The health supplement industry is huge and still growing. The range of different herbs, vitamin and mineral supplements available to most of us is bigger than it has ever been before. These supplements come at a time when modern society can really do with their benefits.
Types of supplements
Health supplements can be broken down into 3 groups:
Herbal supplements(plants and occasionally animals)
Overlapping with this a whole industry has grown up around body building type supplements such as:
Weight loss supplements
Muscle building supplements
Sexual performance supplements
We need the vitamin supplement industry:
Stress, pollution and a number of other factors means that we are faced with a growing number of hard-to-define yet often chronic conditions that are proving resilient to treatment by modern medicine.
Many doctors also appear to persist in their policy of only looking in isolation at the specific problem that they have been presented with, and treating the symptoms rather than the root cause of the problem.
Our soil is becoming more and more denuded of vital nutrients. This means that many of the crops and vegetables that we grow have far lower levels of essential vitamins and minerals than what they used to have.
We live in a world where that has mechanised to the point of destruction. We eat more and more poorly, resulting in higher levels of obesity and malnutrition. The microwave and high sugar/carbohydrate meals are quickly replacing the raw food products of yesteryear.
However, much of the vitamin supplement industry is a scam
Shopping for supplements is like walking through a bazaar full of roguish hawkers trying to sell you religious relics. Each product is guaranteed authentic and cures more ailments than you have even heard of.
But then again, maybe the affable gentleman at the counter really knows his stuff and you do really suffer from some rare disorder that modern medicine cannot treat. Maybe that recurring cough of yours is indicative of something much more malign? Possibly that extra 1000mg of vitamin C will indeed stop you getting sick this winter? Or that extra calcium will actually increase your bone density? And since the vitamin B jab is administered by your doctor it surely must give you more energy? Besides which, when you read up on these products online each one was marketed as ‘cheaper’ and ‘purer’ than the next. The voices get louder and more persuasive. Your bag slowly fills and your pockets empty. Somehow you still feel pretty much the same, but maybe it is helping after all?
The supplement industry is not standardized
The supplement industry is as much about marketing as medicine, about money as it is about empirical fact. And sadly it is still poorly regulated.
Some of the problems with the supplement industry include the following:
There are no standardised processes that a supplement has to go through before being allowed to be sold on the open market.
Many supplements have no proven efficacy and safety has often not been established
The few research studies that do exist are often methodologically unsound.
The actual purity of a given substance varies remarkably. So an adaptogenic plant like Rhodiola Rosea may get sold to you with a really low percentage of its active ingredients in the herb, where the amount of salidrosides and rosavins may be significantly below that which was used in the research studies.
Many supplements contain fillers, so something as simple as a glutamine supplement might contain only 80% glutamine and the rest filler. The safety of the fillers has also not always been established.
As a comparison, in the pharmaceutical industry a new drug has to go through billions of dollars of trials in order for it to be proved to be both effective and safe for use. Trials are conducted against placebo groups to make sure that there is an actual chemical effect over and above the placebo effect. They are also generally ‘double blind’, meaning that neither the subjects nor the researchers know whether a given subject belongs to the actual drug group or the control group.
The goal of Best Vitamin Supplements
Despite the lack of standardization and transparent research in the industry, there are products that have been quite thoroughly researched to be efficacious. I strongly believe that certain vitamins, minerals and other natural supplements can help particular people with particular conditions or deficiencies, and even some that might be beneficial for everybody!
The primary goals of Best Vitamin Supplements are the following:
To examine various physiological and psychological illnesses and take a look at which supplements might actually be beneficial in resolving these conditions.
To also look in detail at particular natural substances as well as mineral and vitamin supplements and examine the actual empirical evidence as to whether or not they have any actual efficacy!
To examine when healthy individuals might genuinely benefit from mineral and vitamin supplements, as opposed to just more putting strain on their liver!
To help you to be able to avoid being conned in the future. Towards this end I am providing a degree of understanding as to what to look for in supposed ‘research’ on supplements that provides ‘evidence’ that they are effective. This will allow you to make up your own mind as to their actual safety and efficacy!