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Investigation Slams Herbal Supplement Claims

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By Jon Jordan, NEWS 9

OKLAHOMA CITY -- An investigation by the U.S. Government Accountability Office alongside the Food and Drug Administration found some companies are making bogus claims.

Under FDA statues and regulations sellers are prevented from making claims their products can treat, prevent or cure specific diseases, however the investigation found sellers doing just that.

Some of the claims the investigation revealed was sellers making statements that garlic prevents obesity and diabetes and cures cardiovascular disease. However, the National Institute of Health does not recognize garlic as a treatment for obesity, diabetes or cardiovascular disease.

Another seller stated Ginseng cures diseases, including cancer. However, the NIH specifically recommends that breast and cancer patients avoid this product, because it may have adverse interactions with some cancer drugs.

The investigation included a random selection of 22 storefront and mail-order retailers of herbal dietary supplements. GAO conducted the study due to the rise in herbal dietary supplements among the elderly in the U.S.

The Government Accountability Office secretly recorded sellers making claims that have never been proven.

"I have a couple of customers with type diabetes who have gotten off their insulin," said a seller. "What I am saying is you really can correct any health condition I believe."

It's those kind of statements Greg Kurtz with the GAO calls frightening and said making claims like these puts the health of the consumer at risk.

In addition to the false claims, the GAO also discovered a number of herbal supplements with at least one potentially hazardous contaminant, however it was too small of an amount to cause any real concern.

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