Food supplements are too expensive and their health benefits are unproven, according to The Foundation for Consumers. The group launched a campaign today to warn the public to avoid such supplements arguing that they could do more harm than good.

A study completed by the group found that a worrying 52% of people used supplements despite the fact that they didn't need them, convinced by advertising and direct sales strategies. People lack adequate health information, according to foundation manager Saree Ong-somwang, and are at the mercy of a plethora of products that have come with free trade.

The Food and Drug Administration has banned advertisements of purported medicinal or healing properties of supplements, but many companies circumvent the rule by investing in PR measures.

By ignoring proper health advice concerning relaxation, nutrition and exercise and relying solely on such products, Saree argues, "about 1,500 consumers were found to have endangered their health taking food supplements. Thirty-eight people died from amino acid toxin in seaweed products in 1993."

Launching the campaign at Lumpini Park to coincide with the opening of the Thai Ways Festival: Wisdom for Self-Reliance, the foundation distributed leaflets that detailed ten reasons for consumers to avoid supplements.