Surveying the "Anti-Aging" Snake Oil

MSNBC looks at the "anti-aging" marketplace, as busy selling snake oil and muddying the water as ever: "dozens of businesses set up displays to market everything from horny goat weed dietary supplements to wands containing dirt that supposedly align water molecules so the H2O will get into your cells. Many of the products and services attempt to capitalize on recent science buzzwords. Terms like 'stem cells' [were] flung about, but mostly it was a case of putting old wine in new skins. 'ADULT STEM CELLS are the BEST-KEPT SECRET in today's wellness...' boasted a flyer for a dietary supplement ... Take it and increase 'the number of circulating stem cells in your body.' Not only can it 'replace diseased cells with healthy cells' and provide 'anti-inflammatory and immune system support' but also give users 'mental clarity and mood elevation.' But the products are really just a repackaging of a supplement that has been marketed aggressively since the 1980s, a form of blue-green algae called aphanizomenon flos-aquae. The science behind the claimed benefits for aphanizomenon is slight - whether the claim is for immune boosting as it was 20 years ago, or stem-cell enhancement as it is today. In fact, there has long been concern about the presence of toxins in blue-green algae products, though you wouldn't know it from the marketers at the trade show." The level of utter nonsense and falsehood in the marketplace is quite amazing at times.


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