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Are Vitamins a Waste of Money? 4 Things to Know Before Deciding

Updated: Jan 16

Last week, the Annals of Internal Medicine declared, Enough Is Enough: Stop Wasting Money on Vitamin and Mineral Supplements. All over the media, we heard that the experts are saying not to take vitamins.

All I ask is to keep things in perspective. The real issue is that these "experts" who come up with such findings generally have a very strong anti-vitamin bias coming in.

Before you decide to flush your vitamins down the toilet, be aware of the following:

  1. The studies to which they refer as proving vitamins don’t work were mostly performed using multivitamins as Centrum Silver. These are notoriously synthetic and do not represent good supplementation derived from natural sources.

  2. The authors of these studies are from the same breed of docs that shoot down as “unproven” any diagnostic or therapeutic intervention that deviates from the mainstream. That is, these are the docs about whom we complain as not being compassionate to the needs of the patient or public for that matter.

  3. Pharmaceutical company advertisements are some of the primary sources of financial backing behind the Annals of Internal Medicine (the journal where the latest studies are published). I have no real issue with this. Only, that the editors of this journal (and other medical journals) commonly publish studies and editorialize how destructive the influence of these companies are on the doctor-patient relationship. The hypocrisy is clear, which makes me somewhat cynical of studies that ultimately lead us right back to pharmaceuticals as the only way to stay well and/or treat disease.

  4. There is absolutely no way that most diets, in the U.S. or around the world, provide the necessary nutritional tools to combat the daily assault on our body from stress; whether that stress is environmental or emotional.

To proclaim that all supplements are a waste of money, further widens the chasm between doctor and patient. Patients seek out vitamins and supplements, because they are dissatisfied with the options conventional medicine has to offer, many of which have not changed since I graduated medical school in 1985.

Unfortunately, I cannot direct you to ask your doctor what is right for you, as he/she likely is on board with the authors of these studies. You must do much of your own homework. Choose organic, whole foods as much as possible and supplements derived from such. Turn to good information sources as Consumer Lab.

There are extremes on both sides of the aisle of the vitamin and supplement debate and unfortunately the public is caught in the middle. I have gotten to know many of these medical experts over the years, my colleagues after all, and I would be careful listening, uncritically, to what they have to say, mainly because of a little three little word…ego.

Dr. Charles, CoachMD

…live your everyday extraordinary!

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