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Homeopathy


tarak
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Homeopathy-a system of medicine which attempts to stimulate the body to recover itself. It has been disproved by the mainstream science about what homeopaths believe as "memory of water" to explain continuous dilution about how something can continue to act even after all of its molecules have disappeared.So what is the basis of homepathic placebo ???Comments pl.

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I've seen an ad on TV for a homeopathic cold medicine (can't remember the brand) that claims to reduce the length of time you have cold symptoms by half, or something like that. How can they legally advertise that?
Interesting question. I think that if the product is not regulated by the FDA (that is, if it is a "natural" product, like a vitamin) the responsibiltiy for enforcement of any claim is pretty vague, and usually specific to the state. Also, someone has to care.

 

Usually the claim will be something like "may reduce and shorten duration of cold symptoms by up to 50%" or some similar non-commitment. In this case, they didn't really commit to anything.

 

Usually no jurisdiction (like the county DA) really cares unless someone gets hurt.

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I just did a quick Google and found Cold-Eze, which is billed as a homeopathic cold remedy. It claims to be clinically proven to reduce the duration of a cold. It's only active ingredient is zinc.

 

But if zinc - listed as the active ingredient - is thought to help in reducing the duration of a cold (I don't know if it does or not), how could the product be truly homeopathic?

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...It claims to be clinically proven to reduce the duration of a cold. It's only active ingredient is zinc.

 

But if zinc - listed as the active ingredient - is thought to help in reducing the duration of a cold (I don't know if it does or not), how could the product be truly homeopathic?

Zinc actually is interesting, in that it is reported anecdotally to improve cold recovery and also to reduce the severity and duration of sore throats. Zinc is a non-controlled mineral I(like iron or calcium), hence it is one of those products that are not evaluated or controlled by the FDA.

 

I am not sure if there are any criteria that make a treatment "homeopathic" other than the perception of "natural".

 

I am not aware of any really good studies to confirm the zinc effect (in spite of the claim) although there could be some. There are similar claims for the use of ice during the prodrome for a cold sore to reduce incidence and duration.

 

I both of these cases, the study is design is tough because the researcher can't crossover the population. In the case of ice therapy, the researcher can't even blind the users. Placebo effects are rampant.

 

Also, it is really hard to get investment for the study because there is no one that has an economic gain out of the study.

 

Researchers do altruistically run studies with no economic gain all of the time, but colds are tough to study becasue you have to get a more-or-less synchronized population for a disease that is going to self resolve on a variable course anyway. It is hard for a researcher to get motivated to study colds.

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Zinc is a non-controlled mineral I(like iron or calcium), hence it is one of those products that are not evaluated or controlled by the FDA.

 

Off the top of my head, I thought zinc was "controlled" (the zinc pills you buy, unlike vitamin C pills, have to be under x milligrams) because too much zinc causes severe problems.

 

Biochemist: I am not sure if there are any criteria that make a treatment "homeopathic" other than the perception of "natural".

 

I thought the key idea of homeopathic was what might be called "absence by means of absolute dilution": what was mentioned in the opening post.

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Off the top of my head, I thought zinc was "controlled" (the zinc pills you buy, unlike vitamin C pills, have to be under x milligrams) because too much zinc causes severe problems.
Well, I think you are technically correct. But when the quantity of the constituent is below a certain level, the control is different (i.e., less). Over-the-counter zinc products are not regarded as dangerous, so they are essentially uncontrolled. Most vitamins are uncontrolled as well. The fat soluble vitamins are controlled more tightly (A,D,E and K) because the risk of toxic accumulation is higher.
I thought the key idea of homeopathic was what might be called "absence by means of absolute dilution": what was mentioned in the opening post.
I really have absolutely no idea what that means. Maybe someone could illuminate me.
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Here's some excerpts from the FDA website:

 

Overview of Dietary Supplements

What is a dietary supplement?

 

Congress defined the term "dietary supplement" in the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA) of 1994. A dietary supplement is a product taken by mouth that contains a "dietary ingredient" intended to supplement the diet. The "dietary ingredients" in these products may include: vitamins, minerals, herbs or other botanicals, amino acids, and substances such as enzymes, organ tissues, glandulars, and metabolites. Dietary supplements can also be extracts or concentrates, and may be found in many forms such as tablets, capsules, softgels, gelcaps, liquids, or powders. They can also be in other forms, such as a bar, but if they are, information on their label must not represent the product as a conventional food or a sole item of a meal or diet. Whatever their form may be, DSHEA places dietary supplements in a special category under the general umbrella of "foods," not drugs, and requires that every supplement be labeled a dietary supplement.

 

What is FDA's role in regulating dietary supplements versus the manufacturer's responsibility for marketing them?

 

In October 1994, the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA) was signed into law by President Clinton. Before this time, dietary supplements were subject to the same regulatory requirements as were other foods. This new law, which amended the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, created a new regulatory framework for the safety and labeling of dietary supplements.

 

Under DSHEA, a firm is responsible for determining that the dietary supplements it manufactures or distributes are safe and that any representations or claims made about them are substantiated by adequate evidence to show that they are not false or misleading. This means that dietary supplements do not need approval from FDA before they are marketed. Except in the case of a new dietary ingredient, where pre-market review for safety data and other information is required by law, a firm does not have to provide FDA with the evidence it relies on to substantiate safety or effectiveness before or after it markets its products.

 

Also, manufacturers do not need to register themselves nor their dietary supplement products with FDA before producing or selling them. Currently, there are no FDA regulations that are specific to dietary supplements that establish a minimum standard of practice for manufacturing dietary supplements. However, FDA intends to issue regulations on good manufacturing practices that will focus on practices that ensure the identity, purity, quality, strength and composition of dietary supplements. At present, the manufacturer is responsible for establishing its own manufacturing practice guidelines to ensure that the dietary supplements it produces are safe and contain the ingredients listed on the label.

 

Who has the responsibility for ensuring that a dietary supplement is safe?

 

By law (DSHEA), the manufacturer is responsible for ensuring that its dietary supplement products are safe before they are marketed. Unlike drug products that must be proven safe and effective for their intended use before marketing, there are no provisions in the law for FDA to "approve" dietary supplements for safety or effectiveness before they reach the consumer. Also unlike drug products, manufacturers and distributors of dietary supplements are not currently required by law to record, investigate or forward to FDA any reports they receive of injuries or illnesses that may be related to the use of their products. Under DSHEA, once the product is marketed, FDA has the responsibility for showing that a dietary supplement is "unsafe," before it can take action to restrict the product's use or removal from the marketplace.

 

Do manufacturers or distributors of dietary supplements have to tell FDA or consumers what evidence they have about their product's safety or what evidence they have to back up the claims they are making for them?

 

No, except for rules described above that govern "new dietary ingredients," there is no provision under any law or regulation that FDA enforces that requires a firm to disclose to FDA or consumers the information they have about the safety or purported benefits of their dietary supplement products. Likewise, there is no prohibition against them making this information available either to FDA or to their customers. It is up to each firm to set its own policy on disclosure of such information. For more information on claims that can be made for dietary supplements, see (http://www.cfsan.fda.gov/~dms/hclaims.html).

 

HTH,

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I quickly found these warnings, and note that these are sites trying to sell you their supplements.

 

Zinc in amounts greater than 200 mg a day can cause nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Taking even 100 mg a day in supplement form over long periods can result in problems, including lowered levels of HDL ("good") cholesterol and diminished immune-system function.

 

An association between excessive zinc and Alzheimer's disease has been made but requires further investigation. (http://www.wholehealthmd.com/refshelf/substances_view/1,1525,10071,00.html)

 

Intake of zinc should be kept to under 100 mg per day as larger amounts may result in nausea, diarrhea, dizziness, drowsiness and hallucinations.

(http://www.anyvitamins.com/zinc-info.htm)

 

So I guess the best advice is not to take megadoses of zinc like some people do with other vitamins and nutrients.

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So I guess the best advice is not to take megadoses of zinc like some people do with other vitamins and nutrients.
These are good refs, TM. For all of the larger diameter non-trace metals (iron, calcium, magnesium, zinc) they have a lots of complicated toxic effects based (I think) mostly on the stuff they chelate in your gut. This gives each one a characateristic malabsorbtion syndrome. They tend to also each have their own native toxicity, like the ones you mentioned for zinc. The smaller diameter non-trace metals (sodium, potassium) they tend not to have any real toxicity directly, because our kidneys are pretty good at handling sodium-potassium balance. However, when we get older and our kidneys lose capacity, these metals tend to mess up fluid balance.

 

The trace minerals (manganese, chromium, cobalt, etc) are almost all pretty toxic if we get them in high doses. Fortunately most of those metals (except chormium) are hard to run across.

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Integration of different streams of medicine: How does that happen? May be we are towards it. There is a renewed interest in our old/ancient systems of medicine.Modern biologies are developing the absorption power for sucking up what is useful from all forms and philosophies.Some are disproved like the water molecule memory, and some are strongly proven may be like a particular herb's antiseptic properties. Then there is this holistic approach for healing,the mind and matter thing. In this regard I feel that there should be an integration at a higher level for solving problems at the downstream.

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Some are disproved like the water molecule memory, and some are strongly proven may be like a particular herb's antiseptic properties.
While the water memory stuff is utter crap, apothecary is the origin of pharmacy, it just got overriden by industrial synthesis of drugs. Where do quinine and aspirin come from? These are only two examples.

 

Then there is this holistic approach for healing,the mind and matter thing.
Doctors should certainly pay attention to the "people", as well as to the "patients". The best doctors do. The placebo effect is very important, it can work miracles and that's why it needs to be screened out when testing the actual effect of a substance. So many types of stimulus can be relevant, accupuncture seems to not lack effect.
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...Where do quinine and aspirin come from? These are only two examples.
There are probably hundreds of current pharmaceuticals that are sourced from plants or microbes. Morphine (and the semi-synthetics, heroin and codeine), cocaine, digoxin, many antineoplastics (vincristine, vinblastine,asparaginase), and many of the original antibiotics (penicillin)
... accupuncture seems to not lack effect.
Accupunture seems to activate the same receptors that are activated by morhine in the paraaqueductal grey matter.
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