Thursday, December 19, 2013

Vitamins Are Not Killing You

Okay, this - this is ridiculous fear-mongering by the media.

The link goes to an article on The Consumerist that claims "Doctors Plead: Quit Wasting Your Money on Vitamin Supplements Already."

I've seen a lot of misinformation about the study that was recently released, and it irks me to no end how the news media and the general public do not COMPREHEND what they are reading.

The report collected the information from three studies, following white male doctors over the age of 50 (ie, not a sample remotely representative of the general population) and tracked the efficacy of supplements in three very specific scenarios: cardiac health, cognitive health, and cancer prevention.

The study did NOT have anything to do with multivitamins taken for nutritional support. It did NOT have anything to do with supplements recommended for pregnant women. It did NOT have anything to do with most of the reasons actual people take multivitamins, for which there actually is a lot of well-documented research. While most people today are not suffering from massive nutritional deficits (even junk food is fortified, after all) multivitamins used for general nutritional support and some other situations (Vitamin D to treat seasonal affective disorder, for example) are useful, and they are not necessarily a waste of money. (And even if they were, I would bet a year's supply costs less than $20, and we spend far more than that on things that are definitively proven to cause disease.)

Rant over. I just - most of that information regarding the limits of the study is in the AP wire story itself, and yet all people can spout is a headline "Doctors Say Multivitamins Are Useless!" UGH.

2 comments:

  1. It is definitely frustrating when news sites just oversimplify/misinterpret research data. I just got my Vitamin D levels tested and it's SUPER low, so my doctor is having me take big doses now (and then supplements in the future). I saw this article recently also defending the use of vitamins: http://www.boston.com/lifestyle/health/blog/nutrition/2013/12/do_not_toss_the_vitamin_supple.html

    Rant agreed with and understood!

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  2. This is typical media. I'm taking prenatal vitamins still because I'm breastfeeding. There is proven evidence that pregnant women need the folic acid and most don't get it in their diet. Folic acid has been proven to prevent birth defects. Prenatal vitamins are also shown to help with brain development in breastfed newborns. Those are very important things that I haven't seen at all with the media coverage on this vitamin study.

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