The amazing peeps at Harvard are trying to help the average shopper interested in their health with an article on why information on nutrients and supplements (and I think herbs too) is so confusing and overwhelming.
Simply put it comes back to the science: what formulation of the nutrient was used in the scientific trials, what dosage, what gender were the participants, what age were they, how long did they take the nutrient for and importantly were the participants healthy or sick? Even more confused? Well that’s not surprising!
In short has the person giving you the advice read the original research or are they aware of the original research specific to differing formulations, dosage, duration of treatment and suitability for population groups? I’m often reading blogs my clients ask me to check out for them on thyroid issues, menopause & PMS and I am pretty frequently amazed/horrified by the misinformation being peddled by clearly caring and well meaning human beings who just unfortunately haven’t read the original research. ‘Cause only when you know this level of detail can you draw a conclusion on whether or not you will get the sorts of results you are after.
I call this ‘bang for your buck’! A simple strategy of only using nutritional supplements and herbs that have been tested on people that are similar to you.
Personally I think it is just not ethical to lump all the results of all the trials on a specific nutrient/herb together, mash them up, and spit out a universal one liner.
Let me give you an example I hear almost every day: a client will ask me if magnesium is good for their thyroid disease/ weight problem/ muscle soreness/ constipation/ skin issues/ period pain/ mood disorder/ sleep issues etc etc because they are beginning to suspect their very expensive bottle of magnesium is not working for them.
Well if we dive into the detail here for a moment different formulations of magnesium at differing dosages have been shown to help with most of these concerns, however, the type of magnesium may mean you are taking a pill you hope will help with your period pain when all it has been tested to do is relieve constipation! Or you are taking too small a dosage to have any impact at all and wondering why you are the only person not on the magnesium bandwagon.
This is one of the reasons why I became an evidence based natural therapist – yes it is more work but it is also more rewarding seeing my patients’ health improve!
You can read the article that started this conversation, some might say rant, here.
Have you ever been given advice on a nutrient or herb that you later found just simply did not work for you?
For more information or to contact me for a consultation (02) 4968 2157
Main image: smartypantsvitamin.com