From the Greek meaning 'heavy with wine'
A blog devoted to science and reason
Written after a glass or two of Pinot Noir.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Is a Pesticide a Dietary Supplement?

Those dietary supplements you take have all been shown to do what they claim, right? Plus, they've been shown to be safe to consume, right? No one would market what they know or suspect might be harmful, right?

No, no, and no.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has regulatory power over drugs, and drugs are "intended for use in the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease" and include "articles (other than food) intended to affect the structure or function of the body." 

The Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA) essentially forbids  the FDA from acting against manufacturers of dietary supplements. Senators Tom Harkin (Iowa) and Orrin Hatch (Utah) were the primary sponsors of the DSHEA.

Supplement makers use the following disclaimer:
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
I put this text in the smallest font possible, because that's often how one finds it. Here it is in a more readable font size.
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
One supplement provider, Matt Cahill, is going to jail for the death of 17 year old Leta Hole. Sorry, that's incorrect.  He pled guilty for mail fraud and "introducing a misbranded drug into commerce." He spent two years in federal prison. 

Chemical Structure of DNP
The drug he misbranded was 2,4 Dinitrophenol or DNP.  It is used in the production of pesticides and explosives. It was used as a dieting aid in the 1930s, because it increases metabolic rates, but DNP was quickly recognized for its toxicity.

Just months before beginning his prison term, Cahill started a new company and began selling a steroid he marketed as Superdrol. Superdrol contained a steroid Cahill found in a book. Cahill said that Superdrol was safe and felt qualified to make that determination.

What qualifications does he have?  "I had a scientific background in school, I just don't have a degree." He says he was enrolled for a time in an exercise physiology program at Nassau Community College, but can't remember taking any chemistry classes. The sales of Superdrol provided a tidy income while he was in jail. He later sold Superdrol to another supplier, and Jareem Gunter was banned from NCAA competition and needed a new liver.

Cahill is now facing charges of "introduction and delivery of unapproved drugs into interstate commerce" for Rebound XT.

Never letting federal charges get in his way, Cahill has "tons of great formulas," and has introduced Craze. Craze was listed by bodybuilder.com as New Supplement of the Year in 2012 and a nominee of 2013 Pre-Workout Supplement of the Year, but Craze is currently unavailable from the website's store.

What does Craze have in it? A traditional Chinese medicine called dendrobrium, a type of orchid; however, authorities are questioning whether the ingredients are as natural as claimed. Swedish scientists tested Craze and found substances that are chemically related to amphetamine. 

Meanwhile, the money continues to roll in.

NOTE: The primary source of this post if the USA Today investigation into Matt Cahill

For more information on the shame that is the DSHEA, see Quack Watch and Science-Based Medicine.


  1. Looks like another way for fake doctors and charlatans to make extra income out of people's health and expense.

  2. There are many purposes of the food supplements just like it help us to assure that we can get an adequate dietary intake of such nutrients. However, supplements should not replace the variety of foods that are important to a healthful diet - so, be sure you eat a variety of foods as well. So by that; it is not enough that we had already intake that food supplements we will not anymore eat, but we should eat first a balance diet in order to gain a healthful life. And, be mindful of what you eat and drink. Stay away from junk foods and sodas.

    Food Supplements

  3. DNP is very similar to TNP which is picric acid which is an explosive