Cork Skeptics

Promoting Reason, Science & Critical Thinking in Cork City & Beyond

How effective are health food supplements?

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At her talk last week, Rebecca O’Neill mentioned a number of websites that might be of assistance if you are interested in the effectiveness of food supplements.

The first website, an infographic from the Information Is Beautiful site, is particularly eye-catching. Above the “worth it” line is a relatively small list of the supplements that have been shown to be effective in particular defined cases. Below the line is a longer list of supplements where the jury is out on their effectiveness. Some of the same supplements appear in multiple places: so, while garlic can be helpful with blood pressure conditions, it has no proven link with the treatment of cancer. Clicking on any bubble brings you to a related study where you can get more information.

It should be mentioned that this is a starting point only. It goes without saying that if you suspect you have a medical condition, it is worth seeking assistance from a qualified medical professional before embarking on a course of supplements.

Donal O’Mahuna’s site, Bioethics Ireland, provides information on a large number of herbal remedies and alternative treatments. It’s a very useful source of information if you are looking for more facts on a particular supplement or remedy.

Mention should also be given to Edzard Ernst’s and Simon Singh’s bestselling book “Trick or Treatment” (Eason / Amazon / Waterstones) where alternative remedies are put under the microscope.

Finally, here is the audio of Rebecca’s talk to Cork Skeptics. It’s well worth a listen.

[MP3]

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One thought on “How effective are health food supplements?

  1. It is not necessary that food supplements always create a positive effect in out body. Sometimes they bear side effects and sometimes they bear no effect at all!

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