Three Myths About Dietary Supplements Spread by the Health and Wellness Industry

People pay good money for the placebo effect
Three Myths About Dietary Supplements Spread by the Health and Wellness Industry

If you’re under the age of 30 and taking an Advent calendar’s worth of vitamin and mineral supplements, you may want to consider that pills aren’t the only things being shoved down your gullet by influencers and podcast hosts — you’re also consuming lies.

Our point isn’t that vitamins are bad, or that there’s no medical benefit to amino acids, proteins and minerals. It’s just that, for the most part, those things make you feel good, because some sexy grifter convinced you they’re balancing your humours, aligning your chakras and eradicating your thetans.

Watch our latest episode of Honest Ads right here, about all the lies spread by health and wellness stores. And read below to learn about three of the most pervasive myths they spread about dietary supplements.

Myth: Supplements Will Get You Ripped

There’s nothing wrong with mixing a little protein or creatine into your workout routine. But when people think their fart powder jacks them up like Popeye guzzling leafy greens? That’s when injuries occur. A lot of products will throw in energy boosters like caffeine to give you the impression you can totally feel it working, bro! And it’s entirely possible that these supplements might boost certain functions, like muscle reaction or amino acid usage. But making your body feel stronger is a great way to inadvertently push yourself too hard, and wind up popping or tearing something that wasn’t meant to pop or tear.

Myth: Supplements Will Fortify Your Innards

About 31 percent of American adults swear by dietary supplements. Can millions upon millions of people be wrong?

Yes, absolutely. Lots of people believe they can stave off cancer and heart disease — two of the Grim Reaper’s favorite reaping tools — with over-the-counter supplements. But 84 studies over the course of 30 years have shown that this stuff doesn’t really do anything. It’s important to think, again, about who stands to gain from your purchase of these supplements. Grifters like Alex Jones and nutrition stores like GNC make a pretty penny off of feeding you placebos. Once more, there’s most likely nothing wrong with taking a few extra pills — most of the time, you’ll just pee out the excess Vitamin C or whatever. But trouble starts when you take your benign morning pill habit as permission to treat your body like a dumpster fire for the rest of the day.

Myth: Supplements Will Beef Up Your Brain

Just like protein powder and chewable beet cubes, fatty oils aren’t inherently bad for you, per se. So go nuts! Your doctor has no jurisdiction in the hallowed halls of the Vitamin Shoppe, after all. Just know that studies have yet to definitively prove supplements like fish oils actually improve cognitive function. The placebo effect does, of course, have a legitimate and measurable impact on all kinds of physical and mental health benchmarks. And the best part is: Even knowing that the placebo effect is responsible for your dramatic improvement on the SATs won’t negate its impact. 

So go ahead, spend 10 percent of your paycheck making your pee smell like a fish market. If you're going to waste your money on supplements, just make sure you buy them from us, okay?

Watch “If Health + Wellness Stores Were Honest,” the latest episode of Honest Ads, to learn more about the lies you’re ingesting with every bottle of pills you slurp down.

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