Do you need vitamin supplements?

Health supplements (weekly) (OUT-OF-DATE)
Image by A. Belani via Flickr

About two weeks ago, when I ran out of multivitamins, I decided to stop taking all supplements: my daily vitamin and flax seed oil. I had never questioned taking vitamins before; it was just something that everyone did, and I assumed it had been proven that taking vitamins helped you stay healthy. But it occurred to me that vitamins were a big expense, I ate a healthy diet, and maybe I didn’t need them after all. Were they really doing me any good?

Today in the New York Times, an article was published that backs up my suspicions: Vitamin Pills – A False Hope? We Americans spend $23 billion on vitamins per year, but major studies have not shown that they have any positive effect on prolonging life or preventing disease. In fact, there is some evidence that taking too many vitamins might actually have harmful effects, although more studies need to be done.

In this area, as in so many, old-fashioned commonsense advice still applies: eat a varied, balanced diet for optimum health. But if you are looking for ways to cut your budget, consider ditching the multivitamins and other supplements. Better to spend that money on yummy (and healthy) food instead!

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7 thoughts on “Do you need vitamin supplements?

  1. dietbeach 17 February 2009 at 10:39 am

    I wholeheartedly agree, and since many vitamins and supplements are not regulated, you rarely know what you are actually getting when you take them.

  2. Shannon 17 February 2009 at 11:55 am

    That’s a good point. Why put something into your body when you can’t be sure what it is, if it has no discernible benefit?

  3. pam 18 February 2009 at 5:12 pm

    I’ve stopped taking mine too. Mine was a special woman’s vitamin that had all these extra herbal supplements. When I ran out, I noticed that my mood seemed better. I know it seems weird, but I think one of the supplements might have been causing some side effects.

  4. Shannon 18 February 2009 at 5:59 pm

    That doesn’t seem weird to me. I think a supplement my stepfather was taking interfered with his cholesterol medicine and caused rapid weight loss. We don’t really know what the effects of supplements are because they are not studied like drugs.

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