“All Natural”

“All natural” are two of the most abused words in the English language.  Advertising firms have successfully made “All Natural” synonymous with “healthy/good for you” and “safe!”  If only that was true.

Vitamins, minerals, herbals and homeopathic products are often touted as all natural and come with an assortment of miraculous promises and outlandish prices.  Rather than immediately recognize the obvious lie (pills don’t grow in nature; they are manufactured on a production line), patients fall for the premise behind the lie and spend a small fortune on questionable pills.

“All natural” vitamins, minerals and cofactors come in the fruits and vegetables you find in your local grocers or farm stands.  If you have money to burn, buy a Vitamix or Ninja and make delicious, “all natural” drinks.  You control the content and quality.

If you don’t have money to burn, eat the whole fruit or vegetable.  If your doc has diagnosed a true vitamin deficiency, he/she will often prescribe the specific vitamin at an appropriate dose, to be bought at a known and trusted vendor. 

Here’s an article from 2012 reviewing one specific product. In 2019 all you have to do is go to the internet and you will be bombarded by adds for products like the one described below.

May 25, 2012

Now I’ve seen everything.  I’m outraged and disgusted by the unscrupulous marketers that prey on my elderly and the unsuspecting patients who seek health in a bottle and instead pay good money for snake oil.

I’m equally frustrated by the fact that these same patients either shun conventional medicine or can’t afford the pills that have been proven to improve or even save lives.  Recently, I’ve written about the harm done by Pharma’s TV advertisement of their merchandise.  You’ve all seen the commercials proclaiming that product “X” can save your sex life, helping you be ready at a moment’s notice while warning of the dangers of a four hour erection, loss of vision, back pain, or worse.

The purveyors of snake oil have no such restrictions and make no mention of any negative associated with their products.  Today, my patient brought in the “dietary supplement” her father purchased at the cost of $70 FOR 64 OUNCES (my children tell me typing in all caps means I’m yelling).  Product “Y” claims to be full of trillions of “redox signaling molecules” essential to life.  Product “Y” claims to be natural.  It comes with very specific instructions and is to be taken 2 ounces once or twice a day ($2 – $4 a day).

This miraculous substance, cheap at about a dollar an ounce, is salt water.  Yes, the label lists the ingredients as distilled water and Sodium Chloride (salt).  The label also proclaims that the product may have a chlorine odor as the product has trace amounts of natural chlorine.  Yes, the miraculous product appears to be chlorinated, distilled and then salted water.

Salt water for a little over $1 an ounce.  What will they think of next?  By the way, this product is sold to all comers.  If the FDA had assessed this product, the product warnings would have alerted patients with heart disease and hypertension to the perils of taking salt water.  Yes, salt is essential to life; but too much salt can kill you if you have congestive heart failure.

A little (or a lot of) skepticism goes a long way!  Remember, the life you save be your own.

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