Do ANY of these products work? (snake oil redux)

I was just noticing the diet ads on TV (how can you not?) just saw one for cordite…no wait that’s what you blow people up with…Cordaid?

There are tons of them, and they have a history of being bullshite. Are they?

I used to take Metabolite which had ephedrine in it. Which is now banned. Well, yeah if you take eight pills a day! Then of course you get high blood pressure. But being overweight and not excersizing gives you high blood pressure too. Anyway, it helped me and the idiots who were taking eight pills a day ruined it for the rest of us.
But I digress. My question is are any of these new pills anything more than snake oil?

And what about the ads for hair regrowth? The other pernnial snake oil industry. Rogaine is supposed to be for real…what else?

And of course the whole penis thing…also home of the snake oil. Viagra works…can any of these other claims be true?

(I’d be more specific but there are so many of all of the above.)
I don’t know…perhaps this belongs in IMHO, but I was wondering about hard evidence for any of the numerous claims I can’t seem to avoid.

When it comes to weight loss we don’t have any OTC appetite suppresants/stimulants than prescription amphetamines, which don’t work all that well (for weight loss) in normal prescription dosages anyway. So your best bet is caffeine, diet and exercise.

Put it this way…

If a product like these worked, the only thing standing between you and it would be the cost. Let’s look at the people who can afford as many of these things as they want.

How many bald billionaires are there? If Rogaine worked reliably, there wouldn’t be any. Donald Trump wouldn’t need that godawful combover. Ronald Perlman would have a mane like Bon Jovi. And if Cordaid worked at all, they’d both have slim, attractive physiques and look dandy in Speedos.

I’m leaning toward snake oil.

You’re assuming that said billionaires care about their personal appearance to the extent of feeling the need to alter their bodies. Bill Gates can buy and sell all of them and he’s very homely. He could look more conventionally attractive through plastic surgery but has not done so. Can we therefore conclude that plastic surgery doesn’t work, because there are some ultra-wealthy people who have not had it?

Not any more, IIRC.
In 2005, a federal judge in Salt Lake City lifted the ban that the FDA enacted in 2004.

I have not seen evidence of a flood of ephedra products back on the market, which leads me to think that fear of lawsuits over injury and death may be the practical limiting factor on these OTC drugs.

You can pick out scams and frauds in weight-loss and hair growth promotions by listening to the ads and checking out the websites. There are numerous ways to detect snake oil, the most prominent being a lack of any meaningful clinical research and a dependence on testimonials from people who may or may not exist.

My favorite diet pill scam is the one where you’re supposed to believe that it must work because it’s so incredibly expensive (though a competitor has come out with a cheaper form of the same crapola).

Well, you do need to be more specific.

I’ll give some examples:
Penis pill: Usually contain herbs that sometimes will help with blood flow and thus sometimes give a “fuller” erection, thus a “bigger penis”. No, they don’t make you penis 'grow" but if you’re middle aged, you likely remember some erections you got in your salad days which were much harder, and thus bigger. You don’t need to pay those prices however- any decent vitamin company has a similar compound. The compound will usually have Ginko, Horney Goat Weed and Yohimbe- that last of which can be dangerous. I think there was a study which showed that Ginko did help with blood flow to the penis a little bit.

There are vitamins which if you don’t take enough of you accellerate your hair loss. Thus, the makers of these pills assumes a larger dose will slow down normal hair loss. As long as this doesn’t lead to dangerous overdoses, it’s probably safe and very slightly effective. Biotin is one vitamin in many of those pills- you can buy it yourself cheaply, or again, most vitamin companies make a “hair product”- which I think would be safer and certainly cheaper.

Still talking about hair loss one study found that Nizoral seemed to work almost as well as minoxdil:{32A53846-022E-4AD2-AB0F-99921DD8D1DD}

Certainly it’s not rock solid, but on the other hand, it’s a nice shampoo and harmless, so if it does help with hair loss it’s a great side benefit. Some dudes have repackaged a ketoconazole shampoo and are selling it for Hair loss and “thicker, fuller hair”. It’s just overpriced Nizoral, which ain’t cheap anyway.

So, no pill that works as well as Viagra, and no pill that really makes your penis actually “larger”. There are some herbs that seem to perhaps help you get a “fuller” erection. Maybe. Don’t pay too much, if you decide to give em a try and beware of pills with Yohimbe.

Some vitamins might just help with hair loss, depending. Any such compound from a reputable vitamin company should be harmless and not expensive.

One shampoo seems promising, and in any case is a damn fine dandruff shampoo.

Actually I don’t think ephedra itself was ever taken off the market, it just could no longer be sold as a dietary aid/appetite suppressent. Ephedra is actually also used for bronchitis (ever heard of primatene mist? same dosage of ephedra) and I was buying it online under that guise long after everything went “ephedra free”. To address the original post, ephedra does seem to help me eat a lot less, and I only take one per day along with a caffiene pill.

My favorite diet aid ad came in this magazine put out by my local health food store. ACTUALLY REDUCES CELLULITE!!! But it’s expensive…and there is a catch. Two catches. Hey, maybe three. One, you can only use it on one part of your body at a time, because it’s sooooo supereffective you would otherwise overload your system as the fat washes away! Two, in order to help the fat on its way you have to drink a lottttt of water. They suggest one large with each meal. And three, it really helps that fat to get moving out of your system if you … exercise.

Or you could skip the unguent and try drinking three more large glasses of water a day than you already do and exercising. Of course then you wouldn’t get the placebo effect.

(My theory: once you have paid $135 for a month’s supply you are going to do whatever it says, giving you strong motivation. And you aren’t going to want to look like a fool in front of anyone who happens to know you paid $135 for a month’s supply so you won’t do anything to screw it up, like eating 12 dozen Dove bars. I have no explanation for the “one body part at a time” bit.)

No, it really was forced off the market. . Primetine mist is Epinephrine, which was not among the alkaloids banned, but is very similar.

The repeal of the FDA ban was pretty weak as well. IT only applies to supplements made by one company - Neutraceutical or it’s subsidiary Solaray, and only to products containing less than 10mg of ephedra. Most of the supplement industry is either afraid ephedra will be banned again or has already spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in reformulating and repackaging supplements.

Here’s a pretty good summary of ephedra’s legal woes.