Snake Oil Abounds!

I get a lot of spam, whether it’s in my email box, or by snail mail in my real mailbox. Years ago I subscribed to Prevention magazine, and since then the purveyors of snake oil have me on their mailing lists.  Usually I simply throw these letters unread into my recycling bin (where they so rightly belong), but every once in a while I decide to read the letters they oh so hopefully send to me. So, on Sunday afternoon I sat down and read the latest one.

This letter began with a dissertation on how the Medical Industry has a reason for keeping us all sick. They make money on our illnesses. I actually agree with this, as many doctors will prescribe all kinds of medicines without ever actually letting you know other ways of healing yourself. And, from what I’ve observed way too many people would rather pop a pill than change their lifestyle. When I was taking my various elderly clients out to their doctors almost every day of the week, there were doctors whose waiting rooms held more Pharmaceutical sales reps than patients. I find this a rather disturbing trend. I myself would rather go to a doctor who is aware of the “whole body” way of treating illnesses, rather than throw a prescription at every symptom. Now, I’m not saying that prescriptions aren’t necessary; because of course they can be necessary in many cases. But, I’m saying that they can also be overused:

So, as you can see, I’m not the only one who thinks that prescriptions are often over-used in American medical practices.

But, to get back to my snake oil salesman; in this particular letter, he goes on to describe the 2009 Noble winning doctors and their research into the anti-aging DNA sequence called telomere.
Good for my anti-aging doctor; this actually exists, and the findings sound really good. A way for us to “pop” some pills – this time his “special” all-natural concoction if only we give him basically $100.00 plus the price of the pills, of course.

Me being me, I looked further into this telomere information, and at first it looked really fantastic. I mean, who doesn’t want to wander into old-age as young as they can? Who doesn’t this letter appeal to? This would supposedly help your DNA from losing the long strands thereby keeping your cells young forever. This looked good; there was real science behind it. But, I kept going. After all, this was real money we were talking about here. However there was something that I wasn’t all that crazy about. One of the “free” eBooks that was being offered by this doctor was one that claimed being a Vegetarian was not healthy or compassionate. Well, I don’t know exactly what else he claimed, as I’m tightly holding onto my $100.00 in my little fist and not sending it to him; but there are many scientifically credible studies that refute this statement.

So, when I read that, I decided to continue my research – after all, what else is there to do on a Sunday afternoon?

This article discusses the latest anti-aging research, and also quotes Nobel Laureate (one of the 2009 Nobel winners for the scientific findings that this snake oil doctor is basing his information on) Dr. Elizabeth Blackburn stating that increasing the length of the telomere can make cancer cells virtually impossible to kill; thereby increasing the risks of cancer. Interesting, and rather scary.  Also, not mentioned by my snake oil salesman.  On another note, Dr. Blackburn also talks about other stressors not related to telomere that can increase the aging process as well as the development of illness.

My take-away from all the research I did?  The only way to increase our “health span” is through the good old-fashioned ones: a healthy lifestyle. Yep, no “magic pill”. Sorry, I just knew it was too good to be true.


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