How do we stop being lied to?!
The US population tends to be somewhat gullible, loving gossips and believing what it is being told especially by those in a position of relative authority, be it politicians, medical profession, security forces, and generally as reported by journalists. The need for correctness, accuracy or the truth does not often enter the recipient’s minds. This makes the work of folks involved in unethical marketing quite easy.
Telling untruths about products, their performance and quality, is common place in the US advertizing. Where would seem to be most blatant is in promoting nutritional supplements, sometime referred to as neutraceuticals.
For example, millions of Americans with osteoarthritis take glucosamine, often with chondroitin sulfate, making these two of the top-selling dietary supplements. Glucosamine is now a $2bn global blockbuster!
Formulas combining glucosamine and chondroitin are claimed to provide healthy joint support, supplying joints with the “building blocks needed to address changes from normal wear and tear. Chondroitin sulfate protects the cartilage and attracts fluids that give the tissue its shock-absorbing quality.”
Is this true? These statements “have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.” Hence, there are no safeguards, no verification of the products’ performance. And what evidence is being offered to support such statements? Vague or none!
Independent investigations have yielded conflicting findings over the years. A report that appeared in the New England Journal of Medicine described a study that involved some 1,600 people with osteoarthritis of the knee. Participants were randomly assigned to receive one of five treatments daily for 24 weeks: glucosamine alone (500 milligrams three times a day), chondroitin sulfate alone (400 milligrams three times a day), glucosamine and chondroitin combined (at those same doses), a placebo, or Celebrex (a prescription drug approved for arthritis pain). Overall, neither glucosamine nor chondroitin, alone or in combination, worked significantly better than the placebo.
Lack of efficacy is not the only issue with these products. It is their quality. The highly unethical practice known as EMA – economically motivated adulteration – boarders on being a criminal activity.
It has been reported that Americans spend about $10 billion a year on unproven arthritis remedies. It is perhaps not surprising since sufferers are prepared to try nearly anything to relieve their pain. There is no cure, but because there is such a strong placebo effect (even as high as 60% as reported in a recent study!), practically everything appears to work for some people for a while. And since arthritis pains come and go, whatever happens to be tried at the time receives an undeserved credit. Hence, temptation for unethical marketing and easy profits are great.
Losing weight is another area in which consumers are prepared to try “anything” at a promise of an easy success! One such product, Lipozene, promises to be a “diet pill clinically proven to help reduce body fat & weight”.
• 78% of each Pound Lost is PURE BODY FAT.
• Lipozene diet pills are backed by multiple clinical studies.
• REDUCE POUNDS of Body Fat and Weight WITHOUT a change in lifestyle
• Lipozene weight loss supplements are safe and effective
And the claimed clinical evidence? Hard to find! It is true that the main ingredient of Lipozene is glucomannan, a natural fiber supplement that is clinically proven to lower cholesterol and decrease body weight. But there is no evidence that making a concoction of glucomannan with trace ingredients present in Lipozene makes this any more efficacious. Further, based on the current knowledge, one would need to consume some 26 to 40 capsules a day to expect shedding about three pounds a month on Lipozenes.. Product recommendation is to take two capsules of Lipozene three times a day. At that rate, a one-month supply would cost $90. Multiply this 4 to 7 times to get to an effective dose, and you’ll be spending $360 to $630 a month. Taking enough fiber in your diet is definitely a much better option.