Swisse vs. Reality

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Back in July I had a crack at Swisse – one of the biggest marketers of questionable supplements and alternative therapies currently going around. I got a really interesting comment from correspondent Pam, and felt it was worth putting the comment up in lights, rather than having it languish in a comment thread. She had this to say about the subject:

After a PET scan showed multiple ordinary-nothing-to-worry-about cysts on my liver (as part of a work up to diagnose breast cancer bone mets) I decided to take Swisse Liver Detox tablets to help support my liver function. I don’t drink alcohol and have a good well balanced diet. The only reason I decided to try them was because an osteopath friend of mine suggested finding something with milk thistle in it – so stupid me I did! Within a fortnight of taking them my entire body is itching terribly (to the point that I am now cover in little sores) and when I had my blood test this week the oncologist phoned me to tell me my liver function was badly ABNORMAL when previously it had been perfectly normal!! Needless to say I stopped taking the tablets three days ago but I am still itching terribly. This is an allergy to the tablets and they have caused my poor liver to now not function properly! I have to have another blood test in a fortnight to reassess its function now! Not happy! There is nothing on the Swisse website for Liver Detox warning about this sort of reaction.

Pam’s story is a timely warning  that these ‘feel good’ treatments don’t guarantee that you’ll actually feel good. Or even better. They really don’t guarantee anything. In Pam’s case I wouldn’t be surprised if she had some legal recourse for what she has suffered.  So don’t believe the hype, or even the anecdotes  (see my Elmore threads for good examples of those), and ensure you check with your doctor (of Real Medicine) about whether the supplement will help or hinder. At least this way if something goes wrong, it will be quicker to diagnose.

And for those cynics out there, who want to yell at me: “hypocrite, you’re just citing an anecdote yourself” – good work! Your critical thinking skills are coming along. Yes, it’s an anecdote, and yes, Pam could work for an opposition supplement company. Or Pam could be part of the Big Pharma conspiracy aiming to kill the ‘real treatments because they’re so effective’. But the difference is that it’s an example of what could happen, not a guarantee of what will happen. It’s  a warning, not encouragement. Buyer or user beware.

And how is Pam doing now? Her most recent update is:

My second blood test after stopping the Liver Detox tablets showed a marked improvement although it was still not back to the normal level it showed pre-self medicating!! Never again!!

Good luck with it Pam. To really get that liver humming, I recommend 1 litre of Elmore Oil daily. I drank some, and my liver is just dandy.

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4 thoughts on “Swisse vs. Reality

    Dan Rea said:
    August 13, 2012 at 10:41 pm

    Must be posted:

      rationalbrain said:
      August 13, 2012 at 10:51 pm

      I thought I had at one stage, but never gets old.

      Pam Miskin said:
      October 16, 2012 at 4:36 pm

      Love Tim Minchin!!! My FAVOURITE comic of all time. My liver is almost back to normal – this week the oncologist tells me that just one aspect of the blood test shows abnormal function …. not to worry about it though… and stay away from self medicating!!!! Hahaha!

        rationalbrain said:
        October 16, 2012 at 6:17 pm

        Great to hear you’re on the mend.
        And good advice for all.
        rb.

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