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To the Editor.—
We have seen increasingly large numbers of our patients taking preparations of sometimes dubious value purchased from the health food industry. Our interest was aroused when one of our patients was advised to discontinue her regimen of digoxin, a diuretic, and levothyroxine sodium by a "nutritionist" at a health food store and was further advised to take kelp and several vitamin supplements instead.This incident caused us to wonder about the nature of information being provided by the health food industry. We surveyed ten health food distributors by having some of our employees seek out the supervisor or "nutritionist" of each establishment. Our investigators mentioned that their physician was treating them with thyroid hormone because they had a goiter and asked if they had any products that would help. All ten advised that they had such useful products. Two advised stopping treatment with thyroid hormone, six advised
Stoffer SS, Szpunar WE, Coleman B, Mallos P. Advice From Some Health Food Stores. JAMA. 1980;244(18):2045-2046. doi:10.1001/jama.1980.03310180015012