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Supplements – the problem with supplements

January 29, 2024 0

Pharmaceuticals tend to be good for treating Acute illness but Supplements tend to be better for treating Chronic illness. (Acute being an immediate sudden problem, Chronic being something that builds up slowly over time). However the supplement industry is a bit of a mess.

Supplements are unregulated, unlike pharmaceuticals, so there is a lot of products and a lot of mis-information. Doctors prescribe pharmaceuticals but supplements you can buy directly yourself. Without a medical degree or strong science background, this means most people cannot gauge quality or efficacy of a product or if they even need it. The pharmacy or health shop attendant is not qualified to gauge this for you either.

Unlike pharmaceuticals, supplements are naturally occurring vitamins and minerals which cannot be patented, which greatly reduces the amount of funding available for proper scientific research. Instead what we see is a lot of quasi science and biohackers making claims via social media platforms. 

Lastly supplements are slow acting and people are impatient. The affects of a supplement are subtle and can take weeks before a noticeable affect is felt. In that time there are a lot of other variables that can be working for or against, which may influence the perception of its effectiveness. That is if someone consistently sticks with it for a few weeks. These days, we’re conditioned to want and expect results quickly. Magic pill paradigm.



Should I even take supplements? Most likely yes. Clinical studies have shown most people are deficient in at least one or two key vitamins or minerals if not more. Especially those on special diets or suffering chronic / acute illness symptoms. But instead of self prescribing what to take and when, see a healthcare professional qualified to give professional independent advise.

GPs will naturally lean towards prescribing pharmaceuticals (for a number of reasons we wont get into here now). So we recommend a good Naturopath or Integrative Health Practioner. They can look at a wide range of things from diet, lifestyle, stress, body type, blood type, age…and symptoms if you’re feeling ill. They can also run a range of blood, urine, stool and saliva tests. Based on this they will know what you’re deficient in and can make an effective supplement plan.

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