that aspirin made no difference. 

It is in your best interest to insist that your doctor check your magnesium levels. However, don’t settle for the serum magnesium commonly ordered by most physicians. This test only evaluates the extracelluar magnesium which makes up only 1% of the magnesium in your body. You want your doctor to order the goal standard “intracellular magnesium test” which gives you the “real” picture of your level of magnesium in your body. 

Your best protection is to keep your magnesium level high enough to possibly prevent having a heart attack in the first place. Considering that government studies show the average American diet only provides 40% of the magnesium that we need in a day, your best protection against a heart attack is to keep your magnesium level high enough. The best absorbed form of magnesium I’ve seen in 31 years is Magnesium Chloride Liquid 200 mg/cc, and use half teaspoon once or twice a day. 


Rasmussen HS, et al, Intravenous magnesium in acute myocardial infarction, Lancet, 234-5, Feb. 1, 1986 

Woods KL, et al, Intravenous magnesium sulfate in suspected acute myocardial infarction: Results of the Second Leister Intravenous Magnesium Intervention Trial (LIMIT-2), Lancet, 339: 1553-8,1992

Why most medical research cannot be trusted

Dr. Mercola
Thu, 14 Feb 2013 14:14 CST

It’s old news that drug companies essentially “bribe” doctors into prescribing their drugs by lavishing them with gifts – branded pens and coffee mugs, free lunches, golf outings, “educational” trips to the Caribbean … all have been regarded as fair game in the past, although now such free goodies are heavily discouraged. 

Just how much influence such gifts had on doctors has long been debated (although the research suggests it did have a significant impact … why else would the drug companies put so much money into it?). But regardless, sound medical research published in a reputable medical journal should have much more influence … 

A pen with a drugmaker’s name emblazoned on the side couldn’t possibly persuade a physician to prescribe a drug more than clinical data published in a medical journal. 

Yet, what many people do not understand is that much of the scientific research published in journals is bought-and-paid-for by the drug industry as well. 

A far more covert – and far more influential – practice than showing up at a physician’s office with a free pizza and a duffel bag full of coffee mugs, by controlling medical research itself the drug industry can make it virtually impossible for a well-meaning physician to decipher the truth about the medications he or she is prescribing to you. 

Most Medical Journals Depend on Big Pharma Advertising Dollars 

In The American Scholar, author Harriet Washington writes:1

“… while we still gravely debate whether physicians’ loyalties can really be bought for a disposable pen or a free lunch, the $310 billion pharmaceutical industry quietly buys something far more influential: the contents of medical journals and, all too often, the trajectory of medical research itself.

… Flimsy plastic pens that scream the virtues of Vioxx and articles published in the pages of The New England Journal of Medicine would seem to mark the two poles of medical influence. Scarcely any doctor admits to being influenced by the former; every doctor boasts of being guided by the latter. 

In fact, medical-journal articles are widely embraced as irreproachable bastions of disinterested scientific evaluation and as antidotes to the long fiscal arm of pharmaceutical-industry influence.

And yet, ‘All journals are bought – or at least cleverly used – by the pharmaceutical industry,’ says Richard Smith, former editor of the British Medical Journal …”

It starts with advertising dollars, as pharmaceutical ads can make up 97-99 percent of a medical journal’s advertising revenue. As the featured article reported:

” … medical journals themselves advertise to drugmakers, flooding the pages of pharmaceutical-industry publications such as Medical Marketing and Media to vie for the attentions of Big Pharma. TheJournal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) bills itself in advertising as ‘a priceless audience at a price you can afford,’ while the Annals boasts: ‘With an audience of more than 90,000 internists (93 percent of whom are actively practicing physicians), Annals has always been a smart buy.’

In 2003, drug companies spent $448 million on advertising in medical journals. The ads promote not only drugs but also subsidized seminars and “training opportunities” that usually take place in tropical locations. 

Of course, oftentimes the ads are only agreed upon if there will also be a positive mention of the product in an editorial piece; sometimes the drug maker will even have their own writers generate the content! It has been calculated that the return on investment on medical journal ads is between $2.22 and $6.86 for every dollar spent, with larger and older brands at the higher end. 

Long-term returns may be even higher when you consider that one ad viewed by a physician could result in hundreds or even thousands of drug purchases, based on the prescriptions he or she writes. 

At least certain medical journals are attempting to regain their unbiased reputations; in 2011 the journal Emergency Medicine Australasia announced it would no longer accept pharmaceutical advertisements, citing growing evidence that the drug industry “distorts research findings and engages in dubious and unethical publishing practices.” 

Why Most Medical Research Cannot be Trusted 

The sad truth is, there’s no easy way to determine what you can trust when it comes to medical research and official treatment guidelines. So much of it has been tainted by financial conflicts of interests. It’s well known that studies funded by industry or conducted by researchers with industry ties tend to favor corporate interests. 

That’s why it probably comes as no surprise that many so-called “experts” are very much on the drug industry’s payroll — but they masquerade as independent medical experts or even state officials during their “day jobs.” 

It is, by the way, 100% legal for drug companies to pay medical professionals to promote their products. The drug industry also often pays the expert medical reviewers who evaluate medications or medical devices for the journals. The featured article continues:2

Today, medical-journal editors estimate that 95 percent of the academic-medicine specialists who assess patented treatments have financial relationships with pharmaceutical companies, and even the prestigious NEJMgave up its search for objective reviewers in June 1992, announcing that it could find no reviewers that did not accept industry funds.”

The conflict of interest within this practice is obvious, which is why the drug industry often keeps quiet on their actual payments, as do the medical professionals involved. Although many medical, educational and research institutions require faculty members to disclose such potential conflicts of interest, many do not actively monitor employees’ activities. 

Financial disclosures are also added into medical journals, but the reader will only learn which company may have paid an expert author, not how much or what other ties to industry they may have. Unfortunately, even if you scour the medical literature to determine what the consensus is on any given medical topic, what you’ll find is an overwhelming preponderance of data in favor of the drug approach that in no way, shape or form reflects the reality of the scientific investigation that went into that specific drug. 

How Negative Research Gets a Positive Spin 

The fact is, there are many ways to turn an otherwise negative study positive, including choosing study participants who are more likely to benefit from the treatment or even hiding, or simply not publishing, negative results; in fact, researchers of industry-funded studies often sign gag orders that forbid them from publishing, discussing or analyzing data without permission of the funder. According to Marcia Angell, former editor-in-chief of the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM): 3

“Any reputable journal is at the mercy of what is submitted to it and must choose from whatever comes over the transom. Many studies never see the light of day because their findings are negative. There is a heavy bias toward positive studies, and this negative bias is a real problem. A company may conduct 1,000 trials; if two are positive, they get FDA approval and are published. The other 998 never see the light of day. In fact, half of all study data is never published.”

In a tongue-in-cheek essay in the British Medical Journal, titled “HARLOT – How to Achieve Positive Results Without Actually Lying to Overcome the Truth,”4 it’s wittily explained exactly how industry insiders can help make their drugs look good:5

  • “Comparing their drug to a placebo. A placebo, such as a sham or ‘sugar’ pill, has no active ingredient, and, although placebos may evoke some poorly understood medical benefits, called the ‘placebo effect,’ they are weak: medications tend to outperform placebos. Placebo studies are not ethical when a treatment already exists for a disorder, because it means that some in the study go untreated. However, if you care only that your new drug shines in print, testing against placebo is the way to go.
  • Comparing their drug to a competitor’s medication in the wrong strength. Too low a dose makes the rival drug look ineffective. Too high a dose tends to elicit worrisome side effects.
  • Pairing their drug with one that is known to work well. This can hide the fact that a tested medication is weak or ineffective.
  • Truncating a trial. Drugmakers sometimes end a clinical trial when they have reason to believe that it is about to reveal widespread side effects or a lack of effectiveness – or when they see other clues that the trial is going south.
  • Testing in very small groups. Drug-funded researchers also conduct trials that are too small to show differences between competitor drugs. Or they use multiple endpoints, then selectively publish only those that give favorable results, or they ‘cherry-pick’ positive-sounding results from multicenter trials.”

Did You Know the Drug Industry Also Pays Ghostwriters? 

One cross-sectional survey found that more than 20 percent of articles published in six leading medical journals during 2008 were likely written by honorary and/or ghostwriters.6 For medical journals, ghostwriting usually refers to writers sponsored by a drug or medical device company, who make major but uncredited research or writing contributions. 

The pharmaceutical company hires a medical education and communications company, which is a company paid almost exclusively by pharmaceutical companies to write articles, reviews, and letters to editors of medical journals in order to cast their products in a favorable light. (Since they pay substantial amounts to have these articles written, it automatically implies that it will be written to their specifications.) 

Once the article is written to their satisfaction, the pharmaceutical company then starts “shopping around” for an academic physician or physicians who are well known in the field, encouraging them to put their name on the article. 

From there, they “massage” the article past peer review in one of the more prestigious medical journals, preferably one that strongly influences practicing doctors. Once the article is published, the pharmaceutical company then purchases tens of thousands of reprint copies to be distributed to doctors’ offices by their pharmaceutical representatives. The unsuspecting doctor thinks the study is reliable since it clearly appears to be written by a leading name in the field and has been published in a prestigious peer-reviewed medical journal. 

Why would medical journals play along with this apparent sham? Perhaps the primary incentive to play it loose is that it’s very lucrative for them, as the reprints purchased by the pharmaceutical companies for distribution are quite expensive. And medical journals are, after all, for-profit businesses. In some cases, some of the leading publishers have even sunk so low as to publish entire sham journals. The featured article stated:7

Elsevier publishes 2,000 scientific journals and 20,000 book-length works, but its Australasian Journal of Bone and Joint Medicine, which looks just like a medical journal, and was described as such, was not a peer-reviewed medical journal but rather a collection of reprinted articles that Merck paid Elsevier to publish. At least some of the articles were ghostwritten, and all lavished unalloyed praise on Merck drugs, such as its troubled painkiller Vioxx. There was no disclosure of Merck’s sponsorship.

Librarian and analyst Jonathan Rochkind found five similar mock journals, also paid for by Merck and touted as genuine. The ersatz journals are still being printed and circulated, according to Rochkind, and 50 more Elsevier journals appear to be Big Pharma advertisements passed off as medical publications. Rochkind’s forensic librarianship has exposed the all-but-inaccessible queen of medical publishing as a high-priced call girl.”

How Can You Make Educated Health-Care Decisions? 

When your physician prescribes you a medication, even if he or she has reviewed the relevant published data, there is virtually no way to know whether that drug is truly safe or effective. The well from which that data has been drawn has been “poisoned” so that it’s nearly impossible to decipher what is real and what is a fabrication. 

Since it is very well established that most prescribed drugs do absolutely nothing to treat the cause of disease, it would be prudent to exercise the precautionary principle when evaluating ANY drug claim, as it will more than likely be seriously flawed, biased, or worse … and, of course, I always advise taking control of your health, which you can easily do by reviewing mycomprehensive nutritional plan that summarizes my 30 years of clinical experience and treating 25,000 patients. I put this together so you can stay well and avoid falling into the dangerous, deceitful traps discussed in this article. 

Sources and References



Low vitamin D levels increase breast, colorectal cancer risks


Monday, February 25, 2013 by: J. D. Heyes

NaturalNews) More evidence from a new study shows that lower vitamin D levels  could be more hazardous to women because it leads to a higher risk of breast  cancer.
The latest research, conducted by scientists at the Westmead  Breast Cancer Institute, Westmead Hospital, in New South Wales, Australia,  followed 214 women who had been newly diagnosed with breast cancer. According to  a summary of the findings, women with lower-than-normal vitamin D “levels were  found be inversely associated with the odds ratio of breast cancer.”
The  lower level “was associated with a significantly higher risk of breast cancer,”  said the summary. “These results support previous research which has shown that  lower [vitamin D] concentrations are associated with increased risk of breast  cancer.”
The findings correspond with earlier studies conducted by  researchers around the world, which were confirmed recently by U.S. scientists  conducting a review of breast cancer data.
‘High vitamin D levels  reduce the risk of breast cancer and other diseases’
“Epidemiological  and laboratory studies have long established that high vitamin D levels can  reduce the risk of breast cancer,” says a report by The Press  Association. That said, the report added, a previous study of more than  67,000 French women, which was led by Pierre Engel, an epidemiology manager at  Quintiles-Outcome, a top research firm, “showed the importance of a minimum  vitamin D level in preventing breast cancer.”
Vitamin D is available in  many forms, via foods like fruits and vegetables, and through sunlight, the  latter of which can prove to be a problem for women who just happen to live in  northern climes where sunlight is a premium, researchers said, noting that  western women in particular lead busy lifestyles and may spend far too little  time in the sun.
“High vitamin  D levels reduce the risk of breast cancer and also offer protection against  many other diseases,” Ad Brand of the Sunlight Research Forum (SRF)  said.
“In the Northern Hemisphere, the level of sunlight from September  to May is often insufficient for the body to produce enough essential vitamin  D,” said Brand. “”It might therefore be sensible to undergo moderate artificial  UV exposure on a regular basis.”
Two studies completed in 2010 by  researchers from the University of Rochester Medical Center found the  same link between lower levels of vitamin D and increased breast  cancer risk.
“The research adds to mounting evidence that some  connection exists between vitamin D and cancer, although it is not yet known how  vitamin D modifies or contributes to cancer risk,” said a press release from the  school.
“Our data certainly suggests that it is important to test  patients for serum vitamin D levels, and if necessary, treat the deficiency  along with the disease,” said Alissa Huston, M.D., assistant professor of  Medicine at URMC, who presented the findings. “In some cases, weekly high doses  of vitamin D are needed to bring the patient up to sufficient  levels.”
Blacks may be at higher risk
“Currently,  we recommend a minimum 1000 IU of vitamin D3 daily (in addition to calcium) to  our patients,” Huston said, “but in most instances this dose needs to be  individualized to the patient’s specific level.”
A second study, led by  Kevin Fiscella, M.D., M.P.H., found that “vitamin D deficiency among African  Americans may explain a persistent mystery in colorectal cancer:  why black people die of this disease far more often than whites,” said the press  release.
Researchers have found that simply being African-American  doubled the risk of dying from colorectal cancer.
Earlier, scientists  using data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey found that  a vitamin D deficiency may also contribute to a higher number of heart and  stroke-related deaths among blacks.
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