As a professional strength and conditioning coach I am extremely wary of 99.99% of all dietary supplements that are on the market, and with good reason since most of claims attached to these panaceas are NOT backed up by real scientific proof of efficacy. As the head strength coach of a high school I am extremely sensitive to any of these products that are marketed towards kids.
A new “product” named Heightmax – the makers of which claim can help your child grow – represents a new low in the nutritional supplement industry.
I became aware of this supplement thanks to a satellite radio commercial, and visited their website to see how the marketers of this product would back up their claims.
As a reminder – or a heads up to anyone not already aware of this – makers and marketers of dietary supplements are NOT held to the same standards as the drug companies are. Dietary supplement makers DO NOT have to submit their products to the Food and Drug Administration for approval, and as a matter of fact all supplement advertisements contain a disclaimer that basically says the FDA has not evaluated the claims associated with the particular product advertised.
Here are a few problems with the Heightmax website:
1) There is no list of ingredients telling you just what this company wants you to give to your child. The most were told is that there are two Heightmax formulas, one is a “multi-vitamin and herbal supplement” and one is “an amino acid and mineral supplement.” Other than this, there are no details as to the formula.
2) There are no details with regards to the scientific studies that allegedly prove that this stuff works. We’re told that clinical studies have been done that indicate growth increases, but there are no details with regards to number of people in the study or any other hint as to the protocols used during these studies.
3) The first testimonial on the testimonial page is from the research scientist who is the developer of the Heightmax supplement and part owner of the company. Other testimonials are from a mother of three teenage children, a 17 year old and three 20-somethings.
I’m surprised that not only can a supplement be offered without any indication as to what the specific ingredients are, but that in turn people would buy such as supplement. When you consider that people would be giving this mystery supplement to their kids, this situation is even more surprising.
With regards to the lack of available details about the clinical studies that allegedly prove that Heightmax works, without knowing the specific protocols of how these studies were conducted, there is no way for a consumer to properly evaluate this – or any – supplement. As a matter of fact, consumers should be very wary of any supplement that offers innocuous statements in place of facts and details with regards to ingredients and “scientific” or “clinical” studies.
Anecdotal evidence is nice, but never can take the place of science. And the anecdotal evidence – put forth in the form of testimonials – on the Heightmax website is hardly impressive anyway. A mother of three teenagers says that her kids have all grown faster since taking the supplement. So what. This statement is meaningless, as there’s no standard way that kids grow so there’s no way that anyone can know that a kid is somehow growing “faster.”
A 17 year old has grown an inch in 3 months? Is this somehow news? As someone who has been working with kids for over 20 years, my anecdotal evidence is that I have seen kids grow TWICE as much over a three-month period, all without taking some mystery supplement.
And as a 20-something, I grew over an inch and went from just under 5’ 11’ to just over 6’ 0” without taking any supplements whatsoever.
The message is that you should always be suspicious when a supplement marketer or manufacturer doesn’t provide the necessary details with respect to the ingredients and "science" of their product. And when your kids are involved this suspicion should become the signal to stay away.
In my professional opinion, stay away from Heightmax