Suzanne Somers' New Book Ignites ControversySuzanne Somers' new book has alredy ignited a controversy. Page Six reports that one Manhattan internist says that the book's claims about the use of bioidentical hormones are "nonmedical, misleading and unsubstantiated" and could possibly harm women.
"We believe 'Ageless: The Naked Truth About Bioidentical Hormones' is detrimental and dangerous to the thousands of women who will read it," Dr. Erika Schwartz, a Manhattan internist on the board of the SUNY Downstate College of Medicine, told Page Six. "The book freely and repeatedly blurs the line of medical ethics and science with hearsay."Doctors who believe that bioidentical hormones are safer than those sold by the major pharmaceutical companies say that the concerns are not valid and are solely motivated by greed on the part of the drug industry. Somers also drew ire from some physicians when she used an herbal alternative instead of chemotherapy to treat her breast cancer.
Schwartz and five other top docs have written Somers and her publisher, Crown, to complain because "we cannot stand by and allow nonexperts to dispense medical advice that could potentially harm women." The "Three's Company" star - best known for hawking the ThighMaster exercise gadget - touts "bioidentical hormone-replacement therapy," in which supplemental doses of synthetic sex-steroid hormones replace conventional hormone-replacement therapy for menopausal women.
Somers says her book is a "medically validated approach" that can help reverse "the aging process" and maintain "a healthy, vibrant, mentally sharp, sexually active life - while building the body's natural defenses against age-related diseases." But Schwartz says that many of the claims in the book are "scientifically unproven" and that Somers mixes "quotes from qualified physicians who are experts . . . with those of a person with no medical or scientific background" - which "will further confuse women and, we believe, may potentially put their health at risk."
Somers' rep didn't get back to us, but a Crown rep said the perky blond actress "spoke with 16 credentialed doctors whose interviews are all included in the book . . . She states clearly, and repeatedly throughout the book, that women need to consult with a responsible doctor who is practicing this new approach to health and together determine an individualized course of action. She has embraced this medicine because she has seen the results in her own body."
Dr. Andrew Weil, the Harvard-trained doctor who advocates a holistic approach to health, discusses the issue here and here. Ageless: The Naked Truth About Bioidentical Hormones by Suzanne Somers is available now.
Posted on October 13, 2006