vitamins

Anyone who regularly reads ACSH's writings knows that we look askance at the practice of many Americans to gulp down vitamin and/or mineral supplements (VMS), in the belief that even if one isn't deficient they will provide some sort of insurance against dietary deficiencies, or even better that they can protect against diseases. Recently a couple of Harvard doctors, Dr. JoAnn E. Manson and Dr. Shari S. Bassuk, attempted to educate physicians about what supplements are useful (or harmful) when. Their editorial was published in JAMA. Although their message is directed towards other clinicians, it's worth a look for all of us.

First, they point out that most randomized trials of VMS simply do not...

This flu season, one product is making its comeback: orange juice. Sales of OJ seem to have gotten a boost — after years of decline — due to consumers' fears of getting the dreaded illness. 

But is dosing yourself with high amounts of Vitamin C warranted for this year's flu from hell?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sure, everyone ‘knows’ what vitamins are — they’re those substances in the pills you take with OJ every morning, and if you don’t, you’ll get sick. And at least some of that is true (although the supplement industry would like you to believe the part about the pills).

One thing we know for sure about vitamins is that they are organic chemicals (see my colleague Dr. Josh Bloom’s explanation of ‘organic’ here) that are essential for life. That means that if you don’t consume a vitamin for long enough and your body is depleted of it, you will eventually get quite sick and die. On the way, you’ll get a disease from the deficiency, such as scurvy from lack of vitamin C or pellagra...

When life hands us lemons, we can make refreshing lemonade. We can squeeze them in tea to soothe colds and congestion. But we can't prevent or cure disease, especially cancer. So let's not boil lemon water and skip the specialist if you've been diagnosed with a serious ailment. 

There are many reasons not to take dietary supplements, just take a look at some of the stuff we've written in the past.  But to jog your memory, here are five reasons not to start taking dietary supplements, or multivitamins. 

Vitamin D status and supplements seem to have become a societal preoccupation. Encouraging the latter’s use as a cure-all, the “magic bullet” commercialization of vitamins and supplements has created a multi-billion dollar industry. One that is often unchecked due to absent regulation and universally promotes these items whose mechanisms of action are poorly understood and of questionable value—let’s not forget that they also have the capacity to do harm. (1,2)

Hence, why it is important to write about a new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) that set out to determine if vitamin D3 and Calcium supplementation in older women would reduce their...

Probably the most widely used dietary supplements in the US are multivitamin/mineral (MVM) ones. According to the 2007-2010 NHANES survey, 49 percent of adults said they used some supplement, and MVMs were most frequently reported by about 32 percent of adults. Led by Dr. Karen W. Andrews, scientists from the USDA, NIH, and Purdue University collaborated in an investigation of the content of such products — specifically on the accuracy of label claims and chemical analyses of the labeled pills. The rationale for the study was to provide accurate information when assessing the contribution of such supplements to Americans' diets. In many cases, the authors state, manufacturers provide more than the labeled amounts of some nutrients to ensure that the appropriate amount will still be...

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Approximately 50 percent of Americans take some sort of dietary supplements whether it's a standard vitamin/mineral mix, herbal or other botanical product, amino acids and proteins or essential fatty acids. The options are aplenty, as there are some 85,000 different dietary supplements in the United States.

Despite their variety, one thing they all have in common is a lack of oversight and regulation, according to a hard-...

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About one in 10 American women report moderate or severe symptoms of prementrual syndrome (PMS). A recent study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology supports the theory that women with relatively severe symptoms have an increased likelihood of developing high blood pressure and that hypertension risk is especially high in occurring earlier in life, before age 40.

The...

Antioxidants are the panacea that has never quite panned out. Tell people a product has antioxidants and many are eager to lap it up, eager for the benefits to their immune system, complexion, mental health, heart, joints, and just about everything else. Unfortunately, many studies have shown antioxidants do not add health benefits nor do they play a key role in preventing cancer or heart disease.