NOTE TO READERS: When this project lost substantial funding at the end of 2018, I lost the ability to continue publishing criteria-driven news story reviews and PR news release reviews - once the bread-and-butter of the site going back to 2006. The 3,200 archived reviews, while still educational, are getting old and difficult for me to technically maintain on the back end of the website. So I am announcing that I plan to remove these reviews from the site by April 1, 2021. The blog and the toolkit - two of the most popular features on the site - will remain. If you wish to peruse the reviews before they disappear, please do so by the end of March 2021. After that date you may still be able to access them via the Internet Archive Wayback Machine - https://archive.org/web/.
Read Original Story

Considering an enzyme supplement?

Rating

5 Star

Considering an enzyme supplement?

Our Review Summary

This is an entry in the "Healthy Skeptic" column in the Los Angeles Times about a nutritional supplement that makes extraordinary health claims but delivers little.  The column did a nice job of debunking the claims made for an enzyme-containing product by explaining that the proteolytic and lipases contained are broken down in the digestive system. The story could have been a little more clear about the nature of information debunking the claims of this product. It might have also offered a more complete discussion about the lack of regulatory oversight for nutritional supplements.  However, overall it did a nice job.

Criteria

Does the story adequately discuss the costs of the intervention?

Satisfactory

The cost ($160 for a five month supply) was mentioned in the story.

Does the story adequately quantify the benefits of the treatment/test/product/procedure?

Satisfactory

Reading the story, one learns that there isn't any benefit to be gained from the use of this product.

Does the story adequately explain/quantify the harms of the intervention?

Not Satisfactory

There was no direct mention of potential harms from the use of this product.  While the story ended with the fact that the standard for nutritional supplements differs from that of prescription drugs, it should have described what that standard is.

Does the story seem to grasp the quality of the evidence?

Satisfactory

The story included information obtain from and credited to the web site of the products producer.  It also mentioned that there were no medical trials with this product; and it mentioned that there were some studies of some of the product's components that did not find evidence supporting the claims of the company.

We wish, though, that the story had mentioned whether the studies were clinical trials, case reports, or work done in animals.

Does the story commit disease-mongering?

Satisfactory

This story does not engage in disease mongering.

Does the story use independent sources and identify conflicts of interest?

Satisfactory

An expert on alternative treatments was interviewed for this story as was a rheumatologist.  Neither had any connection with the product discussed.

Does the story compare the new approach with existing alternatives?

Not Applicable

Options for feeling better?  Somehow this criterion doesn't work with this story.

Does the story establish the availability of the treatment/test/product/procedure?

Satisfactory

The story discussed the manufacturer's website, where the enzyme product can be purchased.  At that website, several companies were named that carry the product. 

Does the story establish the true novelty of the approach?

Satisfactory

This was a discussion about a commericially available product and was appropriately described as such.

Does the story appear to rely solely or largely on a news release?

Satisfactory

It's clear that this column did not rely on a news release.  It involved independent journalistic digging. 

Total Score: 8 of 9 Satisfactory

Comments

Please note, comments are no longer published through this website. All previously made comments are still archived and available for viewing through select posts.