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Why the Vitamin Industry is Vulnerable

by Tony Bowling on March 29, 2012

Vulnerability

Sometimes the nutritional/vitamin industry are their own worst enemy.  So many nutritional companies market their products as the solution to certain body problems without an ounce of evidence or supporting information. They just throw a bunch of different vitamins and/or herbs together and then boldly state “This helps you sleep” or “Helps your brain” etc.  This opens the door for the likes of the FDA to come along and say there are false claims or (heaven’s forbid) one is practicing medicine without a license.

Specific problems such as lack of sleep can be greatly helped if a person ingests all the vitamins and minerals he/she needs from good food sources and takes all the basic vitamins (link to Basic Vitamins) the body requires for optimum health.  Doing this would likely be better than some concoction that some unknown person has put together to solve your sleep problem.

 Concoctions

These concoctions can be criticized mostly for what they leave out rather than what they put in:

I have a bottle of vitamins in front of me right now called “SLIM”. It does not state any claims but the obvious inference is that it is supposed to help you slim down. So what does it contain?

It contains 8 of the 11 B vitamins. Not bad but what happened to the other three? Were those three scientifically found to not help you lose weight whereas the other 8 do? Not very likely. Just an arbitrary.

The pill also contains  a “Proprietary Slim Blend” which includes green tea leaves and caffeine! So what we have here is an incomplete B complex concoction with caffeine as the solution to your over weight problem if you have one. Doesn’t inspire confidence.

This same company has a bottle called Energy and one called Sleep.

Now the Sleep one has 7 of the 11 B-complex vitamins and a “Proprietary Sleep blend” containing such things as milk thistle, peppermint leaves, etc. So seven of the B-complex will help you sleep and yet eight of them will help you slim! This does not make a lot of sense.

The third bottle called “Energy” only has three of the 11 B-complex and, you guessed it, they have a “Proprietary Energy Blend”.  So obviously sleeping and sliming require more (but not all)  B-vitamins than does energy. Again it makes no sense at all.

(The first  ingredient of their Proprietary Energy Blend is Ginseng. As an experiment I once took a whole bottle of that at one time just to see if it made any difference to my energy levels. I was hoping for a positive result but did not notice any. I was twenty years old and very fit at the time)

False Claims

So when the FDA or anyone else comes along and states that these vitamin companies and the like are making false claims or misleading people there is some truth to that and that piece of truth can put the whole industry at risk. And it is more than an industry, it is a vital way of life for many people.

I do not have scientific evidence that the above three bottles of vitamins do not do what they imply they do but when one compares each bottle to the next the logic just falls apart.

 Do Vitamins Work?

Do vitamins and minerals in general work? Of course. There is tons of evidence of that. Does vitamin C help you ward off a cold? Yes! Does calcium, if absorbed probably, help your bones? Yes!  Do the above concocted pills specifically help you slim, sleep and have energy. I doubt it. On the other hand none of these concoctions could be considered harmful — really just a waste of money and time.

If we do not want (more) government interference in what vitamins we can buy and ingest we should work to get any false claims off the store shelves and work to educate people so they are less likely to be taken advantage of in the first place.

Tony

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