Dietary Supplement Access Poll – 01/15/2007

January 17, 2007

Dear California Academy of Health customer:
Dietary Supplement Access Poll – 01/15/2007 results and my response to the CBS Nightly News piece on dietary supplements which aired in two parts, January 15th and 16th.

On January 15th I alerted CAOH.COM customers to a CBS Nightly News piece bashing dietary supplements and I also asked five simple questions. The response was immediate and overwhelming. Within two hours I received over 100 E-mails and by the morning of the 17th I had received well over 200. I am proud of those who took the time to show support for their right to access dietary supplements. A high level of responsibility is a personal attribute I value in those I call friend, and you have shown that today.

A preliminary review of the responses are as follows: 98% answered YES to questions 1, 2 and 3, while 99% answered NO to question 4. I have printed all responses and will be posting selected responses in the comment section below. I have also sent copies of my response to CBS, FDA, NPA, and many other interested parties.

FDA

CBS NPA

The Five Questions:
1. Do you think dietary supplements are safe? Yes or no?
2. Do you think dietary supplements work? Please explain.
3. Did you know that the government regulates dietary supplements? Yes or no?
4. Would you like to see government control or even eliminate your right to use dietary supplements? Yes or no?
5. Any additional comments are greatly appreciated.

THE TRUTH EXPOSED

Fact - Mrs. Sue Gilliatt, the woman whose nose, supposedly, fell off because of a dietary supplement dropped her 80-million-dollar lawsuit against Dan Raber. Why? Follow this link to find out (Go Here)
Dan Hurley is the author of Natural Causes: Death, Lies and Politics in America’s Vitamin and Herbal Supplement Industry, and the impetus for the CBS news piece. Below is just one sentence from his book and a perfect example of how to not be fair and balanced.

“Over 60 percent of Americans buy and take herbal and dietary supplements for all sorts of reasons – to prevent illness (vitamin C), to ease depression (St. John’s wort), to aid weight loss (ephedra), to boost the memory (ginkgo biloba), and even to cure cancer (shark cartilage, bloodroot) – despite the fact that few of these ‘natural’ supplements have been proven to be safe or effective.”

Fact - Linus Pauling M.D. devoted the latter part of his life to promote vitamin C and it’s preventative and curative powers. Doctor Pauling is the only two-time, unshared, Nobel Prize recipient. Who would you trust, Dr. Pauling or Mr. Hurley?

Fact – The Ginkgo tree dates back some 270 million years. It has been used medicinally for at least 1000 years and is the source of over 1900 research abstracts listed on PubMed (Ginko – PubMed link). Do you believe Mr. Hurley or the scientists contributing to these 1900 research papers?

Fact – The FDA does regulate dietary supplements and medications. When found not to be safe, the FDA will remove them from the market-place. (Yes I know they don’t always but they are supposed to and yes I know they are prejudiced against supplements). Here is a direct quote from the U.S. FDA website, “The choice to use a dietary supplement can be a wise decision that provides health benefits.” This is a tough one. Who do you believe the FDA or Mr. Hurley?

Fact – Mr. Hurley claims dietary supplements are unregulated and potentially deadly. Checking poisoning death figures from the American Association of Poison Control Centers, I see that supplements are safer than most other products: there were only 5 accidental deaths linked (reported as possibly due) to dietary supplements over a 3-year period.

In the same 3-year reporting period, there were 67 deaths from plain aspirin, 50 from aspirin combinations, 48 from pesticides, 7 from cosmetics, 66 from household cleaners, 171 from plain acetaminophen, and 446 from acetaminophen combinations. The medical journal JAMA reports that there are over 100,000 deaths a year from pharmaceutical drugs that are used as directed, and many more from improperly prescribed drugs.

How many died from the FDA-approved drug Vioxx? How many from mood-altering and cholesterol-lowering drugs? How many from cardiovascular disease aggravated by synthetic hormone replacement therapy?

Fact – 60% of Americans, according to Mr. Hurley, take dietary supplements. That’s just shy of 180,000,000 people taking supplements. Let’s just assume that 50% of all supplement users are being conned, duped, or forced under threat of death into taking them (just humor me here). That leaves 90,000,000 of us that Mr. Hurley thinks are idiots, and if it wasn’t for the grace of god that he was able to have the foresight and vision to write this book, we would all be damned to an eternity in dietary supplement hell.

Here is a quote from the book’s publisher, “As Hurley shows, the dietary supplement craze may be one of the greatest swindles ever perpetrated on the American public.”

Even the publisher, Broadway, thinks we are all stupid. Statistically speaking, how many people out of this 180,000,000 do you think are really misinformed or just plain naive when it comes to dietary supplements; maybe 180,000 or .01%? I personally feel I am being generous with that number. The majority of supplement takers, from my experience, are knowledgeable and informed.

Due to the launching of our new 100% goji juice (Absolute Goji) in the next few days and all it entails, I will not be able to post the selected responses till this weekend. From all of us at California Academy of Health, Thank you for your support.

Sincerely,

Marcus Ettinger DC, BSc.
Chief Science Officer (CSO)
California Academy of Health
askthedoctor@caoh.com

P.S. Please feel free to E-mail me, anytime, with your thoughts or comments.

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Comments

21 Responses to “Dietary Supplement Access Poll – 01/15/2007”
  1. Marcus says:

    To Whom It May Concern,

    “I read your email and had to respond to the bashing of supplements. Unfortunately I learned too late how powerful and curing natural supplements can be. I lost my mother to cancer last February and when she was first diagnosed I was completely clueless about this disease, what it does and how it can be cured. I was ignorant enough to listen to these doctors that kept saying she needed chemo and drugs and all the nonsense that goes along with that. I never would have assumed that all these doctors are just in it for the money. Not to mention the suffering and the pain that they put these sick people through knowing that following their direction will only bring them to their deaths. The crazy part is that this is all controlled by the government and the more I investigate the more I come to realize that this has all become a huge business. With all the technology we have today it is unthinkable that they have never come up with a cure for cancer, why? because the government would loose out on trillions of dollars. When the doctors came to me and told me that there was nothing else they could do for my mother, they gave her less then two weeks to live. I dragged her on a plane to Arizona to see a holistic doctor who worked with her for only 6 weeks and shrunk her tumor in half after these other doctors had treated her for 8 months and she only got worse and worse, but after going through all the insurance records I realized they the insurance company had paid more than 1 million dollars in treatments and doctors. So throughout that whole 6 weeks she became a vegan and worked with nothing but natural supplements. unfortunately I could not get her the same holistic treatment back home in New Jersey but I know that if I had just gone to Arizona from the beginning she would be with me today. I know that there is nothing more powerful than natural supplements and that is the way I now lead my life and it wouldn’t surprise me if the government attempted to control that too. Unfortunately, people don’t have easy access to all this information and the doctors themselves will tell you that it doesn’t work but I know from experience that it does.”

  2. Marcus says:

    Do you think dietary supplements work? “Yes, they have helped me with joint problems, arrhythmia problems, lowered my susceptible to colds and other viruses and helped relieve pain without using narcotics.”

    “I buy supplements the same way I buy food and other medicine or beverages. I research my sources by reading books, checking sources on the internet and talking to health care professionals. It should be up to me to make sure that I only take food, medication or supplements that are safe not the government.”

  3. Marcus says:

    Do you think dietary supplements work? “Please explain. Yes, depending on several things. The person’s overall health is of utmost importance. If someone is taking supplements in hopes of curing a disease, they need to be very knowledgeable or have a doctor who is, to determine the health risks and/or benefits from taking the supplement.”

    Any additional comments are greatly appreciated. “The fact that the government ‘regulates’ dietary supplements may be the one factor that they will try to use to take their ‘concerns’ further. As with anything that the government is involved in, it takes watchdogs to make sure they don’t tread on our rights. Personally it has been certain supplements that have brought both mine and a friend’s diabetes under control without the use of expensive prescribed medicines. There is also another supplement that I take which has helped me with memory problems over the past 10 years as well as one that allows me to work everyday without severe pain in my knees and again without the use of expensive ‘prescription’ drugs. People need to understand their bodies as well as the supplements they take and they won’t run into trouble. But there will always be those minority that will misuse and abuse supplements and give them a bad rep. ‘Prescription’ medicines, including diabetes supplies are big business and a lot of very wealthy people would be very poor if America woke up and realized that there is a very safe and sometimes inexpensive alternative. It would be a wonderful thing, though, if the makers of alternative therapies would lower their cost as well.”

    J.F.

  4. Marcus says:

    Any additional comments are greatly appreciated. “I feel that the government doesn’t like dietary supplements because it takes away from needing a Doctor all of the time. If it can help then what is the big problem. They don’t make any money off of it either.”
    M.A.

  5. Marcus says:

    1. “YES …. 2. YES I HAD ALLERGIES IN 1981 THAT I HAD HAD ALL OF MY LIFE AND WITH SUPPLEMENTS AND VITAMINS THAT CLEANED THE SYSTEM, AFTER 6 MONTHS THEY WENT AWAY AND HAVE NEVER COME BACK. ALSO I HAD COLDS AND FLU REGULARLY BEFORE 1981 AND SINCE THAT TIME I HAVE ONLY BEEN TO THE DOCTOR MAY BE ONE TIME EVERY 3 YEARS ARE SO …… 3. YES ….. 4. NO THE PEOPLE THAT ARE FOR THIS ARE ONLY WANTING THE CONTROL SO THEY CAN CONTROL THE PRICE ….. 5. LETS HAVE EQUAL TIME AND TALK ABOUT HOW PRESCRIPTION DRUGS KILL THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE EVERY YEAR AND ALSO DOCTORS GIVE THE WRONG MEDICINE TO PEOPLE EVERY YEAR AND KILL THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE ALSO.”
    T.B.

  6. Marcus says:

    “The government, thru the FDA, controls most of the products that pass our lips. Unfortunately, the FDA is governed by outside interests such as the pharmaceutical and food cartels that influence the medical industry as well. We are currently under Codex Alimentarius which is quickly making huge strides in controlling even further our right to choose supplements and healthy Need I say more? We need good supplements as well as the right to choose what we want to take.”
    Thank you, D. G.

  7. Marcus says:

    2. Do you think dietary supplements work? Please explain.

    “YES – THEY WORK VERY WELL – I no longer have post nasal drip or stuffy nose every morning – I can’t remember the last time I was sick – I’m 70 and my closest friends don’t believe it – Any infection is overcome in very short order – I feel like I’m in my 20′s – Young men are physically wary of me.”

    4. Would you like to see government control or even eliminate your right to use dietary supplements? Yes or no?

    “ABSOLUTELY NOT – The different suggestions they have put forward are made from a lack of understanding of what natural substances are all about. I’ve had amazing results from applying large amounts of natural substances to ailments. I’ve seen what arbitrary control measures do to practitioners that bring relief through dispensing natural dietary substances, and it suffocates liberty and the right to choose.”
    R.F.

  8. Marcus says:

    2. Do you think dietary supplements work? Please explain.

    “Yes. I am a diabetic and use a supplement to help with blood sugar. My levels are consistently in the 80 to 90 range. I have friends who take prescription drugs to control their blood sugar . They do not have the readings in the normal ranges.”
    T.B.

  9. Marcus says:

    2. Do you think dietary supplements work? Please explain.

    “Yes, I have experienced a great number. I continue to turn to them because 1) I can’t afford a Dr. or a prescription. 2) My health can’t afford to wait for an appointment. 3) Kinesthic tests, my body is stronger with them. 4) They body knows what to do with food and therefore there are less side effects. 5) Buying supports small business, my understanding is they provide more jobs and more tax revenue then large corporations.

    I believe there is a place for pharmaceuticals and western medicine mostly for urgent needs. But holistic methods aid in the longevity of the whole system and should be used when a crisis has been averted.”

    5. Any additional comments are greatly appreciated.
    “Thanks for the opportunity to respond to this narrow mindedness. Has anyone checked into who paid for the research or education of this author? Chances are pharmaceutical companies are getting return on their investment through media manipulation.”
    L.R.

  10. Marcus says:

    Are they safe?
    “Yes, dietary supplements are safe. I am sure if you pitted them against the prescription industry, they are a lot safer.”

    Do they work?
    “AN EMPHATIC YES!!!!!! I was on high blood pressure medication, xanax, zoloft, and ambien. I am taking supplements to reduce stress, anxiety, depression, to help me sleep and for high blood pressure. I am no longer on any prescription medicines! WOOHOO!!

    I am 52 and do not need HRT and I am crediting natural supplements. I also had acid reflux disease and no longer have any symptoms for that. I could go on and on and on about how supplements have helped me. Yes I do take a lot of supplements, but have felt better and stronger than I have since I hit menopause.

    When depression slammed into my body at the age of 50, zoloft was prescribed for me and I was grateful at the time. I knew the depression was hormonal because of its suddenness and the fact that I have always been strong in the face of adversity and now suddenly I was weeping for no reason. Zoloft did get me out of the abyss, but it doesn’t cure the depression. The joy does not come back. You are dependent on it and if too many bad things happen at once, you have no reserves built up to handle them. At this time, I am under a great deal of stress, and do have some sad moments but I bounce back and keep going and do find joy in things. There is NO DOUBT in my mind that this is due to natural supplementation.”

    Government involvement:
    “I assumed they had a hand in it.”

    Government control or elimination of supplements:
    “ABSOLUTELY NOT!! They would only do that to push the prescription drugs. The pharmaceutical industry is too powerful as it is. When I am at my internist’s office, I am amazed at how many (2 or 3 each visit) drug marketing reps visit and talk to the doctor and of course, drop off their drugs that they have hauled in their big suitcases on wheels. This, while I am waiting for my appointment.”

    Comment:

    “I was in the hands of the medical community for 2 years with everything and I mean everything that menopausal women get. I was rescued from emergency states, if you will, but never felt like my old self. Now, with natural supplementation, I am feeling like my previous, strong self. It doesn’t happen overnight. It seems supplements have to build up in your body, but it is worth the investment of time and effort. I am not discrediting the medical community, but what the government should do is work on integrating the medical with the alternative or natural medicine. We are talking about life here, quality of life, not politics or money (greed).”
    R.C.

  11. Marcus says:

    To Whom It May Concern:

    1. Do you think dietary supplements are safe? “I think a consumer must be very careful of who they purchase supplements from. If the company is reputable then the supplements are safe. If the company is a fly by night organization who deals in cut rate products and services then let the buyer beware.”
    2. Do you think dietary supplements work? “Yes, I feel dietary supplements definitely work. I have been taking Gingko for years now and I can honesty say before I started I was beginning to suffer from mixing up my numbers when I was writing them down and not being able to remember things and I don’t do that now. I recently stopped taking my supplement and found myself feeling “fuzzy headed” and I began to switch around my numbers again (writing 71 instead of 17 etc).”
    3. Did you know that the government regulates dietary supplements? “No.”
    4. Would you like to see government control or even eliminate your right to use dietary supplements? “No.”
    5. Any additional comments are greatly appreciated. “Being a consumer I appreciate the government looking into the safety of the supplements I choose to take but I do not feel there is a need for any more control than that. I am an adult and have the ability to make choices for myself.”
    S.S.

  12. Marcus says:

    5. Any additional comments are greatly appreciated. “OUR COUNTRY IS IN A MEDICAL CRISIS RIGHT NOW SO AS INDIVIDUAL WE ALL NEED TO TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR OUR OWN HEALTH AND WELL BEING. IF WE ARE PRO-ACTIVE, USING DIETARY SUPPLEMENTS AS AN EXAMPLE THEN WE CAN DO OUR PART TO LESSEN THE NEED FOR MEDICAL CARE WHICH IS A JOKE THESE DAYS!!!”
    D.A.

  13. Marcus says:

    5. Any additional comments are greatly appreciated. “Thank you for alerting the many people to this critical information! I feel that the FDA and other groups are working in the interest of a minority of concerns who wish to maximize profits hurt the natural health care (supplements) industry, weakening their economic growth. People have the right to intelligently choose they own path to wellness. I don’t need any governmental agency dictating and limiting my choices. Please inform all of us if there anything more we can do. The people DO have the voice of choice, here.”
    S.A.

  14. Marcus says:

    5. “I would like to see more studies conducted with supplements, particularly on how they affect pregnant and nursing women.”
    T.K

  15. Marcus says:

    Comment: “I have experienced huge changes in my health by using specific supplements. I have stopped getting sick at the same predictable times every year while every one around me continues to struggle. This has changed a pattern that lasted from the time I had pneumonia as a baby until I researched and regularly began using supplements at the age of about 45. My sister is under the care of 7 different doctors and I have not had so much as a cold for over two years. There have been many other obvious improvements in my health that I do not have time to detail. I know from experience how the sicknesses come back when the supplements are stopped. Supplements have been a true life changer for me.”
    S.B.

  16. Marcus says:

    Comment: “The government would like the supplements taken off the market; because then the doctors would make more money. because there would be more sick people.”
    D.R.

  17. Marcus says:

    “I think dietary supplements do work, as they have been lifesaving (and money saving) for me. Examples: Instead of taking heart medicines with their harmful side effects, I take CoEnzyme Q10 with amazing results. I drink Goji Juice instead of harmful cholesterol lowering drugs, and my cholesterol went from 278 to 205 in less than a month. Acetyl-L-Carnitine relieves the heaviness in my legs (PAD syndrome?) without taking harmful drugs.”
    C.P.

  18. Marcus says:

    5. Any additional comments are greatly appreciated.
    “The government should act in accordance with the will of the people, instead of corporate interests. Clearly the growth of nutritional supplements reflects the will of the people to have natural alternatives to drugs.”
    S.W.

  19. 1. Do you think dietary supplements are safe? Yes or no
    2. Do you think dietary supplements work? Please explain.
    3. Did you know that the government regulates dietary supplements? Yes or no?
    4. Would you like to see government control or even eliminate your right to use dietary supplements? Yes or no?
    5. Any additional comments are greatly appreciated.

    “1. yes
    2. Yes. I can personally attest to the fact that dietary supplements do work without harmful side effects. I have used them to correct problems that I have had with menopausal symptoms, colds, flu, IBM, and to strengthen my immune system. The fact that all of the said supplements that I use have been used for literally centuries with positive results helped to reinforce the conclusion that they are effective and safe for consumption.
    3. Yes. Before I began taking supplements, I researched regulations regarding any and all dietary supplements. I found that the government not only regulated them, but in many cases were more stringent with labeling them as safe than they were with over the counter and prescription drugs.
    4. No.
    5. I would not like the government to have the power to control or eliminate my rights to choose how to take care of my own body. I should not be forced or manipulated by the government , media or the drug industry to take anything that I personally believe to be harmful to my well being ( and I believe it would be morally reprehensible for any of the above to do so. ) The action of removing my available choices would have that result. The logical and rational thing would be to make available to the public all information concerning both drugs and supplements without any embellishments or false advertisement and then allow each individual to choose which avenue to pursue. After all, If I take a drug and I suffer any side effect (including death) the medical profession and the pharmaceutical industry won’t suffer for it…. I will.
    In other words….my body, my choice.”
    D.B.

  20. 2. Do you think dietary supplements work? Please explain.
    “I believe that consumption of supplements as part of a balanced diet and a consistent exercise program can be beneficial. In my case I have found this to be true and I believe that the positive results of my most recent physical exam confirm this. However, I do not believe that supplement consumption combined with poor eating habits and lack of exercise is of much benefit.”

    5. Any additional comments are greatly appreciated.
    “I believe that only continued scientific research and continued education will settle this debate. Unfortunately too many people still don’t understand the basic premise that “you are what you eat”. And until people do understand this statement on the most basic level, the supplement industry (and other connected stakeholders) will continue to come under attack from those hoping for miracle pills to reverse the effects of poor lifestyle choices.”
    T.M.

  21. 3. Did you know that the government regulates dietary supplements? Yes or no? Yes, I did know that the government regulates supplements. (What don’t they regulate these days? You can’t even buy a toilet that flushes properly anymore).

    4. Would you like to see government control or even eliminate your right to use dietary supplements? Yes or no? Absolutely NOT. I prefer to take responsibility for my own choices as wacky as others may think they might be. I do solemnly swear that I will not blame anyone else for my choices, nor will I sue anyone should something bad happen to me as a result of my wacky choices. Government is far too intrusive in our daily lives. Also, once the government gets a hold of something you can bet they screw it up beyond recognition. I am really quite tired of the nanny state trying to protect me from myself.
    C.H.

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