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I find myself in the rather embarrassing position of agreeing with the Daily Mail. This leaves me somewhat at a loss.

Thursday they ran the following banner headline.


They then reported that the health supplements market, which is worth some £386M per annum in the UK, is full of fraudsters, hucksters, snake oil merchants, and out and out liars. The newspaper didn’t use those terms, but that’s what it means. A study by consumer watchdog Which? Found that virtually all dietary supplements in the UK make misleading or downright false claims in their advertising or packaging.

Well no shit Sherlock. Who ever would have thought it?

Which? Are particularly scathing about glucosamine and chondroitin. These are supposed to guard against arthritis and/or ameliorate the symptoms. Well, the simple truth is that they do neither. And if you are screaming ‘They work for me, you smug bastard!’ I’ll tell you something weird. They don’t. You’d be as well off with a placebo. The reason for this is that arthritis is a classic example of a chronic condition that reverts to mean. If you don’t know what that means you’re in luck, because I’ve handily blogged about this phenomenon in my post on homeopathy. http://wp.me/p2C8Zz-w4

Which also have prebiotics and probiotics in their sights, and not before time either. There is absolutely no evidence at all that they make nay useful contribution to your digestion or overall health. I know. I’ve read the supposed ‘studies’ these charlatans use to support their totally fallacious claims. They do not work. They do not do anything. They’re pretty much nothing more or less than sour milk.

Still sceptical? Still a believer? The EMEA that controls licences for medical products throughout Europe had had over 40,000 licence applications to make claims for these latterday coloured waters. Number approved as being scientifically supportable? Go on. Take a wild guess. One thousand? That would be a 2% success rate, so pretty pathetic. But it’s not even that many. The actual figure is a measly 282.

Agreeing with the Daily Mail. Me. Goodness. But there is one thing I must take issue with. This front page splash was not written by a health correspondent, but since that would be the execrably ignorant Jo Willey that’s no loss. Not even by a science correspondent. No, it was the consumer affairs correspondent.

Oh, and the suspected use of sarin nerve gas in Syria was relegated to page 8.