Kat McLeod's website
Welcome to the Bad Kat Box
This website is for friends, family, and for anyone who I might be able to help. On the "About Me" page, I share my experience with herbal remedies that I think everyone should read. It is personal, humiliating, and a good teaching tool. It is based on a speech I give to the Pharmacy 472 class at the University of Alberta every term. It is also now required reading for another UofA Pharmacy class. I don't think of myself as someone important or popular enough to have my own website, but I do think my story should be out there. Check it out, feedback and questions are welcome.
On February 23, 2008 W-Five aired a story called "What's in the pill" about other natural health products (NHPs) which had ingredients that are not approved by Health Canada. The story touched on the fact that NHP manufacturers were self-attesting when applying for Natural Health Product Numbers, and that there are not enough government officials to verify products with NPNs are safe at this time. While Health Canada puts up warnings on its website, most people don't look there before taking NHPs. I urge everyone to use extreme caution when thinking about taking NHPs.
2012 Updates - Here is an article about a BC man who went off his meds for a herbal supplement, ended up murdering and injuring his parents, he was deemed unfir for trial. Good links about this product and studies about it: http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/marvin-ross/vitamin-tragedy_b_1650054.html
2011 Updates - CBC's Doc Zone and Marketplace have recently aired great documentaries about NHPs and homeopathy. Check out these two:
An Italian blogger is being sued over comments made about homeopathy: http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/index.php/homeopathic-thuggery/
An interesting article on other NHPs that are harmful (from the New York Times): http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/28/business/supplement-drugs-may-contain-dangerous-ingredients.html?_r=1&pagewanted=1
Nov 15: A great article from the Globe and Mail. Finally a medical journal is recognising the changes that need to be made!http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/health/new-health/health-news/natural-health-products-need-tougher-standards-says-medical-journal/article2236071/
2010 update: I've found a great website called What's the Harm (http://whatstheharm.net/) which is a FANTASTIC resource. It lists various subjects (from medical to astrology) and links to news articles about the real life subjects who were harmed by not thinking critically. One such story is that of Lisanne Manseau, a 12-year old girl from Hull, Quebec who died in March of 1994 after a naturopath (Louise Lortie) advised her mother to stop giving her insulin, and to give her herbal remedies instead. Lisanne died three days later and the naturopath was convicted of manslaughter in 1999. For more on Lisanne, you can read: http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0AYN/is_3_23/ai_n18610154/?tag=content;col1 or http://www.randi.org/jr/120304youve.html#5.
Other interesting resources are Skeptic North: http://www.skepticnorth.com/welcome/ and the National Council Against Health Fraud newsletter: http://www.ncahf.org/ which promotes "Enhancing Freedom of Choice through Reliable Health Information".
2009 update: in some of my early blogs I mention Bill C-51. This Bill would have been an amazing tool to help enforce the NHP legislation that was put in place a few years ago. It had the potential to protect the public, so of course, when the fall session of parlament was suddenly halted, the Bill had no where to go. It was not reintroduced in the Spring sitting, so it died. Once again the government stalling and incompetance is putting the public at risk. I am more than disappointed, I'm pissed.
Book recommendation: One of the best books I've read about the supplement industry is called Natural Causes: Death, Lies and Politics in America's Vitamin and Herbal Supplement Industry