I have now been in the nutrition business for about a year. I like this business. There is one thing I don't like: stifled freedom of speech. We are severly limited in what we can write on JigsawHealth.com about what our products do and how they effect chronic health conditions.
The frustration is that there are incredible discoveries continually being made at universities and clinics worldwide about various nutrients and naturally occuring substances and their positive effects on the body. NaturalProductsInsider is one such source covering these new studies. If you sell products based on this information though, the FDA does not allow you to directly state what the researchers have discovered and reported.
So as new studies that show promising benefits or confirm long-held beliefs are published, we are limited in what information we can pass along to customers on JigsawHealth.com because we also sell products.
An example is an ingredient called Policosanol found in our Cardio Complex product. There are 10 double blind, placebo controlled studies showing that it lowers cholesterol significantly. We cannot say it does this however. We have to say it "supports the cardiovascular system." Anything more and the FDA says we are marketing a drug. Friends have asked me why we are not more aggressive with research information? The FDA is the reason. Jigsaw Health simply cannot directly tell people all that scientists know about nutritional ingredients.
On October 17 2005, the FDA sent letters to 29 companies that market cherry products. Cherries, and extracts from cherries, have amazing health properties. The FDA ordered these companies to stop publicizing this truthful scientific information. The FDA said that cherries would have to be a drug for these companies to publish scientific information about how they help people get and stay healthy. Here is a company that has been prevented from telling you what scientists know about healthy cherries. This is crazy but true!
Another example, there are studies that show that a handful of pecans eaten every day can lower cholesterol levels even more than the FDA approved multi billion $$ statin drugs. However, pecan growers CANNOT tell the American public this information. Jigsaw sells wonderful sprouted organic pecans, but we can not put on a label, a brochure, or a website a statement like, "Pecans lower cholesterol" -- even though it is proven to be accurate. The FDA has a financial interest to protect the pharmaceutical companies who HAVE paid the hundreds of millions to be able to market statin drugs. (See Dr. Mercola's latest on ex-FDA Director, Lester Crawford landing at Policy Directions, a lobbying firm that specializes in food and drug-related issues.)
Keep in mind, it was the FDA who knew for a very long time that Vioxx caused heart attacks and strokes. They totally resisted telling the American public long enough for almost 60,000 to 100,000 people die while the FDA protected Merck Pharmaceuticals. The FDA was forced to admit what it knew by one of its own scientists.
Now, it is well known that some studies that are published are later disproven. There are also unscrupulous companies that blatantly make things up. So what? Everyday, mainstream media publishes stories that later are proven to be false. Everyday, they publish things that they know to be false. But this is freedom of speech, freedom of the press!
Thankfully, it does not take long for things that are not true to be exposed today. We do not need a "Government Truth Squad" to censor this information because today's market forces weed out this crap pretty quickly. The Internet, Blogosphere, and other market forces are very efficient. People are NOT stupid in general. And most people can discern solid, reliable health information from "snake oil" scams.
The good news is that there may be a way to stop this FDA stranglehold. There has been a bill introduced in the House designed to allow this information to freely reach the American public without the FDA censoring the data. It is Bill H.R. 4282, The Health Freedom Protection Act.
Please contact your Congressmen and ask that they co-sponsor and support this bill. It is sorely needed. People need to know the incredible information that is out there but they are not allowed to be told.