Multivitamins Are a Waste of Money


Case Is Closed: Multivitamins Are a Waste of Money, Doctors Say:


Case Is Closed: Multivitamins Are a Waste of Money, Doctors Say

Case Is Closed: Multivitamins Are a Waste of Money, Doctors Say


People should stop wasting their money on dietary supplements, some physicians said today, in response to three large new studies that showed most multivitamin supplements are ineffective at reducing the risk of disease, and may even cause harm.

The new studies, published today (Dec. 16) in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine —including two new clinical trials and one large review of 27 past clinical trials conducted by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force — found no evidence that taking daily multivitamin and mineral supplements prevents or slows down the progress of cognitive decline or chronic diseases such as heart diseases or cancer.

“The message is simple: Most supplements do not prevent chronic disease or death, their use is not justified and they should be avoided,” the physicians wrote in an editorial published along with the studies.


This message is especially aimed at people who have no signs of nutritional deficiency — meaning most supplement users in the United States, the researchers said.

“Study after study comes back negative — yet people continue to take supplements, now at record rates,” said Dr. Edgar Miller, one of the five authors of the editorial and a professor of medicine and epidemiology at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.

There may be a psychological component to taking supplements, Miller said. Despite evidence showing supplements hold no benefit for the general population, some people may rationalize they need supplements because their diets lack necessary nutrients.

The new findings are in line with those of previously published studies that have found no benefits from dietary supplements, including B vitamins and antioxidants, and even suggested possible harms. Results of clinical trials involving tens of thousands of people have shown that beta-carotene, vitamin E and possibly high doses of vitamin A supplements actually increase death rates, the researchers said.

“We believe that the case is closed — supplementing the diet of well-nourished adults with most mineral or vitamin supplements has no clear benefit and might even be harmful,” the researchers wrote in their editorial.

The use of multivitamin and mineral supplements among Americans has increased to about 50 percent in the mid-2000s, up from 40 percent in the early 1990s, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

For some supplements, such as beta-carotene and vitamin E, studies have found declines in use, following reports of their negative effects on lung cancer and mortality.

In contrast, sales of multivitamins and other supplements have not been affected by major studies that didn’t find benefits, the researchers said. The U.S. supplement industry continues to grow, and reached $28 billion in annual sales in 2010. Similar trends have been reported in the United Kingdom and in other European countries.

The dietary-supplement industry maintains that for many Americans, diet alone may not provide the necessary vitamins they need daily, Miller said.

“The industry tries to create the impression that we are deficient, but randomized trials show that we are not all deficient and we don’t benefit from supplements,” Miller said, adding that clinical trials include people with varied diets from the general population.

The new review study looked at clinical trials that included a total of 450,000 older adults. All together, the researchers didn’t find clear evidence of a beneficial effect of supplements on cancer and heart diseases.

In another study, researchers looked at the effects of taking a daily combination of nutrients —including vitamins A, C, E, beta-carotene and B vitamins — in 6,000 men ages 65 and older who were followed for 12 years. The cognitive performance and verbal memory of participants who took multivitamin supplements didn’t differ from those of participants who took placebo.

In the third study, the researchers examined whether high doses of multivitamins and minerals could prevent heart attacks, strokes and death in 1,700 people who have already had a heart attack. After an average follow-up of five years, the results didn’t show a difference between participants who took dietary supplements and those who didn’t.

Wasteful Austria

Pre-Peeled, Re-Wrapped Bananas Are the Most Wasteful Sign of the Apocalypse Yet:


Pre-Peeled, Re-Wrapped Bananas Sign of the Apocalypse

Pre-Peeled, Re-Wrapped Bananas Sign of the Apocalypse

In what has to be the worst case of wasteful packaging in the history of modern conveniece, a grocery store in Austria is actually selling pre-peeled bananasthat have then been re-packaged in cellophane-covered foam trays. One of the reasons bananas have been billed as the world’s most perfect food is that they come with their own biodegradable packaging straight off the tree. And it’s not like you need a knife or some wacky kitchen contraption to peel them—the skin practically falls off on its own. Not surprisingly most customers are up in arms over the ridiculous repackaging stunt, except for the chain’s animated clientele who are optimistic the banished peels will dramatically reduce the risk of countless cartoon slipups. What’s even more maddening is that the supermarket chain’s slogan urges customers to use more common sense when shopping. “Paper, plastic, or ironic, sir?”


Deformity-inducing chemical waste dump

Ten Percent of China is a Steaming Toxic Metal Land Dump:




If you live in China, the ground beneath your feet is probably polluted with heavy metal. We don’t mean the stuff that’s leaking out of Beijing’s awful rock bars.  On Monday, Wan Bentai, the chief engineer for China’s Ministry of Environmental Protection, stated that about 100,000 of China’s 1.22 million square kilometers, or about ten percent, of farmland is now officially polluted by lead, mercury, cancer-causing cadmium and other harmful heavy metals in levels that go above and beyond global standards.  China’s rapid industrialization has grown over the past three decades, and today it is the world’s largest consumer of refined lead, with battery production making up a majority of that consumption. The consequences of this mega-expanding manufacturing system have been enormous. As Zhang Jianxin, a researcher with the Hunan Planning Institute of Land and Resources explains, “From a historical perspective, we see a growing number of land pollution cases associated with heavy metals in China over the past three decades.”  Among these metals which pollute land in the form of run-off are lead, mercury, and cadmium. Human exposure to this industrial cocktail can lead to stunted growth as well as damage to the nerves, kidneys, and reproductive systems. These symptoms have been seen at increasing rates in entire villages around China for the past few years.  Metal pollution is by no means new on the environmental front, but with the news that ten percent of land in China is now affected, what remains startling is China’s failure to adress the issue. In 2011 alone there have been eleven reported cases of metal poisonings on a village scale, nine of those cases involving lead in the blood.  According to a 75-page report issued by Human Rights Watch in June, Chinese officials have reacted to reports of lead poisoning in areas across the country by imposing arbitrary limits for blood testing, failing to shut down harmful illegal operations or enforce waste regulations and encouraging people to eat foods like apples, eggs, milk and garlic.  China’s government has since released a plan to cut heavy metal pollution in certain areas by 15 percent by 2015. Unfortunately, when a tenth of the country is filled with deformity-inducing chemical waste, a slight reduction in pollution in a few areas just doesn’t seem like much.