They’re back! https://www.alzforum.org/news/community ... ement-hype
The campaign against Alzheimer’s supplements continues to roll out, now at Alzforum in much more detailed and passionate form, backed by more authorities, and urging the FDA to crack down. There are comments from credentialed researchers urging that only products proven in clinical trials should be allowed on the market.
I recognize that there is an unacceptable degree of charlatanry in the supplement industry, especially content fraud, and also exaggerated claims. Sophisticated consumers can avoid being taken in, but not everyone is sophisticated. However, official medicine can be harmfully doctrinaire and can be corrupt in some quarters (I accidentally stumbled into a pharmaceutical-sponsored and paid “medical conference” for physicians at an ocean resort that reeked of corruption and the provision of sexual favors - it felt like an ancient Roman banquet). We do live in a democracy and compromise is inevitable between elite providers wanting to outlaw anything not subject to strict trials and ailing citizens who want the freedom to choose the unproven and the risky. Freedom is the freedom to do wrong if it harms only yourself (John Stuart Mill, On Liberty
Here is the shocking truth:
The FDA flagged multiple products from each company (see table). They span a wide range, from vitamins (particularly B, C, D, and E) and minerals such as selenium, to various herbal extracts such as echinacea root and milk thistle. The list also includes physiological compounds like melatonin and colostrum, antioxidants like glutathione, and non-essential amino acids such as L-carnitine and L-theanine, which is found in plants. Some of the products have been investigated in AD studies, including curcumin, green tea, ginkgo biloba, omega-3 fatty acids, and coenzyme Q (CoQ10).https://www.alzforum.org/file/0308tablefortomjpg
Wouldn't want anyone taking a nonessential
There are two things I find baffling about the Alzheimer’s campaign. First, to the extent that there are abuses in the supplement industry, they afflict the entire range of health issues, and there are implicit claims at less than the gold standard of evidence for thousands of products, from simple vitamins and minerals, or, picking arbitrarily, things like berberine for blood sugar or red yeast rice for cholesterol. Why single out Alzheimer’s, a minuscule portion of that market, especially when there is no effective official treatment for Alzheimer’s and greater risks are justified for people in later life who want to avoid the burdens of dementia for themselves and their families?
Second, the FDA action was the lightest possible sanction - a warning letter - sent to a handful of laughably marginal suppliers, among them a third-tier Alzheimer’s medical supply company that sells things like twiddle activity muffs for the demented, sanctioned because they offered an Alzheimer’s aromatherapy kit, and a herbalist (This Wonderful Life New Age Shop) in Malaysia for selling on an English-language website vegetable oils with claimed medicinal value. That’s like taking on Exxon by sending letters of inquiry to a few of its gas stations. I can’t make sense of it.
The FDA Commissioner had announced that he was going to modernize supplement regulation, but my impression from journalistic accounts (not knowing the policy debates in this field) is that he wanted to be more aggressive about content fraud and acting quickly on clearly harmful products. He is an interesting conservative and a qualified regulator who was leading a crackdown on vaping and its use among teens. He suddenly gave notice of resignation on March 5, news reports suggesting that he was forced out by Chamber of Commerce front groups who complained to the White House about the menace of “overregulation” of teen vaping.
Another wrinkle is that Sen. Orrin Hatch, the supplement industry’s champion, retired last year, and thus the industry is more vulnerable. https://www.latimes.com/business/hiltzi ... story.html