Most Physicians Urge People to Stop Taking Diet Supplements
Many people pop a multivitamin each day, believing they are boosting their health. New research suggests that routine diet supplements may be unnecessary or sometimes harmful. According to Annals of Internal Medicine (AOIM), physicians are now urging Americans to “stop wasting money on vitamin and mineral diet supplements. New research has discovered that, most supplements do not prevent chronic disease or death, their use is not justified, and they should be avoided.”
This is especially true for people who lack symptoms of nutritional deficiencies, including most supplement users. In fact, in some cases, supplements may cause harm. “We need vitamins and minerals to function,” explains one of the researchers, Dr. Eliseo Guallar. “So many people think that the more they get, the better they will be. But we actually have a lot of accumulated evidence that vitamin supplements aren’t helping. They aren’t working in the general population to prevent chronic disease.”
Supplements Don’t Prevent Cancer
There is no consistent link between supplement use and decreased risk of cancer and heart disease. Researchers also found no consistent pattern of harm with multivitamin use. But they did find several studies linking specific supplements to certain ailments. For example, beta-carotene supplements may boost the risk of lung cancer and death among high-risk populations, such as smokers.
Multivitamins Don’t Prevent Cognitive Decline
Multivitamins typically contain several nutrients believed to promote cognitive health like vitamins B, C, and E. However, downing a daily multivitamin may do little to keep your mind sharp. Most researchers conclude that daily multivitamin use provides no benefit for preventing cognitive decline.
Diet Multivitamins Won’t Stop Heart Problems
In all major studies conducted in the last 4 to 6 years, researchers found no difference in the rate of recurrent cardiovascular events among participants who took supplements compared to those who did not. Supplements did not seem to offer any protection against ongoing heart problems.
Diet Supplements Do Provide Some Benefits
For most people, eating a variety of healthy foods is all it takes to meet their nutritional needs. Whole foods provide benefits that pills don’t offer like dietary fiber, protective phytochemicals, and micronutrients. However, research shows that some people do benefit from certain supplements. For example: Pregnant women should take 400 micrograms of folic acid daily to prevent spinal and other birth defects. Those who take folic acid in early pregnancy may also lower the risk of delivering a child with autism. Iron supplements also protects against anemia.