FDA Outlaws Vitamins: Closer By The Minute
"The superior man, when resting in safety, does not forget that danger may
When in a state of security he does not forget the possibility of ruin.
When all is orderly, he does not forget that disorder may come.
Thus his person is not endangered, and his States and all their clans are
-Confucius (551 BC - 479 BC)
I've reported on this before, but I doubt that many really see it coming. The
FDA, in collusion with Big Pharma and aided and abetted by the liberal media, is
systematically taking away our freedom to purchase nutritional supplements and
herbs. Are they doing it to "protect us" because these supplements are
"dangerous"? They would like us to believe that, but the real problem seems to
be that natural, safe and proven effective substances, many of them no more than
highly concentrated "health food," are costing Big Pharma big money. Since the
FDA is the lap dog of the pharmaceutical industry (and makes a bundle of money
by playing nice with Big Pharma), they protect their Golden Goose at all cost
--- even at the expense of your good health.
Mainstream media is so dependent upon
advertising revenues these days (how many high-priced drug ads do you see during
your evening news?) that you really can't count on them for accurate, unbiased
reporting. Instead, we get "exposÚs" such as the recent "reporting" by CBS that
was essentially an ad for a book written by a reporter which was nothing more
that a collection of adverse reactions to natural remedies based on anecdotal
reports. Natural medicine, by the way, is frequently criticized for using
"anecdotal reports." Why don't the same standards apply across the board?
While bleating out their fearful tales of death
and disfigurement resulting from misused natural remedies, they failed to
mention the much greater death and misery caused by "properly prescribed," FDA
approved, "scientifically researched" offerings of the Big Drug Companies. So
how are you to know what's really going on inside the field of medicine, the
health food industry, Big Pharma and the FDA?
How the FDA and Big Pharma are Doing a Slow
Dance Called "The Creep"
"The Creep" is the FDA's way of slowly and systematically taking away your
health freedoms in such a manner that you barely notice. Until it's too late,
that is, to do anything about it. Let me give you a couple of prime examples of
how sensational and fear-generating reporting can accomplish this.
Ephedra, or Ma Huang, (found growing naturally in the U.S. as "Mormon Tea"
--- shh! don't tell the FDA!) has harmed far fewer people than its still-legal
drug equivalent pseudoephedrine. A few people stupidly misused the herb (as in:
"instead of the recommended two caps, I'll take six"), under terrible conditions
(as in the case of the obese, out-of-shape ball player who was working beyond
his capacity and was severely dehydrated; his resulting heart arrhythmias were
blamed on ephedra). The FDA responded to the media frenzy generated by the
resulting death of this young "athlete" and stepped in to "protect" us by
banning all ephedra use, yet many "approved" but far more dangerous drugs
continued to be prescribed by doctors, acting as drug salesmen for the
pharmaceutical industry. Over-the-counter Tylenol is a known liver toxin with
numerous deaths to its name, but it is still a readily available pain reliever.
Chaparral, a wonderful healing herb which grows here in Arizona and has long
been used by Native American medicine men for everything from foot fungus to
cancer, allegedly caused liver problems in a small handful of people who used it
(most of whom were later found to have had pre-existing liver problems). The FDA
responded by outlawing chaparral. Interestingly, the number of "toxic cases" was
so small that a panel of experts, looking at how widespread the use of the herb
was and how few people had allegedly been affected (I say allegedly because
problems never were actually proven to be due to chaparral), determined that ANY
substance would have a few such reactions in sensitive people and that this was
not outside the bounds of normal. (Hint: most FDA approved drugs would have
similarly affected a much larger number of people for the same number of people
using the drug. This is considered normal and expected by the pharmaceutical
companies, just a part of "the cost of doing business" to them).
The FDA, Big Pharma, and the media are amazingly skilled in the use of
"research" to scare you away from natural cures (vitamins, minerals, herbs) and
scare you TOWARD using often-dangerous substances and ineffective drugs.
Case in point: Researchers "proved" that beta-carotene --- a vitamin
A-related nutrient--- increased the rate of lung cancer in smokers, even though
observational studies show that higher beta-carotene blood levels are protective
against lung cancer in smokers. What they didn't tell you is that the study used
a synthetic form of beta carotene, NOT the kind found naturally in food or many
beta carotene supplements.
The synthetic form of carotene used in the studies was a "racemic" variation
of carotene, as similar but different as your right hand is from your left hand.
Both hands look similar, but can you super-impose them? No. It has long been
known that certain other synthetic vitamins, such as synthetic vitamin E, have a
very different effect than the naturally-occurring form.
In spite of this, the researchers, aided by the pseudo-news media, reported that
beta-carotene is dangerous to smokers. The REAL punch-line of the story should
have been that synthetic beta-carotene is dangerous, does not do in the body
what natural beta-carotene does, and should be avoided. See how easy it is to
warp the truth?
Some other examples of FDA intrusions into your freedoms include their
on-again off-again bans on the all-natural version of Big Pharma's wildly
profitable statin drugs for cholesterol. Red Rice Yeast has a long history of
use in Eastern Medicine. Initially, when the FDA realized that Red Rice Yeast
was working as well (and often better!) than the synthetic statins (and Big
Pharma went crying to them), they banned it, claiming that it contained a
dangerous drug-like substance--- uh, like statins! The illogic of this became
quickly apparent to the general public, who realized that if natural statins
were considered dangerous then the synthetic versions must also be dangerous.
The ban had obviously back-fired. In order to say that the synthetic statins
were safe the FDA had to concede that the lower-dose natural statins were
likewise safe, and they grudgingly withdrew the ban. They still waffle back and
forth on whether or not to ban this safer alternative to statins.
Lane Labs found themselves the target of the FDA when it became apparent that
they had three products that were a little too popular with cancer patients.
MGN-3, made from rice bran, Benefin, made from shark cartilage, and Skin Answer
were all products that seemed to be working well for a number of cancer
sufferers. Lane labs used this knowledge, and made claims in their promotional
materials and advertising that suggested these products "might" be helpful in
treating cancer. That was all the FDA needed, and they not only shut down sales
because Lane Labs was making unauthorized health claims, they also punished Lane
for their audacity by requiring them to refund the full purchase price for every
one of these products that they ever sold. Mind you, Lane Labs was NOT driven
out of business by any consumer complaint or "adverse event." Note: Did Merck
and Co. have to refund money to everyone who used Vioxx after it was found to
have lethal side-effects? Of course not!
Androstenedione is a recently-outlawed hormone that was used by baseball star
Mark Maguire, though there was no evidence he abused it. (It's not clear that
this hormone even CAN be abused). Someone didn't know the difference between
this and the synthetic junk that sprinter Ben Johnson was taking. Instead of
getting the facts straight, a safe and effective hormone (androstenedione) was
Perhaps the realization that this and other bio-identical (natural) hormones
are popular, useful, and safer than the synthetic stuff the Big Drug Companies
push is the reason androstenedione got banned and other hormones like DHEA and
natural (bio-identical) hormones are on the FDA's "hit list." (A real joke
considering that breast cancer rates have plummeted since women have stopped
using unnatural prescription hormones).
What Does This Mean For You?
The FDA and Big Pharma have long recognized this break-over point between
"just enough and too much" and have used it to have all sorts of natural
A new power of the FDA, called the "Adverse Event Reporting Act," will mean that
if a single person claims to have had a bad reaction to a vitamin, mineral,
herbal or other natural substance (even if the supplement wasn't the cause, or
even if the person reporting the "adverse event" works for Big Pharma, or even
if they are outright lying perhaps for monetary gain...) an onerous cascade of
reporting and paperwork will be required from the manufacture. The FDA can then
use the "adverse report" to eventually ban the substance. This will be a "fast
track" to outlawing your nutritional supplements or requiring a doctor's
prescription that will require you to buy your supplements at exorbitant prices.
(Remember the "Fish Story" in a recent issue? A $20 bottle of Fish Oil capsules
becomes a $200+ bottle when Big Pharma starts selling it only with a doctor's
Speaking of Fish Oil, how long do you suppose it will be --- now that Fish
Oil has been blessed by the FDA as an expensive prescription drug --- before the
inexpensive over-the-counter, health food store versions will be targeted for
removal from the market, in order to protect the profit potential of the
So, when you hear the dire warnings from the FDA or Big Pharma, or the
sensationalizing media that this supplement, or that herb, or another vitamin,
or some mineral has been shown to cause whatever frightening problem, do what we
do - look into the "research" behind the damning report. Was this a lab rat
study, involving gross overdoses or the administration of the substances in a
way never intended? Was this a report based on a tiny number of people who
experienced a bad reaction out of many thousands or hundreds of thousands who
are happily using the substance (as in the case of Chaparral)? Or was this in
response to a media-frenzied report of tragedy, as was the case with ephedra?
More importantly, ask yourself what Big Drug offering could have its profit
harmed if word were to get out that a natural substance might correct a problem
more effectively, safely and inexpensively than a drug counterpart.
When you look at things in that light, the relationships become startlingly
clear - statin drug sales might plummet when folks discover that an improved
diet or the vitamin niacin (in high, NON-time-release doses) can normalize
cholesterol levels handily. What if Prozac sales nose-dived when people found
out that the amino acid L-5-HTP is a direct precursor of serotonin, and a safe
one at that? Or if the effectiveness and safety of L-5-HTP or St. John's Wort or
even improved diet and regular exposure to sunshine is better than the safety
and effectiveness "profile" of the popular Drug Company "head meds"? There might
be no more profit in the "little purple pill" if it becomes widely known that
improving your production of stomach acid and using an extract of the licorice
plant will solve your reflux problems without side-effects.
The list is long - natural and effective cures have been around for centuries
and the Big Drug Companies would rather you not know about them. So while you're
hearing dire stories about dangerous supplements and simultaneously being told
that lethal drugs are "FDA approved," you need to look carefully at who is
telling you what if you want to safeguard your health.
No matter who does it - Big Pharma, the sensational news media, and yes, even
the supplement industry is guilty sometimes too - they are trying to control
"what you know," so they work hard to control the "research" and the news
releases that prove what they want to prove. It's called "massaging the numbers"
and it's well-known in the medical and pharmaceutical industry.
Here's our promise to you: we won't massage the truth. When you read
something here, you can be sure that we have backed it up with cold, hard facts.
We believe that people who think for themselves are far less likely to die a
In Health and Honest Medicine,
Dr. Dana Myatt
1.) Is US health really the
best in the world? JAMA. 2000 Jul 26;284(4):483-5. Summary: Conventional
medical procedures and drugs are the third leading cause of deaths in
the US, accounting for at least 225,000 annual deaths.
2.) Healthcare in need of a fix. Unless there is systemic change, the
system is like the Titanic, headed for an iceberg. Mod Healthc. 2002 Apr
8;32(14):27. Summary: The title says it all.
3.) Confronting the brutal facts in health care. Am J Med. 2006
4.) U.S. TO PROHIBIT SUPPLEMENT TIED TO HEALTH RISKS. The New York
Times, December 31, 2003. Summary: The FDA bans ephedra due to 155
reported deaths. Does this number sound huge? See reference #8 below and
reference #1, above.
5.) Efficacy and safety of ephedra and ephedrine for weight loss and
athletic performance: a meta-analysis. JAMA. 2003 Mar
26;289(12):1537-45. Epub 2003 Mar 10. Summary and comment: Ephedrine and
ephedra promote modest short-term weight loss (as much as many far more
dangerous "diet drugs"). The article states, "Use of ephedra or
ephedrine and caffeine is associated with increased risk
of psychiatric, autonomic, or gastrointestinal symptoms, and heart
palpitations." So why didn't we outlaw caffeine?
6.) Herbal ephedra/caffeine for weight loss: a 6-month randomized safety
and efficacy trial. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 2002
May;26(5):593-604. Conclusion of study: "In this 6-month
placebo-controlled trial, herbal ephedra/caffeine (90/192 mg/day)
promoted body weight and body fat reduction and improved blood lipids
without significant adverse events."
7.) A randomized double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial of a
product containing ephedrine, caffeine, and other ingredients from
herbal sources for treatment of overweight and obesity in the absence of
lifestyle treatment. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 2004
Nov;28(11):1411-9. Summary: Ephedra use resulted in weight loss even
without diet and lifestyle changes in this study of 108 obese subjects.
No adverse events were noted.
8.) Risk of cardiovascular events and rofecoxib: cumulative
meta-analysis. Lancet.2004 Dec 4-10;364(9450):2021-9. Conclusion: "Our
findings indicate that rofecoxib should have been withdrawn several
years earlier. The reasons why manufacturer and drug licensing
authorities did not continuously monitor and summarize the accumulating
evidence need to be clarified." Dr. Myatt's Note: An estimated
88,000 to 134,000 Americans died as a result of this FDA APPROVED DRUG (Vioxx)
before it was withdrawn from the market.
9.) The safety of low-dose Larrea tridentata (DC) Coville (creosote bush
or chaparral): a retrospective clinical study. J Altern Complement Med.
2001 Apr;7(2):175-85. Summary: This study finds chapparal intake safe
except possibly in people with liver disease.
10.) Herb Industry and FDA Issue Chaparral Warning: Experts unable to
Explain Possible Links to Five Cases of Hepatitis. The Journal of the
American Botanical Council. 1993;28:38. Summary: Five (that's right, 5)
cases of liver toxicity are allegedly due to chaparral, although
numerous medical experts doubt the correlation. The FDA bans chaparral
sales due to this huge number of possible associations.
11.) Reactions of beta-carotene with cigarette smoke oxidants.
Identification of carotenoid oxidation products and evaluation of the
pro-oxidant/antioxidant effect. Chem Res Toxicol. 1999 Jun;12(6):535-43.
Summary: This is the study where they found that beta carotene increased
rates of lung cancer. You have to read the entire medical article to
discover that they used a synthetic form of the vitamin for this study.
12.) U.S. District Judge Issues Permanent Injunction Against Lane
Labs-USA, Inc. and Orders Firm to Refund Money to Purchasers of
Illegally Marketed Unapproved Drugs. FDA News, July 13, 2004. Summary:
Notice they call the outlawed supplements "drugs." The manufacturers
never called them drugs (they are herbal supplements), but by calling
them drugs, the FDA could they say they were "unapproved drugs," making
their sales illegal.
13.) Cholesterol-lowering effects of a proprietary Chinese
red-yeast-rice dietary supplement. Am J Clin Nutr 1999;69(2):231-236.
14.) Xuezhikang (Red Yeast Rice) decreases serum lipoprotein(a) and
C-reactive protein concentrations in patients with coronary heart
disease. Clin Chem 2003;49(8):1347-1352.
15.) Red yeast rice (Monascus purpureus). Medline Plus, U.S. National
Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health (website).
From the website: "Red yeast rice extract has been sold as a natural
cholesterol-lowering agent in over the counter supplements... However,
there has been legal and industrial dispute as to whether red yeast rice
is a drug or dietary supplement, involving this manufacturer, the U.S.
Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the pharmaceutical industry."
Dr. Myatt's comment: note that the dispute isn't over safety, it is
whether or not the Red Yeast Rice is dipping into drug company profits.