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Snake oil?



Wow, Knackered, thanks for posting this. Learned loads of stuff by looking at this graphic. I think they should sell it as a poster to health food shops :eek:)

I *love* Information is Beautiful.

Rachel xx


Senior Member
Interesting. Didn't look at the raw data though.

They are big supporters of beta-glucan, which I have seen little about. Any comments?


Senior Member
Having studied for over two years towards becoming a Naturopath, I was quite confused by many of the conditions these supplements were being judged on. In many cases, they were not tested for the conditions the supplements are normally used to treat.

Why were they not testing them for what they are normally used for, do you know? I am cynical, and became suspicious that whomever paid for the testing was trying to disprove some of these things because of an anti-supplement agenda.

Not all supplements work, and of course some are total snake oil, but many do help a great deal. The main reason supplements fail, is that the recommended dosage is much too low to do the job. IME, this is mostly due to fear of lawsuits. In other cases, disreputable manufacturers have cheated on the ingredients, so you are not getting the supplement you paid for at all, or in much smaller amts.

Yes, some were correctly tested for their normal uses, such as the use of cinnamon for type II diabetes (2 tsp. daily equals the drug Metformin in testing), but so many of the things they tested for were out in left field, that I hardly know where to begin.

I will give just two examples from my own personal life:

1) Krill oil lowered my dangerously high triglycerides by over 300 points. Lipid control is what it is normally used for and it is far more effective and absorable than fish oil, causes no over-fishing issues, does not cause belching like fish oil, does not cause paradoxical reactions in 30% of people like fish oil, and does not have mercury issues. But, they tested it on PMS, not lipids. Never heard of using it for this!

2) L-Tryptophan is the only reason I am not dead from a horrible heart rhythm problem I have, that used to wake me up in the middle of the night, sometimes 2-3 times per night. It would start out with a major panic attack, and then would go into the supraventricular tachycardia, accompanied by all the symptoms of a major heart attack. The attacks lasted 1.5 hrs. each time. I am on a strong drug to slow my heartbeat to prevent it from going over 165 bpm, but that did not stop the attacks, it just made them less severe. L-tryptophan, in doses high enough to treat panic, has stopped them cold for over 2 years now. It is far safer than antidepressants, and just as effective at raising serotonin. 5-HTP is even stronger, but is so strong it is not safe for anyone with high blood pressure or cholesterol or other heart risks. I am amazed that these two are listed as having "no evidence".

Then there is the testing for things other than the ususal use of the item; again, 2 examples:

1. The confusion of having NAC listed as not effective for mental health, when it is normally used to clean the liver, and is even used in conventional Emegency Rooms for this purpose to save lives, when people overdose on aceteminophen (paracetemol). I never heard of it doing a thing for mental health, so of course it would rate low for that.

2. They tested Creatine for cognition. Never heard of this either! It is excellent for raising muscular endurance in the elderly, so they can be more self-sufficient, or for those with muscle energy problems, like us. I had been trying to lift weights to get some strength back for more than 10 years when I discovered it. In all that time, I could not get beyond 8 reps with 4 lb. weights. After one week on a low dose of Creatine, way below what body builders use, I could do 60 reps with no problem.

There were a lot more, but you get the point. I wonder what is really going on here.



Senior Member
They are not showing things like combinations of supplements and different sources for exemple synthetic vs natural..
I'm not a pro supplement guy and i still think it has some value, but you can never capture the whole picture.