According to the FDA Consumer Health Information Department, the nutraceutical industry commonly know as the vitamin supplement industry is a multibillion-dollar industry. As consumers we spend billions of dollars a year on these three categories; Supplements, Fitness and Anti-Aging. Yet obesity and chronic illness are still on the rise!
There are thousands of supplements on the market from which to chose from. How does one know which one is best to take? How do we know if we are wasting our hard-earned money? Think about it for a moment. What is the most expensive nutritional supplement on the market today? The Answer! The one that doesn’t work!
There are a lot of factors that contribute to supplements not working like; digestive issues. According to the CDC digestive impairment is the number one health malady in our culture today. If what you put into your body cannot be absorbed into the body it is a waste. Another major problem with supplements is generic low-quality ingredients or not enough ingredients.
With the thousands of supplement companies flooding the market place every year how does one know what is true and best to take? All these companies claim to have the latest and greatest supplements! According to the Consumer Health Information Department there are some things to avoid and some things to look for in the companies you choose. For starters look for products that have genuine published scientific research on those products. And avoid those products that don’t have published scientific research.
Here is where it gets interesting. Because every company out their claims to have scientific research. So how does one know the truth? Genuine Scientific Research has to go through the process of getting Institutional Review Board (IRB) Approval. What is that? I am glad you asked!
Under FDA regulations, an IRB is an appropriately constituted group that has been formally designated to review and monitor biomedical research involving human subjects. In accordance with FDA regulations, an IRB has the authority to approve, require modifications in (to secure approval), or disapprove research. Here is what is required:
• Write up research intention, proposal and protocol.
• Submit to accredited Institutional Review Board (IRB) for Approval.
• Research premise must be scientifically valid and acceptable.
• Approved Informed Consent forms to be signed by subjects in study and kept on
record by the research institution.
• Safety must be validated and assured to the satisfaction of the IRB scientific reviewers.
• Protection of Confidentiality (HIPAA Requirements).
• When approved, IRB number is assigned and published in study.
• Active & Placebo product are sent to researchers (double-blind placebo controlled).
• Subjects are recruited, accepted (or rejected) and enter the study protocol.
• Data criteria, Statistical parameters and endpoints are established and analyzed at
study completion (or rating scale for case studies).
• Manuscript is written, confirmed by co-authors, and submitted to scientific journal.
• The contributory role of each study author is submitted to journal review board.
• Manuscript is reviewed by numerous reviewers on an editorial review board.
(This can involve numerous interactions with questions requiring answers from
researchers and may take many months to years to finalize.)
• If (and when) accepted for publication, research is published in Peer-reviewed cited
• Complete a copyright document and assign to journal publisher.
As you can see this is a lengthy and expensive process for a company to do a full case study with clinicals on just one product. Often times these studies can cost millions of dollars to do. That is why most of these companies don’t do it. Instead they use testimonials from big time athletes or actors. You should never care about who is on the bottle but what is in the bottle.
What Genuine Scientific Research Does NOT Look Like?
• Research ([published or not] by a 3rd party [commercial Co. or academic institution])
on an ingredient…but not the exact same ingredient used in the commercial product
(i.e. green tea extract, mushroom extracts, phospholipids, chromium nicotinate, grape
seed extract, ginkgo biloba, and a thousand other botanicals).
• Single ingredient research, even IF it is the same ingredient as used in the original
research (BUT, the VAST majority are NOT), is not sufficient to validate the multi-
ingredient formula in which it is used.
• In-House survey questionnaire compiled to create ‘research’ conclusion.
• White Paper of ‘In-House’ research showing effectiveness – No peer-reviewed and
cited scientific Journal publication information on research document. (Research
paper is only available from company website).
• List of impressive ‘experts’ on a company scientific advisory board (endorsing
• A section of a website that uses scientific language to appear to be scientific.
• The use of testimonials (which are mostly influenced by financial bias) as a substitute
for scientific validation.
In conclusion, the first question to ask is show me the scientific proof. Just because it is on the shelf at GNC or Walmart doesn’t mean it has documented scientific proof. It isn’t enough to have science about one ingredient in the product. It needs science on the complete finished products. To be honest that narrows down the companies to just a handful that have gone through the expense and trouble to truly validate their products.
For information on Nutrition verified scientifically to work, go to www.prodo1.com
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