Evidence Based

Are Supplements Placebos?

Written by Joe Cohen, BS | Last updated:

Are Supplements Placebos?

I get the following email from a friend:

“……but you nevertheless felt the effects 🙂
“Amazingly, 79% of the supplements tested did not contain the primary ingredient listed on the label.

A Really Bad Week For The Supplements Industry”

The author of the article assumes that herbal supplements don’t have the stated chemicals because they don’t contain the DNA of the plant.  He implicitly assumes, therefore, that they are just placebos with rice in them.

Many of the articles you’ll see will also bunch all supplements together and infer that ALL supplements aren’t reliable.

Probably most of the supplements that I recommend are not even herbal such as Inositol, Zinc, PQQ, etc…

I buy supplements for the chemicals they contain, not the DNA in it.  Plant chemicals like Honokiol, Curcumin or Fisetin don’t contain DNA.  This is basic biology and chemistry.

I always prefer to buy from reliable companies that have a track record of passing third-party testing from Consumer Labs.   Generally, all of the big companies do well.

I try to buy standardized supplements so that I know what I’m getting.

If they do a study that shows that big companies don’t have the chemicals in them that are standardized, then that’s when my ears will perk up.

Sometimes, I’ll buy the whole herb if I feel a good effect from it.  Generally, you can see if you’re getting the herb in question in the same way you know you’re buying blueberries when you go to the store.  They have a certain smell, look, taste and effect.

I take supplements for the effects of it, not for the DNA that they contain.

It happens to be that I’ve never really had a very powerful effect from the supplements that they tested, especially ginseng. I’ve tried many types of ginseng and have been disappointed.  I don’t think we’re getting the quality stuff.

About the Author

Joe Cohen, BS

Joe Cohen won the genetic lottery of bad genes. As a kid, he suffered from inflammation, brain fog, fatigue, digestive problems, anxiety, depression, and other issues that were poorly understood in both conventional and alternative medicine.Frustrated by the lack of good information and tools, Joe decided to embark on a journey of self-experimentation and self-learning to improve his health--something that has since become known as “biohacking”. With thousands of experiments and pubmed articles under his belt, Joe founded SelfHacked, the resource that was missing when he needed it. SelfHacked now gets millions of monthly readers.Joe is a thriving entrepreneur, author and speaker. He is the CEO of SelfHacked, SelfDecode and LabTestAnalyzer.His mission is to help people gain access to the most up-to-date, unbiased, and science-based ways to optimize their health.
Joe has been studying health sciences for 17 years and has read over 30,000 PubMed articles. He's given consultations to over 1000 people who have sought his health advice. After completing the pre-med requirements at university, he founded SelfHacked because he wanted to make a big impact in improving global health. He's written hundreds of science posts, multiple books on improving health, and speaks at various health conferences. He's keen on building a brain-trust of top scientists who will improve the level of accuracy of health content on the web. He's also founded SelfDecode and LabTestAnalyzer, popular genetic and lab software tools to improve health.

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