(Source: arstechnica.com)

Alex Jones and fans of homeopathy may have something in common.

Further Reading

Diluting the scientific method: Ars looks at homeopathyJones’ wildly popular supplements, sold on his Infowars.com site, are nothing more than humdrum vitamin blends that have little-to-no data supporting touted health benefits—basically the same as the vitamins found in any pharmacy or health store, according to independent lab testing. But there are two key differences: the far-right talk show hosts’ supplements are far more expensive, and they tend to be weaker than garden-variety supplements. Reminiscent of the extensively watered-down treatments used by homeopaths, Jones’ supplements were often diluted such that even if those vitamin and herbal blends did offer some health benefits, the doses would likely be too small to be effective.

That’s all according to an independent lab analysis performed on several of the supplements by Labdoor, a San Francisco-based lab that tests dietary supplements. The analysis was done at the behest of BuzzFeed News, which reported the results late Wednesday.

Brian Brandley, Labdoor’s laboratory director, told BuzzFeed News:

We tested samples in triplicate, and wherever possible, cross-checked those results with at least two independent analytical laboratories, so we have complete trust in our conclusions.

The good news is that the testing did not turn up any surprises or unseemly ingredients. The Infowars supplements largely contained the ingredients listed on their containers and did not include unnamed or prohibited ingredients, such as stimulants like Viagra.

But the supplements overall tended to contain smaller doses than similar, much cheaper supplements sold in convenience stores, according to Labdoor. For instance, Infowars’ Anthroplex, which is labeled as containing zinc and a proprietary blend of herbal ingredients, contained 31 percent less zinc orotate than the 1mg per serving that’s listed on the label, according to Labdoor. And the amount listed is already far lower than other zinc-based supplements on the market. For instance, the zinc orotate supplements sold on Amazon had servings listed at 9.5mg to 51mg, and they were considerably less expensive. A 200-capsule bottle of 9.5mg zinc orotate capsules sold for $14 on Amazon, while a 60-capsule bottle of Anthroplex is currently on sale at $29.95, down from $39.95.

Likewise, the nascent iodine drops supplement that Infowars sells as “Survival Shield X-2” is labeled as containing 1,950 mcg of nascent iodine and has a list price of $39.95 (though it’s currently on sale for $17.76). Labdoor found that it contained slightly below the amount listed. A similar product on Amazon contains 2,694 mcg, though, and sells for about $19.

In addition to the weak products, Jones also sells products that Labdoor described as “far-fetched,” including the $149.95 bottle of “DNA Force,” a proprietary blend to improve “DNA health.”

Despite the hefty price tags and the weak ingredients, Jones has been successful at selling the products. A former Infowars employee told BuzzFeed that “[Jones] can sell 500 supplements in an hour.” And New York magazine roughly estimated that Jones could haul in $15 million in a two-year period from the products. During a recent episode of Last Week Tonight, host John Oliver even devoted an entire segment to outlining how Jones profits off these products and his associated hyperbolic health claims.

More Info: arstechnica.com

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