Your view: do you feel the need for food supplements?
You had a lot to say about our research which concluded that people are wasting money on unnecessary food supplements. Do you buy into food supplements?
‘I will continue to eat a healthy diet, rather than paying for supplements and supporting the companies that make them.’
James takes multivitamins:
‘I take the cheap multivit supplements from the local supermarket because I am on low income and can’t afford a balanced healthy diet. The healthy food you buy is always more expensive than the unhealthy food, so us people on minimum wage don’t have much of a choice.’
However, Alan Henness thinks James should rely more on the food he eats:
‘Healthy food can be cheap – I suspect you may well be getting enough from the food you eat – perhaps ask your GP or a Dietitian?’
Moving away from food supplements
Stephen has since moved away from food supplements:
‘I used to take garlic tablets, cod liver oil, glucosamine and vitamin c. As an experiment I stopped them all at the end of last year, as far as I can tell it has not affected my health.’
‘My grandmother took cod liver oil for her whole life as she thought it would be good for her joints, but it did her no good. She is crippled with arthritis.’
Does gulcosamine work?
A debate about glucosamine soon took hold. In our research, 94% of people who took this said they thought it supported healthy joints. Even though this health claim has been rejected by the European Union, commenter Michael G feels it helps him:
‘I tried glucosamine and chondroitin and have used it successfully for 12 years, thus avoiding any operation. I’ve tried many times to stop taking it to see what happens and my knees within two weeks start to click and buckle. Evidence or no evidence… it works for me.’
Rosalind also takes glucosamine and can apparently feel its effects:
‘I was told by several orthopaedic surgeons to take glucosamine and choindroitin, as I have traumatic arthritis in my ankle from an old sports injury and had to have my ankle replaced. I find that if I don’t take it for a couple of days, I definitely feel less supple and stiffer.’
However, Maurizio had a different experience:
‘I used to take glucosamine & chondroitin, I stopped two years ago, I didn’t find any improvements in my joints when I took it or a worsening when I stopped. If it works for you, whether is the placebo effect or not, if you think it works, carry on and take it. We all respond differently, it seems.’
Malcolm M lays it on the line for glucosamine and other unproven supplements:
‘When I see properly-derived scientific evidence that particular medicines work – conventional or alternative – I’ll believe the claims made. Until then I’ll be sceptical. However, if other people believe a medicine does them good, then it may be they are in the right mindset to help themselves. However, where I believe unproven medicines are dangerous is when you have a potentially serious condition that is not properly treated by a proven drug, in favour of a so-called alternative.’
Don’t believe the hype
Guy Chapman thinks it’s about time the spotlight was on the supplement industry:
‘The supplement industry has been getting away with misleading claims for as long as I can remember. Even now, US websites will still be carrying essentially unregulated claims for these products, entirely due to industry lobbying. I support a level playing field for health claims: no robust evidence, no advert, no exceptions.’
John Ward, who gets our Comment of the Week, thinks Brits need better health education:
‘It seems to me that there is a powerful case for much better health education on diet and well-being to combat the influence of commercial promotion. I am concerned that too many people who can ill afford, or might be at risk from, unprescribed supplementation do not realise how much they could do to help themselves without synthetic preparations.’
So, what do you think about the comments above? Do you buy into food supplements or are you sceptical of their efficacy?
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