Do you regularly take a multivitamin or other supplement? If yes, you are most likely throwing away your money. A recent edition of the Annals of Internal Medicine included no less than 3 articles on this topic.
The first was a systematic review of trials to see if vitamin supplements were of any use in preventing or slowing down chronic disease. The test group was large – 400,000 people – and the results showed no clear evidence that supplements were effective.
In a second test conducted on 6,000 elderly men, multivitamins were shown to be no better than a placebo in cognitive performance and verbal memory.
You get the point. The dietary supplement industry is worth close to $30 billion a year. That’s about $400 a year for a family of four. The industry has extremely effective marketing and PR machines that convince us that supplements will make our life better. However, evidence repeatedly shows that this is not the case.
In some cases, supplements may even cause damage. See yesterday’s New York Times article on youths who suffered liver damage after consuming “fat-burning” supplements.
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends we get our nutrients from real foods. So do we.
In some cases, supplementation may be necessary, but don’t take this route unless you really must. Rely on real foods to get much more nutrients than a multivitamin could ever provide.
You know the drill: Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. Enjoy nuts, seeds, and legumes. And try a variety of whole grains. Not too hard, is it?