Hawking snake oil to the elderly

I still get mail addressed to my mother on occasion; she left this world last year at the age of 94. But she was getting ads like this regularly for about 15 years before she finally caught the bus, and as time went on (before we took over her financial affairs) she ordered lots of products, either on her own or at the insistence of skilled but sleazy telephone salesmen. As a result, she ended up on every sucker list out there.

If you have older loved ones, please make sure they throw solicitations like this into the trash, even if they come from places as respectable as the Mayo Clinic – they’re not above drumming up business in the elder sector, and there are thousands of others who are looking for a chance to separate mentally-diminished but resource-wealthy seniors from their incomes, savings, and pensions.

The letter above is pure crap. The company makes a glaring mention of the FDA and implies that said agency has endorsed their product. This is a load of hqiz: the actual FDA letter is here, and if you read it you’ll see that the agency is clearly saying that evidence for effectiveness of phosphatidylserene as a memory-enhancer is feeble at best, although the product is Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) based on the information provided to the FDA by the company involved, with the additional disclaimer that the FDA has not done its own research. They went on to say, “FDA continues to believe that the science provides very limited and preliminary evidence sufficient for qualified health claims about phosphatidylserine and reduced risk of these conditions.FDA continues to believe that the science provides very limited and preliminary evidence sufficient for qualified health claims about phosphatidylserine and reduced risk of these conditions“.

Now don’t get me wrong; I’m a long-time proponent of optimal nutrition and there is a lot of science out there about vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other co-factors that do benefit health. What I object to is outlandish claims and weasel words from companies looking to make a quick buck from the unsuspecting and uneducated, and there are far too many of those out there.

If you’re looking for things to help your loved ones, be sure to do your due diligence. Research as much as you can on the product involved, and make sure you’re not buying smoke and mirrors, which is what 90% of the stuff being marketed out there really is.

The Old Wolf has Spoken.

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