Doctors Plead: Quit Wasting Your Money On Vitamin Supplements Already

Every year, Americans spend $28 billion on potions that we imbue with magical powers. We mean, of course, vitamin pills and supplements. We take them by the handful even though study after study has showed us that for people who have a deficiency, vitamin pills don’t do very much good, and may harm our health in the long run. Yes, harm.

The internists over at the American College of Physicians (Actual motto: “Doctors For Adults”) apparently decided that they’ve had enough of the public’s attachment to our magic pills, and they want us to cut it out already. The title of their editorial this month in the society’s prominent journal, Annals of Internal Medicine, is not subtle. “Enough Is Enough: Stop Wasting Money on Vitamin and Mineral Supplements,” they write.

In the editorial, they cite previous research as well as three studies published in that very issue of the journal. At best, research on long-term vitamin taking in the real world shows no benefit. People who have suffered heart attacks have more heart attacks and/or eventually die. Elderly men who are randomly assigned to take vitamins don’t show greater brain function than elderly men who are not. Finally, one study showed that people who took big doses of Vitamin A were more likely to get lung cancer. Oops.

Enough Is Enough: Stop Wasting Money on Vitamin and Mineral Supplements [Annals of Internal Medicine]

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