Health Food Store Supplement Advice

Health Food Store Supplement Advice
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Studies in the U.S. and Canada focus on what advice and supplements natural food store employees would offer a woman suffering from breast cancer.

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How many times has this happened to you? You’re in a natural food store, walking near the supplement section, and an employee graciously offers advice; asks if you need any help. Very kind of them, but I’m always left wondering how these people were trained. Were they trained? Do they have any idea what they’re talking about? So, I was delighted to learn that that very question was the subject of multiple studies, spanning a decade.

“Health Food Store Recommendations for Breast Cancer Patients”—a researcher posing as a daughter of a breast cancer patient went in to 40 health food stores asking for their recommendations on cancer care.

36 out of 40 stores tried to sell them something. Understandable; that’s their job. But 95% didn’t even ask a single question about their mom, or her diagnosis, before recommending 38 different types of products at an annual cost of between $300 and $3,000. The most common recommendation was shark cartilage; apparently found effective at causing nausea, fever, dizziness, life-threatening hypercalcemia, and liver failure—but effective at little else.

The same study was repeated up in Canada: “Health food store recommendations: implications for breast cancer patients”—34 stores; 33 different products, one of which cost $18,000 a year. One of the fake patients was even told to stop the tamoxifen she said she had been prescribed—a drug credited for playing a large part in decreasing breast cancer mortality over the last 30 years.

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by Serena Mylchreest.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

 

How many times has this happened to you? You’re in a natural food store, walking near the supplement section, and an employee graciously offers advice; asks if you need any help. Very kind of them, but I’m always left wondering how these people were trained. Were they trained? Do they have any idea what they’re talking about? So, I was delighted to learn that that very question was the subject of multiple studies, spanning a decade.

“Health Food Store Recommendations for Breast Cancer Patients”—a researcher posing as a daughter of a breast cancer patient went in to 40 health food stores asking for their recommendations on cancer care.

36 out of 40 stores tried to sell them something. Understandable; that’s their job. But 95% didn’t even ask a single question about their mom, or her diagnosis, before recommending 38 different types of products at an annual cost of between $300 and $3,000. The most common recommendation was shark cartilage; apparently found effective at causing nausea, fever, dizziness, life-threatening hypercalcemia, and liver failure—but effective at little else.

The same study was repeated up in Canada: “Health food store recommendations: implications for breast cancer patients”—34 stores; 33 different products, one of which cost $18,000 a year. One of the fake patients was even told to stop the tamoxifen she said she had been prescribed—a drug credited for playing a large part in decreasing breast cancer mortality over the last 30 years.

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by Serena Mylchreest.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

 

Image thanks to Bexley Natural Market

Doctor's Note

What should breast cancer patients do? See some of my videos on extending survival in survivors, including Raw Broccoli and Bladder Cancer SurvivalBreast Cancer Survival, Butterfat, and ChickenBreast Cancer Survival and Trans FatBreast Cancer Survival and Lignan Intake; and Flax and Fecal Flora

For more context, check out my associated blog posts: Health Food Store Advice: Often Worthless or WorstPlant-Based Workplace Intervention; and How Should I Take Probiotics?

If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here.

14 responses to “Health Food Store Supplement Advice

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    1. You didn’t get to the part about where or how they were trained.  It’s clear by the video, however, they have no idea about any scientific research or training on what they are prescribing to their clients.  
      It’s funny, someone always seem very eager to help you in the departments of stores that carry the most expensive things.  Hmmmm?!?  Food (or not food) for thought.

        1. BTW: I got your new DVD (Thank you!) but I almost don’t want to watch it and foil the spoils I reap from my daily dose of NutritionFacts.org.

      1.  The issue parallels what is going on in our profession. Physicians, nurses, nurse practitioners and physician assistants giving out misinformation and thinking they are providing correct guidance…. see http://nutritionfacts.org/video/doctors-know-less-than-they-think-about-nutrition/.  Unfortunately the “leaders” in many medical organizations seem to be more interested in maintaining the status quo than in leading effective change in the primary and secondary prevention of chronic diseases. Worse the bill introduced by John McDougall to the California legislature to require 12 (subsequently modified to 7) hours of nutritional education for all physicians in California over a 4 year period was opposed by the California Medical Association and the California branches of the American Academy of Family Medicine and Orthopedics… http://nutritionfacts.org/video/medical-associations-oppose-bill-to-mandate-nutrition-training/. I encourage physicians to start including and applying current science into their recommendations for their patients. I also encourage physicians knowledgeable in this area to develop and give educational talks to other physicians in their communities. The educational talks that I give to health care professionals are well received. Physicians have an interest in this area for both professional and personal reasons. 

        1. Dr. Dons,
          I’m glad you are finding it well received by the physicians in your community south of mine.  I am still ridiculed in my own office (under their breath) by my colleagues, even though they have all seen their patients that have come to me (and gotten an ear full of Califlower and plant based lifestyle instruction) come off their BP meds, lower their cholesterol, had remission of several autoimmune disorders, and improvement in their overall feelings of well-being.  And the list goes on.  I will just keep swinging away and when I get hurt and blood starts spewing from one of my arteries I will say, “Oh, merely a flesh wound.”
          Keep up the great work you are doing!

  1. My wife had a malignant lump removed. Based on our research weighing overall mortality vs. mortality from breast cancer, which is what most doctors base their recommendations on, we opted for a strict vegan diet.
    Tamoxifen has been misrepresented as a drug which will significantly increase survival in hormone receptor positive patients. One breast  cancer activist claims it will reduce recurrence by 50%. This figure does not reflect the actual survival statistics. Tamoxifen’s manufacturer states  the difference between node-negative Tamoxifen takers and non-takers is  small. If you do the math, you will see the survival advantage for node negative patients taking Tamoxifen is 3.5%.   That means there is a 96.5% chance that taking Tamoxifen will not increase  lifespan but will still expose the patient to risk of endometrial cancer,  depression, blood clots, vaginal atrophy, hot flashes and other side  effects. 

  2. I almost always agree with Dr Greger’s post, but this time I’d have to say to be cautious of his apparent approval of the drug Tamoxifen. Tamoxifen is no wonder drug by any means. Check out its very dark side by going on Google, and typing in ‘ gary null tamoxifen ‘. once there read the second post from the top by Sherrill Sellman .

  3. I think that this report is a little bit unfair- 
    Dr. John McDougall only “sometimes recommends” tamoxifen- ie. in certain cases rather than across the board. The fact that many health food store employees pointed out that it is harmful is grounded in fact- are their recommendations really as dangerous as you imply with this video? 
    I agree that only a doctor or someone trained to do so should be making such recommendations. BUT their doctor may not be making the best recommendations- I would guess many more women are prescribed tamoxifen than Dr. McDougall or other well informed doctors would recommend.  
    Is it wrong of these workers to point out that there are other treatment alternatives to the common, conventional, and often harmful ones, as is particularly the case with breast health? 
    (The shark oil recommendation on the other hand IS alarming.)

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