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Saturday, October 16, 2004

FTC labels drug manufacturer out of control

"The Federal Trade Commission has charged marketers of two dietary supplements with claiming, falsely and without substantiation, that their products can cause weight loss and reduce the risk of, or prevent, serious health conditions. According to the FTC's complaint, Los Angeles-area marketers Window Rock Enterprises, Inc. in California and Infinity Advertising, Inc....have sold "CortiSlim" and "CortiStress" through a number of widely aired infomercials and short TV commercials..."

The hormone cortisol, sometimes called the "stress" hormone is released in the body during stressed or agitated states. When cortisol is secreted, it causes a breakdown of muscle protein, which releases amino acids (the "building blocks" of protein) into the bloodstream. This process raises blood sugar levels so the brain will have more glucose, more energy. Cortisol also leads to the release of so-called fatty acids, an energy source from fat cells, for use by the muscles. This is the process we all experience with vigorous exercise which "burns" fat to produce energy.

"CortiSlim" and "CortiStress" are just two of the latest so called patent herbal supplements to hit the market which claim to naturally stimulate this process with out actually invoking the active exercise cycle involved in the process of burning fat.

Dr Shawn Talbott who formulated "CortiSlim" is a PHD in nutritional biochemistry and has a masters degree in exercise science. He is an adjunct professor at the University of Utah.

Stress or, put another way, lack of exercise as we grow older is one of the leading causes of weight gain in modern society. The average American saddled with a poor, fat-laden diet and lack of exercise faces weight gain and a myriad of health complications ranging from heart disease to diabetes.

Virtually all medical professionals advise a proper diet with restraint and modest physical exercise as necessary for sustained fitness and good health: The makers of "CortiSlim" are no exception, along with there daily dose of herbal stimulants they too advise that diet and exercise are fundamental to their regime.

The FTC's complaint is not so much with the product's efficacy, although they do question its scientific substantiation, but rather with the fact that the company uses deceptive advertising, promoting a series of "infomercials" to appear as though episodes of a talk show called "Breakthroughs" that aired on a number of television channels, including Access Television, Travel Channel, and the Discovery Channel. In the commercial Talbott plays the roll of guest while his partner at Window Rock assumes the roll of host. At the time of this report Windows Rock spokesperson Susan Shelton was unavailable for comment.

Diet supplement products have proliferated in the wake of escalating health concerns and weight loss formulations have only added to the decision burden imposed on us in the market place. We are glad that the FTC can occasionally intervene on behalf of consumers. We'll let you know the result of the legal action as soon as it becomes available.

CortiSlim list of ingredients
  • Vitamin C
  • Calcium
  • Chromium
  • Magnolia bark extract
  • Beta-sitosterol - plant compounds with chemical structures similar to that of cholesterol) commonly found in wheat germ, soybeans, and corn oil
  • theanine - a non-protein amino acid in green tea
  • Bitter orange peel
  • Banaba - also known as Crepe Myrtle, used in Ayurvedic medicine for diabetes and weight control.