Why Experts Say Vitamins And Supplements May Not Be Worth The Price

The vitamin and supplement industry is booming. Americans spent more than $50 billion on vitamins and supplements in 2020, and that number is expected to grow in the coming years, according to a report published by Grand View Research. We take supplements and vitamins for a variety of reasons, including to maintain our overall health, boost energy, fight aging, and manage our weight. It is likely that most people believe supplements will make up for anything that might be lacking in their diet.

But are vitamins and supplements worth all the hype? The answer may not be what some might expect. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not have the authority to approve vitamins and supplements. As a result, many contain unapproved ingredients, according to Forbes. In addition, a new report published in the JAMA network suggests that vitamins and supplements may not be worth taking for certain preventative measures.

Vitamins and supplements offer little benefits

The report, based on findings from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, gathered data from 84 studies examining the use of vitamins and supplements. The researchers concluded that they offered little to no benefit for preventing cancer, heart disease, and death in non-pregnant and healthy adults. The authors of the report did point out that multivitamin use appeared to offer a small benefit for the occurrence of cancer. However, supplementation of beta-carotene was linked with an increased risk of lung cancer in those who were already at risk for the disease.

Dr. Jeffrey Linder, chief of general internal medicine in the department of medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, pointed out that the report isn't encouraging people to stop taking multivitamins (via Northwestern University). "The task force is not saying 'don't take multivitamins,' but there's this idea that if these were really good for you, we'd know by now," Dr. Linder said. He also stated that instead of looking for a "magic" combination of pills to take, people should be eating a healthy diet and exercising instead.