Inset: The sponsoring, citing and referencing of clinical trials on a dietary ingredient or finished good is exploited with increasing frequency and fervor by nutraceutical industry players. But who ensures the whole story-the totality of the evidence-is portrayed?
Setting: Saturday morning constellation radio talk show, Nutri Nuggets, Digital frequency 66.12a.578; 26 October 2009.
Show host: "Good morning and welcome to another Nutri Nuggets show. I'm your host, David Marcus, and my guest this morning is Yolanda Ray, director of science for Quasar Health. Welcome to Nutri Nuggets, Ms. Ray."
Ms. Ray: "Thank you so much, David. We're so excited about vitamin G and the new research on our G-Force product."
Mr. Marcus: "So Yolanda, what's new with vitamin G?"
Ms. Ray: "As you and your listeners know very well, vitamin G is a critical antioxidant, immune nutrient and is stored in abundance in the adrenal glands. G-Force is a faster absorbed and retained form of vitamin G, and it's patented. In our latest study we compared one week of G-Force to a standard vitamin G product-equal doses of vitamin G-and found a significantly greater amount of the vitamin in the tonsils and adrenal glands one week later. G-Force provides longer lasting stress and infection protection. The study was published last month in Annals of Natural Therapies."
Mr. Marcus: "Wow! That is VERY exciting. You used a non-invasive means of measuring tonsil or adrenal gland vitamin G content, with a…"
(Show producer, into headset of Marcus: "David, the phone network is saturated! We need to take some calls…")
Mr. Marcus: "Yolanda, you've lit up the phone network-do you mind if we start taking some calls?"
Ms. Ray: "That would be GREAT!"
Mr. Marcus: "Raoul from Multiverse 3.x04.05, welcome to Nutri Nuggets. What's on your mind?"
Raoul: "Thank you for taking my call. Ms. Ray, I'm a nutrition professor at the local university. One of my students asked me about G-Force and I couldn't offer an informed opinion. I then went to your Multinet site but couldn't find any clinical studies showing that your product was better absorbed or retained compared to standard vitamin G-except the new study you just mentioned. I then used our medical school library research system and found a university-based clinical study published 11 years ago showing G-Force to be inferior to standard vitamin G, in both the amount absorbed-less-and the amount excreted-more. I must ask why you don't list this study-published in a very high ranked journal-on your Multinet site, and how you ascertained that G-Force is better retained by the body when your current study did not attempt to measure excretion?"
Ms. Ray: "Our chief scientific officer believes that 11-year-old study you mentioned is flawed…we didn't measure urinary excretion in the current study because we wanted to focus on G-Force's enhancement of adrenal and immune function."
Raoul: "Your study didn't assess any 'functional' measures of the adrenals or immunity, just how much was inside these two tissue compartments one week after a single dose. This is a gross…"
Mr. Marcus: "We'll be right back on the Nutri Nuggets show…'
Nutraceuticals Multiverse: Research and Destroy
A quirky look at nutraceuticals in a parallel universe
By Anthony Almada