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Knowledge is Power

Knowledge is power

Knowledge is power

Most of us have heard the expression, “Knowledge is power.” What is knowledge? The Oxford Dictionary defines knowledge as “information and skills acquired through experience or education.” It is important to note that the definition includes both information and skills. Information alone has little value unless you are on Jeopardy. Information requires the ability to use it correctly in order for there to be knowledge.

We live in the information age. Facts and figures are available to us at the touch of a finger. Unfortunately, all information is not fact, and facts without knowing what they mean are not helpful either. Skill is the necessary companion to information in order to sift out fact from fiction. Critical thinking is the process of using one’s brain and experience in order to utilize information well.

Let’s examine some information and see what happens when critical thinking skills are applied. LiverCare® and Liv.52® are sold by Himalaya Herbal Healthcare. Looking at LiverCare®, the website begins with the heading, “Detox and Liver Health.” Under it is states:

LiverCare assists normally functioning liver cells; its antioxidant properties support liver cell integrity. It is a formula that assists in preserving existing liver strength. Keep in mind, the liver is the largest internal organ and it is important that the liver is functioning on a normal level when performing its more than 500 different functions.

Our LiverCare formula is based on one of our oldest selling formulas first introduced worldwide in 1955. Its powerful combination of carefully extracted herbs have been subjected to several clinical trials some of which have been published in Gastroenterology Today, The Antiseptic, and the Australian Journal of Medical Herbalism.

LiverCare has enormous health benefits for everyone.

  • On the market since 1955
  • The world’s number one liver support formula
  • Supports normal liver function in many different ways

This sounds like a good product to me. If LiverCare can support normal liver function, perhaps I should try it. To find this out, I analyzed the information.

I began with the research. The studies were small and none had been peer-reviewed or duplicated. All were conducted by the manufacturer. Small studies tend to have unreliable results. For instance, let’s say you were learning to shoot basketballs. You decided to try five shots, and if you made three of them, then you’d show the potential to be a good player. You shoot three out of five, and stop, secure in the knowledge that you are good at basketball. You success rate is 60 percent.

However, what if you set up the experiment that you would attempt 5000 shots. If you only made 300 baskets, your success rate is 6 percent. That’s a huge difference.

Then I looked at the ingredients. None of the ingredients are known to produce positive effects on the liver. Liv.52 even claims it can prevent viral hepatitis. If that were true, world health agencies would be generously distributing this product.

Another flag about LiverCare are the statements:

  • On the market since 1955
  • The world’s number one liver support formula
  • Supports normal liver function in many different ways

The fact that it has been around a long time, or that they have sold a lot of it, and that it supports normal liver function doesn’t tell me a thing. Water does all of this, and it has been around a lot longer than LiverCare.

A word about the notion of detoxifying the liver…

The liver helps to rid the blood of impurities, but that doesn’t mean it needs to be cleansed. It’s not like a clogged filter which needs clearing. The liver metabolizes what it cans, and the kidneys finish the job and excrete toxins from the body. Sometimes minerals and chemicals will accumulate in the liver, but that is usually because of some other problem that needs to be fixed, such as having too much iron. Supplements are not the best way to treat this. The best way for liver patients to decrease the accumulation of undesirable substances in the liver is to 1) not put these substances in the body in the first place, and 2) keep the liver healthy by avoiding alcohol and toxic drugs, exercising regularly, eat a low-fat diet, and being vaccinated against hepatitis A and B.

Here are some terms that can be misleading:

  • “Clinical proof,” “solid, scientifically backed,”  “in one study,” and “clinically proven in animal studies” – These statements do not support any product claims, especially if the product was tested in animals and not in humans.
  • “An independent study” and “randomly selected” – These are solid scientific concepts that are essential to good research. Unfortunately these concepts can be applied in a sloppy manner and ultimately serve the manufacturer rather than science.
  • “Four out of five doctors recommend,” “48% more relief from pain,” and “a survey said” – Statistics can be manipulated and misused to support almost anything. These claims can be completely misleading.

How can the average patient with little or no medical training separate fact from fiction? Start by looking for information from genuine experts whom you trust. Ask your doctor or nurse for reliable resources. Support groups can be a great place for finding trustworthy information. Ask what websites and literature other people depend upon. Be objective and patient. Learning to think critically is a skill. Practice as much as possible and in time you will be forming opinions based on evidence and reason. This is knowledge.

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{ 3 comments… add one }
  • Angelo August 6, 2016, 12:21 PM

    “Start by looking for information from genuine experts whom you trust”.
    That’s the problem. People put trust in Mercola and Mike Adams and Dr OZ who are nothing but hustlers. Why didn’t you just come out and say the products are CRAP and will do nothing for your liver?

    • Lucinda Porter August 13, 2016, 4:21 PM

      For two reasons – 1) We don’t have data. I can’t say something is crap until I know it is crap, and 2) I never underestimate the power of placebo.

  • Angelo August 12, 2016, 3:56 PM

    Why didn’t you just come out and say the supplement is GARBAGE? People believe anything they read and are desperate. They will spend there last dollar on that crap.

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