Scientists say vitamins and minerals are “a waste of money”

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Americans spend more than $20 billion a year on supplements in hopes of staving off cancer, heart disease, and dementia. Trouble is, the latest research shows they provide no benefit — and they may even be hazardous to our health. But given our nutrient-deprived diets, should we really stop taking these pills altogether?

These are the startling findings of three articles just published in the highly influential Annals of Internal Medicine.

The researchers involved in the studies didn't mince words; they're concerned that people are spending too much money on pills that confer no benefit, and in some cases may even be harmful. What's more, they even hinted that companies selling supplements are fueling false health anxieties to offer unnecessary cures. In an editorial titled "Enough is Enough: Stop Wasting Money on Vitamin and Mineral Supplements," Dr. Lawrence Appel of the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore and his co-authors wrote, "Most supplements do not prevent chronic disease or death, their use is not justified, and they should be avoided."

Wow. That'll come as a shock to the nearly 40% of adults who regularly take antioxidants, multivitamins, and other supplements.

Written By: George Dvorsky
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60 COMMENTS

  1. @OP – The researchers involved in the studies didn’t mince words; they’re concerned that people are spending too much money on pills that confer no benefit, and in some cases may even be harmful. What’s more, they even hinted that companies selling supplements are fueling false health anxieties to offer unnecessary cures.

    It is true that many vitamin supplements are unnecessary if you have a balanced healthy diet. There are usually environmental, dietary, or medical causes for vitamin deficiencies.

    For example people with dark skin may develop vitamin D deficiencies in the sunless polar regions.

    http://health.howstuffworks.com/skin-care/beauty/sun-care/sun-affect-dark-complexions.htm

    But everyone needs some sun exposure to produce vitamin D. Vitamin D, also known as the “sunshine vitamin,” helps the body absorb calcium, which maintains bone density and prevents osteoporosis [source: Zelman]. And research shows that vitamin D may also help protect against chronic diseases such as diabetes, cancer, rheumatoid arthritis and heart disease [source: Kotz]. However, dark-skinned people’s high concentration of melanin makes it more difficult for them to produce enough vitamin D. In fact, dark pigment in the skin reduces the skin’s ability to synthesize vitamin D from sunlight by 95 percent. Lighter-skinned people can get enough vitamin D after 10 to 15 minutes of sun exposure a few times a week, but people with dark complexions may need five to 10 times more sun exposure to synthesize that same amount of vitamin D [source: Zelman].

  2. I’ve always had trouble with allergies and asthma. A long time ago I tried Vitamin C and it definitely seemed to help me with both. At various times since, I’ve read something like this and tried to see what happens if I stop taking Vitamin C every morning and invariably it seems to make me more prone to getting a cold. I realize that’s just anecdotal and that it may be, probably is, the placebo effect. But I keep taking them because even if it is the Placebo effect it seems to work.

    I’ve also noticed there is a direct relation for me between taking a high dose of B Complex and having (or remembering — I think it comes down to the same thing) vivid dreams. Someone once told me there is an actual legitimate scientific reason that might be true but I forget what it was and I wasn’t sure how accurate this person’s info was, he knew a fair bit of science but was also very into alternative cures. Curious if anyone else has experienced or has any info on this.

    • In reply to #2 by Red Dog:

      I’ve always had trouble with allergies and asthma. A long time ago I tried Vitamin C and it definitely seemed to help me with both. At various times since, I’ve read something like this and tried to see what happens if I stop taking Vitamin C every morning and invariably it seems to make me more pro…

      Red Dog, did you try eating more oranges every day rather than popping pills?

    • In reply to #2 by Red Dog:

      I’ve also noticed there is a direct relation for me between taking a high dose of B Complex and having (or remembering — I think it comes down to the same thing) vivid dreams.

      I was just remembering this as I read the article. When I was a child we were given cod liver oil capsules every day. I realised they made my dreams incredibly vivid and memorable and I started taking them before bed. CLO has vitamins A and D and not the B vitamins I see linked with lucid dreaming, but it definitely worked for me.

  3. Did this study only research claims of reducing some sort of fatality?

    Since I am sure calcium supplementation is proven to prevent things such as osteoperosis. In addition to a wide range of otehr things. I would certianly be skeptical if someone said take folic acid and never get cancer, but I would hope everyone would be skeptical of a claim such as that.

    • In reply to #3 by JPatrick:

      Did this study only research claims of reducing some sort of fatality?

      Looks like, based on their first page, that they’re saying vitamins are not useful in treating chronic diseases / cancer.

    • In reply to #3 by JPatrick:

      Did this study only research claims of reducing some sort of fatality?

      Since I am sure calcium supplementation is proven to prevent things such as osteoperosis. In addition to a wide range of otehr things. I would certianly be skeptical if someone said take folic acid and never get cancer, but I wo…

      You want your diet to include enough calcium and vitamin d, but it looks like a glass of milk a day is all you need if you exercise regularly which is also very important to maintaining bone density. Dark Green leafy veggies are good too.

  4. Not to mention the lack of regulation that leads to no quality control what-so-ever. From nothing in the pills to dangerous substances.

    It’s a weird world where vitamins and supplements have passed under the radar while real medicine and big pharma (same people as big vitamin) get so much hysteria. Perhaps it’s because they actually do something?

  5. I admit to having at one time fallen for this kind of scam.

    What a fool I was!

    My wife says I still am but that’s another story.

    I suppose the vitamin industry plays on our insecurities just like certain other organizations do.

    A good balanced diet and exercise do the trick, and I guess that most contributors to this outfit are able to enjoy both relatively easily.

  6. I am 67 years old and apart from solar skin damage and one minor screw up of evolution, am in excellent general health, and am still extremely active, with all systems at full go.
    I have never, not once, taken a vitamin or any other kind of pill apart from a few specifically prescribed by someone who knew what he/she was talking about. (As a caveat, Australians do not consider Vegemite to be a vitamin supplement, but rather an essential food group.)

    I have believed for years the vitamin supplement industry to be borderline quackery, and the other kilometres of shelves in pharmacies full of purges and cleansers and cures for whatever ails you as definite quackery. My own health I consider to be strong support of the hypothesis.

    It never ceases to amaze me that people will spend serious money on this stuff and feel so impoverished that they will feed themselves and their families on junk food. And then they wonder why they are fat and diabetic.

    Ask any engineer what happens to engines when you run them on cheap bad fuel and bad lubricants.

  7. I am as skeptical as any of us are, but supplements have their place. Can you waste money on some that aren’t efficacious? Of course. That’s why we need to apply that critical thinking stuff we all espouse to this issue just like we should apply it to all other issues. As both a scientist and an ardent weightlifter I may be in the minority here (well, half of me at least); I may have more reasons to supplement. For general health purposes I certainly take fish oil and some antioxidants. I take a probiotic supplement and vitamin D. I take low dose melatonin before bed. For my athletic endeavors I take a whey protein supplement as well as creatine (the most widely studied sports supplement of all time with overwhelming consensus of its efficacy). Pubmed is my friend and it should be yours too: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/

    Eating a “balanced diet” is a myth the pharmaceutical industry and AMA like to shove down our throats. Who among us eats a balanced diet (whatever that even really means)? Another thing, my brother is a doctor and I am a scientist. Given my hobbies I’ve done much self study regarding nutrition in addition to the scholarship I gained from college courses in nutrition, biochemistry, organic chemistry and the like. My brother hardly knows more than the layperson about nutrition. Ditto his colleagues and the many I’ve worked with. It’s better now than it used to be but they are still largely hypnotized by the drugs they write scripts for, much less that well known ‘you scratch my back I scratch yours’ relationship with the pharmaceutical industry. Let’s be honest, taking ownership of, and optimizing your health is not in the best interest of the AMA.

    To me supplements act as inexpensive insurance for my often lacking “balanced diet”. And they support my active lifestyle. A little self study goes a long way. Articles like the one cited are recycled, tired, lazy “news” for a slow news day cycle.

    • Steven, I too am a bodybuilder and engineer and feel the same way you do. Have I cut back drastically on supps the more I’ve learned? Yes. But are protein powder, creatine, fish oil, and magnesium really useless? I’d beg to differ… In reply to #11 by Steven007:

      I am as skeptical as any of us are, but supplements have their place. Can you waste money on some that aren’t efficacious? Of course. That’s why we need to apply that critical thinking stuff we all espouse to this issue just like we should apply it to all other issues. As both a scientist and an ard…

    • In reply to #11 by Steven007:

      I am as skeptical as any of us are, but supplements have their place. Can you waste money on some that aren’t efficacious? Of course. That’s why we need to apply that critical thinking stuff we all espouse to this issue just like we should apply it to all other issues. As both a scientist and an ard…

      It sounds like you’re underestimating the millions of years of evolution your body benefits from. Unless you’re deliberately eating only cabbage you diet is definitely well balanced. Good news!

      You are proposing an imaginary (but believable) problem, if it was real you’d know all about it – you’d be ill. Please go to your doctor and ask him to find out for real. Reality is more important than your guesses or body building folklore. Evolution is definitely better for you than a corporation in an unregulated industry looking for profits.

      • Hi alaskansee. I appreciate your concern. Trust me when I say that most people interested in an active lifestyle (myself included) take a very proactive approach to their wellbeing. Please note that it’s a proactive approach to prevent being ill – I’d rather not sit around waiting for illness as you seem to propose.

        I see my doctor twice a year. The first time I saw him several years ago (I switched my MD’s) it was determined that I was deficient in vitamin D (even while living in FL). This was likely somewhat due to my frequent usage of sunscreen. This is when I began supplementing specifically with vit D which improved the situation, but still left me a bit shallow. Mind you, this is with a diet relatively heavy in dairy. Anyway I upped my vit D and now have acceptable levels. The fish oils should require no explanation for the informed public.

        Finally, which industry is not interested in profit? Should I increase my niacin and fish oil intake for assistance with cholesterol (scientifically proven methods) for pennies or instead take the ubiquitous cholesterol/statin and later high blood pressure Rx medications for far more pennies? Don’t confuse a reasonable approach by well read folks with a scattershot approach by a gullible public.

        In reply to #14 by alaskansee:

        In reply to #11 by Steven007:

        I am as skeptical as any of us are, but supplements have their place. Can you waste money on some that aren’t efficacious? Of course. That’s why we need to apply that critical thinking stuff we all espouse to this issue just like we should apply it to all other issues….

        • In reply to #15 by Steven007:

          Hi alaskansee. I appreciate your concern. Trust me when I say that most people interested in an active lifestyle (myself included) take a very proactive approach to their wellbeing. Please note that it’s a proactive approach to prevent being ill – I’d rather not sit around waiting for illness as you seem to propose.

          You seem to have misunderstood, I was suggesting that your diet IS balanced (like everyone that can afford a computer and isn’t suffering mental health issues) AND that seeing a doctor was the only way other than feeling ill you would be able to understand any deficiencies. At no point did I suggest you sit around waiting. I’m not a doctor but that sounds like a silly suggestion when a study tells you supplements are a waste of your money and to be avoided.

          However what you suggest is that in addition to a well balanced diet you are going to do something “proactive” regardless of your condition. So something is better than nothing right? If you start sending your vitamin money to me I’d be happy to pray for you AND you won’t suffer the ill effects of mega dosing. As a doctor would say the body is in balance, lack of something is bad and so is too much of the same thing. Proactive is a business buzz word not a medical term.

          I see my doctor twice a year. The first time I saw him several years ago (I switched my MD’s) it was determined that I was deficient in vitamin D (even while living in FL). This was likely somewhat due to my frequent usage of sunscreen. This is when I began supplementing specifically with vit D which improved the situation, but still left me a bit shallow. Mind you, this is with a diet relatively heavy in dairy. Anyway I upped my vit D and now have acceptable levels. The fish oils should require no explanation for the informed public.

          I too take vitamin D on my doctors advice but so what that’s not what you’re getting at here. Vitamins, like food are important but unlimited extra vitamin anything or key lime pie is not. I’m not a doctor and I never recommend anyone take vitamin D, you should do the same with fish oil and antioxidants. It’s also dangerous to suggest that “fish oils require no explanation”, yes they do, it’s important and as you show many people are confused with even the simplest study let alone magic pills.

          This is a real study and represents our current best knowledge – “avoid supplements” it says, we would all be wise to not think we know better, You’re not arguing with me, you’re arguing with science.

          Finally, which industry is not interested in profit? Should I increase my niacin and fish oil intake for assistance with cholesterol (scientifically proven methods) for pennies or instead take the ubiquitous cholesterol/statin and later high blood pressure Rx medications for far more pennies? Don’t confuse a reasonable approach by well read folks with a scattershot approach by a gullible public.

          As Richard Feynman said – you are the easiest person to fool. It’s true, look at your post. Someone said “avoid” you said yes but not me or my supplements.

          You’re right industries generally do want to make a profit and like the homeopathy industry they are perfectly well aware that what they are selling is little or no use to most people that buy them. I was suggesting professional advice rather than buying into the “you need vitamins” hype. You don’t, you need vitamin D – ask your doctor.

          It is worrying that “over 1/2 the population of the US” takes supplements. I bet every one has the same position as you – which contradicts the science! I predict a rosy future for the peddlers of snake oil. (In this case snake oil includes real medicine that isn’t needed)

          Ultimately what I want to say is look there’s a new study with important information, go see you doctor. You have overstepped the report and my safe position for your opinion on supplements. It’s NOT only pennies – it’s your health or life. From the report you are doing the opposite of what you are trying to do.

          In light of this study if you are one of the 50%+ of Americans taking supplements – go see a doctor and stop pimpin’ supplements.

          • That’s your counter argument? Let’s hope you don’t work in the legal profession. Anyway, goodness, you misconstrued almost…everything I said or tried to imply, but that’s ok. You have no earthly idea whether my diet is balanced and frankly neither do I. As I said initially what is a balanced diet? Please give me your definition so I can be thrilled with your acumen and plan accordingly.

            I have no idea what this “but unlimited extra vitamin anything or key lime pie is not” means. You take vitamin D too? For the same reasons I cited, one would assume? Because if not then why? And I said fish oil requires no explanation because everyone (well, most everyone) who’s not living under a rock knows they are beneficial. Check out pub med (or the journal of your choice – look at the science as you say and as I agree) for the fish oil studies and see the almost universal consensus. Let me help you here with a modern search engine logical key word search (note the “A” grades doled out by those crazy kooks at Mayo Clinic): http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/fish-oil/NS_patient-fishoil/DSECTION=evidence

            As for the rest we can agree to disagree. This is about optimizing health and performance, not curing cancer – let’s be clear. I hope you aren’t suggesting that my nutrient requirements (as a 6’2″ 250 lb very active individual) are the same as those of the average guy. I don’t have the time or interest in working out a diet that covers every single base so supplements work well here. Simple. And by the way with emerging evidence the RDA has been trending upwards these last few years. At any rate I feel great with my mild supplement regimen. I trust you feel great without yours and/or with your doctor prescribed drugs. Both of us should be happy. And come on, I’m not trying to sell anyone anything. I made well reasoned arguments (who said mega dosing? You did, not me). Deal with it.

            In reply to #18 by alaskansee:

            In reply to #15 by Steven007:

            Hi alaskansee. I appreciate your concern. Trust me when I say that most people interested in an active lifestyle (myself included) take a very proactive approach to their wellbeing. Please note that it’s a proactive approach to prevent being ill – I’d rather not sit ar…

          • In reply to #23 by Steven007:

            That’s your counter argument? Let’s hope you don’t work in the legal profession. Anyway, goodness, you misconstrued almost…everything I said or tried to imply, but that’s ok. You have no earthly idea whether my diet is balanced and frankly neither do I. As I said initially what is a balanced diet? Please give me your definition so I can be thrilled with your acumen and plan accordingly.

            Wow, that’s confusing! So I if understand your thinking;

            “Eating a “balanced diet” is a myth the pharmaceutical industry and AMA like to shove down our throats.

            But eating a balanced diet benefits the food industry so why on earth would the AMA and pharmaceutical industry shove it down our throats if they do not benefit? Unless it’s just simple good advice that is given with good intentions. None of this is germane to the argument or helps your case that the study doesn’t apply to you. Let’s also be clear big pharma IS big vitamin and you don’t trust big pharma but you trust big pharma’s sweetly labeled big vitamin? Also my first post #5 was about the fact that 3 out of 4 vitamins or supplements do not have what they say they have on the label! You should trust big pharma over their big vitamin subdivision because they are regulated – again read the “other” report recently published.

            Sometimes we have irrational reactions to certain phrases and “balanced diet” appears to have some negative conitations for you so what I mean, not AMA or big pharma or big vitamin, is “normal healthful diet”. The sort of thing evolution has been working with. It’s what most people on the earth eat and have eaten for millions of years, since before we were even “human.” It’s the middle 90% of the bell curve. The out-liers are the starving in 3rd world countries and people eating a weird diet for some other reason.

            It’s one thing to understand that all companies want to make a profit but when big vitamin successfully lobbied to be outwith FDA control you would be niave to think their doing that for their customers, that’s you.

            As I clearly said, good news you have a balanced diet (not withstanding you being in the 10%). This isn’t brain surgery how do you think you got here, your ancestors managed even without supplements. The point I’m making for the umpteenth time is that you should pay attention to the science.

            I have no idea what this “but unlimited extra vitamin anything or key lime pie is not” means. You take vitamin D too? For the same reasons I cited, one would assume? Because if not then why? And I said fish oil requires no explanation because everyone (well, most everyone) who’s not living under a rock knows they are beneficial. Check out pub med (or the journal of your choice – look at the science as you say and as I agree) for the fish oil studies and see the almost universal consensus. Let me help you here with a modern search engine logical key word search (note the “A” grades doled out by those crazy kooks at Mayo Clinic): http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/fish-oil/NS_patient-fishoil/DSECTION=evidence

            Key lime – Too much of a good thing is bad for you. Again – see study.

            Vitamin D – No not for the same reasons, what a limited understanding you have of the number of problems the human body has! It’s also rude to ask someone what their disease is, but it’s not for that – it’s for the side effects of the medicine I take for my disease. Again I wonder why you would object to the AMA and big pharma telling me to eat well while I take their advice and pills?

            Fish oil – I have no objection to the science on fish oil but you clearly object to the science of a balanced diet and the study. My objection was to your assumption that everyone did. just because you know something does not make it common knowledge to anyone else. It was a point of order.

            As for the rest we can agree to disagree. This is about optimizing health and performance, not curing cancer – let’s be clear. I hope you aren’t suggesting that my nutrient requirements (as a 6’2″ 250 lb very active individual) are the same as those of the average guy. I don’t have the time or interest in working out a diet that covers every single base so supplements work well here. Simple. And by the way with emerging evidence the RDA has been trending upwards these last few years. At any rate I feel great with my mild supplement regimen. I trust you feel great without yours and/or with your doctor prescribed drugs. Both of us should be happy. And come on, I’m not trying to sell anyone anything. I made well reasoned arguments (who said mega dosing? You did, not me). Deal with it.

            Let’s be clear this is about optimizing health and performance and not causing cancer, that’s why it’s important, like the fish oil, that you take the best current advice – avoid taking supplements.

            I too am a 6’1, 250 lb guy – I do enough to call myself active. Typically 2000km MTB, 1500km dog sled and 40 times up the hill snow boarding plus canoeing and general dicking around. Always cycle to work, it’s fun though so don’t think I’m boasting, I’m decidedly average in our town. It sounds like you think this is enormously complicated it’s not. Eat well and – as the report says avoid supplements.

            The harsh reality is that not only do you but most people who take supplements without medical advice are wasting your money. I didn’t ever think your were trying to sell anything just justify the waste of your money in public. Read the study and avoid supplements.

            ** *this is not medical advice just reading advice – please consult your AMA approved physician.**

            I have to admit I am slightly having fun with you. You’re on a reason and science web site and your first reaction to a scientific study that you didn’t agree with was to dismiss it. Remember you could have dismissed it on your head and not told anyone that you know better than the study. As I said in my previous post I predict a rosy unregulated future for big vitamin even though you should (here it is again) – avoid supplements.

            Good health to you!

          • Alaska, thanks for taking the time to respond. I’ve enjoyed the back and forth but I’ve also made my case several times over. You seem to be a bit too dogmatic and inflexible about all of this which seems odd since you’re a contributor here and dogma just doesn’t fly for most of us.

            I don’t like to throw qualifications around because I believe that’s impolite (and largely useless) in conversations such as this but since it seems pertinent in this case I will say that I do have some expertise in this area. I am a college educated scientist that has taken courses that allow me to understand studies both in concept and in practice. I’ve written (about the coagulation cascade if curious) for CAP Today, the standard industry journal for Pathologist and laboratory professionals. I am an adjunct professor and teach nutrition at a local college. I apply critical thinking to all that I do including the way I eat and my (let me repeat myself) mild supplementation. That said I am sure there are some folks more qualified than me to discuss this topic, but probably not that many. Perhaps you’re one of them? And in any case that does not make me unqualified, certainly. Re-read my posts if you missed something. I’m not trying to change your mind (or anyone else’s) just sharing my reasoned viewpoint. If you have a specific question I will be happy to answer it. Good health to you as well.

            In reply to #28 by alaskansee:

            In reply to #23 by Steven007:

            That’s your counter argument? Let’s hope you don’t work in the legal profession. Anyway, goodness, you misconstrued almost…everything I said or tried to imply, but that’s ok. You have no earthly idea whether my diet is balanced and frankly neither do I. As I said ini…

          • In reply to #30 by Steven007:

            Alaska, thanks for taking the time to respond. I’ve enjoyed the back and forth but I’ve also made my case several times over. You seem to be a bit too dogmatic and inflexible about all of this which seems odd since you’re a contributor here and dogma just doesn’t fly for most of us.

            Do you not understand what dogma is? None here, what your thinking of is me reading a study and updating my knowledge base. You seem to be the one defending an indefensible position judging from the other posts. I think Nunbeliever put it well even though you continue to think it doesn’t apply to you so I will finish wishing you good health and a long active and fun life.

            PS Thank you for clearing up that you are not a doctor and not qualified to refute the study based on your feelings but I had guessed. I am qualified to read the report and recommend you do. Happy festivous!

          • I stated in my original post that I am not a doctor. I also stated that I know (far) more about nutrition than my brother, who IS a doctor, and his colleagues. He readily admits this as it’s self evident. Also, as an adjunct professor at a college, I clearly must be qualified to teach (yes, it’s actually a requirement – find a definition of adjunct professor for more info in this regard), but I’m sure you don’t want to hear that and I don’t intend to reply to your sarcasm regarding the topic. Also you should know that one study does not a consensus make. How many drugs have been pulled off the market after further evidence was uncovered? Finally, yes, you ARE qualified to read the report as most with the ability to read are. I have read it. But I have read many others too and base my decisions on consensus. I don’t cherry pick and I don’t recommend others to do this either.

            In reply to #31 by alaskansee:

            In reply to #30 by Steven007:

            Alaska, thanks for taking the time to respond. I’ve enjoyed the back and forth but I’ve also made my case several times over. You seem to be a bit too dogmatic and inflexible about all of this which seems odd since you’re a contributor here and dogma just doesn’t fly f…

          • In reply to #32 by Steven007:

            I stated in my original post that I am not a doctor. I also stated that I know (far) more about nutrition than my brother, who IS a doctor, and his colleagues. He readily admits this as it’s self evident. Also, as an adjunct professor at a college, I clearly must be qualified to teach (yes, it’s act…

            Oh dear, you do seemed to have ignored everything I say in favour of defending your entrenched position. (You incorrectly called it dogma, it’s not religious I hope!)

            Never mind, this was my assumption before I engaged you so no surprise. If you do feel like reading the study, and the numerous other ones, (plus all the posts you have had to rebuff) that point to not only no effect but detrimental effect (see crookedshoes) go ahead, but if you want to live in your bubble then at least I tried to help.

            Your repeated claims to know more than doctors is worrying and I think you should have that looked at.
            (You did also big up doctors in a couple posts too, so I’m not claiming you were consistent in your worrying behaviour.)

            You are arguing with the study not me – avoid supplements, unless you are the exception to the rule – like the other +150 million Americans.

            Methodologically speaking I’m a big advocate of the “many ways to skin a cat approach” to discourse, although I do prefer a Band-aid all in one go method. Tell me if someone was blind to a scientific study, but still open to the scientific method, how would you approach helping them?

          • Sigh. Listen, if you’re an airline mechanic I’m not going to question your authority and experience concerning jet engines. Sure, I can do my homework and get some of the jargon down and read about jet propulsion but I’m never really going to know enough to challenge you on anything but rudimentary topics concerning jet engines. So while I do respect your opinion you’re really not adding much to the conversation. Anyone can say “I read the study!” which doesn’t mean at all that they understood what they read, applied any critical thinking into how the conclusions were drawn out, compared the study and its methods to similar studies, etc. That’s the problem with the lay public reading cherry picked sound bites from a study in a newspaper article often written by a journalist with little medical or science background. It makes for good copy but bad science. But reading a study that says supplements are all bullshit will not change the fact that niacin positively affects cholesterol; that fish oil positively affects triglycerides; that creatine has been proven to work numerous times. Etc. Now if they picked some specific supplements – raspberry ketones or some such BS – that’s another story. But throwing all things under one umbrella is useless and poor science writing.

            So we’re really not arguing. I’m reasoning with you and you’re trying to beat me over the head with your layman’s opinion. And while you’re free to do that it makes for a fairly one sided conversation.

            In reply to #33 by alaskansee:

            In reply to #32 by Steven007:

            I stated in my original post that I am not a doctor. I also stated that I know (far) more about nutrition than my brother, who IS a doctor, and his colleagues. He readily admits this as it’s self evident. Also, as an adjunct professor at a college, I clearly must be qu…

          • In reply to #34 by Steven007:

            Sigh. Listen, if you’re an airline mechanic I’m not going to question your authority and experience concerning jet engines. Sure, I can do my homework and get some of the jargon down and read about jet propulsion but I’m never really going to know enough to challenge you on anything but rudimentary topics concerning jet engines. So while I do respect your opinion you’re really not adding much to the conversation. Anyone can say “I read the study!” which doesn’t mean at all that they understood what they read, applied any critical thinking into how the conclusions were drawn out, compared the study and its methods to similar studies, etc. That’s the problem with the lay public reading cherry picked sound bites from a study in a newspaper article often written by a journalist with little medical or science background. It makes for good copy but bad science. But reading a study that says supplements are all bullshit will not change the fact that niacin positively affects cholesterol; that fish oil positively affects triglycerides; that creatine has been proven to work numerous times. Etc. Now if they picked some specific supplements – raspberry ketones or some such BS – that’s another story. But throwing all things under one umbrella is useless and poor science writing.

            So we’re really not arguing. I’m reasoning with you and you’re trying to beat me over the head with your layman’s opinion. And while you’re free to do that it makes for a fairly one sided conversation.

            In reply to #33 by alaskansee:

            In reply to #32 by Steven007:

            I stated in my original post that I am not a doctor. I also stated that I know (far) more about nutrition than my brother, who IS a doctor, and his colleagues. He readily admits this as it’s self evident. Also, as an adjunct professor at a college, I clearly must be qu…

            Even the bit of your post you left on the bottom of your next post proves you wrong. You do not know enough to say the report is wrong I’m saying read the report to someone who is denying it, not just read the report, I was hoping you would take something in!

            I should have realised what was going on when you said;

            Eating a “balanced diet” is a myth the pharmaceutical industry and AMA like to shove down our throats.

            Sorry to disturb you, back to the bubble Steve. I apologise for assuming you had read the report that you think is not about you on the basis of an article you trashed. This is old news for most of us.

            PS If you don’t want to hear from someone who agrees with the research, here’s not a good place for your woo. Although I am enjoying your slow retreat and qualification from what you hope are your favourite unregulated, unprescribed supplements. Remember avoid supplements.

            Do we need to discuss homeopathy?

          • Do you remember the scene from a certain comedy that came out in the 1990’s (I believe) starring Jim Carrey, whose dim character is in love with the girl but she’s not at all interested in him and tells him in no uncertain terms that there is no way they will ever be together but she leaves the door open in his mind by giving him ridiculous odds against their union ever occurring which leads him to come back with – “so you’re saying there’s a chance?” For some reason this conversation reminds me of that with me in the girl role (I’m confident in my masculinity, ha-ha). And no offense, I’m not implying that you’re dim; clearly you’re not. But truly you’re being dogmatic here. I’m citing conclusions based on evidence and you’re citing one newspaper article.

            And to further flesh out my last posted point since you seem to be obsessed with MD’s knowing everything about everything (I know and work with many, many MDs and on average the 2 things they know the most about are 1) diagnosing illness and 2) prescribing drugs for that illness, everything else is absolutely hit and miss) – the airline mechanic probably can’t fly the jet. But it is just as unlikely that the pilot can fix the engine. I know a lot about nutrition because I’ve taken all the requisite chemistry and biology courses, I’ve studied it and I teach it.

            But I digress. I’m done here but I’m sure you’ll swoop in with the last word; you types seem to find that very fulfilling. Enjoy!

            PS – the word dogma is not the exclusive domain of religion, clearly, since I used it in another context. In general it means a principle or set of principles laid down by an authority as incontrovertibly true. Maybe you’ll dispute this too?

            In reply to #35 by alaskansee:

            In reply to #34 by Steven007:

            Sigh. Listen, if you’re an airline mechanic I’m not going to question your authority and experience concerning jet engines. Sure, I can do my homework and get some of the jargon down and read about jet propulsion but I’m never really going to know enough to challenge y…

          • In reply to #36 by Steven007:

            There is a small victory at the end for you so read on, it would be inappropriate for me to recommend learning if I can’t, but it’s small! That’s all I’d like you to do.

            I will, as per my previous posts, reply to each and every one of your points although it is noted that you have not returned the same courtesy but instead accused me of asking you not to exercise and the whole of the AMA and big pharma (and big vitamin by implication) of being in a conspiracy to make us eat well. Your posts make no logical sense and you are repeatedly attacking and defending the same group so I doubt there is any point.

            Do you remember the scene from a certain comedy that came out in the 1990’s (I believe) starring Jim Carrey, whose dim character is in love with the girl but she’s not at all interested in him and tells him in no uncertain terms that there is no way they will ever be together but she leaves the door open in his mind by giving him ridiculous odds against their union ever occurring which leads him to come back with – “so you’re saying there’s a chance?” For some reason this conversation reminds me of that with me in the girl role (I’m confident in my masculinity, ha-ha). And no offense, I’m not implying that you’re dim; clearly you’re not. But truly you’re being dogmatic here. I’m citing conclusions based on evidence and you’re citing one newspaper article.

            No, I try to avoid Jim Carey movies and supplements.

            How can I be the one being dogmatic when I am asking you to consider the new evidence? Nor have I made weak claims to some additional knowledge that I can’t provide.

            I am not citing one newspaper article, as I keep saying ad infinitum, read the study. You cannot claim to be citing anything let alone evidence – you have at no point given anything at all. Avoid supplements, the report said. From the AIM that’s an incredibly strong position, you’d be wise to listen not make weak excuses.

            And to further flesh out my last posted point since you seem to be obsessed with MD’s knowing everything about everything (I know and work with many, many MDs and on average the 2 things they know the most about are 1) diagnosing illness and 2) prescribing drugs for that illness, everything else is absolutely hit and miss) – the airline mechanic probably can’t fly the jet. But it is just as unlikely that the pilot can fix the engine. I know a lot about nutrition because I’ve taken all the requisite chemistry and biology courses, I’ve studied it and I teach it.

            Here’s the problem, when I suggest you go see a doctor about a medical issue you pretend I have said doctors know “everything about everything”. I didn’t say that, I have said nothing about doctors other than consult on medical maters where-as you have actually said many inappropriate things about doctors while saying you go twice a year. One thing they all know – eat a balanced diet!

            What do you expect the doctor to do over and above diagnosis and cure? Would you like some hand holding, it can be beneficial?

            I’m glad you understand the dynamics of aircraft mechanics and pilots but you’re the mechanic in this case and you keep grabbing the joystick. If you do understand then you should know that the doctor is the doctor. It may be worth saying that seeking a specialist doctors qualified advice might be necessary over a regular GP. For gods sake man they don’t know everything!

            Oh, so now you are a qualified and teaching nutritionist that hates the AMA and big pharma but not big vitamin? Why didn’t you open with full disclosure instead of the libel and nonsense? None of this rings true.

            But I digress. I’m done here but I’m sure you’ll swoop in with the last word; you types seem to find that very fulfilling. Enjoy!

            PS – the word dogma is not the exclusive domain of religion, clearly, since I used it in another context. In general it means a principle or set of principles laid down by an authority as incontrovertibly true. Maybe you’ll dispute this too.

            Well when your right, you’re right – who could or would dispute that? Perhaps the sort of person that imagines they can tell me what I’m thinking like you just foolishly did! If you’re only going to say one correct thing don’t make the mistake of assuming that it will be one of the things I disagree with. Also this doesn’t count as the last word!

            PS The last word from me, but I can’t speak for you (unlike you who apparently can predict and put words in my mouth). If your final statement in your defense after asking questions is “you types seem to find it fulfilling” getting the last word in – you’re wrong, my satisfaction was in being right and running circles round you as you flapped about.

          • [yawn]

            I have students like you. I always strongly suggest a Reading for Context course. They always end up thanking me.

            In reply to #37 by alaskansee:

            In reply to #36 by Steven007:

            There is a small victory at the end for you so read on, it would be inappropriate for me to recommend learning if I can’t, but it’s small! That’s all I’d like you to do.

            I will, as per my previous posts, reply to each and every one of your points although it is noted…

  8. Follow Prof. David Colquhoun, FRS on twitter, Also see DC’s Improbable Science Blog. He has waged war on pseudoscience, homeopathy, acupuncture and supplements for some years. Very informative, blunt and full of humour.

  9. Excuse me if someone else has said this — didn’t have time to read all comments, but read a few and there seems to be some confusion.

    Yes, on paper, if you’re calcium deficient, taking calcium seems to make sense. Problem is, our bodies can’t absorb much from these pills. It has been proven that the vast majority of the mineral passes through the digestive tract and out with the poop. Same goes for most others.

    You are not what you eat. You are what you can digest. Eat a variety of foods, mainly fresh, unprocessed foods and you should get what you need.

    • Adding to this: calcium supplements e.g. due to concern about osteoporosis etc.

      That there is a problem somewhere involving calcium doesn’t imply that there is inadequate dietary calcium, or that more dietary calcium might not even exacerbate the problem. (I’ve heard that this may be the case.) It’s possibly the same with many other supplements.

      First there’s some kind of connection between a measurable level of a particular vitamin. Presumably this is a valid measurement, unfortunately often only things that are conveniently measurable get managed. And average expected measurements are established as guidelines for clinicians. Whether or not it’s clear whether the relevant numbers are meaningful if the average person doesn’t really exist – most people being of distinctly different types and almost none being some compromise. Like the average human being asexual, given that most humans are either male or female – therefore the average is somewhere in between.

      This may be the reason why cholesterol and statins to control it are such an issue – it’s so easy to measure. Kind of like car keys dropped in the dark being easier to find if you look near the street lamp.

      The assumption, which may never have been validated, being that eating stuff will overcome the measured ‘shortage’.

      With calcium and bones it may be more of a problem that the stuff is leaving the bones than not getting in via diet.

      In reply to #17 by MAJORPAIN:

      Excuse me if someone else has said this — didn’t have time to read all comments, but read a few and there seems to be some confusion.

      Yes, on paper, if you’re calcium deficient, taking calcium seems to make sense. Problem is, our bodies can’t absorb much from these pills. It has been proven that…

  10. apart from a few specifically prescribed by someone who knew what he/she was talking about

    you mean that you weren’t able to identify their gender? or is this just hyper-political correctness?

  11. That scientists say that vitamins and minerals are a waste of money comes into the no shit Sherlock category. Will these findings make any difference, only in the short term the supplements market is way too strong to be cowed by these statements.

    • In reply to #20 by Miserablegit:

      That scientists say that vitamins and minerals are a waste of money comes into the no shit Sherlock category. Will these findings make any difference, only in the short term the supplements market is way too strong to be cowed by these statements.

      Simple blood tests will show if anyone has mineral deficiencies (magnesium, potassium etc) or not.

  12. I find it quite disheartening that there seems to be quite some confusion here over such general health advice regarding suppliments and diet. If we, who read Drs Ben Goldacre, Kevin Fong, Steve Novella and Mark Crislip cannot be clear on this, what hope can there be for the rest of the world?

    Basically, you should not be taking any medicinal substance unless advised to do so by your doctor. He or she has studied medicine for something like 12 years and so really does know better than you.

    After all, it isn’t just waste of money which is at issue, such substances might interfere with prescribed medicines or not even be what it says on the bottle. Then there are unscrupulous practices of complimentary(excuse me while I gag) medicine brigade, who we know has cut their preparations with genuine medicines while running down those very same substances.

    Surely we as a population should know some basic medical facts, such as the vast majority of vitamins not being soluble in fat and so the body is unable to store them. That means vitamin supplements do very little beyond making interesting smelling pee.

    All the while, there are people who because of poverty are not able to provide a varied diet full of fresh fruit and vegetables for themselves and their family. Instead of spending $10 on useless self-serving crap, give that money to Oxfam, who can at least do something good with it.

    We who have knowledge should be free of irrational fear, resistant to advertising and press propaganda, and wary of the placebo effect when judging whether or not a treatment is doing us some good. If not then what are we doing here and how can we call ourselves rationalists?

    We should not be confused, we should be clear and if we aren’t then we should do the research from reputable sources that can make us so. If not, then what right have we to call ourselves skeptics?

  13. Most vitamins give you designer urine. Many of the vitamins in a multi vitamin are water soluble so, if you take them in excess, you tax your kidneys a bit and then squirt out the excess. However, there are also fat soluble vitamins that can accumulate on board and cause issues.

    As for individual supplements…. if you can pinpoint a deficiency in your dietary intake, then a supplement would benefit you. If you have a typical first world diet, you really do not need vitamin supplements.

    Another note, folks who decide to go vegan or vegetaria (or folks that are very narrow in the variety of foods they consume) should do their due diligence and be sure to either vary their dietary intake of many varieties of veggies, or look into a product that ensures all essential amino acids are represented adequately in their diet.

    BUT, it is a good idea (IMO) for women prone to osteoporosis or other conditions like pernicious anemia or thalassemia minor, for whom supplements would be very important. However, short of having a diagnosed issue, supplements are largely unnecessary and completely over used (especially in the US)

    I have taken creatine as well as androstenedoine as weight lifting supplements and the results are staggering. When taking the andro, my bench press went from about 275 max to about 340 max in less than 6 months. The creatine draws water into your muscles and facilitates aerobic cellular respiration in the mitochondria. The andro is a component of the testosterone synthesizing biochemical pathway. Coupled together, these two can give you crazy gains. They do have side effects, but for most they are minimal.

    Also, I personally must get enough niacin in my diet because any vitamin that has even the slightest amount of niacin in it gets me flushed and blotchy and red and hot …..

    • @crooked, this is very true and I never argued this point, in fact I thought that was evident from the first few sentences of my original post: “supplements are largely unnecessary and completely over used (especially in the US)”.

      As should be clear from my posts, my supplement regimen is very modest. Regarding this statement “If you have a typical first world diet, you really do not need vitamin supplements.” – I also agree but only if your concern is to simply avoid deficiency diseases (the original modus for which vitamins were classified). I also want to optomize performance as you seem to understand. As for expensive/designer urine, my urine is far more expensive from my fine wine intake than from supplements!

      In reply to #24 by crookedshoes:

      Most vitamins give you designer urine. Many of the vitamins in a multi vitamin are water soluble so, if you take them in excess, you tax your kidneys a bit and then squirt out the excess. However, there are also fat soluble vitamins that can accumulate on board and cause issues.

      As for individual…

      • In reply to #25 by Steven007:

        As for expensive/designer urine, my urine is far more expensive from my fine wine intake than from supplements

        Sorry no it isn’t!

        Your body absorbs the fine wine – it’s called drunk, your body does not absorb the vitamins you’re pissing away.

  14. Well, the problem with most nutritional supplements is that even though there might be a reasonable theoretical basis for taking certain vitamins, antioxidants, etc… there are usually few or no actual clinical studies to support these theoretical claims. The problem with the human body is that it’s very complex and things usually do not work in the way theoretical hypotheses assume they do. Besides that, there is a lot of nonsense information out there. What worries me way more than people taking vitamin pills is all the natural “medicines” out there. There is basically no regulation and people just take these pills without having a clue what they are actually eating or how it might affect their bodies. Ironically these people regard themselves as people who care deeply about their health. Well, then you would think they would actually check what they are eating and not just take whatever pill some new age snake oil salesman tells them to.

    • I agree, Nunbeliever. I think there are two seperate issues we’re speaking of here. I can provide legitmate scientific evidence for all the supplements I take (indeed I never would have taken something without first doing just that), but these few legitimate supps are far outweighed by the many others with outlandish claims to “back them up”. It’s a problem, certainly, but not an earth shattering one. People very rarely die from overdosing on vitamins and most other supplements (even the supposed bad ones like ephedrine). Compare this with death statistics from OTC drugs (aspirin, acetaminophen, etc), much less doctor prescribed drugs. There is no comparison. In both cases however informed consumers should have few issues. Educate yourselves, people.

      In reply to #26 by Nunbeliever:

      Well, the problem with most nutritional supplements is that even though there might be a reasonable theoretical basis for taking certain vitamins, antioxidants, etc… there are usually few or no actual clinical studies to support these theoretical claims. The problem with the human body is that it’…

  15. How about we start by stopping force feeding fluoridated water first, before you tell people not to take their vitamin supplements?
    My take is that as long as you consume your supplements alongside your meal, then it shouldn’t be bad.
    i.e. Don’t take the pill by itself, probably not good for your waste managing organs to deal with such concentrated dose of minerals
    and vitamins.

  16. I don’t take supplements. My roommate takes some supplements and kind of prides herself on it, like perhaps I’m doing something wrong by not taking them. She gets constant colds that get severe. I never get colds. Haven’t had one in years. Maybe that’s not impressive, except I also have a chronic cancer that requires me to take meds that lower my immunity. Last week, she was vomiting with a virus that was going around. I was also exposed to it, but never got sick. I haven’t had that kind of bug in years either. She’s in my house, touching my things, yet I seem to be immune where she is not. This is just anectodal, but in my life I haven’t seen any evidence that the supplement takers were any more healthy than the nons, and when I have given supplements a try, I felt no improvement in anything.

    • I should probably add to my comment, since I did say I have cancer and that could be seen as irony, that my cancer has never shown any connection whatsoever to lifestyle, diet, weight or anything like that. It’s a genetic thing and has been isolated, and therefore is treatable. It hits across the board in a seeming random fashion, and also hits children as well as adults. So we can’t make the argument that had I taken vitamins, this would not have happened. But I still don’t pick up viruses very often.

      In reply to #41 by Freed From A Cult:

      I don’t take supplements. My roommate takes some supplements and kind of prides herself on it, like perhaps I’m doing something wrong by not taking them. She gets constant colds that get severe. I never get colds. Haven’t had one in years. Maybe that’s not impressive, except I also have a chronic ca…

  17. I’m a 54 year old post-meno woman with hypothyroid since four years old and depression for over 10 years. My doctor just informed me that I’m getting too much synthroid and my vitamin D level is 16 She advised me to take 2000 D3 IU/day and decreased my synthriod. The reason for the, perhaps, overshare is that there has been a lot of talk about the possible connection of vitamin D and thyroid disease, as well as the connection of both to depression. So, I’m taking my vitamin D every day, hoping to feel better. The levels made sense to me after I read about what happens to the body without sufficient vitamin D and validated the muscle weakness and pain in my arms and legs. Is this a good use of supplements or can I get the same high dose benefits with whole foods? I’m so sick of pills.

  18. I’m a 54 year old post-meno woman with hypothyroid since four years old and depression for over 10 years. My doctor just informed me that I’m getting too much synthroid and my vitamin D level is 16 She advised me to take 2000 D3 IU/day and decreased my synthriod. The reason for the, perhaps, overshare is that there has been a lot of talk about the possible connection of vitamin D and thyroid disease, as well as the connection of both to depression. So, I’m taking my vitamin D every day, hoping to feel better. The levels made sense to me after I read about what happens to the body without sufficient vitamin D and validated the muscle weakness and pain in my arms and legs. Is this a good use of supplements or can I get the same high dose benefits with whole foods? I’m so sick of pills.

  19. I’m a 54 year old post-meno woman with hypothyroid since four years old and depression for over 10 years. My doctor just informed me that I’m getting too much synthroid and my vitamin D level is 16 She advised me to take 2000 D3 IU/day and decreased my synthriod. The reason for the, perhaps, overshare is that there has been a lot of talk about the possible connection of vitamin D and thyroid disease, as well as the connection of both to depression. So, I’m taking my vitamin D every day, hoping to feel better. The levels made sense to me after I read about what happens to the body without sufficient vitamin D and validated the muscle weakness and pain in my arms and legs. Is this a good use of supplements or can I get the same high dose benefits with whole foods? I’m so sick of pills.

  20. I’m a 54 year old post-meno woman with hypothyroid since four years old and depression for over 10 years. My doctor just informed me that I’m getting too much synthroid and my vitamin D level is 16 She advised me to take 2000 D3 IU/day and decreased my synthriod. The reason for the, perhaps, overshare is that there has been a lot of talk about the possible connection of vitamin D and thyroid disease, as well as the connection of both to depression. So, I’m taking my vitamin D every day, hoping to feel better. The levels made sense to me after I read about what happens to the body without sufficient vitamin D and validated the muscle weakness and pain in my arms and legs. Is this a good use of supplements or can I get the same high dose benefits with whole foods? I’m so sick of pills.

  21. I’m a 54 year old post-meno woman with hypothyroid since four years old and depression for over 10 years. My doctor just informed me that I’m getting too much synthroid and my vitamin D level is 16 She advised me to take 2000 D3 IU/day and decreased my synthriod. The reason for the, perhaps, overshare is that there has been a lot of talk about the possible connection of vitamin D and thyroid disease, as well as the connection of both to depression. So, I’m taking my vitamin D every day, hoping to feel better. The levels made sense to me after I read about what happens to the body without sufficient vitamin D and validated the muscle weakness and pain in my arms and legs. Is this a good use of supplements or can I get the same high dose benefits with whole foods? I’m so sick of pills.

  22. I’m a 54 year old post-meno woman with hypothyroid since four years old and depression for over 10 years. My doctor just informed me that I’m getting too much synthroid and my vitamin D level is 16 She advised me to take 2000 D3 IU/day and decreased my synthriod. The reason for the, perhaps, overshare is that there has been a lot of talk about the possible connection of vitamin D and thyroid disease, as well as the connection of both to depression. So, I’m taking my vitamin D every day, hoping to feel better. The levels made sense to me after I read about what happens to the body without sufficient vitamin D and validated the muscle weakness and pain in my arms and legs. Is this a good use of supplements or can I get the same high dose benefits with whole foods? I’m so sick of pills.

  23. I’m a 54 year old post-meno woman with hypothyroid since four years old and depression for over 10 years. My doctor just informed me that I’m getting too much synthroid and my vitamin D level is 16 She advised me to take 2000 D3 IU/day and decreased my synthriod. The reason for the, perhaps, overshare is that there has been a lot of talk about the possible connection of vitamin D and thyroid disease, as well as the connection of both to depression. So, I’m taking my vitamin D every day, hoping to feel better. The levels made sense to me after I read about what happens to the body without sufficient vitamin D and validated the muscle weakness and pain in my arms and legs. Is this a good use of supplements or can I get the same high dose benefits with whole foods? I’m so sick of pills.

  24. Sounds to me like the big pharma companies are gearing up to make certain supplements prescription only and this sort of thing is the preamble to it. I need supplements and not because I dont eat a healthy diet – I have digestive issues caused by the medication I took for liver disease and I need things like digestive enzymes and B vits/zinc, RALA and l-carnitine.
    Of course supplements dont make up for a rubbish diet – if people think they are preventing chronic disease by taking supplements and not doing anything else they are mistaken but you cant legislate for ignorance.
    The idea that these companies are fuelling false anxieties to sell their product is one that can be levelled at any company you care to name….big pharma companies (some of those are selling ‘cures’ for boredom….), insurance companies, the beauty and clothing industries….etc etc. Find one that doesnt do it – its called advertising,

  25. I think the hard working researchers at the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University that have been doing actual research on the subject since the 60s would disagree with such a generalized statement.

  26. If this were altogether true, then why do most municipalities “fortify” our water supply with fluorine? Iodide in table salt? We should be getting enough of it already according to these doctors? Why is milk and bread “fortified” with vitamin D? Breakfast cereals fortified with calcium? Are these the same doctors and scientists the ones that informed the corporations to do this to our food supplies? The term “supplement” comes from someone supplementing something that they do not get enough of in their diet, which the general populace does not, as the general global sales at McDonalds will attest to. The biological systems in your body need these minerals and supplements to operate efficiently, what it does not use, it flushes out, harming no one. These same doctors want to stop people from “wasting their money” on supplements, but will prescribe any plethora of pharmaceuticals that are currently polluting all of our water supplies and will inform our municipalities and corporations that we need out foodstuff “fortified” with these same vitamins and minerals, then I ask who is wasting who’s money and time? Fluorine to help fortify the calcium in your teeth. Iodide to help stop goiters from forming in your thyroid gland. Calcium to help fortify your bones and teeth, vitamin D to help calcium absorption in said bones and teeth, and help with depression from lack of sunlight absorption in the winter months. I am not under any circumstances against said doctors or science, I question their findings when these same vitamins and minerals they speak of are already being injected into our food chain.

  27. I would like to add that I am 55 years old. I started, and stopped taking vitamin supplements many years ago because I experienced no beneficial affects whatsoever from any of the supplements that I had taken. This, of course, was just my own observation. I didn’t feel any better – I didn’t sleep any better or any worse. In other words, everything, pretty much, stayed the same. The only thing I DID notice was that my urine was EXTREMELY yellow in color. It was SO yellow, in fact, that it was redolent of yellow food dye.

    That being said, I’m a heavy smoker and I do like my beer more than just occasionally. I’ve always wondered if I hadn’t taken them for a long enough period (roughly 6 months) or if my body just didn’t respond to the particular vitamins that I had been taking at the time. (I don’t remember what they were, but there were quite a few common supplements in my med-cab).

  28. I can’t believe that this page could promote the pharmaceutical companies propaganda on vitamins. Is it a scientific page? Really? This one is really shameful. Anyone knows that vitamins are one of the greatest developments in the history of Mankind.

  29. I wonder how much of the data gets skewed by the fact that many people get heavily into nutritional supplements when they have a major illness that may be broadly attacking their overall immunity & ability to process nutrients (AIDS, cancer). So if someone’s undergoing chemo and needs extra supplements, but they die quicker than someone who doesn’t take them (but does not have cancer) doesn’t that change things a bit in terms of the data? In my experience, people tend to get into supplements (including some that may be useless) when they’re experiencing major health problems. So I’m not sure that gets factored in properly. If you’ve got good genes, or you’re lucky, sure, you may not need much beyond a healthy diet. But what about rapid weight loss from major illnesses, or loss of appetite? Or more mundane things like anemia, thyroid problems. Even then, the more vulnerable people may live shorter lives anyway than their more robust counterparts in these studies.

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