Wasting Money on Vitamins
This has not been a good few days for the vitamin industry. An editorial in the Annals of Internal Medicine concludes that: "“The message is simple,” the editorial continued. “Most supplements do not prevent chronic disease or death, their use is not justified, and they should be avoided.” Until reading about this, I was unaware of the enormity of this industry, and the millions of dollars that Americans spend on multivitamins as well as special supplements.
Let me say this before you do: Yes, this study was not looking at people with a cancer diagnosis, so it does not specifically say that the vitamins are equally useless in this setting. However, the full report does conclude that vitamin use does not reduce the risk of heart disease or cancer. I am going to give you here a short quote from the New York Times article about this, a link, and then a link to a second article. Since I don't take vitamins, being a longtime believer that a healthy diet gives us what we need, I don't have a strong personal reaction this. I realize that is not the case for everyone, but I would suggest that you consider spending your dollars instead on a good book, a restaurant meal, or a movie.
Should We Toss Our Vitamin Pills?
By RONI CARYN RABIN
One in two adults takes a daily vitamin pill, and Americans spend tens of billions of dollars each year on supplements. Now, a small coterie of physicians writing in a leading medical journal has offered this blunt advice: “Stop wasting money.”
In an unusually direct opinion piece, the five authors say that for healthy Americans worried about chronic disease, there’s no clear benefit to taking vitamin and mineral pills. And in some instances, they may even cause harm.
The authors make an exception for supplemental vitamin D, which they say needs further research. Even so, widespread use of vitamin D pills “is not based on solid evidence that benefits outweigh harms,” the authors wrote. For other vitamins and supplements, “the case is closed.”
“The message is simple,” the editorial continued. “Most supplements do not prevent chronic disease or death, their use is not justified, and they should be avoided.”
“We have so much information from so many studies,” Dr. Cynthia Mulrow, senior deputy editor of Annals of Internal Medicine and an author of the editorial, said in an interview. “We don’t need a lot more evidence to put this to bed.”