Over the weekend, the New York Times carried a front-page story about liver damage caused by an herbal supplement advertised as a “fat burner.”
It pointed out that as a result of a 1994 act of Congress, such products are virtually unregulated. No federal agency pays much attention to their contents or claims, and Congress only lets the FDA take action against them after they are found to be harmful.
Fortunately, vitamin and mineral supplements rarely cause harm. But the question of whether they do any good continues to trouble researchers. As NutraIngredients_USA summarizes the latest rounds of research,
Stop wasting money on supplements, say physicians. Stop trying to position supplements as cures for disease, say industry groups. An editorial panel of medical doctors (MDs) says the case is now closed for multivitamins: they don’t help well-nourished adults. But leading trade associations have defended the safety and efficacy of the products, calling the editorial, ‘close-minded, ‘one-sided’ and ‘overblown.’
The article refers to studies published in a recent issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine. These showed that multivitamin supplements did nothing to prevent heart attacks or cancer, or improve cognitive function.
- Oral High-Dose Multivitamins and Minerals After Myocardial Infarction:A Randomized Trial
- Long-Term Multivitamin Supplementation and Cognitive Function in Men: A Randomized Trial
- Vitamin and Mineral Supplements in the Primary Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease and Cancer: An Updated Systematic Evidence Review for the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force
This led to an editorial entitled:
Its conclusion: Most multivitamin supplements do no good; some may do harm. If you are healthy, you don’t need them.
Not that this will stop anyone from taking them….