Sign up to our mailing list to discover the future of beauty and wellness.
For the last fifty years I have been studying the pharmacological effect of foods and food extracts, and how these can be used to reduce your chances of illness and to make you feel and function better.
There are a lot of problems with the supplement industry in its current form. Today's supplement industry is irresponsible, characterised by unstandardised, unproven extracts. The largest sector of the supplement industry, the billion dollar fish oil industry, is a confidence trick. We all know Omegas 3, 6 and 9 are good for us, but there is little evidence that supplementing with fish oil capsules is an effective way to take these nutrients on board. Added to that, the Guardian recently covered an extensive report which found that most fish oil capsules were in fact rancid by the time they reached supermarket shelves. It's a similar story for many multivitamin brands: often the amount of benefit they deliver can easily be delivered as part of a balanced diet. Many deliver little benefit at all. The regulation is extremely poor. Meanwhile what regulation there is inhibits manufacturers of supplements with proven benefits being able to say exactly what their products can do.
Other supplements make up for deficiencies; LYMA goes beyond this. Here's how.
The bulk of the medical business is not in cure, but in treatment. This is because health services are largely focussed on the treatment of chronic degenerative disease, the diseases that are attacking the health span of the western world. These include diabetes, cancer, osteoarthritis, Alzheimer's and osteoporosis. Doctors tend to come onto the scene to treat these diseases late in the day, as they burn long and slow under the surface in their preclinical phase. Most patients don't realise they are suffering, as it takes a long time for them to reach the point where so much healthy tissue has been destroyed, that the patient notices symptoms of pain or disability.
We are a desperately unhealthy population, which the medical profession is not in a position to address. Focussed on reactive medicine, it is all they can do to firefight the symptoms, when they should be taking a step back to consider the cause. The reason for this is they don't have the right tools to prevent conditions from occurring. Drugs aren't the answer; instead we need to undo the problems that are creating the growing public health disaster. These tools are nutritional. This is where true prevention lies.
Pharmaco-nutritional tools can do far more than pharma-tools, so far as preventative disease is concerned. They act in a far more profound way. They reset the metabolic errors that drive chronic degenerative disease, getting to the heart of the matter in a way that pharmaceutical tools simply cannot do. I think that it's time to bring clarity and rigour to this sector because now that evidence-based nutrition is coming of age, we need to find a way to convey this information in simple, but honest ways, to consumers who can then use it to improve their own health. We need a new regulatory system.
The supplement industry lacks regulation and ultimately puts consumers at risk. A vast amount of the products in the industry are unproven and the regulatory climate needs to be stricter. Meanwhile, peer-reviewed ingredients aren't allowed to make any medical claims. Contents should match label claims, but these are not rigorously checked, equally watch out for rancid ingredients that are long past their sell by date, or are not stable enough to survive manufacture and distribution.
The current regulatory system makes it impossible for the few companies like LYMA - who are formulating with validated nutritional ingredients - to talk truthfully about what they have. So the consumer has the worst of all possible worlds, as the companies who are in a position to offer solutions are unable to legally talk about it.
As a society we are eating too much, and much of that is empty calories, not providing us with the nutrition our bodies need. The evidence for the therapeutic effects of nutritional enhancement from epidemiological research, preclinical models and clinical trials is overwhelming and yet the regulatory system has not yet taken this into account. We desperately need a new regulatory system to look at the real, 21st century science that's being done in this sector, allowing responsible brands to speak about ingredients that have been shown repeatedly in a range of studies to exert benefits.
At the moment we have this very odd situation where you have a lot of companies in the supplement sector who clearly, when you look at what they're selling, have no idea about what it is that they are selling, and consumers who are completely misinformed, and who don't know what they're buying. You wouldn't want to run any other kind of industry on this basis.
A lot of supplements are formed by companies who don't know - and don't care about - what they're putting in their products. They can get away with this as consumers don't understand what they are buying. It's a shame, because the potential benefits of well-designed nutrition are real and very significant.
If you are interested in improved functionality, then choose supplements like LYMA, which use genuinely validated extracts. These are extracts that have been intensively researched, and carefully sourced. Look for products which contain trademarked compounds, where there is peer-reviewed literature behind them that proves their preclinical and clinical functionality. Go for transparency.
Peer-reviewed ingredients are shown in preclinical and clinical trials to work. These are patented compounds or extracts which are backed by considerable financial investment and characterise molecules in a way no one else has done before. This category of nutrition is moving the framework of the supplement debate wider, providing assurance of demonstrable effects over and above standard nutrition.
Not all clinical trials are to be trusted. Just as you wouldn't trust a medicine that hasn't been peer-reviewed, you shouldn't trust a supplement that hasn't been peer-reviewed either. Due to the fact the industry isn't regulated, any brand can pay for a private clinical study, doctor the results and state any outcome. However, peer-reviewed studies have been reviewed and approved by an independent team of experts, published in medical journals and therefore can be fully trusted. Choose a supplement which includes peer-reviewed ingredients and offers the highest level of transparency and efficacy.
You have to look at each ingredient on an individual basis. There are people who swear that everything has to be all natural all of the time. The reality is you can be a little more granular. There are some nutrients, such as vitamin C, where it really doesn't matter whether what you're taking is vitamin C cherry extract or a synthetic form, because the molecule is so simple that it's identical. There are some molecules which have what they call stereoisomerism; in other words, molecules which are either right or left-handed. They look the same, but they're not. This is true in the forms of vitamin E, where I would recommend using the natural rather than synthetic form. I'm afraid you have to be specific and look at these item by item.
When it comes to plant or herb extracts, organic isn't always a benchmark for efficacy. Organic doesn't assure you that the extract won't be killed off by the acid in your stomach, or be bioavailable, or stable. In many instances, organic supplements have to be adapted in order to provide benefits once ingested.
LYMA sets the standard for the next generation of evidence-based nutrition. LYMA isn't a supplement, at least not in the old-fashioned sense. The key aspect of LYMA, which I believe is a step in the right direction, is that it exclusively uses actives which have been validated. These aren't your standard run of the mill vitamins and minerals - these are food or herbal extracts which have been shown in peer-reviewed studies to have a specific effect. For the first time you have a generation of products that do what they say on the can, have a substantial body of evidence behind them, and set the standard for the next generation. This is evidence-based nutrition.
When you are choosing a supplement, this is LYMA's recommended label checklist:
If both the ingredient and the dosage level have been featured in a study on Pubmed, you can trust the ingredient will work.