Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Stop popping those vitamins

As someone who has gone a bit overboard on taking supplements, I hesitate to post this. The evidence against daily vitamins and supplements, while not new to me, seems to be becoming overwhelming.

Consider this article by Becca Stanek in The Week. She quotes on study:
A much buzzed-about study published in Annals of Internal Medicine in 2013, for instance, came to this clear-cut conclusion after reviewing three trials of multivitamin supplements and 24 trials of "single or paired vitamins that randomly assigned more than 40,000 participants":
Evidence is sufficient to advise against routine supplementation, and we should translate null and negative findings into action. The message is simple: Most supplements do not prevent chronic disease or death, their use is not justified, and they should be avoided. This message is especially true for the general population with no clear evidence of micronutrient deficiencies, who represent most supplement users in the United States and in other countries. 
My reasoning has always been that I don't follow a good diet. Those recommendations to eat 10 servings of fruit and vegetables a day are just fantasy. That's for some mythical person who sits down at a table three times a day for a full meal.

However:
Americans' abysmally bad diets also give vitamin companies some marketing ammunition. When the average American is eating just one or two servings of fruits and veggies a day (experts recommend as many as 10 servings of fruits and veggies a day for maximum benefits), a little boost of vitamins might seem like a good idea. But popping a pill isn't going to make up for all those lost servings. "Food contains thousands of phyto-chemicals, fiber, and more that work together to promote good health that cannot be duplicated with a pill," said nutritionist Karen Ansel.
Fine. I have started buying containers of vegetable salad and fruit at my supermarket, which I eat for lunch. So I'm getting some of the good stuff. I'm never going to be like my wife, who will spend 45 minutes preparing a healthy lunch. After all, I have to get back out there and slay some dragons. Or at least watch another Law & Order rerun as I slip into rest.

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