by Marion Nestle
Jan 28 2013

Some views on vitamin supplements, mostly from their makers reports frequently on current research and opinion on dietary supplements.  Lots of people take these products and swear by them, but proving that they do much good is another matter.  It has been hard to find evidence that they make healthy people—those who take them most often—any healthier.

Here are some recent NutraIngredient reports on this topic, largely reflecting views of the supplement industry.

  • Jeff

    Here’s another multivitamin article from

    Multivitamin Supplements Boost Brain Function, say U.K. Researchers:

  • Here’s a scientists view of the case for vitamin supps.

    Bruce Ames devised the standard carcinogen/mutagen test used in food safety.
    His general view seems to be that carcinogens in food are unavoidable, micronutrient deficiencies that contribute to cancer are not.

  • Dear Dr. Nestle:
    During my 10 year experience as a Clinical Dietitian and because I learn agro-ecology in Cuba, I can honestly say that I dread those products, being a 10 year consumer myself.
    I had witness many elderly households with too many of those products and nobody to explain to them about drug and food interactions and even among many of the supplements…
    Most people avoid telling the truth to the MD or RD, a very dear friend marry to a chemist who swear by them and order them by the boxes is now death and even diagnosed with diabetes, although her death was due to a cancer tumor. He is also no longer alive although he died in a car accident. This was enough to convince my own mother to avoid supplements She is now 84 and in decent health.
    My father still has an eatable garden at 87 pity is in NJ, but I enjoy some of our fresh produce when visiting

    I only had one (brave..) professor during my undergraduate years who dared to say: “they only make expensive urine!” wonder her whereabouts now…..
    I feel better than ever at 56! But of course my diet is wholesome because I eat overseas from sustainable agriculture just like Meryl Streep in the US

    Most studies on supplements seem to be done by companies so they had the potential to be bias…
    Of course some brands might be good and wholesome but the way the market is driven, possibly more expensive than just eating right!

  • After years of using multivitamins on and off, I have come to the conclusion (from personal experience) that:

    1. They give me too much of nutrients I already get through my regular eating, such as folate (of which I read might be linked to colon cancer).
    2. They have induced PVC (heart flutter) and added to iodine toxicity (recovering from benign nodules now).
    3. After spending just $30 on software to help me track my nutrition from food (the cost of a bottle of so-called multi-vitamin “insurance”), with a little sacrifice of time I can meet all of my RDA for macro and micronutrients (with the exception of an occasional .25 tablet of chelated zinc on days I don’t make the minimum with my vegetarian diet.

    Please get the facts on what your body needs and track it. There are free and paid programs. You might find that you only need a little of a particular nutrient. Be careful following trends to pop certain pills. This could save your life.

  • I used to take vitamins and supplements such as calcium and iron after my doctor recommended, I started immediatelly to fell the differences my nails and hair were stronger and looked healthier.