The Vitamin and Supplements Industry Gets Hammered. It's About Time.

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Screen Shot 2015-02-03 at 1.14.09 PMWe at ACSH have been screaming into the wind about the folly of the supplements industry for years. Supplements are nothing but unregulated drugs, and ending this illogical divide between them and prescription drugs is long overdue.

Today, on the Science 2.0 site, ACSH s Dr. Josh Bloom and co-author Dr. David Seres, the head of nutritional medicine at New York Presbyterian Hospital published a piece called Preventing Heart Disease With Vitamin BS, which dismantles a poorly designed observational study that claims that vitamin supplements help prevent cardiac death in women, despite overwhelming evidence that they do not.

And, it would be hard to miss Anahad O Connor s absolutely damning piece on the front page of today s New York Times. O Connor clearly points out something we have been saying forever that supplements do not come close to meeting even the most lax standards for what is in the bottle, let alone whether they are safe and effective. A must read.

But now, the New York State attorney general is cracking down, and this will almost certainly hit the sleazy supplements industry very hard in the wallet. And with good reason.

When tested, herbal supplements at GNC, Walgreens, Target, and Walmart were found not to contain the herbs on the label a mere 80 percent of the time.

Dr. Bloom asks incredulously, What? Are they expecting perfection? But he also adds, The absence of some stupid herb from a bottle will harm no one, since they don t help in the first place. The real concern is what is actually in the bottle. Anabolic steroids, illegal stimulants, prescription drugs, such as Viagra and Synthroid (and many more) have been found in these bottles, and people have died from them.

And this is particularly newsworthy this year, since misguided parents are increasingly forgoing vaccines, and thinking that some worthless supplement (or whatever is in the bottle) will offer protection. It won't.