We all have those Facebook friends who have been sucked into selling products by multilevel marketing (MLM) schemes.
While storage dishes and cosmetics were the old MLM standbys, nutritional supplements are the latest craze.
What not everyone realizes, though, is that some of these supplements are incredibly harmful.
One pharmacy student posted exactly why MLM products are a problem.
The TL;DR version of her post is that a lot of MLM customers are taking supplements with plant extracts that directly interfere with western medications and treatments.
The writer of the post also pointed out the fact that most medical practitioners don't have the time to research individual ingredients to see how they interact with a patient's medications.
The post spurred many people to urge others to do their due diligence before consuming such products.
The post also made its way onto an "antiMLM" thread on Reddit and other redditors pointed out other contributing factors to the underlying issues.
One of the main points people brought up was the fact that just because a supplement is "natural" does not mean that it is good for you.
"Just because something is "naturaaaaal" (which i doubt some of these products are anyway) doesn't mean it has no effect on your body... Why is that so difficult to understand for MLM people?" - steampunk_penguin_
"RN here. Recently had a surgical patient who's incision wouldn't stop bleeding. Couldn't figure it out until another surgeon (not hers) happened to mention that turmeric supplements can cause this. Sure enough...she never stopped the turmeric because "it's natural".
I know this isn't directly MLM related, but I empathise with this student. I also learned some things that will help me in my own practice. Thanks for posting." - MelPhil
"I'm a dietitian in a hospital and I'm constantly getting the "have you heard of Thrive? It's awesome!" or if I tell someone that weight loss/blood pressure lowering/cholesterol lowering takes works and apple cider vinegar isn't the answer to all, it's "Dr Oz told me to try green tea/cut out XYZ/whatever other shit he peddles to make money, he's a doctor so I don't even know what to believe anymore". Media and MLMs are both part of what's killing us. It's really frustrating because I went to school for 5 years and am going for my Masters now, just to become a dietitian. But now everything thinks they know better about nutrition. NUTRITION ISN'T A FUCKING OPINION IT'S PRACTICE MUST BE EVIDENCE BASED OR I LOSE MY LICENSE. Sorry MLMs, holistic health, naturopaths are destroying my profession and it really sucks." - iwearsockstosleep
"Also a nurse (psych) and fuck every one of those type of ladies. Half of them will tell their elderly parents to stop taking their medication because insert crappy MLM product will cleanse the body and mind and cure their schizophrenia and psychosis." - jakobdee
"So you're not interested in my new Poison Ivy essential oil line?" - TrapperKeeperCosby
One redditor, Hypocritical_Oath, introduced an interesting theory regarding the relationship between MLM supplement users and professional medical providers.
"I almost wonder if they turn away from science and doctors so hard because they've had a lot of bad experiences with doctors.
Like middle aged women were the main demo to be diagnosed with hysteria, and as much as we wish we have moved on, we really haven't and doctors can still be pretty fucking sexist.
Like a pretty common complaint I see women talk about is doctor's just not believing they are in serious pain from their menstrual cycle (this can be a symptom of some serious stuff). (Women are also not consistently believed when it comes to pain in general) And that's a really shitty thing to have happen to you, and I could see why someone would distrust docs after being told their pain is irrelevant.
(EDIT: just pain in general. Should've said pain in general up there, sorry)
Edit2: honestly this is sort of a baseless assumption. But it makes some sense, I guess. Someone gimme money so I can study this shit." - Hypocritical_Oath
"'they've had a lot of bad experiences with doctors.'
This part, right here. If you bother to ask them, almost every person who believes in 'alternative medicine' has a horror story about dealing with real medicine.
I've had some really shitty experiences with terrible doctors, (If a doctor says 'it's all in your head', find a new one, they're useless) but not everyone is going to be able to separate the practitioner from the practice, which leaves the door open for snake oil salesmen." - Triptolemu5
"Almost everyone I know who is into either health MLMs or hardcore alternative medicine either has been pushed away by docs when they have a real problem (POTS, EDS, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, etc) or has a close friend or family member who has been let down by how they are treated by the medical system. My cousin shouldn't have had to go to a doctor 1000 miles away to get a tilt-table test to be diagnosed with POTS, but that was what it took for her to be taken seriously and not just told to take Prozac, get more sleep, and drink enough water."
Hopefully this issue will serve as a reminder that both physician and patient need to not only share openly with each other, but also listen to one another.
And you should always know exactly what you're putting into your body. After all, hemlock is natural too.