A lot of us are taking vitamin and mineral supplements every day thinking that they would help to keep us healthy and vigorous. Supplement industry is a huge and fast-growing market in U.S.A. and Europe. It has reached annual sales of US$28 billion in U.S.A in 2010. Supplements may be a very popular source of nutrients, but according to an article published on December 16 in Annals of Internal Medicine, they are nothing but a huge waste of money.
Most supplements do not prevent chronic disease or death, their use is not justified, and they should be avoided. In some cases, multivitamin supplements could even cause harm.
There were 3 parts to the study:
(1) Clinical trials carried out on 450,000 people found that it has never been scientifically established whether long-term vitamin use prevents heart disease and cancer.
(2) A 12-year study of 6,000 male physicians age 65 and older showed that those who took a multivitamin were no more likely to retain cognitive function than those who took a placebo. In fact, some supplements even cause harm, such as beta-carotene that increases the risk of lung cancer in smokers, and high doses of vitamins A and E that may increase risk of death and cause harm.
(3) A 5-year study done on 1,700 people who had record of heart attack before, with part took high doses of minerals and vitamins and part didn't. No difference found on the rate of heart attack on these 2 groups.
The study recommends that establishing healthy dietary habits is more important than ever. Supplements are not a replacement for the vitamins and minerals that come from eating a well-rounded, nutrient-rich diet on a regular basis.