Earlier this year, New York state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman sent cease-and-desist letters to several major retailers, including Target, Walgreens, and GNC, after genetic testing of store-brand herbal supplements found that many of these products did not contain the herbal ingredients they purported to include, and that some contained potentially dangerous allergens. Today, GNC and Schneiderman announced an agreement that will apply stricter testing standards — more rigorous than those required by the federal government — to the company’s supplements. [More]
Consumers who buy into a product that promises to let you lose weight while continuing to sit on the couch eating bonbons will likely lose more money than they will pounds. Such was the case for the customers of a dietary supplement company being shut down at the request of the Federal Trade Commission for making unsubstantiated health claims and signing consumers up for monthly charges without their knowledge. [More]
When a supplement sounds too good to be true, it mostly likely is. And deceiving consumers about a product’s wondrous powers isn’t looked upon lightly by federal regulators. The marketers of BrainStrong Adult dietary supplement found that out the hard way. [More]
If we can prevent or decrease the pain of arthritis with a relatively inexpensive supplement, why shouldn’t we? Americans spent an estimated $813 million on glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate supplements for ourselves and for our pets in 2012, despite the lack of evidence that it is at all helpful to prevent or alleviate arthritis. Now another study shows that the supplements don’t really help, and may actually do the opposite of what they’re supposed to. [More]
Every year, Americans spend $28 billion on potions that we imbue with magical powers. We mean, of course, vitamin pills and supplements. We take them by the handful even though study after study has showed us that for people who have a deficiency, vitamin pills don’t do very much good, and may harm our health in the long run. Yes, harm. [More]
Americans are buying a lot of glucosamine and chondroitin supplements, which are intended to help ease the pain of or prevent symptoms from arthritis. The problem is that there’s no proof that the pills do any good…and tests from our lab-coated cousins down the hall at Consumer Reports showed that many brands don’t even contain the whole dose claimed on the label. [More]
One of the fun things about working in the media is definitely reading the odd press releases and story pitches that cross my inbox every day. Our colleagues over at Consumer Reports received a pitch in their mailbox about a dietary supplement that’s supposed to “prevent and reverse” gray hair. Wait, that’s a thing? Not only is it a thing, but someone was pushing it as a great Mother’s Day gift.
It’s not just that the federal government doesn’t want the marketers of dietary supplements to just make up what their products can do for consumers, according to a new study on the prevalence of weight loss and immune system supplement, the Department of Health and Human Services warns that it could actually be harmful to our health to buy in to the hype. The agency just released a new report saying that around 20% of 127 different supplements it investigated made false and illegal claims to cure or treat diseases.
Cheryl takes iron supplements. She has iron deficiency anemia, and the vast majority of iron supplements on the market make her ill. She’s come to rely on Slow-Fe, made by Novartis, to keep her iron levels up and her digestive system functioning. Then Slow-Fe disappeared. Her regular pharmacist can’t find any to order, and the only sources online are re-sellers with expired products. Remembering our past coverage of catastrophic OB tampon, Eggo waffle, and Morningstar veggie dog shortages, Cheryl wrote to us, asking for help. Could we help her figure out where her precious iron had gone?
Those daily vitamin supplements may not be doing as much good as you think, and may in fact harm you. A committee of medical experts from the Institute of Medicine released a report that says excessive amounts of calcium and vitamin D aren’t helpful.
We Americans do love our dietary supplements. More than half of the adult population have taken them to stay healthy, lose weight, gain an edge in sports or in the bedroom, and avoid using prescription drugs. In 2009, we spent $26.7 billion on them, according to the Nutrition Business Journal, a trade publication. What consumers might not realize, though, is that supplement manufacturers routinely, and legally, sell their products without first having to demonstrate that they are safe and effective. Inside, Consumer Reports Health lists 12 supplements linked by clinical research or case reports to serious side effects
Are you tired of forgetting whether you should add creatine or cinnamon to your kale smoothie? Do you worry that the milk thistle you’ve rubbed on your genitals isn’t helping? The “Snake Oil?” graphic at informationisbeautiful.net can help you out–it provides a graphical overview of 166 different health supplements and arranges them according to how much evidence there is that they actually work.
Sure, there are plenty of websites out there touting colloidal silver as a miracle cure for every disease in existence. This would be great if it actually worked. Now that flu season looms and H1N1/swine flu panic has returned to the nation, Consumer Reports Health would like to remind you that no, you can’t cure chronic or communicable diseases with colloidal silver. Plus, it might turn your skin blue.
In the wake of FDA warnings about steroids in nutritional supplements, federal officials are studying ways to improve safety in dietary supplements. Mean time, we’ve got a few consumer tips for those of you who take supplements, courtesy of the Wall Street Journal:
Have you taken a bar exam prep course since 2001? Have you shopped at Cache, bought an HDTV, or used creatine supplements? You just might be eligible for one of several recently settled lawsuits.
You should avoid nutritional supplements that claim to have steroid-like effects, no matter how many flames are pictured on the label. Earlier this week, the FDA sent a warning letter to Americell-Labs, the manufacturer of many popular lines of such supplements, and also warned consumers to stay away from the products. The “supplements” claim to act a little too much like steroids, and should be tested and sold as drugs if they are, y’know, drugs. If they’re anabolic steroids, they shouldn’t be sold at all.