Let’s talk supplements- do they really work? I recently read a social media post from a local doctor regarding a particular supplement. His opinion was that it was quite dangerous if used improperly and therefore it should be regulated. From there, the post segued into a broad dismissal of all supplements. He cited a few internet articles as well as unnamed “studies” to support his argument, but the general gist was that supplement use was nonsense and it was all about money. This last part made me chuckle as anyone who has ever been to or dealt with a doctor/hospital/pharmacy/health insurance/any healthcare facility knows that it is $$$ expensive! It was hard to find actual statistics on the GDP percentage for the dietary supplement industry (likely due to the small amount), but in 2016 the dietary supplement industry made up 0.68% of the USA’s GDP (guerrillaeconomics) while the healthcare industry made up a whopping 18% (cms.gov). So, if we’re in it for money, we’re in the wrong business, Doc.
Now, I don’t take issue with everything the good doctor said in his post. Not all supplements are what they say they are. Some dietary supplements may not contain the correct active parts of the herb. You should always research brands and find one that you are comfortable with. Don’t take my word (or a random social media post) for it. Read, research, and then decide. I also don’t believe that modern medicine is ineffective or should be shunned. I go to the doctor myself, but I also try to do all I can (diet, exercise, supplementation) to avoid the doctor. And one thing the doc and I can definitely agree on- lifestyle changes are best! You can’t supplement OR prescribe away problems that result from an ongoing bad habit.
I have been in the supplement business for almost 14 years and I have seen and heard many success stories from people who have used herbs and supplements. This doesn’t mean they are fail-proof, 100% guaranteed-to-turn-back-time miracles (nothing can), but I do believe (from both personal and anecdotal evidence) in the benefits of natural healthcare. And, just like the “studies” the doctor mentions that don’t support the efficacy of supplements, there are a myriad of studies that do support dietary supplementation. So, I would encourage you to work on making healthy lifestyle choices, and also…do your own research.