In the wild, whenever there is an injured animal, the predator sweeps in on the prey.
In the ill-health community it is no different.
It doesn't matter what you are afflicted with, chances are, there is someone out there who will swear they can cure you or cure you faster than what is sanctioned by the medical professionals.
Now, to be fair, not every supplement company out there can afford to pay the FDA the millions upon millions of dollars that are needed to run tests or studies that would validate their vitamin or their "cure". But as patients we have to ask ourselves why that is.
If something has been out there for a while, and still hasn't received the funding...well you have to use your best judgement. For me, I think of a vitamin that claims to help the heart, immune system, or whatever the claim is and I see the little Astrix that says "claim not FDA approved" and it doesn't bother me.
Vitamins are helpful, we all know that and so do the doctors. They tell us to take them so why would anyone need to spend millions of dollars to validate them? It would be nice though wouldn't it? We could all feel secure that we're not crazy. That vitamins really do what they say they do.
But it isn't vitamins that bothers me so much as supplement, holistic, homeopathic, and straight out bizarre cures. These are the ones that are targeted towards the sick in hopes of selling a product that 90% of the time doesn't do all that it says it will do.
Try everything you want to. I don't care if I don't agree with it or not. If you try it and it works that is awesome. But if you're like nearly everyone these days, you don't have the money to throw away at scams.
Here's a few tips that I've applied throughout the years to help guide me around the greedy freaks after my money. Hopefully it will help you keep some of yours.
- A Website, does not a legitimate business make. Any yahoo these days can put up a website, bottle some Oak Bark and claim that it has healing powers complete with "Customer Reviews". Sometimes your google search will give you a website, a youtube "news" commercial, and "Personal Blogs" that all hail the product as the best thing that cured them all. Actors can be hired, blogs can be faked. Look for a reputable source always! If it pops up on your local news station that you trust, then fine. But if it's some news station you've never heard of popping up on youtube...don't trust it.
- Stick with a reputable well-known distributor. "Bob's Vitamin Center" might not be as reliable as Vitamin Shoppe or BodyBuilder.com etc. If you don't know where to find a good supplier, someone trustworthy, buy popular health magazines and scan articles (NOT ADS) and look for sites that are mentioned. (I've seen companies make their own magazines and title it something like "Better Medicine" and in it are a bunch or articles about the miracle cure for Fibro/CFS/ Lupus etc. Funny how it mentions one supplement throughout the whole magazine. Not only are you buying the Mag but you're buying their product! The jerks!)
- A "BBB" logo (Better Business Bureau) isn't a guarantee. A lawyer friend told me it only means means they haven't been sued yet or sued successfully or sued without settlement. Kinda freaked me out.
- Watch out for the random touter as well. In any kind of support group you'll find that people will join up and act as if they found the cure for themselves and are just doing their duty in telling you about this little known cure. You usually don't see them poke around more than once or twice and they always claim that their one cure works in every post. "Oh you have itchy bumps? I had that too and I'm telling you Fibromyascam took it all away. I had to be on it for a month but it was well worth the four bottles of it for 50.00/pc."
-Do an ingredient search. If someone is claiming their oak bark cures it all, then try to find scientific evidence to support that. If they are saying that it is their "secret, patent pending" ingredient that is the cure...wait for that "patent" to go through. We've all seen these commercials over the years that have come and gone. When I was growing up it was an ancient pearl cream. I can't remember exactly what it was supposed to do but considering it was around for a few years and then gone, I'm going to say it didn't work and had duped as many people as they could and ran out of clients. There was also that breast enhancing pill. Blousant or something. That one made me giggle.
I'd love to hear stories about anything you tried that turned out badly. Also...if you have a website that you're unsure of and would like an opinion on, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have a fibro website that you love and want to see get the thumbs up, send that as well.
I'm not trying to just out the scam websites but reward the good as well.
Be safe, my friends!