Some of them are recognizable: calcium, flax oil, glucosamine, omega-3, selenium, turmeric, vitamin C, that sort of thing.
Others are bewildering: pycnogenol, rhodiola, indole-3-carbinol, quercetin, sytrinol, and the like. You need a background in both botany and biochemistry to make sense of it.
That site reports over 900 supplements!
Most of us don’t have the time or the wherewithal to understand a lot of what these things are and what they might do. Fortunately we have the internet, and you can read dozens of articles about what to eat and what supplements to take! And we have dozens of sites offering free medical advice! It’s a consumer’s dream!
Recently Johns Hopkins researchers did a big study which included studies of other studies and came to a simple conclusion: skip the supplements.
“The panacea or magic bullet that people keep searching for in dietary supplements isn’t there,” says senior author of the study Erin D. Michos, M.D., M.H.S., associate director of preventive cardiology at the Ciccarone Center for the Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease and associate professor of medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. “People should focus on getting their nutrients from a heart-healthy diet, because the data increasingly show that the majority of healthy adults don’t need to take supplements.”
Hmm. I don’t think the supplements industry—valued at about $30 billion—is going to like that.
“Our analysis carries a simple message that although there may be some evidence that a few interventions have an impact on death and cardiovascular health, the vast majority of multivitamins, minerals and different types of diets had no measurable effect on survival or cardiovascular disease risk reduction,” says lead author Safi U. Khan, M.D., an assistant professor of Medicine at West Virginia University.
When life gets confusing, think about all the things Mom told you to do. Or not to do. Like don’t drink or smoke. Watch the sweets and the fried foods. Be nice. Play fair. Wash your hands. And finally, it seems, the one thing we never wanted to hear when we were kids but turns out to be the one right thing:
“Eat your vegetables.”