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Thread: Snake Oil? The scientific evidence for health supplements.

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  1. #1

    Snake Oil? The scientific evidence for health supplements.

    Check out this graphic. The size of each bubble indicates how much research has been done on the supplement, and its position on the chart indicates how beneficial the supplement is. Supplements higher on the chart are more effective according to studies. The chart also suggests a "worth it" line. Supplements below this line are not really worth your time or money given current scientific understanding. (My apologies if this has already been posted.)

    Source: http://www.informationisbeautiful.ne...l-supplements/
    Interactive version: http://www.informationisbeautiful.ne...l-supplements/


  2. #2
    Interesting chart. Because of me, every pregnant woman in my family swallowed folic acid like water. I was pissed. "Am I that horrible?" LMAO!


  3. #3
    What really surprised me was that Vitamin C was below the "worth it" line. That's one of the only supplements I've stayed with.

    Note that the interactive version has more details: http://www.informationisbeautiful.ne...l-supplements/

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Lazlo View Post
    What really surprised me was that Vitamin C was below the "worth it" line. That's one of the only supplements I've stayed with.

    Note that the interactive version has more details: http://www.informationisbeautiful.ne...l-supplements/
    Lazlo,

    Megadoses of vitamin C have not been shown to be protective against colds. On the other hand, in appropriate amounts vitamin C is an absolute requirement for the body and should be taken by all people, if not in their natural diet, at least as a supplement. The same is of course true for Vitamin E and A. These are essential vitamins and critical antioxidants for the body but they don't do the miracles that some people claim that they do.

    So, the relative positions of the treatments on the chart is really referring to evidence for the claims that have been made for the therapy and is misleading. The more outrageous claims are being made for the drug/supplement, the lower the position the position of the drug/supplement. This is misleading. It doesn't meant the the drug/supplement does nothing or is not necessary.

    Wise.

  5. #5
    Very interesting. Just a small correction the size of the bubble is google hits not amount of research.

  6. #6
    Senior Member ian's Avatar
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    Completely inaccurate chart, "health supplements" is a very broad term and I note that artificially produced vitamins are on the chart along with other types of natural supplements. Very misleading and completely worthless as any sort of guide to health supplementation.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by t8burst View Post
    Very interesting. Just a small correction the size of the bubble is google hits not amount of research.
    Ah, so it is... Number of google hits doesn't tell us a whole lot except the general popularity of the subject.

    Quote Originally Posted by ian View Post
    Completely inaccurate chart, "health supplements" is a very broad term and I note that artificially produced vitamins are on the chart along with other types of natural supplements. Very misleading and completely worthless as any sort of guide to health supplementation.
    The page does reference a google docs spreadsheet with source information. Though I agree it should be taken with a grain of salt, I don't agree that the chart is very misleading and completely worthless. Is there a specific example you found to support that statement?

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