I received an invitation from a friend of mine on Facebook for one of these parties which introduces “healthy living” type products. I’ve always been one for looking into healthier products so I headed off to their website to take a look and see if, as usual, there were a bunch of overpriced and overstuffed products that were going to be on offer.
The sceptic in me was not disappointed.
There is a whole page dedicated to supplements to cure every ill and make you feel like a new person. Great eh? Not so much. Over the last 18 months, I’ve become a label examiner. On this website, you only get a list of ingredients and no detail about active contents. As with most places selling supplements, whether they be on the web or on the high street, whoever actually manufactures these pills and potions seems to have little regard for any potential wellbeing of the end user, packing their products with fillers and other excipients, some of which have been posited as being quite possibly injurious to long term health. Why? I ask myself. Is it all about money?
Most studies that I’ve seen agree that taking multivitamins is a complete waste of time and money. The individual components are included in such small amounts as to provide a mere drop in the ocean of any possible deficiency. That’s aside from the hullabaloo lately about certain retailers whose supplements have turned out to contain nothing that they had on the label. Aside from that is the fact that the majority of vitamins, minerals and supplements are bulked out with absolute crap and it becomes really difficult to find anything that’s worth taking. Here are some common additives:
Microcrystalline cellulose: a term for refined wood pulp. Used as a “bulking agent”
Hydroxypropyl Methylcellulose: Also called E464, an inert viscoelastic polymer supposedly used to protect the contents of the capsule from stomach acid.
Magnesium Stearate – used as an anti-caking agent.
Silicone Dioxide – used as an anti-caking agent
Even adding all of these still allows a product to be labelled “No Artificial Colours, Flavours or Sweeteners. No Preservatives. No added Salt. No Milk, No Lactose, No Soya, No Gluten, No Wheat, No Fish, No Porcine”
I’m not the first person to question the addition of these substances to anything that is ingested and I’m sure I won’t be the last. The thing that really ticks me off is that it’s so bloody unnecessary. When adding to my arsenal of supplements to correct the various diagnosed deficiencies that I’ve discovered in the last year or so, I’ve really had to shop around and research to find the substances my body needs for optimum health and avoid as many of these fillers as possible. It’s not been a easy task.
And let’s not start on the companies who “manufacture” health foods which actually don’t contain the ingredients on the label. That’s a whole other post!