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!