Vitamins and supplements not supported for most Americans

Categories: Summer/Fall 2022

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Kristin Samuelson of Northwestern University, wrote an article entitled “Vitamins, supplements
are a ‘waste of money’ for most Americans.” There is a lot of money spent by Americans on
multivitamins and dietary supplements-close to $50 billion in 2021. This article written for the
Northwestern community quotes Dr. Jeffrey Linder, the Chief of General Internal Medicine in
the Department of Medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. He and
his colleagues wrote an editorial published in JAMA supporting the findings of the United States
Preventative Task Force (USPSTF) that there is no net benefit in reducing mortality,
cardiovascular disease or cancer by taking vitamins and supplements. The USPSTF concluded
there is “insufficient evidence” that taking multivitamins, paired supplement, or single
supplements can help prevent cardiovascular disease and cancer in otherwise
healthy, non-pregnant adults.

The task force specifically recommended against taking beta-carotene supplements because of a possible increased risk of lung cancer and against taking vitamin E supplements. While eating fruits and vegetables is associated with decreased cardiovascular disease and cancer, that does not equate to taking a supplement that is attractively branded. The foods contain a mixture of vitamins and other nutrients that act synergistically. Dr. Linder noted that individuals who have a vitamin deficiency can still benefit
from taking vitamin D and calcium to prevent fractures from falls in older adults.

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