Lies, Greed, and Poor Clinical Decisions
If you didn’t guess, I’m talking about supplements and those who sell them. They are not always regulated but the government. Whereas food in grocery stores is highly scrutinized for our protection.
Some work, some don’t, and some do harm.
Every few months a fitness or medical professional approaches me claiming to have a new and improved line of supplements. To protect my clients I do my homework before selling them. What ends up happening is I find a lot of holes in their research.
Often times I learn that the proprietor doesn’t even know how to detect bias. Or they chose to ignore it for their profit, and client loss.
I thought you might enjoy reading a conversations I’ve had recently. This one started with this person promoting a supplement line.
Not shown is part of the conversation where she makes claims about certain supplements and liver function, and how she can find me solid research on it.
At this point I was tired of trying to teach her about bias. The conversation ended with her making comments about me being closed-minded.
So who was this person? You may assume she was some uneducated person, just trying to supplement her income, right? Nope. She’s a Chiropractor. That’s 8 years of post-high school education.
About a month ago I had a similar discussion about research quality with a Naturopathic Doctor. She solicited me to sell supplements where she was on the advisory board (conflict of interest much?). I asked for research. She, like the above example, sent to the company website! That’s bias! Am I the only one who sees this? Here’s part of our correspondence.
On Thu, May 8, 2014 at 5:28 PM, <email@example.com> wrote:
Thanks so much! I have spent about an hour going over the xxxxx info
The blog is written by xxxxx (the company selling it), so I have to disregard it. But I did clicked through to study ii. Unfortunately the study was conducted by the makers of xxxxx, and only had 56 subjects so the results I find inconclusive. And the stress was self reported (by people who knew they were in a study, so that hurts the reliability)
The bibliography of that study did have a promising study. I think you are familiar with this study. It doesn’t mention emotional stress other than in the abstract. It talks about cancer, antioxidant effect, and others. Unless I missed it????
So again not conclusive.
I read the abstract of the 2006 post-menopause study. 37% of the people taking xxxxx gained weight during the trial (the opposite effect).
the 2008 study only had 26 people complete it and the conclusion is the supplement “may” provide temporary relief…
So your message or xxxxx’s message is, “xxxxx works!!” but the research I’ve seen today says (to me, in my opinion), “xxxxxx might work based on some small introductory studies.” Compared to something like Creatine, where we understand not only based on a huge body of research but we also understand the cause and effect.
I’d love to see more studies if you have them. Prove me wrong! I would love to have something that helps people reduce cravings and help me recover between training and reduce stress!
Thanks again for your time!
Nutritionist and Trainer
BSc Human Nutrition (Hons.)
Precision Nutrition Certified
Certified Personal Trainer
|Thu, May 08, 2014 6:55 pm|
|Kyle Byron <firstname.lastname@example.org>|
Hi Kyle. I totally get where you’re coming from. xxxx is relatively new, and you won’t get the large scale trials you’re looking for in the recent future. There’s just no funding, other than the makers of xxxxx. Creatine has been a known performance enhancer since the 1970’s, and there’s been ample time to prove the research is valid.
On a personal level as an elite athlete, I would do anything to get a 1% improvement if it meant being on the team or not, getting on the Olympic podium or not, etc. I didn’t care if 1/2 the research supported it, and 1/2 the research refuted it. If there was a chance it would help me recover and I would not test positive, I took it. It’s a complete arms race at that level. Everyone is putting in the training, and everyone’s desperate to get an edge.
Sometimes you just have to try things to see if it works.
(end of conversation)
This professional knows the supplement might not work and sells it to her clients anyways. She makes a profit doing it, justifying it with her athletic experience which is totally irrelevant to her patient population.
In conclusion, both professionals have graduate-level education and shiny websites. They may generally-speaking have the patient’s best interest in mind, but are also interested in passive income selling supplements that probably don’t help, and may do harm.
This is not how I choose to run my practice. I sell a few vitamins and protein powder — things we know work. I sell them for less than the companies say I should.
Be careful with the supplements you buy. Ask for research. Look who is profiting. Or ask me about them on my facebook page