The FDA has ordered Joseph Mercola, DO and his Optimal Wellness Center to stop making illegal claims for four products. The order was based on product labels collected during an inspection at his facility and on claims made on the Optimum Wellness Center Web site. The objectionable claims include:
**Vibrant Health Research Chlorella XP, claimed to "help to virtually eliminate your risk of developing cancer in the future."
**Fresh Shores Extra Virgin Coconut Oil, claimed to reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer, and degenerative diseases.
**Momentum Health Products Vitamin K2, possibly useful in treating certain kinds of cancer and Alzheimer's disease.
**Momentum Health Products Cardio Essentials Nattokinase NSK-SD, claimed to be "a much safer and effective option than aspirin and other pharmaceutical agents to treating heart disease."
In 2005, the agency warned Mercola about claims for chlorella, coconut oil, and another product. Mercola.com is one of the Internet's largest and busiest health information sites. Mercola states that his site has over 50,000 pages and is visited by "millions of people each day," and that his three-times-a-week electronic newsletter has over 850,000 subscribers. Many of his articles make unsubstantiated claims and clash with those of leading medical and public health organizations. For example, he opposes immunization and fluoridation, claims that amalgam fillings are toxic, and makes many unsubstantiated recommendations for dietary supplements. Much of his support comes from chiropractors who promote his newsletter from their Web sites. For further information and links to the warning letters, see http://www.quackwatch.org/11Ind/mercola.html
Well, it looks like he's busted, albeit for now he's just getting a (second) slap on the wrist.
This is a vindication of sorts. When virgin coconut oil really became a fad here and I started checking this substance out I came across Mercola's site. That was about two years ago. He's one of the more avid promoters of VCO. I scoured PubMed and couldn't find VCO clinical trials that went beyond dermatological studies. Finding little to support the claims I had been hearing and reading I emailed the American Heart Association in October 2004 to get more info. I received this reply:
I am unaware of any credible studies that have been done on the health benefits of virgin coconut oil. I have even checked the National Library of Medicine and there are no scientific studies listed. Coconut oil is very high in saturated fat and we have a great deal of evidence to show that saturated fatty acids raise blood cholesterol, a risk factor for heart disease.
Going loco over coco. Lots of testimonials out there. But what a dearth of controlled, double-blind studies.
Mercola might as well be advertizing PrayER™ as an effective cure for every disease and malady the world has ever known (with the exception of amputated limbs--for some mysteriously unknown reason).