If you didn't see a story under this headline in the Wall Street Journal (subscription required) last week, you should.
The story descrbies "a boom in 'Christian wellness' -- dietary supplements and herbal formulas, sometimes along with diets inspired by Biblical descriptions, that sell briskly in a lightly regulated industry. Sales by religiously affiliated companies have surged since the mid-1990s to account for 5% to 10% of the dietary-supplements business, which had about $21 billion in 2005 sales, says Grant Ferrier, editor of Nutrition Business Journal in San Diego.
The products are heavily promoted on religious TV, radio and Web sites through ads featuring testimonials akin to those that evangelicals share in church services."
The story explains that "federal authorities have identified at least three dozen people who drank (one promoter's) mixtures, says a person familiar with the matter. Among those, at least eight people died of cancer, according to a Food and Drug Administration investigator's affidavit. Some patients bypassed conventional therapies for (that promoter's) regimen, according to the affidavit, patients and family members."
The boom includes such books as "What Would Jesus Eat?" and "The Bible Cure."
Of course, as the article explains, "The supplement business has boomed since passage of the 1994 Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act. Under the law, manufacturers of dietary supplements are not required to document that their products are safe or effective. The law bars makers from claiming they can treat, cure or prevent illnesses without specific FDA approval, but lets them tout benefits such as 'improved digestion.' "