Infant Nearly Killed by Homeopathy

Infant Nearly Killed by Homeopathy
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Case report of life-threatening metabolic acidosis in an infant “overdosed” with homeopathic sugar pills.

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Americans spend about three billion dollars on homeopathy every year. I’ve talked previously about the near total lack of scientific evidence supporting homeopathy, but maybe I was wrong to dismiss it as just a waste of money. Maybe it can be even worse.

I was surprised to read this new case report published in the European Journal of Pediatrics: A young girl almost killed by homeopathy. An overdose of a homeopathic remedy might seem a contradiction in terms, but just because they’re no better than a sugar pill doesn’t mean you can stuff babies full of sugar pills.

Many homeopathic pills are made of xylitol, which can have a laxative effect, and cause diarrhea— which, if untreated in an infant, can turn into severe life-threatening metabolic acidosis, and land her in the ICU. Hence the title: “Too much of too little.”

High-dose homeopathy is also something you might want to keep away from Fido.

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 Peter Mellor.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Americans spend about three billion dollars on homeopathy every year. I’ve talked previously about the near total lack of scientific evidence supporting homeopathy, but maybe I was wrong to dismiss it as just a waste of money. Maybe it can be even worse.

I was surprised to read this new case report published in the European Journal of Pediatrics: A young girl almost killed by homeopathy. An overdose of a homeopathic remedy might seem a contradiction in terms, but just because they’re no better than a sugar pill doesn’t mean you can stuff babies full of sugar pills.

Many homeopathic pills are made of xylitol, which can have a laxative effect, and cause diarrhea— which, if untreated in an infant, can turn into severe life-threatening metabolic acidosis, and land her in the ICU. Hence the title: “Too much of too little.”

High-dose homeopathy is also something you might want to keep away from Fido.

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 Peter Mellor.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Image thanks to Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources / Flickr

 

Doctor's Note

And be sure to check out Is Homeopathy Just Placebo?

Also, be sure to check out my associated blog post for more context: Half of Doctors Give Placebos.

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

18 responses to “Infant Nearly Killed by Homeopathy

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    1. I have never seen a homeopathic remedy that used xylitol. This does not even say what brand or remedy was used. So the only thing I agree with is do not use xylitol but it has nothing to do with homeopathy and and very misleading.

  1. The conclusion in this video is incorrect. Xylitol is the culprit and the authors of the report say so. I’m against the use of homeopathy beyond the placebo-effect at his point in time, but as a scientific researcher, I think the conclusion in this video is one step too far. Can you overdose on homeopathy in general ? No, there is no proof of that. Can you overdose on xylitol covered homeopathic pills ? Well, one child in Switzerland did. Can we conclude that xylitol is dangerous using this one isolated case as proof ? No not at all ! (1) Can we conclude that homeopathy is dangerous from this one case ? Absolutely not ! It is a scientific fallacy to do so, because the homeopathic solution in the pills was not defined as the causative factor in this adverse reaction report ! Therefore, may I express my personal opinion on this ? I absolutely hate this kind of (ab)use of evidence based science, and that’s what triggered my somewhat dismayed reply.

    (1) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17097152

    1. never used homeopathic remedies nor inclined to do so but on the subject matter of Xylitol I feel this is a toxic ingredient that should be used in creations such as homemade or organic toothpastes/mouthwashes but never ingested.

  2. There is so much wrong with this video it is almost difficult to sort it all so just a couple comments.

    Xylitol is not commonly used to coat homeopathic pills. Most by far are made of either lactose or sucrose.

    Out of the millions of doses of homeopathy given each year, can you find even one death or serious problem that was proven to be caused by the remedy in question? This one does not qualify as Louis so clearly pointed out.

    While it is true that there isn’t much in the way of solid research at this time, there is an abundance of clinical evidence pointing to the efficacy and safety of homeopathy as a modality.

    When one considers the incredible safety record for homeopathy and compares it with the appalling record for pharmaceutical drugs, perhaps it makes sense to give a very safe, though “unproven” treatment a try as a first rather than a last resort.

    1. I just came to this website and was enjoying the videos until this one. Now I have to doubt the validity of any of the other videos. I have used Homeopathic remedies for 35 yrs & they have helped my family thru many illnesses. Placebo? I know this is not true.

  3. When I saw this video I was a little startled. But I realized that I didn’t really know the exact meaning of homeopathy. So I looked in the dictionary and Wikipedia. Perhaps some of your readers could benefit from similar investigation.

    So,… what’s the argument about really? This site is designed to bring a new insight into a terribly flawed practice of a large part of most of mankind. Picking Nits about the fact that God himself does not edit Dr. Greger videos is not productive is it? So instead of nit picking my response,… Take a moment to connect with one of your loved ones and tell them about the profound truth of a plant based diet. No amount of bitching ever saved anyone from a terrible disease or death. So please,… speak about that which serves rather than complaining about what does not.

    –Peace

  4. Xylitol may not qualify as homeopathy. Xylarex, a xylitol containing syrup was marketed to pediatricians from 4-5 until about 2 years ago as useful in preventing otitis media. I believe there are CRTs showing safety and efficacy. I used it in my practice while it was available and in my experience was safe and efficacious in preventing otitis in many patients. It was classified as a food additive not a drug so no insurance company would reimburse or cover it and its manufacturer stopped production. Xylitol is available in sugar free chewing gum which I continue to advocate for older children prone to sinusitis and otitis. I’d love to see more information on xylitol if you feel this would be appropriate for your site.

    Thanks.

    1. Richard Gelber, MD: Thanks for this post. I’m an adult, but I enjoy sucking on xylitol mints and chewing the gum. While it is my understanding that the science is mixed on it’s effectiveness in preventing caveties (the benefit I am most personally interested in), I don’t feel like it is doing me any harm. Like you, I’m interested in learning about more research on xylitol as it comes out.

      That said, I don’t know if you have done a search on this site yet or not, but Dr. Greger has already addressed xylitol in at least once in one of his videos. Just an idea for you.

      1. Thanks Thea. I searched your site before responding. There’s nothing specific about using xylitol as prophylaxis for dental caries, otitis or sinusitis. I also question xylitol’s characterization as homeopathy if it’s active this way. Losing it as a therapeutic option as well because it’s a “food additive” sparks my interest in knowing more and and my above request. (As Dr. Greggor has said he scours the nutritional literature so I don’t have to, but I’ll try when I have time)

    2. homeopathic remedies contain ZERO XYLITOL . where did you get this from ???? never did . in fact you should make a trip to Boiron or any other homeopathic lab before you make these outrageous statements. Nothing but the remedy in question coats the pellets in question which for most are made of milk sugar or plain sugar . the pellets are rolled around in a vat of potentised liquid remedy then dried and packaged .No chemicals other than the natural remedy in question added EVER. If some co. claimed to be homeopathic was using XYLITOL they where miss leading the masses as it would NEVER be considered homeopathic. Many people use this term for stuff they want to sell and it is in fact very misleading . i strongly suggest you do your homework before jumping into a vat of poor information . And also there is tremendous work being done all over the world by MD’s and a huge array of scientist on patients using homeopathy with enormous success . chk out what the Cuban government did with their vaccine , what Jeremy Sherr is doing in the Bush of Africa with Aids and on and on and on . It is time to start thinking out of the box . the box has not served the masses it has only filled the pockets of the pharmaceutical co. But the people are getting it and also are sick and tired of being sick and tired and are seeking better more effective and certainly safer ways . THANK GOD :))

  5. I have heard testimonies that colloidal silver cures a variety of illnesses, even in children. Some people even take it as a preventative. Is it helpful? Is it safe?

  6. Great question. The problem is that testimonials are not objective and not evidence. If you gave people a sugar pill and told them it was the cure for all their ailments, 30% could make testimonials that it’s the best medicine ever invented. It’s called the placebo effect which you’ve probably heard of. There is no clinical evidence that ingested colloidal silver provides any benefit. On the other hand you could poison yourself with it. Here is one of several studies that show this:

    http://n.neurology.org/content/62/8/1408.short

    Dr. Ben

  7. Do you have any information on Colloidal Silver?? It seems to be the craze around where I live and has a lot of “supposed conditions it helps”.

  8. I’m glad others are not taking this video seriously. I love Dr. Greger’s other videos and research but I have a huge problem with this. 1. I have never in 30 yrs seen xylitol mentioned in any homeopathic ingredients list. Not saying there is not a brand, but the issue seems to be xylitol (if that is even true) and not homeopathy! 2. Homeopathy works on my dogs and cats as I have seen for the last 30 yrs. Having some of the oldest living dogs, and living in multiple states, I have lots of personal experience with many homeopathic veterinarians. Maybe that is purely anecdotal but I would not discount a homeopathic doctor even if you don’t believe in it because their other expertise in nutrition and natural healing is unparalleled from what I have seen in the industry and since xylitol is bad for dogs, I have never once been cautioned to buy only non-xylitol homeopathic remedies. Another red flag for me. 3. And the biggest red flag for me is homeopathy works in small doses, not large. You would have to give a baby the whole bottle or maybe many bottles for this to happen. The premise of homeopathy is based on micro-dosing.

    I also take issue with Dr. Greger’s soy videos as I and so many women can plainly see that eating soy causes us huge discomfort hormonally and sometimes science is flawed perhaps due to funding and corruption but those are topics for another discussion.

    Otherwise I love what Dr. Greger has done and will continue to follow his videos. He is stellar in his approach and I appreciate the info so much! <3

  9. Well –

    Many readers addressed the obvious :

    It is like reporting a case where a child dies from conventional drugs and produce a video saying – that western medecine is dangerous …

    There is an anti homeopathy trend which is completely irrational and unscientific…

    If one is intellectually honest the sntihomeopathy rant will trigger his her curiosity to read what the sources really say ..

    But I have the same doubt now about Greger’s approach.. Is he really reasearching seriously or he is in general superficial … I hope not…

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