The "Lots of Stuff" Formula Hoax
By Dr. Dana Myatt
There are a lot of "Pixie Dust" formulas on the market. There are formulas for a specific condition like "eye health" or memory that contain long lists of ingredients. Nutritional supplement insiders know that laymen will favor products with "a lot of stuff."
So, in order to increase sales, it is popular to create formulas and put in a little bit of everything that has ever been suggested to be beneficial for a particular condition. Then the formula is marketed as being the next great miracle by describing the wonderful results claimed for each individual ingredient.
This sounds good in theory — put in “everything but the kitchen sink" — but it is more beneficial for the sellers than it is for those taking the supplement. If you’re smart, you won’t fall for this marketing ploy.
First, most multiple formulas don’t contain enough of the individual ingredients to do much good –– the capsules just aren’t big enough –– and that is why we refer to them as "Pixie Dust." (This used to be called "Fairy Dust" but has been updated in the interest of continuing political correctness). For example, if ginko has been found to help memory at a minimum of dose of 240mg per day and the "formula" contains only 20mg, we have no reason to think this dose of ginko will be beneficial.
Secondly, many of these products are "proprietary," meaning they don’t disclose the amount of each ingredient on their label. This means that educated consumers who are looking for dosing amounts cannot do so.
Also, just because ten natural substances have been mentioned for one condition doesn’t mean their level of proof or efficacy is the same. For example, someone recently asked about a "formula" for brain health that included a long list of ingredients — ginkgo, bacopa, vinpocetine, Acetyl-l-carnitine, phosphatidylserine and more. Several of these nutrients have shown to be helpful IF taken in particular doses. But all of these ingredients together do not have as much research as the single nutrient citicholine that we have written about. Still, people tend to gravitate toward products "with more stuff."
I recommend going with products that have the most good human research, not necessarily the longest ingredient list. The uneducated crowd looks for "more stuff"; the savvy consumer looks for products with "more proof."
Posted in Nutrition and Health | No Comments »