When it comes to the efficacy of over-the-counter vitamins and supplements, they are certainly not all equal. “A study published today in The New England Journal of Medicine found that adverse effects of supplements accounted for an average of about 23,000 emergency room (ED) visits per year. That’s a lot for something that should be good for you.” says Susan Farrell, MD. “Although the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is charged with overseeing dietary supplements, no safety testing or FDA approval is required before a new supplement comes on the market. In addition, there are no requirements for dietary supplement packaging to list possible adverse effects nor are there any standards for maximum pill size (an obvious risk for the elderly).” Here are five vitamins that doctors say are pointless, if not dangerous. Read on – and to ensure your health and that of others, don’t miss this one Sure Signs You’ve Already Had COVID.
Suppose it isn’t – research shows that multivitamins are far less effective than a healthy diet, and essentially pointless. “We were surprised to find so few positive effects from the most common supplements people consume,” says dr. David Jenkinslead author of a study researching the efficacy of popular vitamins and supplements. “Our research found that if you want to take multivitamins, vitamin D, calcium or vitamin C, there is no harm, but there is no clear benefit either. In the absence of significant positive data – apart from the possible reduction of risk by folic acid from strokes and heart disease – it is most beneficial to rely on a healthy diet to get enough vitamins and minerals.To date, no research on supplements has shown us anything better than healthy servings of less processed plant foods, including vegetables , fruits, and nuts.”
Want to buy some luxury detox supplements? Do not bother. Your liver and kidneys are more than capable of filtering anything toxic from your blood, and if you really want to help your liver, you need to eat a healthy diet and drink less alcohol. “The whole appeal of this detox market, these teas, these juices, these cleanses is this desire for magical thinking,” says toxicologist Ryan Marino, MD. “People want something that solves a problem, and if you can buy it online, take a pill every day, there’s definitely some element of wanting to believe that all of that will be a magical cure. detox naturally, and I hate to even say that because I don’t think anyone should really detox, it’s just your liver and your kidneys, and if they don’t work, get medical help anyway.”
Taking too much vitamin D is not only pointless (the benefits stop at some point) but can even be dangerous. “Healthy people have taken these pills, but they should not continue to take vitamin D supplements unchecked,” says Muhammad Amer, MD, MHS, assistant professor in the Department of General Internal Medicine at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. “At some point, more vitamin D no longer confers a survival benefit, so taking these expensive supplements is money wasted at best.”
“Taking 60,000 International Units (IU) per day for several months has been shown to cause vitamin D toxicity,” says Katherine Zeratsky, RD, LD “This level is many times higher than the U.S. Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for most adults of 600 IU of vitamin D per day.”
Studies have shown that, contrary to popular belief, omega-3 supplements do not prevent disease and are essentially a waste of your hard-earned money. “I have a lot of patients who say, ‘I take my supplement and then I don’t worry about eating healthy during the day,'” says dr. Pieter Cohen, Cambridge Health Alliance, associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. “That’s really misguided. Because in this case we have absolutely no evidence that it is better to replace a healthy meal of fish with an omega-3 supplement.”
Vitamin C is another supplement better to get from real food than from a pill. “Too much vitamin C can turn the famous antioxidant into a pro-oxidant (which damages body cells), not to mention the diarrhea,” says Bethany Thayer, MS, RDN.
Ferozan Mast is a science, health and wellness writer with a passion for making science and research-backed information accessible to a general audience. read more