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13 BS Health Products, Supplements, and Treatments, According to Nurses

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There are thousands of health products, supplements, and services on the market, many of which promise a litany of health benefits. Many people rely on over-the-counter drugs and products advertised online when dealing with various ailments, aches, and diseases. But how many of these products are legitimate? Healthcare is a business after all, and some companies are just looking to make money, even if it puts their customers at risk.

From b*****t insurance to over-hyped pills and oils, we asked millions of nurses to sort through the good and the bad to help us make sense of all the ads coming our way. Here are the worst/least-effective health supplements and treatments, according to some of America’s healthcare providers:

“Those Medicare supplement commercials…Complete BS. Just stick with regular Medicare and buy a secondary.”

-Shara R.

“That the HPV vaccine prevents cancer! The HPV vaccine prevents genital warts but was marketed to prevent cervical cancer, which is not true. HPV can lead to cervical cancer, but it does not prevent cervical cancer and the horrible image that comes to my mind is a 26-year-old patient I had with a 2-year-old dying of cervical cancer that says to me, ‘But I had the vaccine.’”

-Paula F. P.

“Homeopathic treatments, essential oils curing everything under the sun and moon.”

-Jami V.

“Gastric bypass surgeries for people that are not morbidly obese or with additional medical complications: only because it comes with very high risk of malnutrition and vitamin deficiencies and can cause significant issues with absorption that no one wants to acknowledge or talk about.”

-Emily W.

“There is an ad on Facebook of some drink with lemon in it that clears your lungs of damage from smoking – or strongly implies it. I reported it because it bothered me so much, but Facebook thought it met standards. Also, ads for a bra saying traditional bras can cause breast disease. I reported that one, too, and they said they removed it. I sound like a ‘Karen’, don’t I?”

-Isabella M.

“Naturopaths/Homeopaths! When I meet cancer patients who have declined standard treatment for some homeopathic “cure” and now their cancer is untreatable. Makes me sick.”

-Vicki P.

“Hip protectors.”

-Lexy M.

“Over the counter pills that claim to help your memory/brain. Useless and a waste of money.”

-Peg C.

“Hearing non-medical people trying to discuss anything healthcare related.”

-Robert Q.

“Essential oils, colloidal silver lotions, moxibustion, Mixed mineral solution, candling, etc.”

-Carissa M.

“Gabapentin is a farce.”

-Lee Ann G.

“Medicare advantage plans.”

-Marie W.

“There are literally too many claims to list. Using one company’s special EO blend will heal the damage and scarring in lungs from covid, another’s will keep the user from ever contracting covid, taking another company’s ‘clinically studied’ supplement daily will control blood glucose.

I admitted a patient a few years ago, arrived in the ED via ambulance in DKA; once we got him squared away and he was awake and lucid again, we found out he was taking an MLM supplement that was supposed to cure his diabetes and make him not need his medication.”

-Kelly D.

Lots of health supplements and insurance plans aren’t what they seem, but it’s important to remember that some peoples’ claims are opinions, not medical facts, so take them with a grain of salt. Talk to your patients about the dangers of bogus health supplements and treatments and ask your doctor before taking something you saw advertised on TV!

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