Friday, September 09, 2005

Daily Vitamins: A Ubiquitous Article of Faith

There's something about the word natural and vitamins that somehow gives the consumers/public this almost instinctual response that it connocts goodness. Thus while natural food companies seem to be allied with the forces of light, pharmacos are seen at best, agents of twilight and at worst denizens of darkness. All this, despite of, or simply perhaps because of the simple fact that they work.

We know what a little sugar pill can do and often times, it has cured those with real ailments and diseases. Thus placebo effect is very useful in pharmacology because it sets a benchmark by which we can actually measure the efficacy of a particular drug. Only if clinical trials demonstrate statistical significance of cures over that of the little white pill does it enter the market.

It has been mentioned before that one of the greatest misconceptions we imbibe in is the concept of natural versus unnatural and the manner in which our body deals with it. And the other big misconception is that we don't realise sometimes that it really is the dosage that makes the poison, or the cure. So as such, while pharmacos should be soundly chastised for the very nasty side effects that some of their drugs have caused, it's hard not to wonder if the reason we don't see such scandles in the 'natural food' segment is because they don't really work in the first place. In the case of homoeopathy, it's really a case of impossibility to overdose or get side-effects from because there simply isn't ANY active ingredient in the formula!

Honestly, maybe Naomi Klein should stop looking at Nike and Coca-Cola and at these natural foods purveyors instead, if she wants to talk about branding and selling people things they do not need or on the basis of misleading premises.



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