Tuesday’s issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine includes three articles on vitamin and mineral supplements and an editorial which concludes that despite sales of more than $20 billion US a year; most multivitamin supplements provide no benefit. Dr. Lawrence Appel of the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore and his co-authors has concluded in the editorial, titled “Enough is enough: Stop Wasting Money on Vitamin and Mineral Supplements.” The editorial is based on three studies looking at the effects of multivitamins on preventing heart attacks and cancer, as well as improving the cognitive function in men older than 65 years old.
The vitamin and supplement industry pulls in nearly $12 billion annually.
According to CNN more than half of all adults in the United States take some sort of multivitamin. Most vitamins such as antioxidants don’t help to prevent cancer, heart disease and dementia, and some supplements could also be harmful, say doctors who now advise people to stop wasting their money on the pills.
“The analysis confirmed that smokers who took only beta carotene supplements increased their risk of lung cancer. A professor of nutrition and epidemiology at University of California Berkeley, Gladys Block, who has spent her life studying the role of Vitamin C, says none of the studies accurately represents the American population. Senior vice president of the Natural Products Association, Cara Welch, is in agreement with Block.”
“Multivitamins address the nutritional deficiencies in people,” Cara Welch stated. “We don’t believe they are the answer to all life’s ailments, as the editorial suggests.” One would be better off asking a physician before taking any supplement or vitamin to see if it is actually necessary.
According to the researchers, the multivitamin is the most popular product in the vitamin and supplement industry. When you put it to the test, there’s no evidence of benefit in the long term. The jury is out on supplemental vitamins. My guess it is a “way to make the digestible fluids in your body expensive.”
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