Dietary Supplements are a Waste of Money
March 12, 2013
Approximately 160 million Americans are taking dietary supplements in the United States but are they really making us healthier. A set of surveys done from 2003-2006 show that supplement use was up by 14% from 1988-1994, with Multivitamins being the most popular among them. A survey of 900 doctors showed that 51% took supplements themselves, while 79% recommended supplements to their patients. In 2009 Americans spent a total of $26.9 billion on dietary supplements, with $1.9 billion being on vitamins alone. With increased media and advertisement exposure there is growing popularity among supplements. In 1994 Congress passed the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act, giving supplements their own regulations and giving the companies more freedom to advertise their products. Research on supplements is very difficult and anytime there are positive results, the media focus on this promoting the product to the consumer.
Health News Review is an organization that watches the media and in 2008 they found that up to 77% of the news stories about supplements were inadequate. In 2001 it was found that 45% of prominent medical journals had exaggerated findings on supplement use. With the media being so easy to manipulate, it is good to have organizations like this to help protect the consumers. The only problem is, the media has a way stronger influence on the people and the little guys hardly have a voice. It is up to you as the consumer to be a “conscious” consumer.
Studies done on people with a diet high in fruits and vegetables have shown they have a lower risk for heart disease and cancer but when controlled trials have been done with supplements, the benefits disappear. The conclusion is, the best way to get all the needed vitamins and minerals is in a balanced diet with lots of fruits and vegetables. Don’t bother with supplements except in the special cases of the few people that cannot get the proper nutrients with diet.