Thursday, December 12, 2013

The Placebo Effect And Supplements

Bodybuilding supplements have been around since the very beginning of the “sport”. Initially the idea behind muscle building elixirs was started by Joe Weider who many people consider the Father Of Bodybuilding. Of course, like it happens quite often, bodybuilding supplements are nothing more than poor products in a shiny packaging backed up by powerful marketing and advertisements. All of that is still true to this very day. Question is: 

Why are people buying supplements despite their miniscule effects ?

One of the answers is : Placebo !

Placebo is a simulated or otherwise medically ineffectual treatment for a disease or other medical condition intended to deceive the recipient. Sometimes patients given a placebo treatment will have a perceived or actual improvement in a medical condition, a phenomenon commonly called the placebo effect. (Wikipedia)

The powerful muscle men who advertise different supplement lines, the well directed advertisement as well as the extremely unrealistic claims on the labels actually make many people believe that the magic powders are working and really helping you achieve “the physique you've always dreamed of”.

Imagine that your father gave you something special as kid – a watch, medallion, ring...etc and told you that you will always be stronger when you wear it. If you love your father and consider him an important part of your life chances are you will fall for that especially as a child. People are not machines. We have emotions and similar “tricks” do work on us. The same stays true for supplements in which you want to believe because after all “ if it's working for them it should work for me, I am a human too”. The companies actually do count on that thinking and their ultimate goal is to make you certain that they have the secret formula leading to “the body you always wanted” and the only way to achieve it is by using their products since “our busy lifestyle does not allow us to get enough essential nutrients and therefor hardcore lifters need powders”.

In case you don't know there is a lot of money involved in the supplement business. When there is money involved in the game – there are always lots of scams and unwritten rules. For example there are many studies sponsored by producers of supplements. In other words the sellers are sponsoring studies meant to prove the effectiveness of the fancy products you see on the shelves. When you couple fake research with support and advertisement coming from the muscle Gods you can actually make some serious profit when you target the right audience – in most cases people between 16 and 30 who try to “get the most out of life”.

Well, it works.

Truth be told bodybuilders don't count on fancy powders to built their muscle mass. In order for serious body transformation to occur they use anabolic substances such as steroids, growth hormone and insulin. Many high level muscle men don't even use supplements – not even protein powders or creatine ! They just consider them ineffective or even useless. At the same time pretty much all bodybuilders advertise similar products because advertisement of Trenbolone like drugs does not make you money and is obviously illegal.

Many bodybuilders consider egg yolks and lean fish a much better source of protein than whey powder that quite often just makes you produce more CH4 but since there are retired bodybuilding legends on the cover and companies “have made detailed research” in order to come up with the “best product” customers desperately want to believe that magic is going to happen when they ingest the miracle elixir which is often just a mix of whey (many people use whey as exclusive food for pigs) and sugar (many weight gainers contain tons of sugar). If you really like that you can keep spending your money on fancy bottles with semi-naked men and women on the label. In the meanwhile real food is waiting in the supermarket for less money. Unfortunately, there are no muscle men on the labels.

Probably that is the problem, or is it ?, December 2013