Taking Supplements? Perhaps You Should Save Your Money

Posted on February 5, 2015 by Hemi Weingarten

Earlier this week, The New York State Attorney General sent cease and desist letters to 4 major retailers, demanding they remove several supplements from their shelves immediately. The retailers – Walmart, Walgreens, Target, and GNC – were selling herbal supplements that did not contain the herbs they were supposed to. DNA tests were performed on product samples purported to contain gingko biloba, St. John’s Wort, and ginseng, among others.

Why are we not surprised?

The FDA regulates drugs and food, but the supplement industry managed to weasel itself out of regulation with the passage of the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 (DSHEA). This industry sponsored legislature basically enabled supplement manufacturers to self regulate themselves. Companies are basically allowed to sell products without proof of effectiveness or safety!

Is the $35 billion nutritional supplement industry one big scam?

Some people swear by their supplements, others feel no different. Some scientists think that the placebo effect is in action here. People paying hundreds of dollars for supplements are convinced that they are helping them improve their health. This mind-body connection has been scientifically validated.

What hasn’t been validated, in most cases, is the health benefits of taking supplements. That won’t stop the billion dollar marketing onslaught directed at a culture that worships quick fix solutions and silver bullets.

Our take? Save your supplement money to buy more real, healthy food.

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