Sunday, October 11, 2009

An astroturfing comment about herbal remedies for anxiety

Someone with an empty Blogger profile of “A DiClementi” drove by and dropped (like a fresh dog turd) the following comment regarding my September 18 post on herbal remedies for anxiety:

“To cure anxiety attacks, herbs are the best medicine. No side effects, no giddiness, etc. Deep breathing exercises are excellent for anxiety and many people report positive results from meditation. Some other natural anxiety remedies to look into are St.John's Wort, SAMe, L-Theanine, and Tryptophan.”

Astroturfing has been defined as: “Generating public excitement in a subject by posting anonymous comments to blogs, wikis and other public venues.”

It only took me a few minutes with Google to find a profile showing that Anthony Joseph DiClementi actually is the Managing Director of SociaTropin, which is, of course, yet another herbal remedy with a long list of ingredients.

On October 5 he also posted word-for word the same comment on a blog post by Caitlin MacKenna about Kava Kava: A Natural Anxiety Reducer. He is wrong about there being no side effects for kava, as I discussed in my previous post.

They first distributed a press release about SociaTropin on June 1, 2008. A few day later Arlin Cuncic commented skeptically on her Social Anxiety Disorder Blog at regarding the press release, and in comments Mr. DiClementi replied by stating, among other things, that:

“For full disclosure, I am the Director of Marketing and a Co-Creator of SociaTropin. I have personally taken this product for nearly 2 years and continue to use it to this day.

I want to be clear that SociaTropin is not a magic bullet or a miracle pill; it won’t give you a new personality or make you a different person.

But it does contain over 20 ingredients that have been shown in double-blind placebo controlled scientific studies to: enhance mood, relieve stress and social anxiety, and increase natural energy levels. The meta-analysis supporting SociaTropin’s ingredient profile is undeniable.”

The 13 ingredients explicitly listed on the web site are: Rhodiola Rosea, 5-HTP, Sensoril Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera), Bacopa, L-Theanine (as SunTheanine), St. Johns Wort (Hypericum perforatum), Cyracos Lemon Balm, Ginkgo Biloba, L-Tyrosine, Panax Ginseng (Panax quinquefolius L.), Bioactive Forms of Essential B Vitamins, Valerian, and Passion Flower. Under B vitamins they list “B6, B12, and other B vitamins”, but I am not clear if (or how) all this really adds up to “over twenty.”

I found Mr. DiClementi’s comment about his ingredients amusing, given that SociaTropin contains both passiflora and valerian. In my previous blog post I pointed out that there really is no good evidence that either ingredient is effective. Are the other eighteen (or more) ingredients any more effective?

As the Irish comedian Dara O’Briain says (at about 2:40 into the video clip I referred to in the previous post): “Get in the …sack!”

No comments: