How Quacks Sell Supplements as Medicine (Without Breaking the Law)

How Quacks Sell Supplements as Medicine (Without Breaking the Law)

Quacks and scam artists sell dietary supplements as medicine all the time. They’ve just figured out ways to do it legally. Eric Hovind was recently busted by the FDA and issued a warning letter for selling B17 supplements as a cancer cure, and that inspired me to dig deeper into this issue.

Skepticism is our only defense against scammers who would have us risk our lives over fake cures that make them money. Thunderf00t broke Eric’s story, Aron Ra told me about it, Paulogia and I researched it further, and I’m using his blunder to illustrate how the hucksters of alternative medicine market their bunk.

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  1. Genetically Modified Skeptic on August 26, 2020 at 11:35 pm

    Check out my collab with Paulogia or I’ll fight you:

  2. KauaiSis on August 26, 2020 at 11:36 pm

    I hope you don’t assume all supplements are bad and worse than meds prescribed by doctors because I’ve had personal first hand experience to the contrary. I could write pages on different ailments my family has had that were not helped with meds, but that naturopathic doctors cured, such as high cholesterol, UTI’s, severe eczema, osteoporosis, etc. These were not done with expensive supplements that the doctors made money on. While there may be "charlatans" out there trying to scam us into buying supplements, the pharmaceutical companies also operate on the edge to get doctors to over prescribe meds. BTW, I once scorned "natural" medicine in my 20’s and 30’s. I’m now in my 60’s and go to both medical and naturopathic doctors. The medical doctors usually treat symptoms, while the naturopathic doctors dig deeper to address the cause of the symptoms.

  3. Diana Sofia on August 26, 2020 at 11:41 pm

    My grandma is very gullible. She literally has psychological issues. Once she took me to this sort of class. I probably cannot even count how many human weaknesses are exploited by them for brainwashing. Greed, envy, fear of death, lack of self-respect. I couldn’t wait till it ends. And at the end I still couldn’t leave because of some guy. He continued to explain to me how fortunate it is that I study Chemistry at the university. Well, I’m sorry, but as a chemist I know that there’s nothing special about this sort of thing. Unfortunately, I have a mild personality to say something like that out loud. But I’m surely was repeating these words in my head until I finally got out never to return.

  4. ApaProductions on August 26, 2020 at 11:42 pm

    What’s the deal with saying "I’ve been Drew", aren’t you still Drew?

  5. Silverlinnings on August 26, 2020 at 11:43 pm

    You need talk about “ big pharm” because thats all I hear about from my holistic friends.

  6. FreeRoamFantasy on August 26, 2020 at 11:43 pm

    once again youtuber has unsubbed me from one of my favorite channels
    fuck you youtube

  7. peanut12345 on August 26, 2020 at 11:44 pm

    Snake oil companies are on CBS,NBC, ABC, ESPN, TNT, TBS, CNN—"SO-CALLED DRUGS" for the Verizon Zombies.

  8. Valo B on August 26, 2020 at 11:44 pm

    Watching this while using supplements as medication, even for epilepsy, but fully agreeing.

  9. AJ Augustine on August 26, 2020 at 11:49 pm

    i got an alturinitive medicine add on this (ironic)

  10. Ese Callum on August 26, 2020 at 11:51 pm

    cancer patients have to face a lot of tough decisions, and one of the biggest ones is whether or not to get chemotherapy if it’s offered for their particular diagnosis. A lot of people struggle with this decision because they’re concerned about the side effects, which are admittedly pretty severe, but there’s one very big reason that some people decide against it: Studies have shown that it can actually trigger the spread of cancer into nearby areas of the body.

    One study carried out by researchers from The Ohio State University showed how chemotherapy triggers the cellular responses that spur the spread. Previous studies showed that chemotherapy leads to cellular changes in breast cancer patients, so they decided to explore the effects that the very common frontline chemotherapy drug paclitaxel has on breast cancer patients. The researchers chose the lungs because they are the closest organ to the breasts.

    They discovered that breast cancer patients who were given paclitaxel chemotherapy had overexpressed Atf3 genes, a transcription factor activated by stress. Those who did not get chemo didn’t have an overexpression in this gene. The gene causes damage in two ways. First, it distributes cancer cells throughout the lungs, and then it primes the area to boost the cells’ chances of surviving and thriving.

    In other words, the chemotherapy had a carcinogenic effect on the body by activating this gene. The researchers were surprised just how much this drug seemed to make patients’ bodies conducive to cancer.

    Study senior author Tsonwin Hai said: “That chemotherapy can paradoxically promote cancer progression is an emerging revelation in cancer research. However, a molecular-level understanding of this devastating effect is not clear.”

    She added that she believes the process isn’t a passive one wherein cancer cells basically escape into the bloodstream thanks to leaky vessels. Instead, she believes it’s an active process involving a biological change that actually beckons the cancerous cells to escape into the patient’s blood.

    She urged the medical community to keep an open mind about the double-edged sword that is chemotherapy; it may help treat cancer in some cases, she says, but it could also raise the chances of spreading it.Past studies also point to chemotherapy’s ability to spread cancer

    A different study found that even though some chemotherapy drugs might shrink tumors in the short term, they raise the chances the cancer cells will migrate to other parts of the body. At the same time, they might be triggering a system of repair that essentially allows them to grow back stronger.

    This was the finding of a team of researchers from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. They discovered that patients who were given two common chemotherapy drugs experienced an increase in the number of “doorways” in blood vessels that facilitated the spread of cancer throughout their bodies. The study was published in the journal Science Translational Medicine.

    Needless to say, this isn’t great news for women who are looking to treat breast cancer. Many would be willing to put up with side effects like nausea and hair loss, but chemotherapy in breast cancer patients has even been linked to brain damage. The fact that it could spread cancer makes it an even less attractive option. Treatment is a very personal decision, but it’s important to have all the facts before committing to something that could make the cancer get worse, not better.

    Explore for daily coverage of cancer breakthroughs and prevention.

  11. Kevin McDougall on August 26, 2020 at 11:51 pm

    Eric (and his reptilian father) both deserve lengthy prison terms, preferably as "Big Otto’s" bitches.

  12. December Boy on August 26, 2020 at 11:54 pm

    I swear I can’t figure out why your channel isn’t more popular. I love your content but YouTube never suggests it for me even though I search for your videos. Anyway, keep up the good work!

  13. a one on August 26, 2020 at 11:54 pm

    Why do the categories of "Atheist", "Marvel Fan" and "Soyboy" overlap so heavily?

  14. CondemnedGuy on August 26, 2020 at 11:54 pm

    It works just like religion, in the end.
    Gullible people advertising a miracle to save them from X.

  15. EF ANDMK on August 26, 2020 at 11:59 pm

    Alternative medicine has to be allowed to exist to keep the medical establishment on it’s toes. After decades of misinformation from the medical establishment, for example, we now know that fat consumption has nothing to do with CAD (sugar is the culprit, not fat) and a low fat diet causes obesity. We now know that type 2 diabetes can actually be cured. We know now that occasional long term fast (a week or two) puts the body into a state of autophagy (look it up) and actually helps repair cells, cure disease and prevent cancer (Maybe that’s why animals fast when they’re sick? Or why the ancients practiced fasting?). All this information is from medical practitioners who were called charlatans 20 years ago.The medical establishment is like the Church. It doesn’t assimilate new information very quickly. There are charlatans out there. Talk about them, but don’t lump all alternative medicine into one basket. Skepticism is great. Objective skepticism is better.

  16. Kees Kees on August 26, 2020 at 11:59 pm

    Check out nootropics .. they are supplements

  17. ohheyleighannn on August 27, 2020 at 12:03 am

    I think I’ve now watched all your videos about MLMs, supplements, and essential oil schemes. Great videos, man.

  18. Fred Smith on August 27, 2020 at 12:04 am

    Technically you are correct …. But a big but is that sometimes natural substances cure and do it very safe and effective without damage , unlike drugs which are toxic …

  19. John Doe on August 27, 2020 at 12:04 am

    I have a friend whose mother had stage 4 colon cancer and used alternative medicine for cancer. This was around 2004-2005. They lived in America brought their mother to America and then went to Tiajuana for Vitamin B-17 treatment. She was cancer free in 12 days and has been cancer free since that time…going on for approximately 15 years.

    I am all for being skeptical just make sure your skepticism applies to governmental agencies like the FDA.

    -Signed, Anonymous RN

    -PS: there plenty of us who also are against the flu shots because they are mostly not effective and are associated with occasional GBS.

  20. Nick Rondinelli on August 27, 2020 at 12:04 am

    GMS, i need your help. My mother has quit her job as a homecare nurse in order to sell Shaklee which is a supplement company in case you havent heard of it. Im really concerned about our family’s financial future. She also uses essential oils, although admittedly not as frequently as shaklee. I was raised on this product but pretty much stopped using it years ago. Shes an anti-vax, young earth creationist so obviously not one for hearing reason but if you have any specific suggestions as to how to convince her of the bs of these products, i would really appreciate it.

  21. Rose Doesn't Know on August 27, 2020 at 12:05 am

    Damnit, you got me excited when you said B-17

  22. Grant Francis on August 27, 2020 at 12:07 am

    I think we are making a mistake if we clump all natural medicines together, some for-sure are scams but to say all is a shame.The west has not a monopoly on curing disease , we should not disregard thousands of years of traditional medicine, at least we should study and see if any of them work.Without trying to sound like i’m trolling, but due to commercial realities is it likely pharmaceutical companies would be interested as it may not be a lucrative en-devour ?

  23. Brent 13377331 on August 27, 2020 at 12:08 am

    Well at least essential oils are strong enough smelling to mask the smell of vinegar

  24. Laura C on August 27, 2020 at 12:08 am

    Essential oil quackery
    it’s inundated our society

  25. Max G on August 27, 2020 at 12:08 am

    You should watch Arjen Lubach – homeopathie & Arjen Lubach – alternatieve geneeswijzen. There in Dutch but im pretty sure they have English subtitels, he adresses alternative medicine

  26. Elf Machine on August 27, 2020 at 12:10 am

    Your videos are great, man.

  27. emilie bryan on August 27, 2020 at 12:11 am

    Will you a video about Plexus supplements, please. My cousin got brain washed by this company and her little circle of “friends” and when I make any sort of comment about it they all jump in to defend it. My brother told me to just let her do what makes her happy but I know it’s just a cult like group and she is wasting her time and money. She suffers from MS and I feel like they have fully taken advantage of that, claiming she just needs to drink this shake or that shake to get better. Any info you could find would be awesome. Thank you

  28. J.A. Nenno on August 27, 2020 at 12:14 am

    I love the term "label fluffling." Fluff, fluff, fluffy, label fluffing!

  29. Frank Gutowski on August 27, 2020 at 12:14 am

    Dishonest? Quacks are dishonest?

  30. GoVitasCom on August 27, 2020 at 12:15 am

    Medical experts admit that 400,000 Americans are KILLED every year from MEDICAL MISTAKES! This is why intelligent people are looking for alternatives. Imagine the outrage if nine passenger planes crashed and burned EVERY DAY for 365 days a year, killing all 1,095 people on board the planes! That’s how many people are "accidentally" murdered every day by the AMA approved doctors, nurses, pharmacists, clinics and hospitals!

  31. tipsydave on August 27, 2020 at 12:15 am

    A lot of the time, testimonials on supplement / alt-med websites or literature are from people who don’t actually exist. When they have pictures, they are often stock-photo models.

  32. steve clapper on August 27, 2020 at 12:15 am

    "Dr Oz" is a huckster and a charlatan.

  33. ceruchi on August 27, 2020 at 12:15 am

    This video won my subscribe! Your analysis is perfectly condensed. Thank you for the good work. Unfortunately the placebo effect is so strong that many reasonable and otherwise freethinking people will continue to get snookered by the supplements they try.

  34. Albert Stegeman on August 27, 2020 at 12:16 am

    Am I a bad person if I hope that quacks like Eric get the disease they claim to cure with their bs pills themself? God is righteous, isn’t he?

  35. George Abreu on August 27, 2020 at 12:17 am

    Is there a watch-out list of these pseudoscientific medicines somewhere?

  36. Niqui To on August 27, 2020 at 12:18 am

    You can overdose on water or sugar, it is just really really extreamly hard (almost imposible if unintentional)

  37. Grim Dark End on August 27, 2020 at 12:18 am

    "Supplements" that work tend to be labeled as "botanical specimen"

  38. Atheist Mommy on August 27, 2020 at 12:21 am

    How come so many people believe in homeopathy these days, even it’s not proven to have any effects? I bought in Walgreens cough syrup for my 7 year old son, I got home and then discovered "homeopathy based" label. It’s very frustrating. I’ve always supported James Randi’s fight against it.

  39. Brunon Kowalski on August 27, 2020 at 12:25 am

    OMG! You have a problem with quacks selling supplements and you don’t see the problem with big pharma? Real sceptic you are…. Buahahahahahaha.

  40. Brandon Daniels on August 27, 2020 at 12:25 am

    My parents are into the alt-medicine supplements, oils, vitamin’ etc. It’s so frustrating when they say "but this person says…" Damn near impossible to make them acknowledge that testimonials do not count as medical evidence

  41. Ryan Ehlis on August 27, 2020 at 12:27 am

    FDA is corrupt as hell! Vitamin B17 cures and prevents many cancers. Cancer is a nutrition deficiency problem. Also vaccinations cause cancer.

  42. Parker Avery on August 27, 2020 at 12:28 am


  43. MarklenIngyer on August 27, 2020 at 12:28 am

    Does anyone know how to find what natural medicines are actually backed up by real medical research and studies, and which are not?
    Like, I hear that Lavender helps you sleep. Is there any actual study that shows this effect to be reliable, and not just a placebo?
    If you type things like "Natural remedies backed by the medical community" into google you find that dishonest purveyors of supplements and essential oils have pushed their garbage to the top of search results, instead of finding what natural remedies are actually proven by evidence.

  44. RainbowFlowerKitty64 on August 27, 2020 at 12:31 am

    Even if it is evidence based, you cant market it as a drug or cure if it has a natural product #. Correct? FDA laws will stop anything natural from ever being a cure. So even if you have double blind placebo controlled clinical trials on said supplements showcasing its efficacy, you still cant make claims about what it does for legal reasons. Right?

  45. Jaime Montero on August 27, 2020 at 12:31 am

    Is there a way to fight mlms? Mike is there some sort of advocacy that we can undertake in order to further bring these scams under societal microscopes?

  46. Warren Raffensberger on August 27, 2020 at 12:33 am

    Apple cider vinegar completely cured my acid reflux 12yrs ago.

  47. Ashley ASHLEYM on August 27, 2020 at 12:34 am

    Well I mean you can actually overdose on sugarpills. I would take a shit of a lot of them, but just like anything else you can overdose on them, but I mean the warning is really stupid because it is very hard to overdose on it because the products do next to nothing. More people are becoming aware of this but not sure if you know, you can even overdose on water especially if it’s distilled! This is because it causes the drinkers cells the burst as they intake all the extra water. Of course getting this much overhydrated is pretty hard to do and it’s more common in athletes. My point is just that you CAN overdose on anything no matter what it is so they’re technically still correct in putting that label although can imagine seeing that label on everything because it technically applies to everything.

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