Shady Supplements

Don’t believe the labels:

Many pills and capsules sold as herbal “supplements” contain little more than powdered rice and house plants, according to a report released Monday by the office of New York state attorney general Eric Schneiderman. An investigation found that nearly four of five herbal supplements do not contain the ingredients listed on labels, and many supplements—tested from among leading store-brand products sold at GNC, Target, Walmart, and Walgreens—contain no plant substance of any kind at all. …

None of this is to imply that were these products 100 percent pure and unadulterated, they would be of any benefit to most people. In terms of health benefits, the evidence for talking a powdered-rice supplement is essentially as compelling as any other. The one thing that supplements do offer is a placebo effect, which can be very real and effective. Unfortunate as it is if today’s news deprives anyone of that benefit, better that institutionalized fraud is addressed.