Despite effective vaccines, there is still a need for effective treatments for COVID, especially for people in the community. Dietary supplements have long been used to treat respiratory infections, and preliminary evidence indicates some may be effective in people with COVID-19. This study tested whether a combination of vitamin C, vitamin D3, vitamin K2 and zinc would improve overall health and decrease symptom burden in outpatients diagnosed with COVID-19.
Participants were randomised to receive either vitamin C (6 g), vitamin D3 (1000 units), vitamin K2 (240 μg) and zinc acetate (75 mg) or placebo daily for 21 days and were followed for 12 weeks. An additional loading dose of 50 000 units vitamin D3 (or placebo) was given on day one. The primary outcome was participant-reported overall health using the EuroQol Visual Assessment Scale summed over 21 days. Secondary outcomes included health status, symptom severity, symptom duration, delayed return to usual health, frequency of hospitalisation and mortality.
A total of 90 patients (46 control, 44 treatment) were randomised. The study was stopped prematurely due to insufficient capacity for recruitment. The mean difference (control-treatment) in cumulative overall health was -37.4 (95% CI -157.2 to 82.3), p=0.53 on a scale of 0-2100. No clinically or statistically significant differences were seen in any secondary outcomes.
The authors concluded that, in this double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomised trial of outpatients diagnosed with COVID-19, the dietary supplements vitamin C, vitamin D3, vitamin K2 and zinc acetate showed no clinically or statistically significant effects on the documented measures of health compared with a placebo when given for 21 days. Termination due to feasibility limited our ability to demonstrate the efficacy of these supplements for COVID-19. Further research is needed to determine clinical utility.
In several ways I am puzzled by this study. On the other hand, I should congratulate the naturopathic authors for honestly reporting such a squarely negative result. One could, of course, argue that the study was under-powered and that thus the findings are not conclusive. However, the actual survival curve depicting the results show clearly that there was not even the tiniest trend for the supplement to show any effect. In other words, a larger sample would have most likely yielded the same result.
Participants randomised to the treatment arm received:
- Vitamin D3 50 000 units orally once on day 1 of the study (capsule).
- Vitamin K2/D3 120 μg/500 units orally two times per day for 21 days (liquid).
- Vitamin C/Zinc acetate 2 g/25 mg orally three times daily for 21 days (capsule).
I fail to understand why the researchers might have conceived the hypothesis that such a mixture would be effective. Only 90 of a planned 200 participants were enrolled in this study which ran between September 2021 and April 2022. I fail to understand why recruitment was so poor that the study eventually had to be aborted. My speculation is that the naturopaths in charge of running the trial were too inexperienced in conducting such research to make it a success.
The study was supported by the Ottawa Integrative Cancer Centre Foundation and by Mavis and Martin Sacher. All investigational products for this study were provided in-kind by New Roots Herbal. Perhaps in future these sponsors should think again before they support amateurs pretending to be scientists?
Guest post by Ken McLeod
Readers will recall that Barbara O’Neill is an Australian health crank, completely unqualified in anything, who is subject of a Permanent Prohibition Order issued by the New South Wales Health Care Complaints Commission, (HCCC), preventing her from engaging in any health-related activity, including ‘health education,’ in Australia. The NSW Public Health Act 2010 provides that it is an offence for a person to provide ‘health education’ in contravention of a prohibition order, with a fine of $60,500 AUD ($38,151 USD, 36251 Euros) for an individual or imprisonment for 3 years, or both, or $121,000 AUD for a corporation.
For jurisdictional reasons that Order does not apply outside Australia and for several years she been touring the world giving health education lectures. The latest was a lecture tour of Ireland. Despite the thorough debunking of her fruitloop beliefs by the HCCC, she has maintained them and continues to give the ‘health education’ that was so dangerous that it led to the Prohibition Order in Australia.
Her Irish ‘health education’ lectures were live-streamed to people in Australia who paid the 20 Euro fee, and one was recorded by us.
A transcript was made and is available online. Her statements were analysed and some comments are made as follows. Alas, we didn’t have time to take a deep dive of her lecture to find the best references, but the following shows that an amateur with limited time and resources can prove that she does not know what she is talking about and that her advice is dangerous, even life-threatening.
It is up to the health regulators and immigration authorities in each country to act on her activities there, but so far none outside Australia have done so.
So a quick analysis of her ‘lecture’ in Dublin on 27 September 2023 shows that O’Neill has learned nothing from her experience with the HCCC. Some comments:
1. O’Neill and her husband, after the Prohibition Order was issued, changed the name of their facility from ‘Misty Mountain Health Retreat’ to ‘Misty Mountain Lifestyle Retreat’ to avoid the jurisdiction of the HCCC. However on four occasions in her lecture O’Neill referred to it as a ‘health retreat.’ 00:07:23 , 00:15:48, 01:30:04, 01:40:16.
2. At 00:12:53 O’Neill claims that the Amish don’t get autism. That is false, as explained by AP Factcheck. 
3. At 00:12:54 O’Neill claims that the Amish, ‘They don’t vaccinate their Children. Did you know that they don’t vaccinate their Children and yet they don’t get autism Very rare. Maybe 1%. And often that’s because of chemical exposure. There is always a reason. So why are vaccinations causing autism? Well, it’s neurotoxins, the neurotoxins. ‘
False; Amish do vaccinate their children.  However, studies have documented cases of autism, diabetes and cancer among the Amish, albeit at lower rates in some cases than the broader population and for reasons that are unrelated to their vaccination status. These reasons include the cultural norms and customs that may be playing a role in the reporting style of caregivers.  O’Neill is engaging in cherry-picking on a grand scale here.
4. At 00:13:37 O’Neill claims that ‘there are still two more neurotoxins’ (In vaccines.) Because children are still autistic. There’s formaldehyde, and there is aluminium, both neurotoxins.’
This is scaremongering disinformation. The CDC says ‘Formaldehyde is diluted during the vaccine manufacturing process, but residual quantities of formaldehyde may be found in some current vaccines. The amount of formaldehyde present in some vaccines is so small compared to the concentration that occurs naturally in the body that it does not pose a safety concern.’ As for aluminium, the CDC says ‘Ingredients like aluminum salt help boost the body’s response to the vaccine.’ The CDC says that both are safe. 
5. At 00:15:01 O’Neill claims ‘did you know that the milk in the supermarket if you give that to a newborn baby cow, that cow will die?’
I can find no reference supporting that and I suggest that it is pure fantasy.
6. At 00:18:29 O’Neill claims that ‘parents discover that they put their trust in the princes and vaccinated their child. Now their child has epilepsy. Now their child has autism.’
This is misleading panic-mongering that is a misrepresentation of the science. The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners says ‘Seizures and status epilepticus can occur within 14 days following administration of inactivated and live-attenuated vaccines. These vaccine-proximate seizures can undermine parental confidence in vaccine safety and affect further vaccination decisions. Vaccine-proximate status epilepticus (VP-SE) is uncommon but may be the first manifestation of genetic developmental epileptic encephalopathies, including Dravet syndrome.’ So ‘epilepsy’ may be first encountered  following vaccination but the root cause is genetic.
7. At 00:20:27 O’Neill says that she would like to suggest that no child would be vaccinated, because the fact is, our body was designed to heal itself.
This is pure crazy antivax propaganda, unsupported by the facts.
8. At 00:22:01 O’Neill claims ‘skin cancer has only been around in about the last 80 years, and you know what they’re finding today? That vitamin D deficiency is a big contributing back factor to skin cancer’.
The first claim is false; the science shows that skin cancers have been around ‘since the beginning of time.’ 
As for the second claim, the research published at the US National Library of Medicine shows that O’Neill’s advice is dangerous. ‘It is, therefore, preferable and safer to obtain adequate levels of vitamin D through diet than through sun exposure. In fact, it is currently accepted that dietary and supplemental vitamin D is functionally identical to that produced after UV exposure, being more reliable and quantifiable (the risks of keeping high levels of vitamin D have not been extensively studied) source of this vitamin.’ And ‘Neither natural nor artificial sun exposure should be encouraged as the main source of vitamin D.’ 
9. At 00:23:18 O’Neill disputes claims that ‘cholesterol causes heart disease. Well, it’s been going for 40 years now, and it still hasn’t proven that. But you know what? It has proven that people with high cholesterol levels don’t get Alzheimer’s.’
O’Neill’s first claim points to the conflicting research as revealed by the Cochrane Collaboration.  As for her second claim, the research does not justify her claim that it is ’proven.’ The evidence is conflicting and as the Alzheimer’s Society of the UK say, ‘More research is needed to better understand this relationship and what it can tell us.’  O’Neill’s conviction is not based on evidence.
10. At 00:34:41 O’Neill said that at Dublin airport ‘about 10 days ago,’ she was approached by a man who asked ‘Are you the Australian doctor? And I smiled.’
O’Neill did not correct him and allowed him to be duped into believing she is a real doctor. Despite having no qualifications in anything O’Neill has used the honorific title ‘Dr’ many times in social media, so it is no surprise that he assumed she was a doctor. I can’t help but be confused by her use of the ‘Dr.’ Throughout her lectures she denigrates real doctors, and then tries to boost her credibility by adopting the title.
11. At 00:35:21 she claimed that with ‘epigenetics, you can actually turn your genes on or off.’…. ‘So Michael effectively turned those genes off with castor oil. Castor is very effective for for cataracts. Put it in your eye, one lady said. Is it safe? Does anyone ever ask that of the doctor? Is that drug safe? Then the people have been putting cholesterol in their eyes for centuries. It’s safe.’
Bollocks! As Consumer Lab says ‘Although eye drops containing castor oil may help improve symptoms of dry eye and blepharitis, there is currently no compelling evidence that applying castor oil to the eye can diminish cataracts.’  And there is no evidence that Michael turned the genes off.
12. At 00:40:08 she refers to a woman who recently had a stroke. She says
‘… because she had a stroke, she was put on the protocol she was on put on statins. Cholesterol lowering medication with clear arteries. How much sense does that make? You don’t have. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to work this out. Trust in your gut feeling trust in this incredible body that God has given you. Her blood was no longer thick. Her arteries are open now. And so she came to our retreat and I said, Well, I can’t tell you what to do. And I have no authority over your medication. Only you, and go. You and your doctor do. But this is what I would do. I would stop the blood thinning medication immediately because that aspirin causes brain bleeds, eye bleeds and stomach bleeds. Got that? And I would stop the statin drugs because that the side effect of statin drugs is Alzheimer’s dementia, uh, memory loss, muscle wasting. And they’ve just added another one, which is breast cancer, because all our sex hormones are made from cholesterols.’
O’Neill told a woman who had suffered a stroke to stop taking her life-saving medication! These medications are prescribed by highly qualified medical specialists based on the research. As the UK Stroke Association says, ‘Blood-thinning medications reduce your risk of stroke by helping to prevent blood clots from forming. You might be prescribed them after a transient ischaemic attack (TIA) or a stroke caused by a blockage (an ischaemic stroke, or clot).’ It is clear that O’Neill, who has no qualifications in anything, does not know what she is talking about.
As for her claim that the side effects of statins is breast cancer, the research shows the opposite. ‘While statins do not affect the incidence of most cancers, they do exert significant benefits on recurrence and survival in many cancer types, including breast cancer.’ 
13. At 42:48 O’Neill claims ‘If you are on cholesterol lowering medication and many have been deceived….’ As above, it is O’Neill who is doing the deceiving.
14. At 45:09 O’Neill claims that ‘If you stop your cholesterol lowering medication, there will be a side effect. Your memory will return. Your muscles will get stronger. Any little appearances of Alzheimer’s will start to ease.’
As above, the available research does not show that.
15. At 48:57 O’Neill claims ‘Why did they put fluoride in water? The claim was to harden the teeth. Has it hardened the teeth? Not at all. Has it reduced tooth decay? Not at all.’ And ‘But that fluoride is very hard on the kidneys, very hard on the liver.’
The research here is overwhelming; as the CDC says: ‘The CDC named community water fluoridation one of 10 great public health achievements of the 20th century.
‘Many research studies have proven the safety and benefits of fluoridated water. For 75 years people in the United States have been drinking water with added fluoride and enjoying the benefits of better dental health.
‘Drinking fluoridated water keeps teeth strong and reduces cavities (also called tooth decay) by about 25% in children and adults.’
As for O’Neill’s claim that fluoride is very hard on the kidneys, very hard on the liver,’ the research is inconclusive, and in fact the reverse may be true. Research shows ‘Fluoride exposure may contribute to complex changes in kidney and liver related parameters among U.S. adolescents. As the study is cross-sectional, reverse causality cannot be ruled out; therefore, altered kidney and/or liver function may impact bodily fluoride absorption and metabolic processes.’ So the science does not support O’Neill’s certainty.
16. At 48:57 O’Neill claims that ‘all body symptoms and body diseases and shows how dehydrating has a huge factor.’ O’Neill gives no evidence to support that huge claim.
17. At 01:00:20 O’Neill claims that a woman told her ‘I had the vaccine. Now I’ve got clots. Barbara, I had the vaccine. I can’t. I cannot even remember all the diseases that are arising. Have you noticed? And so many people were blackmailed into that vaccine.’ And ‘Is that (COVID19) a crisis? it’s not a crisis at all. And yet we’re seeing so many problems arising.’
O’Neill is dreadfully wrong here. COVID 19 was a crisis. How else would we describe a pandemic that is known to have killed at least 6,961,014 deaths, as reported to the WHO?  And what are the problems that we are seeing arising? Outside her imagination, that is.
18. At 01:00:20 O’Neill claims that ‘one man said, Show me the safety studies. They gave him three pages of blank paper. No safety studies, no safety studies at all.’ (On vaccines). And ‘drugs never cure disease.’ And a few lines later, again, ‘Drugs never cure disease.’
The allegation that ‘They (doctors) gave him three pages of blank paper’, is just so deranged. No doctor would do that because there are thousands of studies of vaccine safety.
O’Neill’s claim that there are no safety studies on vaccines is hopelessly wrong and dishonest. It’s one of the many anti-vax lies circulating on the internet, so beloved by the gullible. As the Australian Dept of Health and Aged Care say, ‘Research and testing is an essential part of developing safe and effective vaccines. In Australia, every vaccine must pass strict safety testing before the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) will register it for use. Before vaccines become available to the public, they are tested on thousands of people who take part in large clinical trials.’  It took me a few seconds on the internet to find an interesting research paper on HPV vaccines, including a section on safety.  O’Neill could do that so the inevitable conclusion is that she set out to deceive. As for ‘drugs never cure disease,’ that is so bizarre, so whacky, so deluded, that it almost not worth challenging. But I will anyway; medical professionals have seen drugs work billions of times, and I can testify that I was saved from a life-threatening illness due to cephalexin.
19. At 01:10:49 O’Neill claims ‘some (medications) can be stopped immediately, like your statin drugs and your blood thinners. Yeah, what do you take instead of statin drugs? Well, there’s no need, because cholesterol is not a problem.’
O’Neill’s advice here is life-threatening rubbish. As the Mayo Clinic says ‘Abruptly stopping an anticoagulant can increase your risk of a stroke.’  As for her advice on cholesterol, see above.
20. At 01:15:39 O’Neill claims that there was ‘No diabetes on the planet til sugar was well established.’ And lack of nose-breathing causes ‘Chronic fatigue syndrome. There’s one cause; it’s lack of oxygen at the cellular level.’
Humans have gathered sugar since we first became homo sapiens and diabetes has always been a problem for us and other animals.
As for her claim that lack of nose-breathing causes ‘Chronic fatigue syndrome;’ the Mayo Clinic says ‘The cause of ME/CFS is unknown, although there are many theories. Experts believe it might be triggered by a combination of factors.’ They go on to list many possible causes but lack of nose-breathing is not one of them.
21. At 01:26:08 O’Neill claims that a researcher ‘…. could turn cancer cells on and off by the amount of animal, pro and animal protein that he was giving’ and liver cancer could be prevented by ‘a simple diet and cancer weights were very low low compared to the city again, with that high meat diet….’ There is some truth in this, but it does not justify O’Neill’s other advice to avoid prescribed medications.
22. At 01:49:26 O’Neill claims ‘if someone has a rash and they put cortisone on it, what happens to the rash? It’s gone, but But it comes back in about another week. Is that right? Twice as bad.’ And ‘No drug can heal cancer. The body and the body alone when it’s given the right conditions can cause cancer to be conquered in the body.’ And ‘A fever is nothing to fear.’
O’Neill’s claim that ‘No drug can heal cancer’ is demonstrably wrong. Life expectancy following cancer treatment has improved vastly over the decades, largely due to better detection and prescribed medications. As the US National Cancer Institute (NCI) estimates, ‘due to improved detection and treatment, deaths have dropped 41 percent from 1989 to 2018, according to the ACS.’ 
As for O’Neill’s claim that ‘a fever is nothing to fear,’ the Victorian Dept of Health says ‘High fever (about 41.5°C or more) is extremely dangerous and could trigger convulsions.’ 
23. At 01:53:47 O’Neill claims that drug therapy is not working.
What does O’Neill mean by that? Does she mean that prescribed medication does not work? If she is repeating her earlier claim that ‘drugs never cure disease?’ I repeat my earlier rebuttal. That is so bizarre, so whacky, so deluded, that it almost not worth challenging. But I will anyway; medical professionals have seen drugs work billions of times, and I can testify that I was saved from a life-threatening illness due to cephalexin.
I’ll finish the analysis here because you have suffered enough.
Readers everywhere now have rock-solid evidence that should be presented to their national health regulators, showing that O’Neill, as the HCCC put it, ‘poses a risk to the health and safety of members of the public’ and therefore ‘should be permanently prohibited from providing any health services, whether in a paid or voluntary capacity.’ And you have rock-solid evidence that should be presented to venue managers who have allowed O’Neill to present life-threatening ‘education’ to the public on their premises, asking them to cancel the booking. It’s not hard; it was done in Ireland by members of the public. That led to cancellation of the booking, and a rush by O’Neill’s supporters to find a new venue.
4 The video is available at https://rumble.com/v3lt611-barbara-oneill-positive-life-event-27th-september.html and a backup is available at https://www.dropbox.com/scl/fi/vqe9plhgjijunvl22kvb6/Barbara-ONeill-Positive-Life-Event-27th-September.mp4?rlkey=1kjyi9jdl8kfdp8kcdf1p4xba&dl=0
The ‘University College of Osteopathy’ announced a proposal to merge with the AECC University College (AECC UC). Both institutions will seek to bring together the two specialist providers to offer a “unique inter-disciplinary environment for education, clinical practice and research in osteopathy, chiropractic, and across a wide range of allied health and related disciplines”.
The partnership is allegedly set to unlock significant opportunities for growth and development by bringing together the two specialist institutions’ expertise and resources across two locations – in Dorset and central London.
As a joint statement, Chair of the Board of Governors at AECC UC, Jeni Bremner and Chair of the Board of Governors at UCO, Professor Jo Price commented:
“We believe the proposed merger would further the institutional ambitions for both of our organisations and the related professional groups, by allowing us to expand our educational offering, grow student numbers and provide a unique inter-disciplinary training environment, providing students the opportunity to be immersed in multi-professional practice and research, with exposure to and participation in multi-disciplinary teams.
“There is also an exciting and compelling opportunity to expedite the development of a nationally unique, and internationally-leading MSK Centre of Excellence for Education and Research, developed and delivered across our two sites.”
The announcement is accompanied by further uncritical and promotional language:
Established as the first chiropractic training provider in Europe, AECC UC has been at the forefront of evidence-based chiropractic education, practice and research for more than 50 years. The institution is on an exciting journey of growth and development, having expanded and diversified its academic portfolio and activity beyond its traditional core offering of chiropractic across a broad range of allied health courses and apprenticeships, working closely with NHS, local authority and other system partners across Dorset and the south-west. The proposed merger with UCO would allow AECC UC to enhance the breadth and depth of its offer to support the expansion and development of the health and care workforce across a wider range of partners.
Now in its 106th year, UCO is one of the UK’s leading providers of osteopathic education and research with an established reputation for creating highly-skilled, evidence-informed graduates. UCO research is recognised as world-leading, delivering value to the osteopathic and wider health care community.
Sharon Potter, Acting Vice-Chancellor of UCO, said:
“As an institution that has long been at the forefront of osteopathic education and research, we are committed to ensuring further growth and development of the osteopathic profession.
“UCO has been proactively considering options to future-proof the institution. Following a review of strategic options, UCO is delighted by the proposed merger, working closely with AECC UC to ensure that UCO and osteopathy thrives as part of the inter-professional health sciences landscape, both academically and clinically. There is significant congruence between UCO and AECC UC in our strong aligned values, commitment to and delivery of excellent osteopathic education, clinical care and research, and opinion leadership.
“AECC UC has a strong track record of respecting the differences in professions, evidenced by the autonomy across the 10 different professional groups supported by the institution. The merger will not only mean we are protecting UCO through preserving its osteopathic heritage and creating a sustainable future, but that our staff and students can collaborate with other professional groups such as physiotherapy, chiropractic, sport rehabilitation, podiatry and diagnostic imaging, in a multidisciplinary MSK and rehabilitation environment unlike anywhere else in the UK.”
Professor Lesley Haig, Vice-Chancellor of AECC UC, commented:
“Preserving the heritage of UCO and safeguarding its future status as the flagship osteopathy training provider in the UK will be critical, just as it has been to protect the chiropractic heritage of the AECC brand. UCO is seen as synonymous with, and reflective of, the success of the osteopathy profession and we fully recognise and respect the important role that UCO plays not only as a sector-leading provider of osteopathic education, research and clinical care, but as the UK’s flagship osteopathy educational provider.
“Overall it is clear that UCO and AECC UC already have a common values base, similar understanding of approaches to academic and clinical delivery, and positive relationships upon which a future organisational structure and opportunities can be developed. It’s an exciting time for both institutions as we move forward in partnership to create something unique and become recognised nationally and internationally as a centre of excellence.”
The proposed merger would continue the already founded positive relations between the institutions, where regular visits, sharing of good practice, and collaborative research work are already taking place. Heads of terms for the potential merger have now been agreed and both institutions are entering into the next phase of discussions, which will include wide consultation with staff, students and other stakeholders to produce a comprehensive implementation plan.
In case this bonanza of platitudes and half-truths has not yet overwhelmed you, I might be so bold as to ask 10 critical questions:
- What is an “evidence-based chiropractic education”? Does it include the messages that 1) subluxation is nonsense, 2) chiropractic manipulations can cause harm, 3) there is little evidence that they do more good than harm?
- How an an “expansion and development of the health and care workforce” be anticipated on the basis of the 3 points I just made?
- What does the term “evidence-informed graduates” mean? Does it mean they are informed that you teach them nonsense but instruct them to practice this nonsense anyway?
- Do “options to future-proof the institution” include the continuation of misleading the public about the value of chiropractic/osteopathy?
- Does the”delivery of excellent osteopathic education, clinical care and research, and opinion leadership” account for the fact that the evidence for osteopathy is weak at best and for most conditions negative?
- By “preserving its osteopathic heritage”, do you intend to preserve also the reputation of your founding father, Andrew Taylor Still, who did many dubious things. In 1874, for instance, he was excommunicated by the Methodist Church because of his “laying on of hands”; specifically, he was accused of trying to emulate Jesus Christ, labelled an agent of the Devil, and condemned as practicing voodoo. Or do you prefer to white-wash the osteopathic heritage?
- You also want “to protect the chiropractic heritage”; does that mean you aim at white-washing the juicy biography of the charlatan who created chiropractic, DD Palmer, as well?
- “UCO and AECC UC already have a common values base” – what are they? As far as I can see, they mainly consist in hiding the truth about the uselessness of your activities from the public.
- How do you want to “recognised nationally and internationally as a centre of excellence”? Might it be a good idea to begin by critically assessing your interventions and ask whether they do more good than harm?
- Crucially, what is really behing the merger that you are trying to sell us with such concentrated BS?
Anja Zeidler (born 1993) became known in 2012 as the most successful fitness personality in Switzerland. After joining the bodybuilding scene in Los Angeles, a phase of self-discovery followed. Anja published her development and became what one nowadays calls an ‘INFLUENCER’. As Managing Director and Content Director of her own company, Anja Zeidler GmbH, Anja has made a name for herself as a public figure far beyond the fitness market with her activities as a ‘Selflove Influencer’, blogger, book author, motivational speaker, presenter and expert in the food & health sector. Furthermore, she is completing a degree at the Academy of Naturopathy for Holistic Health.
About a year and a half ago, Anja Zeidler had a desmoid tumor removed from under her left breast – and now it was reported to be back. The conventional treatment methods are clear: another surgical procedure or radiation. But Zeidler said she wants to wait with such interventions. For the time being, she has decided to go her own way. She wants to “balance any imbalances” with her naturopathic doctor and wishes to fight the disease on her own and with a “positive mindset.”
“On a spiritual level, they say that tumors can be related to trauma. That’s why I’ve tried breathing exercises and cocoa ceremonies. With these methods, I get into my subconscious and get closer to traumas, which I am not aware of, and try to dissolve them. So far, blatant things have come up that I had long forgotten and repressed,” she says enthusiastically. In addition, Zeidler wants to give up refined sugar with immediate effect, keep better control of her diet in general – even in her stressful everyday life – and drink freshly squeezed celery and beetroot juice every morning. In addition, she relies on “natural capsules with and grape seed OPC.” “I’ve read in studies that certain types of fungi and strong antioxidants like OPC are supposed to fight tumor cells.” There I follow the motto: ‘if it doesn’t help, at least it does not harm.'”
Zeidler’s tumor is a desmoid tumor, an abnormal growth that arises from connective tissues. These tumors are generally not considered malignant because they do not spread to other parts of the body; however, they can aggressively invade the surrounding tissue and can be very difficult to remove surgically. These tumors often recur, even after apparently complete removal.
Zeidler commented: “I am convinced that with a positive mindset you can contribute extremely much to the healing process. If the checks reveal rapid growth, I will of course seek medical treatment. Then I would opt for radiation.”
The trouble with ‘influencers’ is that they are gullible and influence the often gullible public to become more gullible. Thus their influence might cost many lives. Personally, I hope that the young woman does well with her erstwhile refusal of evidence-based treatments. Yet, I fear that the ‘Academy of Naturopathy for Holistic Health’ will teach her a lot of BS about the power of natural cancer cures. The sooner she agrees to have her tumor treated based on evidence, the better her prognosis, I’m sure.
Sobrenix (Kudzu, Milk Thistle, B Vitamins & More) is “designed to reduce alcohol cravings and help you detoxify your body so you can successfully manage alcohol consumption. Even better, taken before drinking, Sobrenix’s ingredients help you stop before you’ve had too much. DETOXIFY YOUR BODY with a powerful formula that combines herbs and nutrients that support liver health, curb cravings, and help you wake up without a nasty hangover. Sobrenix kick-starts the detoxification process with essential herbs like Milk Thistle and Chanca Piedra. Additionally, the formula contains the critical B-Vitamins that alcohol washes away so you can wake up happy and healthy again!”
Yes, you suspected correctly: this is pure BS!
Not only that but the Federal Trade Commission is taking action under the FTC Act and the Opioid Addiction Recovery Fraud Prevention Act of 2018 (OARFPA) against the makers of Sobrenix. According to the FTC’s complaint, the makers, a company, Rejuvica, and its owners, Kyle Armstrong and Kyle Dilger, made numerous unsubstantiated and false claims about Sobrenix and used paid endorsers in deceptively formatted advertising. The defendants also used bogus review sites to deceive consumers about their products.
As a result of the FTC’s suit, the defendants have agreed to a proposed court order that would permanently ban them from making any unsubstantiated claims about healthcare products or services, as well as require them to pay $650,000 to the FTC to be used for providing refunds to consumers.
“We will not tire in our pursuit of those who prey on individuals struggling with alcohol or other substance use disorders,” said Samuel Levine, Director of the Bureau of Consumer Protection. “This case evidences the breadth of the FTC’s authority to pursue such wrongdoing under both the FTC Act and OARFPA.”
The FTC charges that the defendants marketed Sobrenix with messages like:
- “STRUGGLING TO CONTROL YOUR ALCOHOL CONSUMPTION? Sobrenix is designed to reduce alcohol cravings and help you detoxify your body so you can successfully manage alcohol consumption. Even better, taken before drinking, Sobrenix’s ingredients help you stop before you’ve had too much.”
The FTC charges that Rejuvica and its owners lacked adequate evidence to support these claims. The complaint charges that Rejuvica, Armstrong, and Dilger violated both the FTC Act and OARFPA. The proposed order contains a total monetary judgment of $3,247,737, which is partially suspended based on the defendants’ inability to pay the full amount. The defendants will be required to pay $650,000 to the FTC to be used to refund consumers. If the defendants are found to have lied to the FTC about their financial status, the full judgment will be immediately due.
A few short comments might be in order:
- Regulators have the duty to protect consumers from false health claims.
- It is commendable that some authorities sometimes do their duty and go after some of the people responsible for making false claims related to dietary supplements.
- Such actions should, however, occur MUCH more often.
- They ought to happen also in countries other than the US.
- Similar actions should be initiated against ALL false claims made for healthcare products and services.
- This means that all practitioners of so-called alternative medicine (SCAM) would need to review their advertising, websites, etc., and erase therapeutic claims that are not supported by evidence.
- This would unquestionably amount to an enormously valuable service to public health.
- Most countries already have legislation that would make such steps possible; my question, therefore, is this:
WHY ARE CONSUMERS NOT ADEQUATELY PROTECTED BY THEIR NATIONAL REGULATORS FROM CHARLATANS WHO SELL INEFFECTIVE AND OFTEN DANGEROUS SCAMs AT HIGH COSTS?
The website of the World Federation of Chiropractic (WFC) points out that public health is defined by the WHO as follows:
“Activities to strengthen public health capacities and service aim to provide conditions under which people can maintain to be healthy, improve their health and wellbeing, or prevent the deterioration of their health. Public health focuses on the entire spectrum of health and wellbeing, not only the eradication of particular diseases.”
The WFC then continues stating this:
As primary contact health professionals, chiropractors can play an important role as public health advocates. This can range from providing support and advice on health matters such as physical activity, diet, and fitness as well as lifestyle choices such as injury prevention and avoiding tobacco use. Chiropractors can also play a role in counselling patients and communities on the benefits of public health measures, especially as this relates to immediate health needs of each region.
I think that this might merit a few comments.
- Physical activity is undoubtedly an important issue for public health; however, there are clearly healthcare professionals who are in a better-informed position to advise on it than chiropractors.
- Diet is undoubtedly an important issue for public health; however, there are clearly healthcare professionals who are in a better-informed position to advise on it than chiropractors.
- Fitness is undoubtedly an important issue for public health; however, there are clearly healthcare professionals who are in a better-informed position to advise on it than chiropractors.
- Lifestyle choice is undoubtedly an important issue for public health; however, there are clearly healthcare professionals who are in a better-informed position to advise on it than chiropractors.
- Injury prevention is undoubtedly an important issue for public health; however, there are clearly healthcare professionals who are in a better-informed position to advise on it than chiropractors.
- Avoiding tobacco use is undoubtedly an important issue for public health; however, there are clearly healthcare professionals who are in a better-informed position to advise on it than chiropractors.
- Counseling is undoubtedly an important issue for public health; however, there are clearly healthcare professionals who are in a better-informed position to advise on it than chiropractors.
So, what is the real contribution of chiropractors to public health?
- Chiropractors tend to advise their clients against vaccinations.
- Some mislead the public by claiming they boost immunity and prevent serious infections.
- Many undermine evidence-based medicine by promoting obsolete myths such as ‘the innate’ or subluxations.
- Many sell supplements that could interact with prescription drugs.
- Many make bogus health claims for profit.
I would therefore argue that, on balance, the contribution of chiropractors to public health might be considerable …
sadly, however, it goes in the wrong direction.
This randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial investigated whether supplementing older adults with monthly doses of vitamin D alters the incidence of major cardiovascular events.
A total of 21 315 participants aged 60-84 years were enrolled. Exclusion criteria were self-reported hypercalcemia, hyperparathyroidism, kidney stones, osteomalacia, sarcoidosis, taking >500 IU/day supplemental vitamin D, or being unable to give consent because of language or cognitive impairment.
The trial participants received 60 000 IU/month of vitamin D3 (n=10 662) or placebo (n=10 653) taken orally for up to five years. 16 882 participants completed the intervention period: placebo 8270 (77.6%); vitamin D 8552 (80.2%). The main outcome for this analysis was the occurrence of a major cardiovascular event, including myocardial infarction, stroke, and coronary revascularisation, determined through linkage with administrative datasets. Each event was analyzed separately as secondary outcome. Flexible parametric survival models were used to estimate hazard ratios and 95% confidence intervals.
21 302 people were included in the analysis. The median intervention period was five years. 1336 participants experienced a major cardiovascular event (placebo 699 (6.6%); vitamin D 637 (6.0%)). The rate of major cardiovascular events was lower in the vitamin D group than in the placebo group (hazard ratio 0.91, 95% confidence interval 0.81 to 1.01), especially among those who were taking cardiovascular drugs at baseline (0.84, 0.74 to 0.97; P for interaction=0.12), although the P value for interaction was not significant (<0.05). Overall, the difference in standardized cause-specific cumulative incidence at five years was −5.8 events per 1000 participants (95% confidence interval −12.2 to 0.5 per 1000 participants), resulting in a number needed to treat to avoid one major cardiovascular event of 172. The rate of myocardial infarction (hazard ratio 0.81, 95% confidence interval 0.67 to 0.98) and coronary revascularisation (0.89, 0.78 to 1.01) was lower in the vitamin D group, but there was no difference in the rate of stroke (0.99, 0.80 to 1.23). The incidence of adverse events was similar in the two groups.
The authors concluded that vitamin D supplementation might reduce the incidence of major cardiovascular events, particularly myocardial infarction and coronary revascularisation. This protective effect could be more marked in those taking statins or other cardiovascular drugs at baseline. Subgroup analyses in other large trials might help to clarify this issue. In the meantime, these findings suggest that conclusions that vitamin D supplementation does not alter risk of cardiovascular disease are premature.
This is an impressive study and a disappointing result. That vitamin D supplementation might reduce the incidence of major cardiovascular events was known before; thus we would not have needed such an expensive study to arrive at this conclusion. That the protective effect might be more marked in patients taking statins or other cardiovascular drugs seems odd, in my view. Could it be, I ask myself, that the protective effect is unrelated to cardiovascular drugs but simply more marked in those individuals who are at a higher than average risk of cardiovascular events?
In any case, the protective effect is small and seems to be of questionable clinical relevance.
Maintenance of cognitive abilities is of critical importance to older adults, yet only a few effective strategies to slow down cognitive decline currently exist. Multivitamin supplementation is used to promote general health; however, it is unclear whether it favorably affects cognition in older age. This study aimed to examine the effect of daily multivitamin/multimineral supplementation on memory in older adults.
The Cocoa Supplement and Multivitamin Outcomes Study Web (COSMOS-Web) ancillary study (NCT04582617) included 3562 older adults. Participants were randomly assigned to a daily multivitamin supplement (Centrum Silver) or placebo and evaluated annually with an Internet-based battery of neuropsychological tests for 3 y. The prespecified primary outcome measure was change in episodic memory, operationally defined as immediate recall performance on the ModRey test, after 1 y of intervention. Secondary outcome measures included changes in episodic memory over 3 y of follow-up and changes in performance on neuropsychological tasks of novel object recognition and executive function over 3 y.
Compared with placebo, participants randomly assigned to multivitamin supplementation had significantly better ModRey immediate recall at 1 y, the primary endpoint (t(5889) = 2.25, P = 0.025), as well as across the 3 y of follow-up on average (t(5889) = 2.54, P = 0.011). Multivitamin supplementation had no significant effects on secondary outcomes. Based on a cross-sectional analysis of the association between age and performance on the ModRey, it was estimated that the effect of the multivitamin intervention improved memory performance above placebo by the equivalent of 3.1 y of age-related memory change.
The authors concluded that daily multivitamin supplementation, compared with placebo, improves memory. Multivitamin supplementation holds promise as a safe and accessible approach to maintaining cognitive health in older age.
These findings are surprising, not least because similar studies have thus far failed to demonstrate such effects. A 2013 trial, for instance, concluded that, in male physicians aged 65 years or older, long-term use of a daily multivitamin did not provide cognitive benefits.
Judging from the abstract alone (unfortunately, I have no access to the full paper), this seems to be a rigorous trial. It was conducted by multiple researchers of high standing. One is therefore inclined to believe the results.
Yet, one might be wise to be cautious.
Provided that a full analysis of the study does not identify major flaws, I would still want to 1) have a plausible explanation as to the mode of action and 2) see an independent replication before I accept the findings.
The study was partly funded by the National Institutes of Health. The vitamins were provided by Pfizer Inc. and Haleon, the makers of the supplement used in the study.
I have now seen the full paper [thank you Dan] and can confirm that the study was of high quality. Yet, it also has limitations, of course, e.g.:
- the effect size is modest;
- the study population is selected and thus the results are not generalizable;
- the outcome measures were assessed remotely;
- the success of blinding was not checked [I find it conceivable that some trial participants tried to find out what they were taking, e.g. by tasting the pills].
Norbert Hofer is the former leader of the Austrian right-wing FPÖ party who almost became Austria’s President. Currently, he is the 3rd member of the National Council. Hofer is a man full of surprises; he stated, for instance, that the Quran was more dangerous than COVID-19 during a speech held at a 2020 campaign event. As a result, he was sued for hate-speech.
- L-tryptophan; a Cochrane review concluded that “a large number of studies appear to address the research questions, but few are of sufficient quality to be reliable. Available evidence does suggest these substances are better than placebo at alleviating depression. Further studies are needed to evaluate the efficacy and safety of 5‐HTP and tryptophan before their widespread use can be recommended. The possible association between these substances and the potentially fatal Eosinophilia‐Myalgia Syndrome has not been elucidated. Because alternative antidepressants exist which have been proven to be effective and safe the clinical usefulness of 5‐HTP and tryptophan is limited at present.”
- Hydroxypropylmethylcellulose, a common delivery system.
- Rhodiola rosea extracts; human studies evaluating R. rosea did not have sufficient quality to determine whether it has properties affecting fatigue or any other condition.The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued warning letters to manufacturers of R. rosea dietary supplement products unapproved as new drugs, adulterated, misbranded and in federal violation for not having proof of safety or efficacy for the advertised conditions of alleviating Raynaud syndrome, altitude sickness, depression or cancer.
- Ginseng root extract. Although ginseng has been used in traditional medicine for centuries, modern research is inconclusive about its biological effects. Preliminary clinical research indicates possible effects on memory, fatigue, menopause symptoms, and insulin response in people with mild diabetes. Out of 44 studies examined between 2005–2015, 29 showed positive, limited evidence, and 15 showed no effects. As of 2021, there is insufficient evidence to indicate that ginseng has any health effects. A 2021 review indicated that ginseng had “only trivial effects on erectile function or satisfaction with intercourse compared to placebo”. The constituents include steroid saponins known as ginsenosides, but the effects of these ginseng compounds have not been studied with high-quality clinical research as of 2021, and therefore remain unknown. As of 2019, the United States FDA and Federal Trade Commission have issued numerous warning letters to manufacturers of ginseng dietary supplements for making false claims of health or anti-disease benefits, stating that the “products are not generally recognized as safe and effective for the referenced uses” and are illegal as unauthorized “new drugs” under federal law. Concerns exist when ginseng is used chronically, potentially causing side effects such as headaches, insomnia, and digestive problems. Ginseng may have adverse effects when used with the blood thinner warfarin. Ginseng also has adverse drug reactions with phenelzine, and a potential interaction has been reported with imatinib, resulting in hepatotoxicity, and with lamotrigine. Other side effects may include anxiety, insomnia, fluctuations in blood pressure, breast pain, vaginal bleeding, nausea, or diarrhea.
- Zinc gluconate which has been used in lozenges for treating the common cold. However, controlled trials with lozenges which include zinc acetate have found it has the greatest effect on the duration of coldsInstances of anosmia (loss of smell) have been reported with intranasal use of some products containing zinc gluconate. In September 2003, Zicam faced lawsuits from users who claimed that the product, a nasal gel containing zinc gluconate and several inactive ingredients, negatively affected their sense of smell and sometimes taste. Some plaintiffs alleged experiencing a strong and very painful burning sensation when they used the product. Matrixx Initiatives, Inc., the maker of Zicam, responded that only a small number of people had experienced problems and that anosmia can be caused by the common cold itself. In January 2006, 340 lawsuits were settled for $12 million.
- Pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin B6) is usually well tolerated, though overdose toxicity is possible. Occasionally side effects include headache, numbness, and sleepiness. Pyridoxine overdose can cause a peripheral sensory neuropathy characterized by poor coordination, numbness, and decreased sensation to touch, temperature, and vibration.
‘Formula Fortuna’ allegedly is for lifting your mood. If I, however, tell you that you need to pay one Euro per day for the supplement, your mood might even change in the opposite direction.
I think I might design a dietary supplement against stupidity. It will not carry any of the risks of Hofer’s new invention but, I am afraid, it might be just as ineffective as Hofer’s ‘Formual Fortuna’.
Drip IV is “Australia’s first and leading mobile healthcare company specialising in assisting with nutritional deficiencies”. They claim to provide a mobile IV service that is prescribed and tailored individually to your nutritional needs. Treatment plans and customised infusions are determined by a medical team to suit individual requirements. They deliver vitamins, minerals and amino acids directly to the body via the bloodstream, a method they state allows for optimal bioavailability.
These claims are a little puzzling to me, not least because vitamins, minerals and amino acids tailored individually to the nutritional needs of the vast majority of people would mean administering nothing at all. But I guess that virtually every person who consults the service will get an infusion [and pay dearly for it].
The Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) seems to have a similarly dim view on Drip IV. The TGA has just issued 20 infringement notices totalling $159,840 to the company and to one of its executive officers. The reason: unlawful advertising of intravenous infusion products to Australian consumers on a company website and social media. Ten notices totalling $133,200 were issued to the company and ten notices totalling $26,640 were issued to an executive officer. The TGA considers the intravenous infusion products to be therapeutic goods because of the claims made about them, and the advertising to be unlawful because the advertisements allegedly:
- contained prohibited representations, such as claims regarding cancer.
- contained restricted representations such as that the products would alleviate fatigue caused by COVID-19, assist in the treatment of Graves’ Disease and Alzheimer’s Disease, and support the treatment of autoimmune diseases such as Multiple Sclerosis. No TGA approval had been given to make such claims.
- referred to ingredients that are prescription only, such as glutathione. Prescription medicines cannot be advertised directly to the public in Australia.
- contained a statement or picture suggesting or implying the products were ‘TGA Approved’. Advertising of therapeutic goods cannot include a government endorsement.
- contained a statement or picture expressing that the goods were ‘miraculous’.
Vitamin infusions have become very popular around the globe. There are now thousands of clinics offering this service, and many of them advertise aggressively with claims that are questionable. Here is just one example from the UK:
Modern life is hectic. If you are looking to boost your wellbeing, increase your energy levels, lift your mood and hydrate your body, Vitamin IV Infusions are ideal. Favoured by celebrities such as Madonna, Simon Cowell and Rihanna, Vitamin IV Infusions are an easy, effective way of delivering vitamins, minerals and amino acids directly into your bloodstream via an IV (intravenous) drip. Vitamins are essential for normal growth and staying healthy – but our bodies can’t produce all of the nutrients we need to function and thrive. That’s why more than one in three people take daily vitamin supplements – often without realising that only 15% of the active nutrients consumed orally actually find their way into their bloodstream. With Vitamin IV Infusions, the nutrients enter your bloodstream directly and immediately, and are delivered straight to your cells. We offer four different Vitamin IV Infusions, so you can choose the best combination for your personal needs, while boosting your general health, energy and wellbeing.
My advice to consumers is a little different and considerably less costly:
- to ensure you get enough vitamins, minerals, and amino acids, eat a balanced diet;
- to boost your well-being, sit down and calculate the savings you made by NOT using such a service;
- to increase your energy levels, take a nap;
- to lift your mood, recount the money you saved and think of what nice things you might buy with it;
- to hydrate your body drink a glass of water.
Perhaps it is time the authorities in all countries had a look at what these clinics are offering and what health claims they are making. Perhaps it is time they act as the TGA just did.