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Thousands of dietary supplement ingredients have come on the market over the years. Most of them have disappeared because they proved ineffective and useless. Very often a “hot new” supplement is promoted as the “next big thing” without even having sufficient evidence that they are effective and safe.  These ingredients didn’t live up to the hype and faded into oblivion. Millions of hard-earned dollars of consumers’ money went to waste.

At ViGO Nutrition, we steered clear of such “fad” ingredients that don’t have a proven track record of safety and efficacy. We do business differently!

Ingredients come and go in the supplements industry. I am sure you remember ingredients like Hoodia, Green Coffee Bean, Raspberry ketones which were the holy grail of fat burner ingredients. Companies spared no effort to market them to you, armed with “real user testimonials” and before and after pics.

However, evidence from scientific studies and real-life users painted a different picture and these ingredients only decreased the weight of your wallet. Yet, these were even marketed by companies claiming to be ethical or “science-driven” and who are still selling you stuff today!

Hmmm, Food for thought

Why does the supplement industry love new ingredients?

There are only a handful of effective ingredients and supplement brands are always seeking for ways to kick their competitors’ butt. Sure, brands are always trying to gain an edge on others by means of innovative flavours and innovative packaging (e.g. ecofriendly packaging) which is always a good thing.

But brands are always on the lookout for new ingredients that they can include into their formulations. This makes them look “cutting edge”. However, many new ingredients are released with little-to-no scientific evidence to support their effectiveness and, importantly, their safety. 

Sometimes, ingredients have some scientific evidence but which is poor, as they had been studied in the kinds of studies below:

  • Animal studies and in-vitro studies: the findings may not be applicable to humans given the vast differences in physiology between humans and isolated cells in a laboratory and rodents. 
  • Short-term studies: which measure immediate outcomes (e.g. blood flow) rather than more meaningful outcomes like muscle growth obtainable only in the medium-to-long terms. 
  • Studies done in non-athletic or diseased populations which may not be applicable to healthy active populations. 

Industry funded research and popular scams

Sometimes there are research studies funded by supplement companies or ingredient manufacturers which can influence study outcomes. Often, given the sad state of research funding, some researchers may accept funds from industry to study certain ingredients and feel obliged to provide a positive result in order to make the funders happy and secure future funding.

In 2012 came to light a case of scientific fraud whereby a renowned researcher in the field of cardiology has been found guilty of 145 counts of data fabrication in industry-funded research that studied the link between the compound resveratrol and cardiovascular health. 

We can bet that millions of consumer money had already been spent (or rather wasted) on cardiovascular support products based on resveratrol.

Hectic stuff!

A visit to the supplement graveyard.

  • D-Aspartic Acid (DAA): An earlier study found that it led to increased testosterone levels in men [1]. Supplement brands jumped to the occasion and began promoting this ingredient in testosterone and sexual enhancer supplements. The steroid alternative had arrived. However, subsequent studies showed no effect [2, 3, 4]. Hell, a study even showed that is decreased testosterone levels in men doing resistance exercise [2].
  • Creatine ethyl-ester (CEE): The industry has always been searching for alternatives to the tried-and-true creatine monohydrate (CM), the form of creatine that has unanimously been shown to work in scientific studies [5]. Why reinvent the wheel? Well, CM has become relatively inexpensive and there is only so many things you can do with it (e.g. add carbs to it and flavour it) to be able to charge more and make more profits. That’s why CEE was God-sent. It was touted as a more stable and bioavailable form of creatine than CM. Research showed that CEE is less stable than CM and degrades easily [6], the exact opposite of what it was hailed for. Customers were duped and CM was relegated to the supplement graveyard.
  • Raspberry ketones: these were really great for the industry because there’s the name of a fruit attached to it (hence it must be really natural and healthy). It was promoted as a fat burner. What consumers didn’t know was that all the evidence that showed that raspberry ketones burn fat was from studies done in isolated cells (in vitro/ test tube) [7] and rats [8] at concentrations that cannot be ingested by humans. Yet, raspberry ketones were a big thing for a year or two, promoted by cutting-edge, “science-driven” companies. 

We can give an endless list but we hope you get the message here:

Many companies do not wait until a supplement is proven effective or safe to begin promoting it to you. Often, the evidence comes from a single poorly-designed study, unrealiable studies, or animal or in-vitro studies that are not applicable to humans. 

These ingredients then disappear from formulations and companies make as if nothing was. They move to the next hot ingredient and want you to keep trusting them. It is business as usual. 

What does ViGO do?

We could have done like others, selling unproven but popular ingredients and make a quick buck. We could have come up with an immune booster during COVID-19 and promote it as effective against the novel coronavirus, like some of the brands that got busted by the FDA. 

But that’s totally against our principle of “excellence in nutrition”. We didn’t sacrifice to go to the university to do a postgraduate in nutritional biology to then do the wrong things. We could have Googled some hot-selling formulations and then get someone to copy it for us. 

But we came to the market 5 years ago to do exactly the opposite of what the bad players (there’s a whole bunch of them) are doing. 

At ViGO we formulate our products using protein, carbohydrates, fats, cocoa, select amino acids, vitamins and minerals. That’s it. These are ingredients that you find in your daily food. In 5 years time, God so willing, you will still find these in our formulations. 

Because these are things that work. We are alive because of these nutrients. 

For instance, our popular Lean-Rx shake contains the following formulation features:

-Protein and carbs in the right ratio.

-An ideal source of protein

-A blend of carbohydrates for sustained energy

-Micronutrients like vitamins and minerals

-An ideal caloric content

-A filling and great-tasting delivery formula that keeps you full (and taste buds happy).

No apetite suppressants: if ever they work, what happens when you stop using it. Your appetite comes again and welcome back the fat.

No stimulants: understandable in a preworkout energy drink but why increase heart rate to burn fat in a meal supplement shake?

No nutrient blockers 

Thanks for reading the article. I hope you enjoyed it. Feel free to share and visit our website www.vigolife.co.za

ViGO Founder and Scientist (info@vigolife.co.za)

DISCLAIMER

The information on this website has not been evaluated by the Medicines Control Council (MCC) or any other medical body. We do not aim to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any illness or disease. Information is shared for educational purposes only. You must consult your doctor before acting on any content on this website, especially if you are pregnant, nursing, taking medication, or have a medical condition.

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