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I Can’t Link to This

  /   Wednesday February 07, 2007  

I have removed the link to Dr. Marcellino D’Ambrosio’s Crossroads Initiative from my site. His site has often been informative. The actual articles on the faith are perfectly fine, and this is not my problem. However, I discovered something, in my professional judgment as a pharmacist, I cannot endorse. I certainly don’t want to link this to the Catholic faith.

In the latest newsletter, a link was provided to “health and wellness” products that he apparently sells from his site. I place the link here so that you can see that I’m not making this up. They all appear to be combination products that will supposedly improve your memory, reduce effects of aging, allow muscle-building, and improve your metabolism to help with weight loss. This is legal to claim under current dietary supplement regulations, but that doesn’t mean that those claims are substantiated.

His site says that the listing in the PDR for Non-Prescription Drugs and Dietary Supplements is a “guarantee” that they are made according to the same stringent standards as prescription drugs. I do not agree. Actually, you’d need to have United States Pharmacopoeia endorsement to have that guarantee, and I did not see that logo on either Dr. D’Ambrosio’s site nor the official site of Wellness International Network. The information in the PDR has long been known to have been paid for and provided by the manufacturers.

With herbal preparations, there’s another problem. For example, let’s take the product St. John’s Wort. Even if you can guarantee how much St. John’s Wort is in a product, you still can’t guarantee the consistency of the active ingredient. In most herbals, the active ingredient has never been isolated. Now, we all have variations on, for example, how much of a certain hormone our bodies will produce. How can we be sure the same thing isn’t true of herbals? Therefore, a set amount of St. John’s Wort may still vary outside of acceptable standards in terms of the active ingredient.

The site says that the products are used by the staff at Crossroads. I won’t question them on this. However, the gold standard for how well a product works is what we call a randomized, controlled, double-blind trial. In other words, they give some people the drug and others a placebo. No one knows which they are taking. Many times, diseases will respond to placebo. I’ve heard rumors of even cancer responding to placebo. Without comparing them to a placebo in this manner, it is hard to say if the product is really producing the effect, or if it is all in their minds.

As a Catholic pharmacist, I would not want to take the chance that someone may view the use of these nutritional supplements as something Catholic. It will either discredit us, or it will cause people to start taking things they shouldn’t. As a pharmacist who is strongly against the use of those products, I cannot endorse a Catholic site that is promoting their use. I do have anything against Dr. D’Ambrosio’s Catholic articles, but I feel obligated in conscience to stick to my professional opinion as a pharmacist. In any case, there is no substitute for a healthy diet and exercise in maintaining health.

Category: Posts imported from Danger! Falling Brainwaves, Uncategorized

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