As for our health, in an ideal world we trust qualified experts who will help us learn what our body needs and what we should avoid.
However, in a university that is increasingly saturated with social media, it is influential people – without health and medicine – who have become a key source of advice and approval for the products for which they are paid.
From lollipops to suppress appetite to vitamins that promise long and healthy locks, the nutritional supplement industry is a minefield, and at the same time very lucrative.
In Australia, it now costs $ 1.5 billion, according to Ibis World. On average, between 2017 and 2022, it is growing by 1.8 percent each year.
The amount paid to influencers for advertising messages varies depending on their subscribers and ranges from $ 75 to $ 4,000 or $ 63,000, reportedly for people like fitness influencer Tammy Hambrow.
However, part of this income will dry up on July 1 thanks to a new code of the Therapeutic Goods Administration of Australia.
Influencers will no longer be able to comment on social media about products listed by the TGA – which includes goods ranging from supplements to sunscreens – in exchange for money, gifts or freebies.
While the move supports the TGA’s goal of encouraging product choices based on clinical needs rather than through the beliefs of influencers, the confusion surrounding supplements is deeper than the credibility of social media advertising.
Supplements – a manufactured product designed to give you nutrients that may be lacking in your diet – come in all forms and at different prices.
And, like any health product, not all of them were created the same, and people don’t always use them for their intended purpose.
GOOGLE IS NOT YOUR DOCTOR
According to Perth nutritionist Eliza Hadley, many people self-diagnose what they think their body requires rather than find out if they really lack any nutritional deficiencies.
“I think many people just take supplements without realizing whether they need their body, and this is not only a waste of money, but also certain nutrients fight for absorption so you can take supplements by exhausted in your body, “She says.
The President of the Australian Medical Association WA Dr Mark Duncan-Smith repeats this.
“Before taking any supplements, they should consult their trusted doctor to find out if they are really needed, if there is a proven reason why they are needed, rather than spending money on expensive urine,” he says.
Both agree that blood tests or additional tests should be done to assess which nutrients a person is deficient or low so that the expert can look at the results and correct the imbalance.
While taking supplements you don’t need isn’t necessarily harmful, except perhaps for your wallet, Hadley says it can be problematic.
“For example, iron and zinc compete for absorption – they are often found together in multivitamins, which makes it pointless because you do not absorb them fully,” – she says.
“Also, people may be sensitive to supplements, whether it’s B vitamins or herbs, and taking too many supplements can just deplete other nutrients.”
NOT ALL ADDITIVES ARE EQUAL
Not only are people flooded with add-on ads on social media, it has long since spread to more traditional ads.
Your favorite soap star who advertises the brand on TV, a reality star on the bus side, a sports star on posters around a drugstore or supermarket.
With thousands of brands of supplements on the market, it may come as no surprise that they are not all created the same.
When it comes to less expensive supermarkets or some brands that maintain influence, you don’t always get what you pay for.
“Most of them not only contain bad forms of synthetic nutrients, such as magnesium oxide, unmethylated B vitamins, zinc oxide, folic acid, all of which have the lowest bioavailability in the body and can actually adversely affect human health,” – says Hadley.
She cites the example that folic acid is a synthetic form of folate that blocks folate receptors in cells; preventing the use of folate that occurs in nature.
“Which doesn’t make sense if we know how important folate is for pre-conception, pregnancy, nervous system health, iron status and energy production,” she said.
She explains that these brands are often also giant enteric or film-coated tablets, making them less bioavailable and absorbed by the body.
If you are looking for a supplement recommended by a professional, Hadley recommends looking for capsules or powder.
“I would also look for brands that are transparent in all of their ingredients, and would look for supplements with quality nutrients such as magnesium glycinate, iron bisglycinate, zinc picolinate and methylated or“ activated ”B vitamins,” she says.
With herbal supplements, it is also important to tell your healthcare provider what other medications you are taking, as some herbs may increase your drug metabolism, and this includes hormonal contraceptives, blood pressure medications, and blood sugar.
In her work as a naturopath for the past 20 years Natalie McGrath has become accustomed to having her clients show her the latest product they are taking because they have seen it shown on Instagram or TikTok.
“I’ve seen many influential people preach about the product, and you can see that the container hasn’t even been opened,” she said, adding that she was encouraged by the changes in TGA regulations.
This experience inspired her to develop a product that would like to be more effective, high quality and safe, which could maintain skin health. Thus was born GLOWSO – a skin supplement based on collagen.
“Researching and developing a supplement is an exciting part for me,” she says. “Develop the wording of your ultimate dream – like a little kid in a lollipop store. Choosing Incredible Ingredients to Achieve Incredible Results ”.
Ingredients include high-quality biologically active collagen peptides and Australian herbal preparations, including the local cockatoo plum – the world’s highest natural source of vitamin C.
The product is registered in the Australian Register of Therapeutic Products TGA, which, she said, entails an in-depth review, regular inspections and checks, stability testing and has strict rules of what can and cannot be said when advertised.