Knowing that I have an interest in investigating the evidence behind claims for veterinary healthcare products, clients and colleagues sometimes pass along materials concerning veterinary supplements, herbal remedies, and other similar products and ask my opinion. Since there are hundreds, if not thousands of products marketed to pet owners to preserve or restore their pets’ health, I can only look into a few. However, the more of these I investigate, the more clearly I see the patterns of disregard for science and manipulation of the consumer that they have in common.
The latest in this category is a collection of products from a company called Nzymes.com. The website and pamphlet for this company exhibits nearly all of the warning signs of quackery. The company systematically tries to frighten the consumer by suggesting that pets cannot be healthy without their product and that the food and healthcare they are currently getting is inadequate.
Give Your Pet a Fighting Chance
If you are feeding your pet one of today’s popular processed pet foods, then chances are, your pet’s body is depleted of the primary enzyme precursors nature provides abundantly in all living foods.
The fact that we continue to feed our pets such enzyme-less food over an entire lifetime may contribute to the growing list of animal health problems we witness today including; osteoarthritis, inflammation, joint pain, hip dysplasia, pano, OCD, HOD, shedding, hair loss, dry skin, itchy skin, digestive disorders, gastritis, pet food allergies, epilepsy, fatigue, hot spots, and many other stress related symptoms contributed to by a weakened immune system.
The whole “living enzyme” argument is complete nonsense, and there is no evidence for the suggestion that commercial diets are nutritionally deficient or responsible for this long, redundant list of random symptoms and disorders. Some of these problems may be related to nutrition, but that has nothing to do with the claim made here, which is baseless.
But the pseudoscientific nonsense doesn’t stop there. The web site also blames pet food, vaccines, and medications for a variety of ailments, again without paying any attention to the real, and complicated, risks and benefits of these interventions. Classic quack nonsense like claims about the Pottenger cat “study,” about boosting the immune system, about mysterious “toxins” as a cause of unrelated diseases, and about Candida yeast infections as a common cause of many health problems are all over the company web site.
So, what are they selling with all this fear? Apparently, miraculous panaceas with uncounted benefits and absolutely no risks! Since they aren’t allowed to claim they can actually prevent or treat any disease without having evidence to support it (though they effectively do, despite the Quack Miranda Warning here and there), they promise to “support”
Healthy Joint function, Healthy Muscle Function, Healthy Skin and Coat, Healthy Nervous System, Healthy Immune System, Healthy Circulatory System, Healthy Endocrine System, Healthy Lymphatic System, Healthy Digestive System, Healthy Urinary Function, Healthy reproductive Function, Healthy respiratory System, Healthy organ Function, General Overall Wellbeing
I like how they throw in “Healthy Organ Function” and “General Overall Wellbeing” just to cover any possible body part they might not have thought of. So if you’re afraid the imaginary causes of illness they mention have caused your pets’ problem, or might cause something bad someday, you can take comfort from knowing they this product can treat or prevent absolutely everything (except when it can’t, in which case it’s because of the food, the water, the medications, or anything else except the lack of benefit of their product).
What, exactly, are the miracle elixirs offered by Nzymes.com?
This consists of 5% sodium chlorite, a chemical related to bleach. Properly diluted, this chemical is a safe disinfectant, killing infectious organisms through oxidation. With a pH of 13, if not diluted the chemical can cause burns, especially to the eyes and mucous membranes. Accidental overdose can be fatal.
The company advertises this as helping in “the removal of potentially dangerous free radicals and toxins,” and claims that is boosts the immune system, supports digestion, and enhances “performance.” Impressive claims for a potentially toxic disinfectant that is actually an oxidant rather than an anti-oxidant.
As the accompanying quack Miranda warning attests, and a simple literature search confirms, there is absolutely no evidence for any of these claims. Plenty of testimonials are offered, of course, which is always the evidence of choice for products that are based on pseudoscience and have never been tested in any reliable way.
The antioxidant hype is a common marketing ploy for supplements because it’s vague, and there is enough suggestive preclinical research to suggest the general idea is plausible. Unfortunately, there are few clinical trials which show significant real benefits from particular anti-oxidants in particular conditions, and the evidence is growing that some such agents, such as Vitamin E, can actually increase the risk of disease.
The specific ingredients include Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, and a proprietary freeze-dried sprouted soybean meal claimed to contain:
The amount of the vitamins in the supplement are far in excess of what is recommended to prevent deficiency.
Vitamin A- 1000IU (recommended daily dose 50IU/kg, safe upper limit 2,099IU)
Vitamin C- 30mg (recommended daily dose 0, dogs and cats make their own)
Vitamin E- 5IU (recommended daily dose 1mg/kg)
These amounts are probably not high enough to cause harm, but given that most pets are fed diets already supplemented with more than enough of each, the amounts in this product are unnecessary as nutrients. The use of excess amounts of these vitamins as medicines to prevent or treat disease, is not proven, and has often turned out to do more harm than good when tried in humans.
As for the sprouted soybean meal, there is no scientific evidence to suggest health benefits from this either. The company sites a variety of epidemiological studies in humans indicating an association between eating tofu or other soybean food products and lower cholesterol levels, rates of some cancers, and a few other health problems. (They do not, of course, refer to any of the research in humans showing lack of benefit or potential risks from soy supplement products). All of this, unfortunately, is entirely irrelevant to whether or not this particular soy-based product has any benefits for dogs and cats.
The amino acids, vitamins, and minerals listed are all provided in adequate amounts in good quality commercial pet foods. The enzymes are of no benefit, particularly when taken orally since they themselves are destroyed by normal digestion. And none of the phytochemicals have yet been demonstrated to have any health benefits in dogs and cats. So while it is unlikely to be harmful, to is an expensive way to get a few nutrients your pet probably already has enough of and some chemicals that may or may not have any health effects, positive or negative.
Black Leaf Tincture
This is an herbal product containing black walnut extract, olive leaf extract, and cayenne in 75% alcohol(!). The usual vague and unscientific claims are offered about supporting the immune system, the circulatory system, the digestive system, and so on.
Black Walnut- There is insufficient evidence to support any of the claimed health benefits despite traditional use for a wide range of unrelated problems. There is some concern about possible toxicity, from the walnut itself and from possible fungal contaminates.
Olive Leaf- The evidence in humans suggests some possible beneficial effects on blood pressure and cholesterol levels, but it is weak and not conclusive. There is no eveidence on the possible effects in dogs and cats.
Cayenne- There is a fairly large amount of preclinical research suggesting possible benefits in humans, but little in the way of clinical trial evidence, and nothing in dogs and cats.
I’ve written extensively about probiotics, and this is an area in which I think some real benefits are possible. Unfortunately, we have yet to develop an adequate understanding of the normal gut ecology to be able to influence it in significant ways, and the evidence for real clinical benefits from specific products varies from weak to non-existent. Nzymes.com does nothing to change this. Their product contains a variety of typical probiotic bugs, and there have been no clinical trials to show that the specific combination has any value. The product was tested, however, in a study looking at quality and label accuracy for veterinary probiotics. It was found to contain only 2.7% of the number of bacteria claimed on the label, suggesting even the ingredient claims made for this product may be questionable, much less the claims of health benefits.
“A Veterinary Study”
The company does claim to have one rather large veterinary clinical study from 1989 showing that dogs with musculoskeletal pain benefit from its sprouted soybean product. The study was never apparently published, and the information provided on the web site does not make it possible to evaluate it extensively. Six unnamed veterinarians apparently diagnosed dogs with “musculoskeletal inflammation” based on their own exams and the opinions of owners. They gave the supplement to 387 dogs, and 340 of them were reported as improved in one of more of these measures: energy, alertness, stamina, appetite, and accelerated healing. Most cases improved within the first week.
This is almost a cartoon caricature of what a scientific study shouldn’t be. No randomization, no placebo control group, no standardized diagnostic evaluation, no objective diagnostic evaluation (all subjective), no clearly defined diagnosis, no blinding, no record of other conditions or treatments used, and no predetermined or even halfway consistent criteria for response. Any high school science class ought to be able to put together a better “study.” If this is the best the company has been able to do in over 20 years, there is absolutely no reason to believe they have any interest in the scientific validity of their marketing claims.
These products are being marketed with an impressive number of the myths and warning signs of snake oil and pseudoscience. The theories offered for why these remedies should help your pet range from complete nonsense to vague unproven hypotheses. There is no scientific evidence to indicate any specific benefit from any of these products for any particular condition in dogs and cats. All the testimonials in the world can’t prove any of the company’s claims to be true, nor can they guarantee that the products cannot hurt your pets. Just as there is little evidence regarding the claimed benefits of these products, there is little to demonstrate that they are safe.
It’s always great when a pet does better than expected, but such stories don’t prove anything about this product any more than they validate homeopathy or prayer or bloodletting or Lourdes water or any other “miracle” treatment that lacks real scientific evidence of efficacy. Such stories are the reason humans used ineffective, even dangerous treatments for thousands of years before we found truly effective medicine using science.
Here is some more information on why anecdotes mislead us.
Why Anecdotes Can’t Be Trusted
Interesting. Only thing I can cure is my personal experience with my 11 yr old GSD. He has moderate dysplasia and thus a bit of difficulty getting around. After a week of the granules, probiotic and antioxidant treats he was notocibly more alert and mobile. Perfect? No. Better. Yes.
Reading all these fake replies by those who’re allegedly using Nzymes is disheartening. They aren’t even hiding the fact that they’re all fake bogus replies and all sound like the same script most likely written by someone from the same IP address. Ugh..
I am sooo confused. My dog lickes, he is miserable so I pay through the nose for Apoquel……I read about NZYMES and order right away ( Tonight)…. now I find this
What the heck should I do
Despite the costs, I think your dog is far more likely to benefit from proper veterinary care, ideally even at the hands of a veterinary dermatologist, than from an internet snake oil.
Worked for my dog….I was at my wits end. I have seen the healthy skin kit work on a friends dog with bad skin issues. His vet said I don’t know what you are doing but keep it up.
I just don’t know what to believe. Just received my bag of granular for molly. Just found out she has problems with her kidneys and a tumor. Now I am afraid to give the granula to her. Her level was above 5. Are taking another sample of urin Friday which will be sent to the lab. We bought Nzymes for her Wobblers.
Well I am guilty of being suckered into buying this product. I bought the Nzyme treats and the granules. We’ve been on them for almost 2 weeks and I haven’t noticed significant change. He’s a bit more hyper I guess I would say but one bad thing I would say for sure that I’ve noticed is that his breath stinks. He’s 5 1/2 years old and he’s never had stinky dog breath and now his breath smells weird. Anyone else experienced that?
FYI just stumbled upon this page while Googling Oxedrops to reorder mine. They are sold on the Nzymes site, can’t speak to all the products but the drops definitely work especially for food poisoning and stomach bugs. I’ve been using this for at least ten years and mage sure we always have it especially if traveling. Just my two cents.
I was about to order a kit from Nzymes but decided to look further for objective criticism of their claims. That’s how I landed here. I have a rescue dog, about 4 years old, best guess is a Jack Russell/Dachshund mix, who has allergies resulting in constant biting and scratching. He has hot spots all over his paws, legs and belly. It is not seasonal. He’s had it in summer, fall and now winter.
Veterinary advice so far has been to give him frequent Colloidal Oatmeal Shampoo baths, feed him high quality food and in one instance he was given a steroid injection, which provided very minimal and short-lived relief. We’ve spent a small fortune on expensive food and vet visits, but nothing seems to work. He did have a reprieve of about 2 weeks when we took him on vacation about 900 miles away from home last summer. But we aren’t sure if that was due to the steroid injection (which he’d received about 2 weeks before we left home) or the location change. Either way, it returned shortly after we had gotten back home two weeks later.
I asked my vet about testing to see exactly what he is allergic to, but he said the testing is expensive and not very helpful, and that most people who have gone that route end up getting the steroid injections anyway. I also read that the test results can vary in accuracy according to which lab does the analysis, which makes the whole thing seem completely pointless.
We are at our wit’s end trying to figure this out. Considering how much we’ve spent already with this, the Nzymes treatment seemed like a relatively inexpensive option, especially if it was going to work. But after reading your blog I’ve all but nixed that idea.
My question is this: What are we to do now? Watching this dog suffer for the rest of his life is not an option. Our vet hasn’t been able to help and we are feeling like we’re at a dead end street.
Do you have any advice that could potentially help this dog? I am 66 years old and have had dogs most of my life, but this is the first time I’ve encountered anything like this. I don’t know where to turn.
I have written a couple of posts discussing evidence-based allergy treatments (1, 2). There is no cure for allergies, but they can be managed effectively. How much work, and money, is needed to keep a pet with allergies comfortable depends on the individual patient, but there are many things you can do which have better evidence showing they help than this product. All of them cost money, but so does this. Rather than spending your money on an internet snake oil, I would consider getting a second opinion, ideally from a veterinary dermatologist if possible, and developing a serious long-term management plan, which will be a bmuch better investment than Nzynmes.
Please make an appointment with a veterinary dermatologist asap.
It is the only thing that has helped my dog. She receives Allergen Specific Immunotherapy (desensitization shots) It’s been 7 years now.
It takes a few months to kick in and they still may have an occasional flareup but nothing like before. And it has the least amount (if any) side effects of all the treatments.
The initial appointment to get the skin testing and diagnosis and treatment started is expensive, but the follow up and maintenance is not so bad.
In the end it’s cost effective because your not going back and forth to the General Practice Vet several times a year. And most of all, the dog is comfortable.
Gary. I have a nine year old golden doodle. We rescued her as a pup from a puppy mill. She was fine until about 2 years ago when we had to have a ruptured tumor on her back removed. She got a skin infection and has suffered ever since. We used our vet and they prescribed everything from steroids, antibiotics and cidapoint injections. We have spent a small fortune trying to help her. We had a culture done and the vet said it was yeast overgrowth and could be treated with antibiotics. After a year and a half she was no better. We found Nzymes by chance and ordered the healthy skin kit. After about six weeks she has secreted
so much yucky, stinky junk through her skin. She itches uncontrollably and wants to chew and suck on herself. We give two baths a week with Nzymes shampoo. Now she has had loose stools and the last few days has started throwing up with bright red blood in it. Guess we will take her back to the vet today and have more test run. We are at our wits end. If antibiotics kill your immune system, how can more of the same help. She definitely has yeast overgrowth.
This is a good discussion. I am skeptical of most claims of improved health and vitality through the use of supplements and food/water additives for dogs or humans. So, when our breeder who sold us a King Shepherd pup last year recommended Nzymes granules and treats and Fresh Factors by SpringTime, I decided to give it all a try. Well the results were mixed. The pup who the supplements were intended for shows no sign that she is “better than ever”. As a matter of fact she is so picky about her food that she would only consume this mix of treats if I mix it in ground meat balls, cooked and combined with her kibble (Purina Pro Puppy) She is in good health and is very active so I would have been surprised to see any big changes in her … However, we have five dogs of varying ages (15 yr down to 1 yr) and in general good health for their respective ages. So when I prepare food for one, all five get pretty much the same thing.. I wasn’t expecting to see the WOW effects mapped out in the Nzyme marketing materials. However, after about four weeks of giving this meat ball mix to the gang, I noticed a big and dramatic change in my Great Pyrenees/Golden Mix who is the 15 yr old member of our family. I had shaved her a number of years ago only to learn that you should never do that to this type of dog because under certain circumstances, the hair won’t grow back. And due to whatever reason that was true in her case as she failed to regrow hair across her hip girdle and across her shoulders behind her neck. Our family vet suggested it may have occurred due to her age, poor thyroid function, etc and pretty much stated, the lack of hair re-growth was most likely permanent. So, I was quite surprised and delighted to see those “bald” spots start to fill in again ~ just after 4 weeks of use. Was it the Nzymes and Freshfactor supplements? I can’t say for sure, but that was the only thing that was introduced to them … so it made me a believer that something in this product does support healthy skin and coat. If I see any reduction in the fatty lumps she has started to grow or a spring to her arthritic step, I will sing the halleluiah chorus and buy stock in the company… but so far nothing to report in that area… As for the other supplements and shampoos for a healthy skin, I purchased them because of our early success with the granules … but so far, nothing to report. For now, while this supply lasts, I will remain hopefully optimistic, and will determine any future purchases accordingly.
I have been using nzymes for the last 5 years on multiple animals. It granted my dog an extra year of life by stopping her trama initated siezures completely from 2 – 3 a day to 0 for over a year until she died of old age. It’s also reduced the pain from her arthritis by over half.
I have also used these suppliments to aid in healing of ear infections for which no other treatment worked. And for a skin irritation similar to a hotspot.
As well as for wild cats we rescued that were so sick when we found them they couldn’t even stand.
Since you feel that the email addresses are fake, I have listed mine in the field provided.
I would try this product. My Yorkie is 12 years old. This product has helped her immensely. If this gives her a better elderly life I will continue to give it to her. Watch your pet. If it helps your pet, do not worry about skeptics.
Well said. My Shellie has improved using this product. If this helps your pet keep it up. We love our fur babies and each one is different. I will continue to give it to her as long as I see her better. She is 12 and I want her to live a great elderly age.
Unfortunately, such a “try it and see” approach doesn’t work very well. If it did, then every therapy ever tried has worked for someone, from homeopathy to prayer to magic crystals, etc. It’s a “test” no treatment has ever failed.
Why Anecdotes Can’t be Trusted
I just ordered the Nzymes treats for my 12 yr old Aussie with Arthritis. Wondering if I made a mistake! Is it okay to feed it to him because I’m beginning to think something in the ingredients may harm him?
Since we know so little about it and there haven’t been any appropriate scientific studies, it’s hard to say what risk there might be. There certainly aren’t widespread reports of serious harm, so it may well be benign, but that doesn’t mean no dog has ever been harmed by it. Bit of a roll of the dice, which doesn’t seem worth taking to me given the absence of any rational reason to think it will help anything.
Gary- I also had a “Weenie Jack” who licked and bit continuously, raw belly, sores on toes, sheer misery for him and for us. I started giving Chlortabs- total game changer!! Licking and biting stopped, sores healed, and healthy pink belly returned. It is not a cure, but it stopped the itching. It is on allergy aisle at Walmart and only $3 for 100 tabs. We gave one tab at am and at pm meal for life. At 11 years old he started having major mobility issues. In searching for treatment options I landed on nzymes and decided to try the granules. He responded beautifully and regained healthy movement- no other diet changes, no pain meds. Coincidentally, he had a daily struggle to poop, was torture to watch him strain to go. After starting nzymes I was amazed to see him pooping normally again. Every animal is going to respond differently to different things, but these two were life altering for Skipper and for us. He died at 12 years, but his last year was measurably more comfortable.
I started my dog on nyzmes for seizures. She had her blood work done a month ago and again yesterday after bloody diarrhea. Her liver levels are elevated now and the doctor has asked if she ate anything toxic. I watch her like hawk because she’s a beagle and eats anything. The only thing new is this. Product. Not sure if it’s the cause but I won’t be using it anymore.
I had a dog that had such allergies he kept us up night after night. After a change of diet and Nzymes, the issue stopped. He was healthier than ever.
Glad to hear it. Unfortunately, there are many reasons why doing something and seeing improvement doesn’t mean that what you did is responsible. If it did, we could just give up doing science because we wouldn’t need it!
Why Anecdotes Can’t be Trusted
I use nzymes healthy skin kit and I actually see a difference. It made my cockers black skin better not perfect but I see it works. I feel like it’s easy to poke holes in remedies that we can’t get verbal feedback. it gets expensive trying out different things. What works for my dog might not work for yours. Everything’s a risk.
I’m glad your dog is doing well, but unfortunately, anecdotes like this are deeply unreliable. If it were this simple, we would have cured every disease centuries ago. We need controlled scientific evidence to know what works and what doesn’t, and relying on anecdotes like this sustains ineffective therapies. Here is some more information on this issue:
Why Anecdotes Can’t be Trusted
I’m glad these products helped. I’ve only heard good things about them. This guy wants you to not believe what you have experienced because there hasn’t been a double blind placebo controlled replicated full text peer reviewed study with your dog. Science is great but it’s also extremely biased. That’s the first thing you are taught in Research Methods. Skepy Vety spends all his time on the internet because the hospital he works at doesn’t give him very many pet patients. Gee Wonder why? Ignore his OCD self righteousness. Keep up the good work
We experienced the same problem with our JRT for years. He vomited a lot, too. Spent a fortune. It turned out to be something in his diet, a food allergy, but it was a long time ago and I don’t recall just what it was. He was happy and healthy for years after we got on the right track.
Their studies are stolen. How did a business started in 2000 have clinical studies from 1989. Frauds stole studies from Biovet. Now, closed.
I am in the same boat been to vet twice doesn’t last long. My dogs are rescues as well so I want to give them the best. I am just so confused.
I have a sheltie with skin yeast problems and started giving him Nzymes. I stopped after 2 weeks because the condition worsened to the point that he has almost chewed his skin to the bone. After stopping the Nzymes he is slowly returning to his normal. Right now he is almost completely bald after taking the Nzymes.
Consult a veterinary dermatologist, asap
Someone who has a dog with atopic dermatitis/allergies.
I have been using this product for over a decade. My since past dogs were able to enjoy life longer without pain relievers. I know it may be snake oil, yet, if it helps my dogs be more active and lively – so be it. My almost 11 year Aussie is still puppy like, and it helps with the itchiness. I am not sure about the rest of the products, but I still give both my dogs the granules. I know it is not a cure all but I have seen results.
Helped my dog. I did a combo of treats and granules.. he’s a 13 year old golden moving around with a bad knee. He improved so much after starting this product…
I did the same. I say we give it a try! The video of the dog sold me!
Your study may not have enough evidence to prove it works, but the 5 step program for “Leaky Gut” in my dog Phoenix not only worked with the NZymes products but gave him his quality of life back! He was oozing sores all over his body and his once beautiful coat had almost all fallen out. Thousands of dollars spent at the vets and “guesses” of allergies and shots and drops , etc, etc, etc and still he was dying in front of us. They couldn’t even give me a diagnosis. I took him to a holistic vet who told me 20 minutes into the spot he had leaky gut and she wanted to treat him with a laser treatment but he was burnt really bad thru the first treatment! I found NZymes on line and it made sense to me so I tried it- if it didn’t work I knew I would need to euthanize as he was in a lot of pain!!!! But NZYMES WORKED AND 9 MONTHS LATER HE WAS IN GREAT HEALTH!!! Even the bets were amazed.
So you can share your “thoughts “ about the products but it literally saved Phoenix’s life!!! He grew a beautiful thick coat back with pink healthy skin! No more sores and loss of hair! He was 16 when he passed ( Siberian Husky, Samoyed, Wolf mix)
Here’s a bit more detail on why stories like this don’t prove or disprove anything and why we need objective data instead:
Why Anecdotes Can’t be Trusted
My dog Charlie is a 8 yr. Chiahauha/ Rat Terrier mix. He recently began having tremors, not seizures. It had occurred over 5 weeks, starting 1 a day then up to 3 a day. He eats high quality real foods , with minimal to no processing, 1-2 ingredient treats, raw marrow bones. I considered the possibilty of coming into contact with a posion used by city park workers when landscaping the grounds were we walk daily. I found Nyzmes online. After 3 days…no sign of a tremor.
Wonderful!!! He did have symptoms related to a cleanse, his stomach gurggled alot and back of his butt was hot to the touch. Toxins being released probably. Bowels moved regularly and looked normal. Yet by end of 2nd wk. He began to chew on his feet, his tail, and near his butt, like he had an allergic reaction. I stopped the Nyzymes. Looks like a possible yeast overload and a potential vet visit.
Skeptvet; could you do a randomized controlled study with Nzymes?
It could be done, but the burden of proof is not on me but on the company profiting from its sale or those who promote and recommend it. If they claim it does something, they should be expected to prove it before anyone else has to take their claims seriously.
Lmao thanks you for this—the Karen Boomers needed it.
My dog had melanoma and with the Oxedrops, probiotics and antioxidant treats he lived 13 good months instead of the 4 or 5 which are normal. I have been using the Oxedrops myself as a nasal spray for 11 years now . and on compresses for various ailments, canker sores, etc . Give them a call, they are great people!
Yeah, this highly diluted bleach did nothing for your dog, and it’s not doing anything for you. This is a classic example of how we choose to assign our preferred cause to the natural variability in biology, seeing a causal relationship where it isn’t. There are lots of factors that influence survival with melanoma, and even in the more aggressive forms found on the digits, dogs “treated with digit amputation are reported to have median survival times of ~ 12 months, with 42-57% alive at 1 year and 11-13% alive at 2 years.”(reference here) I’m glad your dog did well, but I hope the misplaced faith this has given you in an unscientific and useless product doesn’t lead to bad choices in the future care of your dogs.
Here are some detailed articles (and a bit of humor) explaining why anecdotes aren’t trustworthy, whether or not the people telling them are-
Why Anecdotes Can’t be Trusted