Standard Process=Standard Nonsense

Standard Process is a company that has been selling dietary supplements since 1929. It was founded by a dentist, Royal Lee, who developed a number of unconventional theories about the role of nutrition in health and disease. In essence, Dr. Lee and his successors take rational, scientific principles and extend them well beyond reason and evidence to promote claims that the particular plant and animal extracts they provide have near magical medicinal qualities. This is the very paragon of pseudoscience, the presentation of unsupported, often irrational hypotheses, mingled with scientific terminology and a sprinkling of tangentially related actual scientific facts to create a set of faith beliefs that appear to be scientific but do not actually conform to the philosophy, methods, or data of legitimate science.

It is quite reasonable and demonstrably true, for example, that nutritional deficiencies can cause disease, and that  supplementation with the appropriate nutrients can prevent and treat such diseases. This does not, however, support the generalization that all disease is associated with nutritional deficiencies, or that all disease can be ameliorated with proper nutritional supplementation. Food and nutrients of appropriate kind and quantity are unquestionably necessary for health and even life, but that has very little to do with whether or not the specific theories about the benefits of particular foods and nutrients sold by Standard Process are true.

Of course, Standard Process products are not simple vitamin and mineral supplements. They contain complex mélanges of plant and animal ingredients. The marketing materials talk a lot about the value of “whole foods.” The claim is frequently made that plant and animal tissues contain combinations of chemicals (never called by that dirty word, of course) that provide greater health prevention and treatment benefits in combination that individual nutrients can alone. And it is taken as a given that “processing” of any kind, including cooking, ruins the nutritional and health value of foods. The key to healthful supplements are that they contain whole, unprocessed, natural ingredients, preferably organically produced.

All of these are fairly standard arguments seen in the marketing materials for alternative approaches to nutrition. The evidence does not generally support such claims. Organic food appears to be no healthier than conventionally produced foods, though there may still be some environmental advantages to organic production methods. And while cooking and other kinds of processing do alter the nutrient content of foods, this is a pretty well-understood phenomenon. Some nutrients become more available, and those that are diminished by cooking can be effectively replaced. So the evidence does not support claimed health benefits for raw foods in humans or pets. “Natural,” of course is a meaningless marketing term. Synergy can exist between compounds in a whole plant, but it requires complex, thorough investigation to document that it actually does occur in any particular plant. And finally, the issue of “processing” of foods is a complex mishmash of fact and mythology. In general, “processed food” is used as a synonym for “junk food,” but clearly every time you wash, chop, season, or cook your food, you are “processing” it, and usually improving it. Claims about the nutritional inadequacy or deleterious effects of commercial pet foods are not supported by real evidence.

What is particularly odd about the emphasis in Standard Processes’ marketing materials on natural, unprocessed, whole foods is that their supplements cannot in any reasonable way be described by any of these buzzwords. They are complex mixtures of herbs, plant extracts, vitamins and minerals combined with “Protomorphogen” and “Cytosol” extracts. highly processed substances derived through proprietary processes from animal tissues, These mixtures are then compounded into tablets or powders. So mixtures that would never be found in nature in forms that are the result of extensive technological processing are sold as natural whole foods?

The animal tissue extracts represent another element to Dr. Lee’s unproven, pseudoscientific nutritional theories. It is true that deficiencies in the function of some glands can be remedied by supplementation with relevant substances from the same gland. However, it is usually true that purified isolates or synthetic forms of these glandular products are superior to whole organ supplements, and often the supplement cannot be given orally anyway. And none of this has any relevance to the broader claims that whole gland products or gland extracts prevent or treat disease through the action of numerous, often unidentified substances.

Ultimately, the idea that treating kidney disease by feeding ground up kidneys to the patient, as an example, is not a scientific hypothesis but yet another form of sympathetic magic. This is a descriptive term from anthropology which refers to a form of magical belief found in most cultures, that things which resemble one another in some superficial way can be used to influence each other. Mandrake root must be an aphrodisiac or fertility treatment because the root resembles a human penis; voodoo dolls that look like a particular person can be used to harm them; and diseases that involve a particular organ can be treated by feeding supplements made from that or a related organ.

There does not seem to be any real research evidence to support the claim than glandulars in general, or the “special” gland extracts sold by Standard Process, have any significant health benefits. Those who promote the use of these products support their assertions with clinical experience, case reports and uncontrolled case series, and reference to pre-clinical research showing that some chemicals from some glands have some effects. Much of the supporting research comes from publications devoted exclusively to promoting these products or alternative therapies in general. And, of course, there are plenty of anecdotes and testimonials to miraculous cures brought about by these products, which have their usual lack of probative value. Well-designed and conducted clinical trials published in mainstream peer-reviewed journals do not appear to exist, despite the fact that the company has been producing and marketing supplements for over 70 years.

As is usual with pseudoscience, claims about the products and unsupported theories are mingled with tangentially related facts from legitimate scientific theory and research. One example of the marketing materials for the Standard Process veterinary product line illustrates this technique. The document, published in Standard Process’ own pseudojournal Whole Food Nutrition Journal, begins with a list of known nutrient deficiency diseases. It then proceeds to point out that the transition from “traditional” to “modern” diets is associated with health problems. This has, of course, some truth to it, though it has nothing to do with the claims that will later come about the specific relationship between Standard Process supplements and health, and it ignores the fact that so-called “traditional” diets are themselves associated with nutritional deficiency diseases.

The infamous Pottenger study is mentioned, which is a common warning sign of veterinary nutritional pseudoscience. This is a poorly designed experiment from the 1940s that involved feeding milk and meat, either cooked or raw, to cats. The cats fed the cooked meat developed nutritional and developmental diseases, which is often cited as evidence that raw foods are healthier than cooked foods. Unfortunately, the complete lack of experimental controls or proper evaluation of the subject, and the simple fact that both diets were grossly deficient and utterly unlike the commercial pet foods the study is usually used to criticize, make the results meaningless. Pseudoscience at its best, or worst.

The pattern continues throughout the document, and is characteristic of the rest of Standard Process advertising. A mixture of hypotheses and outright fantasy with vaguely related scientific information to create the false impression that the whole is sound.  What the company is pretty careful not to do is make direct claims that its products prevent or treat actual diseases. Thanks to the ridiculously lax regulation of dietary supplements, it is possible to suggest, imply, and in a multiplicity of clever ways mislead the consumer, and even veterinarians, into believing the products have proven value in disease treatment or prevention. However, straight out claims that the products are medicinal are not allowed. The company and its founder have been sanctioned numerous times in the past by the Food and Drug Administration for illegal claims about their products. The current leadership is now more careful. However, believers in these supplements, primarily chiropractors and naturopaths as well as “holistic” veterinarians, devise and teach each other strategies for deciding which supplements to use when.

Bottom Line
The theories about the relationship between food, nutrients and health invented by Dr. Lee and still promoted by Standard Process are unscientific and not supported by scientific evidence.

The marketing claims that the products are beneficial because they are unprocessed, natural, whole foods are both meaningless and inconsistent with the real nature of the products, which are highly processed, artificial mixtures of compounds.

The promotional materials used to advertise these products to veterinarians and consumers are highly misleading pseudoscience, mixing unproven and unscientific ideas with bits of real science that do not actual have anything to do with the validity of the claims made about the company’s theories or products.

There is no evidence beyond individual opinion, anecdotes, and poorly designed case series to indicate that Standard Process products have any value in treating or preventing disease. More than 70 years after the company began manufacturing and selling supplements, there are still no good quality clinical trials demonstrating that any of their products are effective for the prevention or treatment of any medical condition.

Ultimately, the choice to use these products is a gamble, trusting that notoriously unreliable forms of evidence such as anecdotes can accurately guide us in the absence of any real scientific evidence.


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140 Responses to Standard Process=Standard Nonsense

  1. dogowner says:

    If I were you I would read up a bit more on testimonials and how completely worthless they are- even when truthful. No-one needs to be ‘deliberately lying’. Bloodletting wasn’t used as a cure-all for hundreds of years because people were lying, but because they were truthfully making mistakes. Because testimonials are inherently misleading, even entirely truthful ones.

    And the chances are that even if you do ‘see results’ you may be seeing results that aren’t actually there. Pet owners are known to get placebo effects for their animals- tell the owner that the pet has been given something to treat its arthritis and the dog will limp less, tell the owner the dog’s on a new food that will do wonders for its health and vitality and the owner will be convinced the dog is much better. Even if no treatment has been given at all, or the dog’s actually on the same or a worse food.

    Your pet could be completely unaffected and you could be ‘pleased with an improved condition’ while your pet is actually the same, or perhaps even worse off. You’d feel great- but what about your pet?

    Wouldn’t you be better off doing something, anything, that has a chance of working? Or spending the money on something that your pet would actually get benefit out of- actual ‘natural, unprocessed, whole’ food, toys etc. A nice bit of liver would get the pet some vitamins without funding people who are scamming others. Because, let’s not forget- you are paying them to sell an unproven treatment. You are encouraging them to continue to sell something without bothering to test whether it does what they claim.

    If the people at Standard Process thought their products worked they’d have done an experiment showing that by now. They presumably think it doesn’t work- why would you think it was worth trying if even they apparently don’t think it’s worth it to test?

  2. CC says:

    All I want to know is if the products are real and not synthetic..NO garbage, no fillers, no rocks or saw dust..ANY help?? Thanks

  3. skeptvet says:

    Of course, terms like “real,” synthetic” and “fillers” imply a lot of things about “good for you” and “bad for you” that haven’t actually been shown to be true, so the question itself contains a lot of shaky assumptions. That said, obviously you will have to go to the company to find out exactly what they put in their product, where they source it, and all the rest. My goal here is to take a science-based look at the claims they make and the evidence for them, not to conduct an independent laboratory analysis of heir ingredients.

  4. Gattina says:

    I’ve been using Standard Process Whole Canine Support for my two Tibetan spaniels for at least 5 years. I’d like to change to a different, general supplement and would appreciate your suggestions.

  5. skeptvet says:

    As I’ve tried to point out, there is no such thing as a “general supplement” that magically protects health and wards off disease. Specific supplements can be useful for specific things. Fish oils, for example, may reduce itching in dogs with allergies or reduce arthritis pain. Vitamin B12 supplements may help support appetite and prevent anemia in cats with chronic inflammatory bowel disease. But the key is choosing a specific supplement for a specific issue based on good evidence. There is absolutely no evidence that giving supplements of any kind, especially untested mixtures of things, to healthy animals has any health benefits. And since over-supplementation of even essential nutrients can cause harm, there is no reason to do this.

    My recommendation is to feed a balanced commercial diet or a homemade diet formulated by a veterinary nutritionist and skip the supplements.

  6. Gattina says:

    Just to be clear, I’m not looking for “magic.” I was asking about a supplement that would be the equivalent of a human’s multivitamin. Neither of my dogs has any health issues, unless you count the 2 back surgeries one of them had when he was 1 and 2 years old. He’s now 13. The other one is 11. People are always surprised when we tell them they’re that old.

  7. skeptvet says:

    Sure, I understand why people often have the idea that giving a nutritional supplement to a healthy person or animal might promote or protect health. It’s a rational concept, it just turns out not to be true. The evidence, for example, is pretty good that multivitamins in humans are useless at best and potentially even harmful unless there is a specific, diagnosed deficiency that needs to be treated. Even the idea of vitamin supplements as “insurance” against an imperfect diet turns out not to be true for humans, and it’s even less likely to be true for our pets since they are usually fed a much more balanced diet than we eat ourselves. I’ve never used any supplement for my healthy animals, and they too have remained well far into their teens. There simply isn’t any evidence that what you are looking for, as reasonable as it sounds like it should be, actually exists or does anything useful.

  8. AKinPA says:

    A “PhD” “wholistic”(his spelling) specialist, who claims to “cure” Cancer with “detoxification diets”, recently put my relative on a “vegan only” diet which mostly includes consuming large amounts of pills, powders, and liquids which are (products) mostly made by 2 companies STANDARD PROCESS and SUNRIDER. There are also products of 2 other similar companies that frequently do not have any FDA information/warnings on them. One common feature of all these products is a very high price for some basic supplements and in the case of “Standard Process” some type of “bovine excrement” that they include in their products.

    My relative has a type of degenerative Motor Neuron Disease(that is the current diagnosis). The “wholistic” doctor did not even try to reference what the disease is and was not familiar with it. But was very quick to charge an examination fee and write up a list of the above products that have to be ordered from far away places. The “examination” included an unsanitary “blood exam” that was something out of the 18th century which involved simply taking blood from a finger cut to a random microscope slide. I hope he does not “cure” HIV or Ebola in the same way.

    The “wholistic”(or should I call it holistic?) approach became necessary because the standard American Corporate Hospital with pharmaceutical company representatives calling themselves MD’s failed. Failed because they want to give you a horrible diagnosis and say something along the lines of “well I hope you enjoy dying because you probably will in 2-4 years, but before that happens we want you to start taking an overpriced drug that the FDA approves that does not really do anything(riluzole)”. Tests done by the hospital seem to show low levels of IgG(immunoglobulin), vitamin B and D deficiency, and lymphocytes in areas where they could be causing inflammation – MD mentioned nothing about this.

    So what should one suggest/advise/do in that situation? The MD’s in the American “Healthcare” system offer no hope. I am all for the scientific/science based approach – but are the MD’s in the US “for profit” or “for science”? I know it is not the same in other countries(having lived in other countries and received medical treatment there). And doctors who were trained outside of the US seem to differ from their counterparts who were trained in the US. Many MD’s in the US are no different from the “wholistic” doctor who is trying to sell you expensive treatments.

    I want my relative to return to her normal health, but where to go for help when MD’s fail? At this point only a Chiropractic Neurologist who is not trying to sell something offers any hope, the “wholistic” doctor offers false hope(mostly placebo effect) in my opinion.

  9. skeptvet says:

    It’s awful to be in such a position, and frustrating. All I can say is that I think you paint the entirety of the medical profession with such a broad brush that I think you have gone beyond simply recognizing the very real problems with our healthcare system and have gotten to a level of cynicism that is unfair and unhelpful. For all its flaws, and they are many, modern medicine and the scientific process behind it have given us the longest and healthiest lives of any humans who have ever lived. The inability to fix every problem isn’t a reason to jettison something that has reduced suffering so dramatically and reach for the kind of nonsense the holistic practitioner you mention offers.

    The best anyone can do is try to be an informed patient while accepting that while our doctors don’t known everything, neither do we, and if you persevere until you find one who you can communicate with and trust, they can be of great help even when they can’t always fix all of our ills.

    Best of luck to you and your family.

  10. Marelyn Shapiro says:

    Concentrated Cannabis Oil.

  11. Douglas Gray says:

    I had a friend whose cancer came back and multiplied throughout his body. Huntington Hospital in Pasadena, CA kept him for 10 days, and he went around with a chemotherapy drip outfit 24 hours a day. They charged him $17,000, then discharged him, and he died a week or two later. I think that the medical profession itself collects a lot more money for treatments that it knows are not going to work. Standard Process Labs is nothing by comparison. Here in Los Angeles, the major cancer centers constantly advertise on the radio.

  12. skeptvet says:

    Funny how any failure of science-based medicine is used to dismiss the entire field despite the overwhelming evidence that it has lengthened and improved the lives of millions, and yet the consistent failure of alternative medicine never seems to reduce anyone’s faith in it. I guess “faith” is the key word here, and facts have little meaning when that is the case.

  13. Judy says:

    I have been taking SP products for many years. A couple months ago, I started taking Ligaplex II for the ligaments in my shoulders an neck that I have a problem with.
    I was taking 6 of them most days, giving me 105 mg of manganese. I started getting sore muscles! Most days I can barely get out of bed. The muscles are sore all over my body. I have never experienced anything like it. I can hardly move. After looking up manganese toxicity, I couldn’t find find a description that fit what I am experience, except for one.
    This person was only on the product for a couple of days, and can hardly sit down because of the soreness. I do believe that this product is causing it. Has anyone else had these symptoms while taking Ligaplex II?

  14. Don miller says:

    Well it comes down to whether you ” Believe or Not”

  15. Thom Clark says:

    Instead of listening to a skeptical vet you should reach out to some that not only practice traditional vet medicine but use holistic practices that have great results. There are many non conventional treatments that really work and the Canine Whole Body Support has produced great results as I have seen with my dogs.

  16. Kari clouse says:

    I had that problem. I was started on Ligaplex II by my chiropractor because I was having some muscle spasms. After 6 days on it, I started to experience severe, debilitating joint pain and I could barely move. I realized that the only thing different in my diet was that supplement. I immediately stopped and within 2 days was back to normal. I went to a float spa and got a massage to help the muscle spasms

  17. Kari clouse says:

    I also reported it to Standard Process and they are having me fill out an “Adverse reaction report” with my practitioner. We will submit it to the FDA. I suggest you do the same. You are the third woman I have found in forums about Ligaplex II that has had these reactions

  18. Donna Koga says:

    My dog shows low normal thyroid results on his latest premium thyroid panel through MSU. Some of the values are very close to being below normal, as they’re right on the boarder, but haven’t hit that point yet. He was symptomatic, as well. In particular, he was having skin problems in the form of non stop hot spots – one would clear up, then others would appear in the same day… which he never had in his prior 9 years of life, along with patchy hair loss and dull dry coat. He also had an odor, which he also never had in the past. Nothing has changed in his environment. I had two Vets, one an endocrinologist, recommend using the Standard Process Canine Thyroid Support. So, he’s now been on it for a month. The hot spots have healed and he hasn’t gotten another one since being on the product. Hair loss areas are growing back, and his coat isn’t as dry. The odor is gone. So, it appears to be working. The surefire way to tell will be when he gets his next thyroid panel results, but we won’t be doing that again for a few months. We’ll see. Honestly, it would be cheaper just to put him on a low dose of thyroid hormone replacement meds, since he’s a giant breed, but for now, we’ll stick with the product and see how it goes.

  19. skeptvet says:

    I’d be interested in knowing what veterinary internist is recommending this product so I can ask about is or her rationale since it is typically not recommended or believed to be effective. Let me know who your specialist consultant is, if you can.

  20. Donna Koga says:

    I’m not sure that giving out my Vet’s or the specialist’s names on a public forum, to ask them to “defend” their treatment plan is ethical. In any event, I’d prefer not to. However, please be assured that both suggested that I try it for my dog. The endocrinologist is extremely well known and respected in “dog circles” and has been for decades. Several people that I know have use the SP canine thyroid support and it has made a positive difference, even in the thyroid panel values. I know this is anecdotal to you, but I’ve seen their panel results (before and after) which is what made me decide to give it a try. I was also somewhat skeptical when my Vet mentioned it to me. It was the reports from others in the dog community that persuaded me to at least try it. In my case, all I can report at this time is the improvement in my dog’s skin and coat. As of today, he’s been on it for 30 days, and he has not had a single hot spot nor any other type of skin or coat issue since the first week. His coat is also improving. The balding spots are now hair covered. He really was a mess for a month or two before trying the product…and as I said above, had exactly ONE hot spot in his previous 9 years of life. He’s a retired show dog, so believe me, I’d have noticed. Once I have his thyroid panel run again for a follow up, I’ll make sure to let you see both, whether there’s a change or not. I don’t believe I can link photos of his results here, but will figure out something with you at that time.

  21. skeptvet says:

    Sure, I certainly wouldn’t ask you to put anyone in an awkward position. However, if your endocrinologist is well-known and has any public information (published journal articles, a web page, etc.) discussing this subject, I would think it fair to reference that if he or she has already taken a public position on the subject. Entirely up to you, of course.

    You are correct, also, that anecdote really doesn’t carry much weight in science, though I understand why it feels so compelling to us as individuals. It just turns out to be wrong so often and so dramatically that it can’t be trusted to guide us.

    Good luck with your pet.

  22. Donna Koga says:

    OK…I had to hunt down the exact statement recommending the SP Canine Thyroid Support. The following statement is about midway down in the article linked, under the heading “Complementary Therapies”. “Dr. Dodds recommends Standard Process Thytrophin PMG and Standard Process Canine Thyroid Support. ” Of course I’m referring to Dr Jean Dodds, who my Vet consulted regarding the borderline results for my dog (from MSU…the Premium Canine Thyroid Panel).

    I’m sure you know who she is, but if not, here ya go – Dr Jean Dodds, founder of Hemopet:

    And her popular book on the canine thyroid epidemic from amazon is here:

    She’s very accessible to both Vets and pet owners. If you have any specific questions, perhaps you might want to contact her. Her contact info is on the Hemopet page (linked above)
    Hope this helps!

  23. skeptvet says:

    Thanks, Donna, I appreciate the effort. Unfortunately, as I suspected, you’ve been misled a bit. Dr. Dodds is not in any way an “endocrinologist.” She’s just a general practitioner with no special training or qualifications in this area. She has some strong opinions about thyroid disease, but these are not proven by any research evidence and not generally accepted as true by the veterinary internal medicine college, which are the folks with advanced training in this kind of subject.

    Dr. Dodds has done some great work in transfusion medicine, but she also promotes a number of beliefs and practices which aren’t supported by good science and which many in the profession with as much or more training, experience, and expertise do not believe to be accurate. Her views on thyroid disease are one of these. I haven’t yet written an assessment of her book on thyroid disease, but I did conduct an exhaustive review of her recent book on nutrigenomics, which illustrates many of the areas in which I think she goes well beyond reasonable scientific ideas and starts effectively making up her own principles of biology and medicine without putting in the hard, lengthy scientific research work to prove these are true.

    Dr. Dodds has been quite influential in some areas, but unfortunately I think many animal owners are misled into believing she has specialized expertise or that her opinions represent established science, whereas they are really her own views only and not widely accepted by the rest of the profession. I think it important that you and other pet owners have the chance to make decisions based on complete information, so I’m glad you were willing to look into the source of the advice you have received in more detail even if it doesn’t change your views on the subject. Thanks also for being willing to engage in old-fashioned polite and civil discussion about this, which is sadly too rare on the internet these days!

  24. Alan says:

    Just found this in a Google search on standard process. I love the thoughtful analysis. My father recently passed and one month recently he spent $1000 on supplements. He raved about standard process and how it was keeping him healthy. He still gets mail telling him that the right supplements will keep him alive indefinitely, and how doctors are a combination of incredibly ignorant and actually malevolent. Interestingly, the mail always has a little line somewhere saying that he should see his doctor because their supplements aren’t designed to treat any specific condition!

  25. Deb Davis says:

    If you search “dirt poor” in Scientific American you can read a brief response to a reader’s question about the decline in nutritional values of food. It cites two published studies, one American, one British, that span decades and report the lose of nutrients because of farming practices. It was these studies which changed my opinion about the need to supplement my diet. I really didn’t want to enter the quagmire of multivitamins, but I think it necessary insurance.

  26. Sandra says:

    It amazes me how important it seems to some to express their critical attitudes in a public forum. Standard Processing products have proven to be invaluable in my life, and the life of five of my pets, and for well over thirty five years. It offers something quite different in application, whether it be to help provide quality minerals that are more readily available to help detoxify heavy metals from the environment, or help with tissue repair. Manganese, in particular, chelates aluminum from the brain, and is an integral part of collagen production. Trace minerals are absolutely necessary in small amounts, and provide the raw materials necessary. Of course, the formulas are not magic bullets, there are none in today’s world. Everything is too polluted to sustain health on a level that we all wish for. Even if it is a “placebo” effect, it just might be an important step for one to take, as a catalyst to another level of awareness.

  27. skeptvet says:

    And it amazes me how consistently people feel their individual experiences are such incontestable proof that not only do they have no interest in scientific evidence, but they cannot imagine why anyone would voice a different opinion.

  28. Jason says:

    A few bottles of Standard Process’ Canine Musculoskeletal Support healed my boxer’s chronic, years-long elbow arthritis, documented by X-Ray.

    Guess that must’ve just been the placebo effect huh. LOL

  29. skeptvet says:

    Yup. Something happened, but unfortunately that doesn’t mean it was due to the specific factor you chose to give the credit. That’s what placebo effects are all about.

    Placebo Effects and Animals

    Why Anecdotes Can’t Be Trusted

  30. Skeptical consumer says:

    Skepvet is the only person on this list who has a rational argument. Everyone else is arguing on emotion and anecdote and accusing Skepvet of claiming things he/she did not claim!
    As for diabetes, your grandfather lost a lot of weight, that alone could put his diabetes in remission given that he clearly has type 2 diabetes. Completely removing sugar from the diet is as dangerous as eating too much.
    I’m with you, Skepvet! This is the problem with individuals playing expert, we too easily believe what ever we are being sold, because we are desperate to cure every ill.

    I have anecdotal evidence that SP was making me sicker. I gave SP a chance, and the practitioner just kept adding more and more supplements and higher doses because my body was telling her that it wanted one, no two TSP a day VS 18 tablets. It totally overwhelmed my digestive tract and gave me persistent diarrhea; however, this isn’t a solid argument against SP, simply because it is based solely on my own perception. If I have to take 6-18 tablets of 10 different min/vits, none of which has a recognizable name, I’m probably being sold a scam.
    My acupuncturist who is an MD as well, never tries to pull off such nonsense and none of my MDs have either. They don’t because I pay attention to my own health and they respect that.
    In addition, the SP nutritionist was pushing a farm to table organic diet with zero grains. Her primary grip was about GMO. She actually tried to claim that 100 years ago food didn’t have heavy metals or non-organic matter in them. Wow, that was well into the Industrial age, not to mention, nature, animals, and humans have been genetically modifying food for centuries. Every plant we look at or eat has been genetically modified. It’s easy for those of us who can afford to pay outrageously high prices for SP supplements and demonize GMOs. GMOs give my oldest son and his wife’s subsistence farmer families in Southern Sudan a chance to have food on their table when the rainy season lets up for one or two weeks and destroys their crop, because that one week is a drought for them. So I have no business complaining about companies creating more drought resistant foods for them while I have the luxury of wasting money on every fad that comes to town. we all have a back up plan, when I get a disease that my acupuncturist would never claim to be able to cure, I can go back to western medicine, get chemo (yes, a poison) and radiation injected into me and have the chance of being cured and living to be an older adult. Which, by the way, is a luxury both historically and compared to the majority of man kind living today.

  31. Emily C Morrison says:

    I just posted this last post on Nov. 6. I said that my diarrhea might be lumped in anecdotal column. Turns out it isn’t. My GI doctors put me on a Gluten Free diet 6 years ago. Turns out that many of the supplements the so called nutritionist/practitioner have gluten in them. The labels have the GF symbol, but they are processed with all 7 of the major allergens, including wheat. This is dangerous false advertising, and if these supplements had to be reviewed by the FDA, Standard Process would not be selling anything. Displaying a the GF symbol is not legal, and is downright unethical, even if the product is only processed on the same equipment as wheat products.
    I do not understand why the FDA does not put the supplement business through rigorous trials. Do they even monitor supplements at a rudimentary level?

  32. skeptvet says:

    The Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DHSEA) basically exempts dietary supplements for any regulation other than some minimal guidelines for what they can claim on the label. There is a huge problem not only with things that don’t work but with adulteration and mislabeling that causes real harm, but the current political climate doesn’t favor meaningful regulation.

  33. dan says:

    The 3rd leading cause of death in the U.S. is properly prescribed drugs and medical errors in and out of hospitals. Science has a lot of explaining to do…. and leaves me leary of it’s standard of care treatments.

  34. skeptvet says:

    A common misconception, but actually not really true.

  35. patient beware says:

    I didn’t read through all the other posts but……I have an unfortunate experience and it really saddens me to think taking some SP nutrients, particularly pituitrophin and thymex both from Bovine Cow glands and calf glands were used to treat my food allergies. My hair started falling out after 3 weeks under the idea my body is “detoxing” my scalp started to burn and ache (detoxing) it has been several weeks and my hair continues to fall out. I have had some kind of an allergic reaction to “food supplements” The practitioner asked me not to look at the ingredients list and now I’m sorry I didn’t. I feel absolutely awful with nausea, my appetite has gone down. I seem to be really reacting when I eat food, I just feel sick. So, it’s been going on 3 weeks or so and I’m still symptomatic. I thought these things are harmless but wow! If I can live through this (not sure) I will never blindly take something just because I wanted help with something else. the Pituitary supplements communicate with the thyroid and appeared to have turned something on making my thyroid hyperthyroid when I had no symptoms of this whatsoever until after the supplements. There are pros and cons to things and I have always put faith in vitamins but wow! this is one of the most awful experiences of my life. Now doctor visits beyond belief!!!!

  36. NJ Cat Lover says:

    For all those who claim that these supplements “work” for them, or their dog, I would like you to think about this saying, “The plural of anecdote is NOT data!” (I’m a biostatistician by profession)

  37. Jacqueline M Gaffey says:

    My puppy had liver toxicity due to doxycycline her liver enzymes were well over 800 and her creatine levels were off the chart She was put on hepto support through standard process along with 700 mg of milk thistle a day within 3 weeks her liver enzymes went from 800 to 100 She was also put on a probiotic because her stomach was so damaged from the doxycycline within 5 days of being on it she started to eat again
    I’m not saying it’s a cure-all but due to my dog’s reaction to standard medications in preparation for heartworm injections, which she got in the Bahamas after the hurricane before I rescued her, I have found that it has helped her immensely.
    We have to go with the slow kill process due to her liver and kidney issues and I haven’t seen a change in behavior or pattern that make me think that it isn’t working.
    Her new vet does both Western and Eastern meds so if at a time she needs to have the injections we will do so but at this point in time we will continue with the slow kill and standard process supplements as they have been doing a decent job helping her liver heal.

  38. Tracy says:

    I know this is a super old post, but I don’t know who needs to hear this. When you’re suffering debilitating hip pain after having a baby you need to try SOMETHING. I was very skeptical of chiropractors and am still mostly skeptical about a lot of their wild claims (like, they can get rid of ear infections? What in the world?) But, honestly, that ligaplex stuff and my chiropractor got me running long distances again. I waited until my baby was almost 2 to admit that I needed help. I would be crying in pain for days after a run and could barely walk after running before I went to that chiro. And within 3 months, I was completely fine again. I could walk, run long distance, and lost all of my pain. All of it may be pseudoscience and I’m sure not everyone has a story like mine, but when you’re desperate – you gotta try SOMETHING!

  39. skeptvet says:

    The question is why try this? Whether you try experimental treatments in a clinical trial, or supplements, or prayer, or anything else, you’re still making a choice. some bets are more likely to pay off than others, and in the years since this post, nothing has shown any. more reason to try this.

  40. Former Employee says:

    Hi, I work at standard process and I agree with the above assessment of the company. They do, however, do a lot of in-house chemical and microbiology testing on all of the products-and also separately on their effects in a food science lab in North Carolina. Say you order ‘iodezein,’ you can be sure that the percentage of iodine in the product is correct. However, that doesn’t change the fact that it doesn’t do magic, it just has extra iodine for your body that may or may not absorb better due to it’s chemical structure. They are pushing very hard to get solid studies to show effectiveness in their lab studies, so they must believe in it, but I haven’t seen anything substantial. It’s also important to note that we already know eating foods vs eating supplements is no contest on how much you’re actually absorbing in nutrients, and these supplements are made with lower nutritional amounts because supposedly the fact that they weren’t processed as much makes them more absorb-able. There are a few products that I think might have something. E.g. the enzyme products have active ingredients that require a lot of safety gear when being handled in their concentrated form, those definitely affect the body in some way. However, something like pneumatrophen is just dried beef lung that supposedly improves your own lung function. Ultimately, I wouldn’t pay for it if I had to, but I do use some of the stuff because I have seen the production and figure it’s not going to hurt. Canine Flex Support is one that I think might be okay-I know a dog that supposedly loses his hair when he doesn’t take it. Any of the pet products are actually a lot more dense in real ingredients than most of the human supplements (i.e., normal person supplement is 2-12 ingredients, the pet ones are often 20-30+). There are some fillers in certain things, like cellulose.

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