Dietary Supplement Practicum (15 of 21): Meeting the Stakeholders–Meet the Watchdogs



folks we're going to start up again this will be the second panel discussion of the afternoon and this is the group that has been euphemistically called the watchdogs and it's up to you to decide whether that's an appropriate term we've actually never asked our colleagues in the watchdog community whether they like the term or whether they have another preference in any event I'd like us to start with presentation from David Schardt who represents the Center for Science in the Public Interest he'll tell you a little bit about his organization and I should tell you that he's also one of those people who has been with us since the beginning so welcome back David well as Paul said him with the Center for Science in the Public Interest otherwise known as CSPI we've been around since 1971 and in those 46 years we've been involved in just about every major issue nutrition in the 1970s it was so sodium labeling on foods it wasn't any at that time 1980s Nutrition Facts label 1990s we were the first petition fda to require the labeling of trans fats and more recently we've been pushing for menu labeling in restaurants which was supposed to have gone into effect a month ago but was postponed by the new administration you can read about our mission goals in your binder I'll get by that there's our website and we don't take any money from corporations or from government we're funded mostly by subscriptions to our popular nutrition newsletter called nutrition action we have about 650 thousand paid subscribers throughout the United States and Canada I brought some samples here and then there's some samples out on the table if you'd like to look at them now we're involved in a lot of interpretation issues including dietary supplements and we periodically and regularly review supplements that our our members may see in the marketplace or ones that might be valuable typically what we do is we compare the claim that companies make with the evidence and sometimes the two don't match and often a couple years later we'll find out the Federal Trade Commission is gone after one of these companies that we've highlighted we also one of our more popular articles every couple years we do an article on multivitamins helping people choose the best multivitamin if they're interested and we do not think that multivitamins are waste of money there are lots of groups of people for whom it's a very inexpensive worthwhile insurance policy now I'd like to you you've probably heard a lot of lofty stories of research excuse me research and aspirations of the industry about dietary supplements what I'd like to do is go down to the street level where consumers are confronting the claims that they may hear about dietary supplements and try and figure out which to buy whether to buy any and I'll be describing the story of how a supplement campaign cheated swindled thousands of consumers out of millions of dollars and then we'll talk briefly about why the supplement industry is sometimes likened to the Wild West we call this a green coffee caper and it's based on documentation from the Federal Trade Commission this happened a few years ago there was a company in Dallas or a company in Texas Austin Texas had a green coffee extract that it wanted to increase the market for and what bigger market is there than weight loss so they wanted to sell it as a weight-loss supplement but they needed a study so they could say it was clinically proven so they went to India and hired an Indian research to researcher to just do this study bad idea this guy he recruited only 16 overweight adults he put them through a protocol of that included cutting calories and exercise and remember that because that comes back well he repeatedly changed the weights of the participants mixed up whether when they got the coffee or the placebo changed the final weights of 11 of the 16 he called the trial open label the FDA finally later concluded this is remarkable statement from the Federal Trade Commission that the study quote was never conducted or suffers from flaws so severe that no competent and reliable conclusions can be drawn from it well all was not lost for the company because what they did is they took the data and they went out and they found 10 researchers at the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania to write up the research as their own and get it published in the journal and they must have hid the or held their nose while they did this because the researcher gave them contradictory versions of his data and you changed the final weights of six of the 16 participants and according to FTC these two researchers at Scranton never asked any questions they got the article published and diabetes metabolic syndrome and obesity claiming that participants who took the coffee extract lost almost 20 pounds in a few weeks well dr. oz found out about that and so almost immediately he went on the air and he announced to his television viewers at a staggering do release study reveals a green coffee bean extract may hold the secret to weight loss that you've been waiting for he said they lost 17 pounds in 22 weeks by after doing absolutely nothing extra in their day now you remember the protocol called for fewer calories and more exercise typically ODS got the facts wrong when he described scientific studies and he marveled could this be the magic weight-loss fiend helped melt away unwanted pounds well this was a dream come true for this Austin Texas company that oz would endorse their product or their their extract and so they sent out a press release to the industry encouraging industry to use the extract and their supplements and within two weeks a Tampa Bay advertising firm saw a goldmine and they started registering domains with coffee with names like coffee beans to lose weight calm and green coffee Weight Control calm they set up a phony news site with a fictitious journalist who reported losing 27 pounds of the product they started paying people $200 each to write bogus testimonials now this is just one of many companies that started to solve Green Coffee Extract but this particular one sold more than half a billion bottles of green coffee extract over the next two years grossing here it says 16 to 26 million the FTC says it was 30 million now and almost immediately complaints started coming in people said the pills don't work or they they're getting paid and they're getting charged $80 for bottles that they never ordered that they didn't want that they didn't think they were supposed to get well this went on not just with his company but other companies it went on for a couple years before the Federal Trade Commission finally stepped in and eventually the Austin company paid a three point five million dollar settlement the Tampa Bay company eventually had to fork over 30 million dollars and were forbidden to enter the dietary supplement business any longer but meanwhile millions thousands of consumers have been cheated out of money that they never got that the to Scranton professors retracted their payment without accepting any blame they told the local newspaper that the FTC quote took it apart and found some flaw with a couple of things we decided to retract it because there was too much negative publicity AHS although oz won on this program more than once to tout Green Coffee Extract he did not go back on the air to tell his viewers what happened with the screen coffee extract instead he scrubbed his website of all the mentions of it and then just left one little statement saying announcing their attraction saying this sometimes happens in scientific research well you can still I found these sites it's getting harder and harder to find sites selling green coffee extract with dr. oz on top but you can't find them and I found these within the last month so it still goes on people our guests are still buying this on thinking their eyes know I was of course disavows this he says they don't have permission to use this thing anyway that still goes on so that's one example of how a dietary supplement campaign swindled consumers out of millions of dollars now one reason why the dietary supplement industry is likened to a Wild West to the Wild West is because the the BART entrance into the industry is fair is very low so that people are getting into the business who don't really know what they're doing and who really shouldn't be involved in it now I don't know whether you saw the news last week a Texas man died after consuming a coffee herbal product that turned out to be laced with unknown amounts of the drug cialis and viagra now was this dietary supplement sold by a company no it was sold by a dallas truck driver who said he bought 50 packets of the dietary supplement to sell around town he didn't said he didn't know they were with drugs and he did he knew the guy who died from it but he didn't think it had anything to do with his coffee extract which me which might be true but it illustrates how low the bar is for people who want to start selling dietary supplements now how easy is it let's let's just imagine that we're all we all want to get into the dietary supplement business and we can do it we could be in business next week there are plenty of outfits that will help us do that now you might want to learn more about it first well we can download a book from Amazon this will give you a step-by-step marketing strategy you could easily make anywhere from five thousand to fifty thousand dollars a month if you followed their advice or we can take a you dummy course for twenty three dollars and there it says you could make hundreds of thousands or even millions selling nutritional supplements from your home now if your ruler worried you don't know much about it well udemy says don't worry you don't need experience to sell this sole dietary supplements you don't need materials you don't need special skills you don't even need knowledge in order to sell them now you can find companies that will provide you your own label Ceballos already pre labeled with we could have ODS practicum brand supplements it's all you now what what would we sell well there are just hundreds of different combinations already on the shelves that you can buy ready-made here's some examples here's a list these are all available under $10 a bottle there's our green coffee bean extract number 14 there's wrinkle support number 12 and you don't have to tie up a lot of your money in inventory the minimum orders one bottle now maybe you'd rather go with something oz as its endorsed well it turns out you can go to a website you can choose from 160 products that oz has been associated with you get them and get your own we can get our own label on if you want to go a little cheaper you can go to China you can go to Alibaba calm and buy supplements either in bulk or already prepared in capsules or tablets I know if you're familiar with Ali Baba calm it's like the eBay of China it's amazing you ought to go visit it you can buy barrels of stuff plus shipping and you don't need to worry about the quality because they come with certificates of authenticity now fulfillment you don't have to worry about fulfillment either you can have your bottle sent to Amazon and Amazon will supply it to your customers you know website of course well there already are websites waiting for you oh you just fill in your own name you can buy them they're turnkey website so you can just were ready to go and using them and don't forget you've got to have pictures of models smiling models with lab coats and stethoscopes give you credibility and toll-free number it says do you want to make your supplement company look more professional one little trick to do that is getting your own toll-free number two dollars a month one advantage of that is you don't have to give your address and so just a toll-free number and then nobody can track you down and we can figure out what jurisdiction you're in and if the pills don't work well you can always refer them to the disclaimer that you we put on the thing the FDA didn't really review this it was caveat emptor and so we could be in good we can be selling OTS practical anti-wrinkle pills next week with our own labels we're gonna have Amazon for photo they'll fill them and we're in business so that's how well the bar is if we're trying to sell their dietary supplements and it's one reason why you see a lot of people that are selling it like truck drivers of Dallas who shouldn't be selling dietary supplements and it makes it harder for the consumers to to pick out the better quality products the ones that have better evidence or better or better quality so here's my email address and you can trust everything I've said here because I've got smiling models in white lab coats with Desa the success the Scopes backing me up but do you have an 800 number I can for two dollars a month and that's it thank you [Applause] let me introduce mark Anderson who is from ConsumerLab comm ConsumerLab has been also a stalwart member of this speaking group for years and years but this will be our first opportunity to talk with Mark Anderson please join me in welcoming him hi my name's mark Anderson what ConsumerLab calm and that was a that's a hard act to follow that's that are our model is well the first let me just say something that is what yeah what was mentioned before those typing something on industry can be referred to as the Wild West but when I went to it it was why the game of thrones it was a season I mean it was it was a mess and thanks to organizations like operas and CRN it really has become a lot better so our model basically is helping consumers identify better quality and more effective dietary supplements what does that mean well well we would like to see basically on each one of our reviews that we put out is all all the products pass because what we that tells us that all the fronts that we pulled off the shelf when we tested past our quality standards and then that passes on to the consumer high quality high quality products so what I'm going to cover quickly in about 15 minutes here is the product reviews that we do a quality certification program that we have testing for we do especially testing for clinical trials and some of our findings and some of the common problems that we have um who are we that says this is basically the we've been started in 1999 and have lovely we've been referred to as the IRS or the supplement industry because what we do is we pull all products off the shelf well finish products off the shelf anytime and we have delivered to us and we test them basically for claims and for contaminates we have about 77,000 or so individual members who work there subscription-based and Paula Cooper who's usually here doing this and some family obligations to go to those don't tell anybody his kids are going to the prom and graduating from high school and myself he tied this to there's one part of it and I do the other part of it this is some of the things that we've some of the media that we've been many interviews that we've been on when the other uh the issue came up man has been well covered over over the last two days it's about DMVs and what I'm worried about um appease is you can follow your GM P's to the letter and produce and horrible product and it all depends on the individuals who write the GM PS and at the bottom of course we wanted to just mention these 2016 again it was mentioned here and I don't wanna go over it I'll just go again quickly the most common problem the most common write up is is the identity and then find the ingredients verification and identification of the ingredients we're basically broken into two parties we have Pro we had a testing program and a content and information part inning testing testing and testing part of it the product reviews certification program and the special testing and then what I really wanted to mention too is that our content and information is quite extensive we've been around for like I said by since 1999 so we have a lot of information website CL answers encyclopedias in clinical evidence we do some we answer to someone a lot of the questions that come in from the consumers and we put a newsletter out that's but to about a hundred and fifty thousand people three times a week now those are all the URL so you can go to the to see them and this is basically our product review protocol we purchase purchase samples they come in we purchase them at retail no one gives us honor their products we go purchase them you know but we're actually going to the store and purchase them or will purchase them online we'll do a disintegration in-house and then other tests that will we set specifications for the product mostly to test their claims and then publish the results and look for contaminants and you can see all the test criteria that I write up for each of these reviews they're readily available and these are some of the categories that we've tested over the years we have a which if you try to add new ones you know as they become relevant in in terms of what are but what the our subscribers like to or are buying and this is show you let's show you that we have a the survey that we do out every year this is a top 10 products of this other survey as this is what our our demographic is taking most of someone you don't belong to our demographic I just joined it like last week turn 60 so that's our demographic our calling certification program a quality certification program is requested by the manufacturer they tell us we would like intestines products okay and we go out with purchase so they give us the exact product that we the unlabeled that they want part that they want us to purchase we will go out and purchase them we test them under the criteria and test for claims and then the as in all holy certification programs if they pass that certification then they are published okay if they fail that Phyllis of certifications they're notified by the company and they do not pass and they are not published and that's why all quality certification programs work and it set USP they work with you and and if your product fails they don't publish it so our clinical trials what we do is we see if the point meets specification and you can read all of these and I'm sure you're very familiar with what you dealing clinical trials and how to look for how to verify your products primarily we want to look for lot alot variations that's been produced for the clinical trial and the placebo and I somewhere over the last few days somebody mentioned this too but we had a omega-3 fatty acid placebo for our fish oil fish oil product that was going to be tested in in clinical and we test the placebo came back for omega-3 fatty acids it apparently came back we went back to the investigator and they didn't realize what they had done but they the the placebo that they feel the oil that they filled c-bro with actually contain a high level of omega-3 fatty acids so that's very important I'm and will for anal adulterants and contaminants and these are some of the some of the categories that we evaluated for doing clinical trials some of the places that we've done it for now but I wanted to go over and mention too that the this is kind of important in the the GM peace when the GM peas went into when into law we have looking for number of products that have passed in the number of products that passed before GMP s and after GMP so what I'd like to say is that before GM teams one out of four products failed after GM PS 25 percent of them failed them that's our way basically what we have found and that's been pretty consistent throughout the years the right yeah it's at the moment right now if you go through all all of the reviews that we've done it's about 22 percent of the products they failed here's a couple examples I wanted to run through I wanted to run through all that first because this is this is kind of interesting and they go oh there we go bilberry with every bilberry view and the American botanical council hasn't been mentioned a couple of throughout the last two days I was here but they're they're looking at an adulterant program so off and mark Blumenthal we picked up some bilberry products between no very review this so right here is what Bilbray reference standards look like in they have antis antis Ides of them we looked at the profile we enter stay inside one party would had one how do you do that well it was the only single caught pie in their room I say in and three or glucoside now they either took out all the other ones right I left this one and did head so this is a magical extraction procedure or it's completely it alternated so it's probably completely adulterated iodine free count now I threw this through this in because we had looks up to some iodine levels and if your claim is if you're twenty percent over your claim are twenty five percent over you claimed that's why I understand okay but to get two hundred percent over your claim hundred seventy five percent over your claim that's going a little bit too far and especially if you had that much where the the FDA says you should not have wearing two hundred twenty five micrograms of iodine in accounting use it as a food additive okay I'm now the I'm an interesting what other part of kelp is it's a seaweed basically that's how it's going to it's gonna and if you know anything about it which I'm sure you do it tends to accumulate arsenic so you should look for arsenic and some products don't so on this one product had quite a bit of arsenic in it and that's what we do is then we speciated out and we look for in organic inorganic organic total arsenic in the inorganic arsenic so several products fail because 306 met the standard three didn't reggie's price now we had talked about this for the last couple days and we have talked about how drugs and natural products product some some how do you distinguish whether it's a drug where it's a natural product oh okay I gotta hurry up anyway the point is if you haven't read about Reggie strikes it's very interesting because it contains lovastatin okay and it was actually taking the the FDA went in and saying it's a drug and they pulled it all off the shelves now to get around that they don't put the amount on lovastatin on the label okay so you could have one day at you know 33 at 33 percent of the of the claim another 200 next time you buy is 200 percent of the claim you have no idea where it is because if they they put that on the label then there would be a drug Coco is high caveum and lead that we're finding and because of because of the serving size it's very high I get a lot of Academy a minute I don't have time to go over this but you can see it in the slides and we talked about a I wanted just to mention I want to tip my hat today to the USP because they're actually defining what extracts are there's turn there finally putting in what minimums like for turmeric 20 20 percent so humanoids is a turmeric extract so if you have less it's not really a touring extract and we feel it what I just want to plant that this particular extract right here in this company is kind of what I would say could tricking the consumer a little bit there's no sir cumin wins in that extract but it the label on touted as being highest accumulate product so we failed a little on that because it didn't say that it doesn't contain any and I just wanted to mention two other thing huh yep wrapping up right now two other categories that keep handling ongoing promise milk thistle the st. John's wort because the industry refuses to change the methodology from non specific UV but they've gone away with four years to HPLC on both accounts to price at that have actually improved or probiotics and nutrition protein bars find improvements in those and these are the most common problems we've found and thank you for signing up for three months of priest ConsumerLab I appreciate it [Applause] that's great so now I look forward to hearing from Sarah Klein who is from Prevention magazine Sarah hi I'm Sarah Klein I'm a staff writer with Prevention magazine which is a health and wellness magazine if anyone's not familiar and also work with our website prevention comm I've previously been a writer and an editor at The Huffington Post and health comm the website for Health magazine which I was pleased to see both prevention and health on marks slide I'm really excited to be here today thank you to the OD s for having me and excited to be with both of my co-panelists I would work for outlets I respect very much and use in my own work I'm excited to talk to you about prevention in particular because I think we are in a really unique situation in a very crowded health and wellness media space um we have a unique origin story here we go um thank you for that we were founded by ji Rodale Rodell is the parent company for prevention and he actually helped popularize organic farming in the 1940s from his farm in Emmaus Pennsylvania where the company headquarters still are it's beautiful I work in the New York office though there are fewer pigs and goats and one thing led to another as they tend to do organic farming produced sort of an organic lifestyle among the Rodale family and that naturally led to some curiosity about natural healing and alternative remedies and the first issue of prevention was published in 1950 you can see it here it was more pamphlet than magazine and it focused entirely on polio a few years later there was an issue devoted entirely to milk so we've grown a lot since then but what has stayed the is this interest in the natural health alternative remedies complementary therapies and finding a way to balance that with more conventional medical advice one neat thing that we keep track of are what we call our prevention firsts and these are examples where some of these more natural approaches that prevention was interested in exploring we're seeing it's really cutting edge at the time we know that our readers are really looking to us for that based on some of the questions and the feedback that we get which I'll talk a little bit more about later but it was always important that these cutting edge sometimes controversial topics be backed by science and our job was really to translate early research and vet early findings to turn that into information that our readers can use so a few examples on the prevention first I thought would be neat to talk about fish oil oh I should say prevention first are when prevention magazine was the first or among the first mainstream publications to broach one of these topics so fish oil prevention was talking about in 1954 I'm Tai Chi in 1976 and the power of positive thinking in 1981 we've always relied on an advisory board of medical experts to help us sort through these kind of issues as well as digital agent editors and fact checkers to help us really ground these cutting-edge controversial topics in the science as I said and what we think that can do for our reader is really empower them and inform them we hear a lot about the empowered patient the empowered consumer these days and we want to help them make some of those tricky choices a little bit easier starting with our July issue from 2016 which you can see here we took a big step to meet our readers where they're coming from we eliminated advertising and either introduced or reworked some columns regular columns that give us opportunity to speak directly to them about supplements and the evidence behind them one example is a column that we call problem solved which is a multi-pronged approach to treating everyday health complaints like dry eyes or gum disease or bad breath and that's always a mix of at home treatments natural remedies and supplements that they might consider trying preventive techniques and then medical treatments as well another example of a column where we're addressing supplements as well as prescription medications is this before you take it column it ran for about nine months after that July 2016 read launched and it mainly focused on either prescription or over-the-counter medications but I think it's a good example of the mindset of the magazine in this iteration it was all about weighing the risks and benefits looking at the evidence that exists calling out where there isn't science-based evidence and examining the claims that the marketers and manufacturers were making since then before you take it has evolved into something we're calling it does at work and this is an example that's in our most recent June issue features an interview with Paul Thomas from the ODS was a great help as I was writing this one and so this column focuses a little bit more on the outlandish claims that marketers are pushing especially on supplements this was a an example with 3 supplements one made from the an extract of the bark of a specific French pine tree one made from emu oil yes the flightless bird and the ayurvedic herbal medicine ashwagandha and what really stood out to me about this story was that out of three different experts in the field that I spoke with everyone was really confused why were you talking about emus I think that's probably good indication that there's not too much proof that does much of anything we cover supplements frequently on our website as well prevention comm here's one example I spoke with dr. Coates about it we get a lot of questions online actually especially through Facebook where our readers are really engaged about what they should take everyone wants to know what exactly they should use and it seems like they all think they're deficient in something we've used that as an opportunity to try to clarify so we've created articles about the symptoms of various deficiencies and explaining who might actually be more likely to be lacking in a certain nutrient and what to watch out for if they think that might be them as well as how a balanced diet can satisfy many nutritional needs and always of course acknowledging that nourishing our bodies is a very personal matter we always try to be clear and frank about what supplements can and can't do as you can see from this headline and we hope that that resonates with our readers like it did in this one letter which is the kind of feedback we love getting calling us a trusted source it says I'll keep coming back because I trust the information you publish and we take that really seriously this is an easy field to get misled and as we saw with the dr. Oz example I think and with all the splashy headlines all over the Internet it seems often like people are shouting the wildest claims they can come up with we really want to put information out there in the magazine and online that our readers can trust fully we consider anything in our pages essentially like a prevention recommendation in some way it has earned a prevention approval to be featured in that sense and we really pride ourselves in being trustworthy in our sort of holistic upbringing if you will I was asked in hearing for this to talk a little bit about whether prevention is reactive or proactive and I think any print publication in his faced with the challenge of being both so we work several months ahead on each issue and if we want to cover a new study or breaking news we have to find a way to do so that will still feel new a few months down the road so we think about how can we further the story or get ahead of it in the meantime and this was a story from our August 2016 issue that I think did a great job of that this was right on the heels of the New York Attorney General's report on supplements and rather than just report on what the Attorney General was up to which all the online publications could cover that very same day we use this as an opportunity to find case studies of people who had had adverse events with some of the supplements that had been contaminated or adulterated and we think that we don't want to scare our readers but we think that it helps them to really show that supplements are not without their risks because as it's been mentioned many consumers believe that they are FDA regulated and if they're sold in stores then they're they're perfectly seen this story was also a great example of the prevention process for developing story ideas this was also on the heels of a senior level editors trip to a university research lab where many of the fraudulent claims came up and the contaminants issue came up as well that idea was brought back to a big brainstorming meeting where we encourage everyone from interns to creative directors to contribute because what's really important in thinking about what our readers want in our magazine is thinking about the questions that they might be asking if they themselves were standing in the supplement aisle in the grocery store or watching an ad forcing the online pop-up ad for Green Coffee Extract once I have taken on an assignment whether it comes out of a brainstorming meeting like that or something that I've pitched to an editor I spend a lot of time reading before I do any writing which I personally think is a great part of the job from journal articles to independent reviews to other media coverage on the topic I typically interview government and university experts certainly rely on the experts on our advisory board and other independent sources which I will say can be a difficult part of the job we know that both statistics and both the statistics and the researchers who come up with them can be funded by the industry and well that's certainly not always a problem we do typically like to disclose that information we always play close attention to excuse me to funding and we're a study comes from so I mentioned that we try to channel our reader and what kind of questions they'll be asking we also ask what will they do with this information prevention has a long history of being a service magazine which typically means that everything everything that we're presenting them we want them to be able to use that information somehow as as I mentioned and as has been discussed before a lot of consumers think that the supplements are FDA regulated and before I worked as a health writer I thought the exact same thing I didn't know to look for USP or NSF or other certification labels or seals I didn't know much about best practices at all or what to look for in a given product I didn't really even know that a patient should tell her doctor about it supplements she's taking even if she doesn't consider them medication and those are all such simple and straightforward examples of information that we can give a reader that really can empower them and form them very quickly and of course big picture we're always thinking about changing the larger story maybe even affecting public policy or resulting in regulatory action something to aspire to the more I learn as a health trader the more it seems like the only thing safe to eat is broccoli the only thing safe to drink is green tea like this cup that I had on a recent trip to Japan paid no attention to that Japanese sweet on the side if I listen to every warning and every recommendation I've reported on I couldn't sit at my desk or look at my computer long enough to do my job and I wouldn't be wearing these heels my point is that there's so much information in this face about what's healthy and what's not and a lot of it is conflicting and especially in the supplements arena it can be particularly murky prevention at its core simply aims to help readers make their smartest choices and with that I'd like to thank you for listening and also alert you to an upcoming story in our September issue where we'll be looking at some of the more quote unquote trendy supplements like probiotics and vitamin D thank you so much [Applause] or you to talk with our three panelists David and Mark and Sarah and then after about 15 minutes of talking with them we'll ask our industry partners to join as well for a final wrap-up discussion so do you have any questions for our panel euphemistically called the watchdog's yes ma'am yes I really like the talks on this last session the question I have is for miss Klein one message that I don't often see to consumers is that if they are curious about taking a supplement they should well a vitamin or mineral supplement at least they should get themselves tested you know for their status is that something that you have given a message of such as that to your consumers in your advice and if if not would you consider that that's a good question we have typically approached it from sort of a cost and resources standpoint so it's likely that not everyone needs to be tested so it's hard for us to make that recommendation because we have such a broad audience so we would probably explain in which instances someone might want to be tested we've done that in stories about vitamin D certainly rather than saying everyone should be and we would we would refer to medical professionals as to who they think that would be most appropriate for other questions for this group yes ma'am thank you for all your information what do you do with claims that I'm gonna mention and what do you think we should do claim like this has 10 times the antioxidant capacity as such and such the biggest the best antioxidant whether it's pomegranate or a cyi or I'm not sure what to do with that kind of claim the from the writer to the interest group to ConsumerLab what you might say about that that is a it is a common claim what we do is we point out that a lot of the randomized control trials of antioxidants really haven't worn out some major benefit and there are a lot of different antioxidants and just because a product is rich in their antioxidant doesn't mean that it has universal benefit or that it's a cure-all for anything we generally tell people that that's not a claim that they should be following or giving much credence to that it's too vague it's it's too uncertain what exactly it means but it's certainly a popular one that antioxidants is a as a buzzword that consumers have learned to to look for and all antioxidants they think are good and it's it's not necessarily true and it certainly really hasn't been borne out by the randomized control trials one of the things again this is a rule of thumb if it's not the supplement facts panel question it that means that if we put something in the supplement facts panel there basically have to meet that claim anything else is written on the bottle they don't have to I'll just add one thing that we do is to try to put those numbers in context so if it says if we can find the number certainly but there was one product recently that I was writing about and we were able to say something like 15 times as much l-theanine as in a cup of green tea so then a consumer can kind of get a picture of like well I probably don't need that much or I would drink 15 cups of green tea so maybe I do I would just point out that it's sometimes used by companies when they can't make any other claim and I'm thinking of palm pomegranate you know they got slammed because they were claiming that it would help prevent prostate cancer and heart disease and that all got thrown out the Federal Trade Commission and court decision said they couldn't make that claim anymore so now if you look at palm pomegranate juice and pomegranate pills supplements all they talk about its antioxidants antioxidant power without being any more specific because there isn't anything more specific for them to say other questions yes at the back would could whoever wants to answer perhaps repeat the question because gentleman doesn't have a mic at the back natural medicines database yeah we use that as also as a resource I think it's very good I would just like to say if I had add for us the two best resources for dietary supplements if if we have a question about it or if somebody asks us where should they go to sources I would recommend as the office of dietary supplement website and their monographs and the other is ConsumerLab calm because number lab con really is a tremendous resource I am gonna suspect that when we have the joint panel that our industry colleagues may have some additional comments to make am i right maybe stay tuned okay I there was a question over here yes ma'am this is from his Klein it sounds like you're very careful when you're writing for the magazine but I have a question about for the website there is an article that I actually use from prevention in my classes on evaluating health information and that is the prevention and Huffington Post and everywhere else where they published that fake Johannes Bohannon article about Lou eat chocolate and lose weight and he intentionally manipulated it so that journalists would pick it up but he had the the article was the article was there you could have read the article and found out that it was it was if authentic terribly conducted but website after website after website published this within a day or two after it appeared in the journal and before it was retracted so I'm wondering I'm hoping that I'm glad you're here because I wanted to ask prevention about this and I want to ask HuffPost what have you done to make sure that this sort of thing doesn't happen I was very curious if that would come up so I'm glad you um we we personally I wasn't there at the time I was at Huffington Post at the time and both places covered it no no you can answer for both so yeah I think a lot of journalists fell for it as you pointed out it was designed to do that which I'd say is maybe a little unfair and extreme but it proves the point that these online news cycles are happening really really quickly and I think what we took away from it and what many other people took away from it is a recommitment to spending a little more time on each story which is certainly a priority in a magazine because you're working months ahead of time but often online you're racing to get things up in the next minutes if not hour we personally have discussed that at length with the goal certainly for that to never happen again we're human obviously but I think one thing we've been focusing on that can really help is always consulting external experts which I know a lot of these quick write-ups don't do they'll often pull a quote from a press release which certainly wouldn't have helped in this instance or maybe interview the study author which also wouldn't have helped in this instance so hopefully an external expert preferably from government or university institution or like we have an advisory board where they could really talk through some of the study makeup details that would help alert the journalists to that in the future one thing we do is we have a rule that we don't report on studies unless we actually see the study unless we get a copy of it and read through it unless several people have read through it if we have any questions we try to contact the author or an external expert but there is this pressure to publish quickly and a lot and one way we try to avoid getting caught and that is to just to get the paper and often the the are the authors of the paper will send you a copy send you a PDF other questions or I'm sorry comment more one thing I want to clarify about our content is that if we what we try to do within a databases that we use and that we have writers on staff and what we do we come up with a review is we'll go through all the databases all the literature current clinical trials and summarize them and put them in our content so kind of it's easier than you doing it and it's right there at your fingertips so and then what we'll do is we'll update it it will update the the content as new clinical trials become available and new information becomes available

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