There’s a tendency to divide the world of pills in two: evil pharmaceuticals and nice supplements. When we’re looking at the outrageous claims on the labels of supplements—that they’ll help us lose weight, clear-up acne, live long lives—we somehow forgot that the natural-health business is a business like any other, and that in Canada, while there are loose regulations around these products, they are not necessarily safe or effective.
Unlike pharmaceuticals—which admittedly have their own evidence problems—”natural”
pills don’t undergo rigorous testing before they reach the market. So
some of the claims about them are simply lies or not based in good
science. As Dr. Edzard Ernst, one
of the world’s foremost experts on the evidence for alternative
complementary medicine, told Science-ish: “It is a myth to assume that
the supplement industry behaves any differently from any other industry.
It is about making money, and all too often people are less than
responsible in the pursuit of this aim.”
The good news is that there is strong evidence to either back or
refute some common notions about supplements. Science-ish sifted through
the research to identify indications for capsules that have compelling
science behind them. Here’s the Science-ish guide to supplements:
Source - Macleans