Do supplements work? Placebo effect?

The supplement and vitamin industry, is a huge industry….a $68 billion dollar one!!

So I decided to research this a lil further, as I have always personally tried to stay clear of supplements, as in my opinion they are nothing more than expensive wee… oops, well maybe not that dramatic.

I recently competed in a fitness model bodybuilding competition, and at 40 years of age…I did it supplement free….ok nearly, I do confess I added some Organic Vegan Protein Powder for the 8 weeks of pre-contest dieting, as being Vegan…my macro’s need more protein on paper and yes, I’m sure I have been wooed into the marketing hype over some NEW product in the past too, but no more…

The fact is, most of the supplement industry actually state that their vitamins work only in conjunction with a healthy diet and exercise! WHA-THA, WoW what a break through there…

One of my mentor’s is Dr T Campbell the author of ‘The China Study’ and more recently ‘WHOLE’ an amazing read if your into reading about health, truths and all things linked. Which is also, why I’m studying Dr T Colin Campbell’s ‘Plant Based Nutrition Course’.

Dr T Campbell writes, ‘The foundation of the supplement industry is based on the principle that you can extract a single active ingredient in healthy foods such as fruits and vegetables, then synthesize their active agents into powders, pills, liquids etc to then market and sell to ‘you’ the consumer as nutrition.

The medical industry has been doing the same thing for years, to treat disease with individual chemicals synthesized or isolated from their natural origins. However, of course these are in an unnatural chemical type form and really are no more effective than the natural medicine community.


Hard to swallow? 

This is truth of the ineffectiveness and potential harm of either of these ‘natural’ and ‘unnatural’ potions, as there is nothing ‘natural’ in consuming these in isolation. No long-term studies have ever proven that ‘supplements’ actually help and there is no evidence to prove that even short-term supplementation even improves health.

Ok, so let talk about this.

Consider an apple. As the passage goes, ‘An apple a day keeps the doctor away?” Heard it? Yep, it’s true…This statement is actually supported by all the evidence science has amassed that shows the apple is a food that contributes to health! Now not to get all-technical on you here, but what is in an apple that is so wondrous??

Well, let’s see there’s Vitamin C, K, B6, fibre, potassium, riboflavin, I’m still not finish, there is a little Vitamin A, E, niacin, magnesium and a host of other nutritious ingredients. So you now can figure why, the statement rings true!?

A team was put together to study the apple, they found an antioxidant, vitamin c-like activity equivalent to 1,500mg (three times the amount of a supplement dose). Thou when they chemically analysed that 100gms-(1/2 cup) of a whole apple they found only 5.7mg of a Vitamin C, far below than the 1,500mg!!

That’s a whooping 263 times more potent than the isolated form.

I know, let’s keep this basic…what does this mean??

It proves, that vitamin C consumed in an apple, in WHOLE form is more effective in context than if you consume it in isolated form ie; supplements.

As Dr T Campbell describes in his book ‘WHOLE’, ‘under a reductionist mind, it cannot see the apple as promoting health. If apples are good for us, it has to be something, not the whole apple. The reductionist thinks, that extracting that chemical and knowing how much people need on a daily basis, will therefore have the same beneficial effects’.

In nature, you don’t find Vitamin C on it’s own, fortunately mother nature has made everything complete, and as humans we have only just touched on the tip of the complex world of plants, their nutrients and their effects.


Remember, supplements are not intended to treat, diagnose, mitigate, prevent or cure diseases; therefore, manufacturers may not make such claims. In some cases, supplements may have unwanted effects. Certain active ingredients can have adverse outcomes on the body and combining these supplements with prescribed medicines, or alcohol could cause very real harmful effects.

There is no quick fix, no short cuts and no long term health benefits in pill popping.

The Placebo Effect of Supplements 

I recently read the ‘Biology of Belief’ by Bruce H. Lipton, and he describes the placebo effect as a Belief Effect.


I have to agree, the power of the mind, the power of positive energy and the want to fuel the desired response. It’s as if a responsibility is forced back onto oneself, to make sure it works.

This whole topic has never been researched thoroughly, the power of the mind has been dismissed in medicine and summarised as dogmatic thinking. However, there are financial considerations involved and if one can heal a sick body with the mind, why would you ever need to see a doctor, buy medicines or supplements.

To sum up this blog, if supplements work for you and you think they are helping you, then great…keep going. I’m not here to tell you to throw-out all your pills, powders and potions. Simply, to open your mind up to nature and what is abundant to us out there…all vitamins and minerals we need are FREE, yes, that’s right FREE! But wait, there is a catch….in a healthy diet, from the ‘Garden of Vegan’!!

Go WHOLE foods, plant based nutrition and you’ll be complete…

CC xx

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