Nine out of ten health supplements ‘give you NO real benefits’, insists fomer government advisor
- Britons spend £421million a year on health supplements and vitamin tablets
- Dr Paul Clayton, a former government advisor, said most of them are useless
- He warned the industry lacks robust regulations to ensure they have benefits
The two in three adults who take regular health supplements may be wasting their time and money – and putting their health at risk, according to a senior scientist.
Britons spend £421million a year on supplements and vitamin tablets but 90 per cent of them are ‘unvalidated’ and many ‘have no measurable benefits’, said Dr Paul Clayton.
The former adviser to the Government’s Committee on the Safety of Medicines warned the industry lacks robust regulations to ensure the products contain a significant quantity of the named ingredients.
The former adviser to the Government’s Committee on the Safety of Medicines warned the industry lacks robust regulations
Dr Clayton, a fellow of the Institute for Food, Brain and Behaviour at Oxford University, is working with the University of Westminster to investigate what is in supplements. They are calling for improved rules to regulate claims made for them.
Dr Clayton has a commercial interest in questioning the industry’s practices as he has recently been appointed director of science for LYMA, a luxury supplement that costs £149 a month.
He said: ‘A lot of good science has been developed in the labs, clinics and universities, but very little of this has made it as far as the consumer market.
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‘Instead, around 90 per cent of the supplement industry consists of companies selling unvalidated, poorly formulated, over-hyped products which offer few, if any, benefits.
‘You cannot be sure whether what you are buying will work or not.’
Health claims are based on clinical trials using the highest-quality samples. But Dr Clayton, who has worked on supplements for 40 years, said: ‘Manufacturers can get away with using a fraction of that ingredient at a lower quality and still use the original clinical claims.’
Britons spend £421million a year on supplements and vitamin tablets but 90 per cent of them are ‘unvalidated’
He said fish oil capsules and multivitamins were the largest sectors of the market but ‘both have been proven to be ineffective’. Studies had shown that taking multivitamins did not reduce the risk of heart disease or cancer, rates of heart attack or reduce the risk of mental decline, such as memory loss, he said.
Dr Emma Derbyshire, adviser to industry body the Health and Food Supplements Information Service, said the claim that 90 per cent of supplements are unvalidated ‘appears to be putting things grossly out of context’.
She added: ‘Food supplements sold in the EU, including the UK, must comply with all relevant food law, making them one of the most regulated food products around.’
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