Friday, February 26, 2010

Methinks the lady doth protest too much

I was having a little packing break last night (as well as watching "Predator"- I cannot believe that I still had not seen this movie through until completion) when I had a bit of a wander through the blogosphere and came across Rae's post on psychotropics, Juice Plus and natural medicine.

At the beginning of February, I wrote a critical post in relation to Juice Plus and how a Juice Plus salesperson claiming to be "Australia's Leading Nutrition Educator" was running seminars which, although spoke of sensible things, like eating more fruits and vegetables, seem to promote Juice Plus as "the missing link". Why I get cranky about these things is that it is obvious that money, not good medicine is driving the bottom line. I get cranky when I see the aggressive marketing, the posts about "I feel so good because I've taken my Juice Plus supplements" - what about all the improvements you've made to your diet and your training making a difference? It's difficult to feel any warm and fuzzy love towards any supplement whose claims are yet to be proven. Plus eating well and training hard without any fancy gimmicks isn't terribly sexy, is it?

And don't think I'm just picking on Juice Plus. I get cranky when I see L-Carnitine being recommended for fat loss (a blatant misportrayal of the Krebs Cycle if ever there was one). I get cranky when I see ads for "Fat Magnet". In fact, when I see people wasting their money on all sorts of unproven stuff, I get mad.

It also makes me angry to see the unregulated sales of natural medicines by people who do not have the knowledge to recognize potential trouble etc. I ask the question to any person peddling supplements - what are you going to do when you recommend your product to someone taking, say blood thinning medications, and they have a life threatening drug interaction and die. Are you insured for that? You may say "what I'm recommending is a whole food supplement" - well, without a standardized list of ingredients, including excipients, that excuse is just not good enough.

I am a health professional - a pharmacist - who also has a strong background in complementary medicine, having done post grad work in this area. You don't have to be blind Freddy to see that the complementary medicines industry has exploded over the last few years. People it seems are drawn to more "natural" alternatives, but what does this mean? The fact is that:
"Any substance (whether it be natural or man made) that exerts a replicable effect on the systems of the body is a drug"

In Australia, our traditional health professions have realised the impact and potential of alternative medicines and these are researched at tertiary institutions - at the University where I did my pharmacy degree, we also have a dedicated centre for the study of complementary medicines. In the light of this, the suggestion in the quote below is just plain dumb.


The fact is that alternative medicine is drawing more and more money away from mainstream medical practice and even more significantly, from pharmaceutical corporations. When people use “natural” remedies instead of high-priced patented drugs, pharmaceutical companies lose money.”

I really believe the natural medicines industry needs to be more tightly regulated for the above reasons. There is a place for natural medicine and alternative medicine - no doubt about it. But who dispenses that medicine should be scrutinized - I wouldn't expect someone to come to me for IT expertise, and I wouldn't expect anyone to go to an IT expert for healthcare advice.



17 comments:

Kerry W said...

Hi Liz

As always, your posts are thought-provoking.

What happened to real (nutrient-dense) food?

Marina said...

Liz, you are a legend! You have articulated what I feel like saying when I read such statements (and you also have the pharmacological background to support your argument). I really don't understand how a supplement where the product is juiced to remove the fibre, dehydrated and is supplemented with extra vitamins can be called a "whole food". And to top that off, it will cost you $74.00 for a month's supply. That's $888.00 a year! For stuff you don't even need if you are eating a balanced diet and exercising regularly. If supplementation was deemed necessary, a good quality multivitamin that's a fraction of the cost of juice plus would also suffice. I have read some of the published papers and they really do not show anything spectacular; if you take juice plus, your serum levels of anti-oxidants will be higher than that compared to a control who hasn't-no real surprise. I haven't read a paper where they've compared the serum levels of people taking juice plus compared to those taking a 'synthetic' multivitamin. Probably because there'll be no difference. The fact that most of the published studies are supported by the Natural Alternatives International, who are the manufacturers of juice plus does not make these studies, in my opinion, particularly credible. I really applaud you Liz, for having the courage to speak out about stuff like that, because you have the knowledge to inform your readers and compassion to help them make informed choices, rather that use emotion and deflection to get your point across.
Bravo!
Marina xo

LizN said...

Thanks Kerry. Apparently real food is not sexy enough.

Marina, is that how much Juice Plus costs? Oh my goodness - had no idea. No wonder I'm not very popular anymore with the Juice Plus peeps (and I'd prefer to spend my discretionary income on 2xu :) )

Cheers
Liz :) xoxo

Andrea said...

I have to agree wholeheartedly Liz. Ther most definitely should be more education about over the counter alternative 'medicines' that are available - the drug interactions argument should be more than enough reason for this.
If people are eating correctly and consuming adequate amounts of fruit, vegetable and a 'balanced' diet - there shuold be no need for supplementation *unless* you have malabsorption issues or are under circumstances where you may have extra requirements. The pharmaceutical industry - both natural/alternative and pharmaceutical - both have their place in the world - howver - both also have too much money to throw around at 'independant' studies. Anyone with an ounce of knowledge about marketing and advertising can tell you that the word independant doesn't always mean it is indepandant. I have heard of "institutes" being set up (made up) simply to tout a product as having independant research backing it. The TGA (FDA what is that? American perhaps?) should spend it's time approving medicines that really have a role in making life better for people who have real debilitating ilnesses. While there is a place for 'prevention' and the like - I doubt it will be found in a bottle. Much more likely to be found on a bike or in a pair of walking shoes.

LizN said...

I'm with you sister. Our TGA has much stricter guidelines than the Food and Drug Administration which is US based.

LizN said...

I'm with you sister. Our TGA has much stricter guidelines than the Food and Drug Administration which is US based.

Lisa Jane said...

OMG you are just such a (there is no other way to say it) a right, self absorbed, stick up your ass cunt.

I use Juice Plus too. Ohhh no, I must need help too.

Do the world a favour and stop blogging, your spiteful and not to mention boring and you can't spell.

LizN said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
LizN said...

LizN said...
Oh Lisa Jane, how lovely to see you again - you've always been such a sweet natured girl. I'm glad to hear that you've added Juice Plus to your psychotropics, it has certainly have made a difference to your overall image!

Thanks again for your compliments - of course I am "right" and yes, I can spell.
BTW - in the context of your last sentence, the correct grammatical structure is "you're" as in "you are".

Good luck!
Liz N
PS last post self corrected for grammar lol!

Anonymous said...

Hi Liz, great post, I also have heard Juice + is nothing but a gimmick and money making sceme. I hope more people will see through it via your post as well, esp if it comes from a trained professional!!

BTW: this LJ caracter who is so rude and un lady like on your blog should really just shut up, I'm sure she would give her right eye to have your body, knowledge and fitness!

Chin up mate, there's people with the same morals around and you can now go and delete LJ's, she's not worthy to comment on your blog.

Flea X (yes I did not put my link up cause I don't want her to come and swear on my blog too) :-)

Lisa Jane said...

Hi Flea,

Don't feel left out, your a cunt too.

LOL I do NOT want Liz's body. For a start, she's ugly as a bucket of slapped assholes and she looks like a male.

But, all that aside. My husband has been a bodybuilder for over 20 years. Pick up the most recent edition of HCAM and look at aussie archives.

THAT is where I get my advice etc, not an ex fat chick who thinks because she lost some weight and decided to compete that she should hit PT college.

Now fuck off defect. I'm done with you and Liz.

Idiots.

LizN said...

Hello LJ,
I'm not sure where you're actually coming from. This blog is about good medicine, not bad grammar (please use "you're" next time).

I think everyone should go and check out HCAM - because I can clearly see that whatever you're doing, it's working for who you wish to be - so keep at it.

Cheers
Liz N

PS - Apologies to Flea who's also on the path to University qualifications - sorry to catch you in the crossfire of someone who is just a plain old bully.

Anonymous said...

I picked up HCAM in the newsagents the other day and I was aghast that they graced a beautiful piece of paper with such a fucking ugly hideous woman such as LJ! She has so much hatred inside her!

LJ if you think that liz and others are such cunts then why don't you fuck off and just stop commenting? Grow up you pathetic bitch. If half as much effort was put in to your exercise and nutrition, you would be such a happier person.

LizN said...

Yes, Anon, I don't understand the agenda either, but time for me to me to go and watch Lord of the Rings with the family (just realised that given today's comments, just my kind of movie!)

Thanks,
Liz ;)

Frankie said...

Rae is entitled to her opinion and to extol the virtues of Juice Plus, you Liz are entitled to disagree.

That is our right as a free society.

I don't condone personal insults..although again, it's a free society.

But LJ you've really gone too far. Calling Liz a cunt because she's voicing her opinion? What the hell is wrong with you? Why all the hate?

And Flea? Who is a good friend of mine (in real life I must add), now SHE's a cunt?

Enough is enough.

And yeah...I know...I'm a CUNT.

Kitty said...

hey hey hey! it IS possible to swear on a blog and be fun and entertaining! (i'm like a foul-mouthed word-magician i tells ya!)

it's just that lisa jane is neither funny nor entertaining. she is a nasty hater...so allow me to temper the debate...

liz, you are without question one of my most favourite right, self absorbed, stick up your ass cunt's on the internet.

if you ever remove said stick, please mail it to me so i can put it at the very forefront and centre of my 'lizn shrine'.

mwaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah

LizN said...

Thanks Kitty and Frankie - you rock!