There are so many studies coming out today that conflict with one another. One week a particular supplement is great, the next it has been shown to be ineffective. Why is there such confusion surrounding the usefulness of these substances?
One reason may be the desire for "one size fits all" protocols. It would be great if there was one pill that took care of a problem no matter the context, but supplements (like shoes) require a unique "fit". There is a modern idea that a supplement has one effect for all people and all circumstances. A more traditional view of medicine recognizes "constitutional types"- that differences in individual make-up mean one supplement (and even food!) will demonstrate different effects in different people according to their constitution. The knowledge of constitutional types is a mainstay of many older medicinal systems, and until recently was commonly used here in the west (for example by the American Eclectic school of medicine.) A major source for this concept was ancient Greece; the "windy", "bilious" and "phelgmatic" constitutions were widely accepted throughout medieval Europe and India, and found their way into the modern era in such examples as the ectomorphic, endomorphic and mesomorphic body types still recognized by some practitioners of sports medicine.
In ayurveda the types are referred to as Vata, Pitta and Kapha. In the future we will discuss these topics more in depth, but for now it's good to reflect that as one food tastes delicious for one person but not to another, the natural wisdom of our bodies is unique to each one of us. A supplement or food that is very healthful to your neighbor may not well serve your needs. Listen to your body, and it will help you find what's best for you. Live well!