If you’ve ever spent any substantial amount of time watching Infowars, you‘ve seen three things: blatant lies, leathery male nipples, and supplements. So many supplements. Supplements to make you strong, supplements to make you sexy, and supplements to make you boom-boom caveman. Quartz recently concluded that Jones is essentially the Gwyneth Paltrow of the alt-right, as the products both celebrities peddle are equally ineffective. But if you’re looking for a more scientific conclusion as to Jones’ particular brand of snake oil, Buzzfeed’s got you covered with this new study.
Buzzfeed worked with Labdoor, “a San Francisco–based lab that tests and grades dietary supplements.” Labdoor ran tests on six of Infowars’ most popular supplements to “determine the exact makeup of each supplement and screen for various dangerous and illegal chemicals.”
Labdoor’s laboratory director says, “We tested samples in triplicate, and wherever possible, cross-checked those results with at least two independent analytical laboratories, so we have complete trust in our conclusions.”
Here’s the good news: None of it will kill you.
All of the test results were largely the same: The products are—more or less—accurately advertised. They don’t contain significantly more or less of a particular ingredient than listed on the bottles, and there are no surprise ingredients. They’re also reasonably safe, meaning they passed heavy metal contaminant screenings and tested free of stimulants, depressants, and other prohibited drugs.
Here’s the bad news: If the product isn’t just a marked-up bottle of iodine, as is the case with Survival Shield X-2, the ingredient combinations are “unsupported in research,” have “never been studied,” or have “no real basis in science.” So, basically, if you think supplements should be tested for effectiveness before being sold for $50 a bottle, these aren’t the pills for you. You’ll save so much more money (and won’t be bankrolling a frothy, caterwauling fear-monger) by going to GNC.
When the company tested Anthroplex, which retails for $29.95, it found that there was so little zinc that “if you’re extremely zinc deficient, the value… is not going to be significantly helpful.” The report notes that “you could actually get another zinc orotate supplement for around $5 WITH an impactful serving size,” before concluding simply that “this product is a waste of money.”
This claim—that the Infowars supplements often contained less effective serving sizes than their less expensive counterparts—was a running theme in Labdoor’s results. In almost every example, Labdoor’s tests and reviews describe the products as little more than heavily overpriced supplements with few health benefits, if any.
If you’re still unclear on the worth of these supplements, we direct your attention to Jones himself, whose skin has the texture of a day-old sausage and whose mental health is somewhere south of “lizard people are poisoning the water supply.”