This $40 billion industry has Big Pharma pointing fingers

Well, here we go again. Another day, another new report claiming that “Americans older than 50 years should strongly reconsider the use of supplements as a way of improving or protecting brain health.”

Because it makes perfect sense to worry so much about supplements when modern medicine has absolutely nothing to offer against cognitive decline. Yes, let’s “reconsider” a safe and affordable approach that may actually help your brain…

Pardon my sarcasm, but I don’t even know where to start with this. So let’s just begin with this latest study’s details and go from there.

Ignoring the forest for the trees

This is yet another typical, useless analysis where researchers “examine” something and then shout their questionable results from the rooftops. In this case, researchers focused on B vitamins, D and E. They also looked at:

  • Apoaequorin (a supplement derived from jellyfish)
  • Caffeine
  • Coenzyme Q10
  • Curcumin
  • Ginkgo
  • Huperzine A
  • Medium chain triglycerides (MCT)
  • Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide + hydrogen (NADH)
  • Omega-3s
  • Phosphatidylserene

That’s a staggeringly long list of products. Several of which aren’t even winners in the brain health category—and some that I wouldn’t even specifically prescribe for brain health. But there you have it.

And after reviewing a smattering of literature that’s out there, researchers concluded that “scientific evidence doesn’t support the use of any supplement to prevent, slow, reverse, or stop cognitive decline or dementia, or other related neurologic diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease (AD).”

This, despite the fact that small studies have shown that some supplements actually can help significantly. For example, DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) supplements may make a difference in patients with mild cognitive decline, which is often the first step toward AD.

But these scientists vehemently refused to endorse any ingredient or supplement designed for “brain health”… even as they encouraged adopting a healthy diet as an alternative.

Apparently, they wanted to be certain that people focus on lifestyle changes as opposed to relying solely on a supplement. And, well… bully for them!

But any doctor who is helping you out with any type of dementia will certainly—or at least should certainly—advise that diet is the key to success against any health threat. Honestly, how many times have you heard me say that??

No supplement alone can serve as a substitute for a healthy lifestyle, plain and simple. But as a “supplement” to a healthy diet, they can be powerful tools—which is exactly where these bozos miss the point.

These study authors may not see evidence to support the benefits of supplement use. But let me tell you, I see plenty of patients benefiting on a daily basis in my office.

So perhaps these “experts” should learn how to study disease management from a truly holistic prospective—one that treats the whole human—rather than leaning on their myopic scientific standards as the only proof worth paying attention to.

Because do you want to guess who benefits the most from these rigid standards? You guessed it—Big Pharma. The only entity who can afford to buy their own science and bend it to their liking.

A tale of two competing interests

What all of these pharma-backed scientists, doctors, academics, and policy wonks around the world can’t tolerate is that, just last year, Americans spent more than $40 billion on dietary supplements.

And that’s money that comes directly out of the deep pockets of the drug industry… an industry that, despite what their commercials might say, doesn’t exactly have your best interests at heart.

It’s also true that (for now, at least) older consumers do most of the buying.  Recent surveys show that more than 80 percent of Americans over 50 consider dietary supplements to be at least somewhat important for their health. And nearly 70 percent of seniors take them at least three times a week.

Not surprisingly, detractors claim to be angry about how aggressively supplements are marketed. But they don’t have any issues with how drugs are marketed…

In fact, Big Pharma spends billions of dollars a year convincing you that you need the newest, most expensive drug they have to offer… even when the older version is just as effective. (Or maybe, just maybe, you don’t even need a drug at all!)

And don’t even get me started on the blatant lying you’ll find on every food package—a problem that has actively destroyed the public health, as I discussed in the current issue of my monthly Logical Health Alternatives newsletter (“How Big Food’s favorite marketing ploy is hurting consumers, animals, and the environment”).

So you know what? Go after these businesses, too, and then let’s have a discussion about honest marketing.

I’m so sick of these holier-than-thou attitudes when the real problem is that the scientific community has become an unwitting cog in the very wheel that’s crushing the health of our country.

Because here’s the bottom line: If mainstream medicine was offering consumers what they needed to stay healthy, nobody would even be buying supplements in the first place. Conclusions don’t get any clearer than that.


“Supplements for Brain Health Panned.” Medscape Medical News, 06/28/2019. (