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Considering an enzyme supplement?


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.


Does the story adequately discuss the costs of the intervention?


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?


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?


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?


This story does not engage in disease mongering.

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


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?


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?


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?


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

Total Score: 8 of 9 Satisfactory


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