Are the vitamins and supplements you’re taking a waste of money? Recent research conducted by the United States Preventive Services Task Force concluded that most multivitamins are ineffective. And a follow-up published editorial by high ranking scientists at Northwestern University concluded that 93% of vitamins are a waste of money.
But, according to the CDC, more than half of Americans consume 1 or more supplements every day, and we spend $50 billion on them every year.
And I’m one of them!
Several years ago, one of my clients came in with a case full of vitamins and supplements that he was taking on a daily basis. His bloodwork taken 2 months previously had shown that his cholesterol was high, and his cardiologist wanted him to start taking a statin medication to bring his numbers down. We spent 20 minutes reviewing the long list of pills that he took every day—totally 19! And 2 of those were supposed to help keep his cholesterol normal.
However, the above study, which made big headlines and seems to discourage taking multivitamins, deserves a closer look. The intent of the study was to determine whether vitamins prevent heart disease and cancer, as compared to eating a healthy diet containing lots of fruit and vegetables. And they concluded that there “was not enough evidence that [vitamins] help prevent cardiovascular disease or cancer.”
So, they looked at only 2 variables, and not overall health or longevity. And none of the research measured differences over a long period of time.
So, should most Americans be taking vitamins and supplements such as fish oil?
The answer, I believe, is that it depends on what kind of a vitamin or supplement you’re taking. If you’re taking a relatively inexpensive vitamin from off the grocery store shelf, and washing it down with your morning coffee as you dash out the door, then you might well be wasting your money.
The vitamin industry is NOT regulated by the FDA, so vitamin companies can make great promises: “ease arthritis pain,” or “erase wrinkles.” But many of these pills are taken in the morning and peed out in the afternoon. Or, worse yet, they have a thick sugary coating and they are not absorbed at all.
So, what’s the BOTTOM LINE?
Ideally, we ingest all the vitamins, minerals and nutrients that we need from eating a healthy diet. But honestly, with our busy lifestyles, many people—myself included—find that challenging on a daily basis. The human body needs over 200 micronutrients on a daily basis to function optimally!!
Here are my tips:
–STRIVE to eat a healthy Whole Food diet with 5 servings of fruit or vegetable/day
–If needed, take a whole food vitamin (made from broccoli and blueberries)
–Only take vitamins and supplements that have been certified by an outside lab, such as NSF or USP, for quality and potency, or one labeled as “lab certified.”
What are your thoughts about the info that I’ve shared? Do you need advice on which supplements to take? Leave me a comment and I’ll respond.
And, you can join my email list for more great suggestions on achieving your optimal health.
Yours in Health,