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The truth about supplements

Today I am going to do something a little different. 

If you are a user of supplements you might find the video that I did about four years ago quite helpful. 

You’ve probably heard that supplements are a multi-billion dollar industry, so that then raises a question:

Do supplements really work?

Do supplements really work, or are these tens of millions of users deluding themselves? Is the only benefit they are getting from the supplements are coming from the placebo effect?

And if they really do work,

  • why do we read so many stories in the media about how supplements just create “expensive urine”
  • why do so many news items put a negative slant on supplements
  • why do various studies say not only that they don’t work but, they can actually be harmful

For example,

  • one study that was widely circulated that says if you’re a smoker, they’re taking beta carotene will increase your risk of getting cancer.
  • recently there was a lot of media exposure casting doubt on the benefits of fish oil for your health

And it goes on. I’ve lost count how many media releases I’ve seen that were negative to supplements.

Negative reports on supplements have serious flaws

A few years ago, when they came out I would do research into these negative reports and the results were generally quite astounding. Virtually every news story about a negative study on supplements had a serious flaw

For example the negative studies about beta carotene and vitamin E that you may have heard about could have been expected. These studies were doomed to fail before they even started. Sometimes that is even the intention of the people who initiated the study and has been confirmed by the way the study was designed and the ingredients they used

In the case of a beta carotene in the vitamin E studies that I mentioned, incomplete synthetic forms of those ingredients were used.

What does that mean? Let me explain, both beta carotene and vitamin E are part of a larger family of nutrients. They are never found in isolation in nature and never in synthetic form. These forms are foreign to the body; beta carotene is part of a family of carotenoids and in nature comes combined with Alpha carotene and so on.

The vitamin E used in this studies was the tocopherol form, which is what is generally used in most supplements. However, you should not take vitamin E tocopherols in isolation because that is not how it comes in nature. It must be combined with tocotrienols, which is the other part of vitamin E.

Tocotrienols are rarely used in supplements because they are much more expensive. When the complete form of these nutrients are used, The beneficial impact on the body is significant.

Xtend-Life was one of the first companies to ensure the tocotrienols were combined with tocopherols to make up a complete vitamin E. This blend of vitamin E mimics the vitamin E that is found in nature as close as possible. It is very beneficial to your health.

Are flawed studies deliberate?

Now that you’re aware of this, you may be thinking, why are these studies conducted using incomplete non-natural ingredients?

To answer this, you’ll need to research these negative studies and find out who funded it directly or indirectly.

Sometimes the answer may shock you.

You may find that the study has been funded by Big Pharma with the objective to have a negative result. This is then publicized in the form of news items as part of a general campaign to discredit supplements!

Is this hard to believe?

Not really when you understand that the been a strategy for the last 15 years, largely initiated by Big Pharma. This is try and stop the increasing awareness of the thinking public of the importance of preventive health. Once you understand that, then it all makes sense.

An attempt to discredit preventative health

More and more people are beginning to understand that if they are to be healthy and live pain-free they have to take action to avoid getting sick and succumbing to generative disease before the event.

Taking a pill after the event suddenly doesn’t work; it may mask the symptoms temporarily but it will not cure the underlying cause.

Supplements will help prevent ill health. As such , they have made, and are continuing to make quite a dent in the sales of pharmaceutical drugs. Hence the effort by interested parties to try and discredit them.

The influence of big pharma, on the media

I remember being told something about 12 years ago by a very credible source in the UK. Apparently in the previous year alone a consortium of pharmaceutical companies in the UK had spent 15 million pounds with three UK PR firms. The objective? To dig up anything negative about supplements and get it out to the media in the form of news items.

It was not possible for me to see the evidence for myself but I have every reason to believe that the information was accurate. Many of the news items you see in the media and/or on TV are not really news at all. Instead, they are specific ready-made news releases. It’s just that they are packaged in such a way that they seem like news. This makes it convenient and easier for the media to publish.

These snippets are not limited to negative news of supplements. They can also appear as positive news for pharmaceutical drugs. For example a press release promoting some promising new breakthrough even though it would be years before the research and/or trials are completed.

These are prepared by companies to increase share prices and for other financial reasons. Because of this, it is always important when hearing or viewing news on any particular issue relating to your health that you do your own independent research on it before making a final conclusion.

This is why you cannot always believe what you see or read in the media when it comes to your health.

The supplement industry is not without blame

I will move on to another area which also damages the perception of the benefits of supplements. this is the supplement industry itself, or more specifically certain people or companies in the industry.

The overwhelming majority of the industry is responsible ethical and does the best they can to produce effective products for their customers. However, as with any industry there are companies within it who do not care about their customers and purely focus on their profitability at the expense of the consumer.

There are both manufacturers and marketers who fall into this category. The manufacturers are often those who mass-produce low quality cheap supplements and generally distribute them through supermarkets. Many of these supplements are totally useless. They are often just passed through the body with no benefits. They should never be produced in the first place.

Unfortunately as with everything it takes two to tango and there are non thinking consumers who continue to buy them. These are low quality supplements which do a lot of damage to the industry because they certainly don’t work.

Some marketers also do a lot of damage to the industry. Some of the claims they make are totally outrageous and dishonest. These marketers have very little risk in the industry because they contract the manufacturing of their products and have no investment in plant facilities or people. Everything is outsourced, including customer service and fulfillment. If they get shut down by the FTC or the FDA they will simply start up under a different brand.

All ingredients are not the same

Apart from some of these products being of questionable value some of the ingredients are not effective.

To give you an example let’s take grape skin extract which is a very good ingredient. You may buy a product with grape skin extract but as a consumer what you will not know is the enormous difference in effectiveness of ingredients with the same name.

The difference could be as great as comparing an old Russian alotta car to a new Rolls-Royce car!

For example, most grape skin extracts are produced in China. There are about 20 actives in a natural grape skin, but in most of the grape skin extracts from China there are only four actives. This is because of the extraction methods in the source material.

There are about 20 actives in a natural grape skin, but in most of the grape skin extracts from China there are only four actives.

In contrast the grape skin extract from New Zealand is the same as the actual grape skin with 20 actives.

You get what you pay for

Why don’t more manufacturers use the higher quality form?

Because as a manufacturer you can pay ten times more for the higher-quality ingredient of the same name. Any of the supplement facts on the bottle will still read the same, i.e. grape skin extract.

As a majority of supplement products on the market are produced by contract manufacturers. These will source the cheapest material that meets the specifications.

At Xtend-Life, we pay the extra because our business principles are based on retention of long-term customers. We do this by only providing them with the very best. Besides, I and my family rely on our products for our own good health and we will not compromise.

There is much more I could say about supplements and what you need to look out for. I will, however, leave you with this thought:

Supplements are not a luxury

Taking quality supplements on a daily basis is not a luxury but an essential discipline if you are serious about avoiding or delaying illness in degenerative diseases.

To help make informed decisions about what supplements you should take you should make an effort to understand how they are made. The easiest way for this to happen is for me to give you our guided tour through our own Xtend-Life facility.

Contrary to what some people will say in the media the supplement industry is tightly regulated. Sadly, there are still many companies who still do not comply with GMP protocols. Enforcement on manufacturing standards is still lacking but government agencies are becoming more proactive in auditing production facilities.

In a later episode I’ll explain what type of supplements you should take for good foundational health and why.

Until next week, take care and I will see you soon.

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