Studies suggest vitamins and supplements are a waste of money - KMSP-TV

Studies suggest vitamins and supplements are a waste of money

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It may be a part of your daily routine -- taking vitamins, but new studies suggest taking vitamins and supplements provide no health benefit and you may be throwing your money away.

Vitamins and mineral supplements are a multibillion-dollar business, but a prominent medical journal says scientific studies show vitamin and supplement pills provide at most limited benefits.

Do you take vitamins or mineral supplements?  Some people swear by them.

"Just a multivitamin because sometimes I don't eat the perfect diet, I take them," said Abby Yepiz.

"Sometimes to supplement the nutrients I don't get," said Jenny Franzmeier.

But a sharply worded editorial in the Annals of Internal Medicine says for most people, vitamin and mineral pills, "Do not prevent chronic disease or death, their use is not justified, and they should be avoided."

"They are saying for most people, multivitamins are not necessary and for a lot of people, they do not have to be spending money on it and I probably agree with that," said Linda Vaughn, Ph.D., a registered dietician at Arizona State University.

She says if you want to get the vitamins and minerals you need, just eat a balanced diet with lots of fruits and vegetables.

But vitamin supplement suppliers and sellers say the critics are wrong.

"What we end up with is almost scare-mongering that all consumers should be afraid to take a multivitamin," said Cara Welch, Ph.D. of the Natural Products Association.  "It is certainly overblown and broadly stated and it is concerning."

Dr. Vaughn says at best, vitamins and minerals may fill in the gaps when people go through a period of not eating well.  She adds that some vitamins and minerals may help in specific ways -- for pregnant women, or people who eat a plant-based diet.

Both sides agree on this: eating a bad diet filled with fast food and then taking vitamins isn't the way to stay healthy.

Annals of Internal medicine editorial:
Enough is enough: Stop wasting money on vitamins and mineral supplements

Related story: Do vitamins block disease? Some disappointing news

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