Recently, a devotee defrauded into joining a worthless multi-level marketing scheme wrote to Chakra suggesting we endorse his attempt to recruit more suckers (oops, I mean "distributors") to peddle a corporation's dubious liquid concoction known as "Seasilver."
The devotee attempts to get recognition for a product whose only actual association with devotees is that one devotee [himself] has been roped into a cheating multi-level distribution chain. He pleads to sell the product on the premiss that "as a grhastha, Srila Prabhupada worked in the pharmaceutical industry." A pharmacist, like a physician, has an obligation not to do harm to his or her patient. "Seasilver", however, is very definitely harmful, and the devotee selling this misbegotten brown-algae soup is a huckster, not a pharmacist.
This unfortunate devotee directs us to a webpage citing a plethora of meaningless supposed health benefits for "Seasilver", which Stephen Barrett, M.D., describes as "an expensive, irrationally formulated supplement product that is marketed with false and misleading claims."
Even non-medical professionals get queasy hearing about the Seasilver snake oil. Jonathan L. Campbell, a naturopath from Acton, Massachusetts, calls Seasilver "downright dangerous", and adds, "Seasilver is sold by a pyramid ("multi-level") marketing organization, so that the claims of efficacy are magnified by thousands of people who really want to believe in what they are selling to their friends and neighbors. . . . Long-term use of colloidal silver or silver salts deposits metallic silver under the skin, turning people's skin an ashen-gray color, an affliction known as argyria. . . . and it is likely that it actually interferes with the body's normal immune processes."
Chiropractors, too, are troubled. "Unfortunately, product claims for SeaSilver are based, not on clinical trials on human subjects, but on heavy reliance of testimonials and anecdotes - methods of some marketing value, but which do not demonstrate effectiveness or safety," writes Frank M. Painter, of La Grange, Illinois.
"Frankly, it is rather astounding, yet not surprising, that SeaSilver denigrates the scientific method as offering limited knowledge, and that it prevents us from learning new truths--astounding because science, while not perfect, is the gold standard for proving efficacy and safety. This is because science is not opinion. It is measurable, repeatable, and quantifiable.
"The point of view is not surprising because SeaSilver appears to not have any peer-reviewed studies to support the product. Instead, they tout Kirlian photography, which has a checkered history of dubious and fraudulent use, and 'Ultra Microscope', for which there is no explanation.
"Another troubling issue is that Seasilver contains many trace ingredients for which there is no known human nutritional need and no evidence of safety. There is no explanation for the presence of uranium, for example," Painter concludes.
Furthermore, the United States Food and Drug Administration denounces the so-called "Seasilver" product as "not generally recognized as safe and effective" and "misbranded." It should not be sold either by prescription or over-the-counter (OTC). After hearing scientific facts and properly evaluating the unsupported anecdotal health claims made by Seasilver marketing recruits, the FDA concluded, "OTC drug products containing colloidal silver ingredients or silver salts are being marketed for numerous serious disease conditions and FDA is not aware of any substantial scientific evidence that supports the use of OTC colloidal silver ingredients or silver salts for these disease conditions."
Dr. Barrett, who has exposed numerous quacks, goes into detail about the misrepresentation of Seasilver. "Many of the claims made for Seasilver are illegal. For example, the company's 2001 booklet 'Journey into Foundational Health' falsely stated that silver (one of its ingredients) 'has been used successfully in the treatment of over 650 diseases'. . . . Silver has no nutritional value and, when taken by mouth, has no therapeutic usefulness. 'Silver deficiency' is not a medically recognized condition," he devastatingly concludes.
Want to know something about the dubious types promoting Seasilver? Take a look at their so-called "Advisory Board." The only doctor on the panel is no longer allowed to practice medicine. "Daniel G. Clark's Florida medical license was revoked in 1983 for unprofessional practice," writes Dr. Barrett. "The disciplinary matter involved two cancer patients whom he treated with 'metabolic therapy.' One was a man with terminal throat cancer. The other was a breast cancer patient for whom he prescribed laetrile, herbal tea, salves, substandard doses of chemotherapy, and whole-body hyperthermia, none of which have any scientifically plausible rationale or proven effectiveness against cancer. . . . The Medical Board concluded that Clark had shown "absolute reckless disregard for the health of his patient".
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