Ironically, following the latest television report on the Essendon supplements saga was an advertisement for vitamins. Watching this it struck me that the marketing technique makes the consumer feel guilty for not buying the product. Am I an inadequate parent because my family is not taking product X ? (For X Insert vitamins, protein supplements, herbs, fish oils etc etc. ) Pop into any health food shop and read the labels. There are myriad products that help you in every aspect of your life. This is the snake oil salesman with a marketing team that has a massive budget. Your life will be better by taking this.
This largely unregulated industry has one big problem. Evidence. There are no studies that back up the claims so their wording is careful. If you take xyz this may boost the immune system. Really ? May ? How is this boosting measured ?. Where are the studies ? Basically this unregulated industry does not need to produce evidence, just marketing. Often Parents worry that illnesses and conditions such as asthma, eczema are due to a weak immune system and will fall victim to the marketing. Asthma and eczema is a result of an overly aggressive immune response, so why would you want to ‘boost’ this ?
These products are also pitched at parents worrying about diet. Their child is not eating properly but at least they can ‘take a pill’. Again the evidence is just not there. Fussy toddlers, picky eaters, have never been shown to have low levels of vitamins with one exception – iron intake. In a small percentage of infants and toddlers, particularly if there is an abundance of cow’s milk ingested, Fe deficiency may ensue. Fe is best found in red meat. (Spinach and other leafy green vegetables contain an iron format that is not well absorbed).
Premature infants, and children with malabsorption syndromes such as cystic fibrosis will need vitamin supplements, prescribed carefully by specialists. For the rest there is no real need to ‘supplement’.
Poor old Essendon is paying for being duped by some clever snake oil salesman. Ironically there is no evidence all that investment made any difference. They didn’t make the finals anyway. Guilt driven marketing is rife. Put the guilt aside, and find the evidence.