Are Supplements Worth It? Revealing Study May Cause Advocates to Think Twice

Dietary supplements occupy a considerable part of many people’s annual expenses worldwide. These supplements often range from vitamins and minerals to some herbal products. In fact, Americans are estimated to spend as much as $30 billion yearly on them alone. If recent studies regarding the health benefits of supplements as opposed to ones gotten from other activities and means would be considered, it might not be farfetched to say that this vast sum could be going to waste.

vitamin-supplements-vs-foodOne statement in 2013 by the US Preventive Services Task Force has to be highlighted beforehand to underline just why this is so. The group, based on the solid evidence that supplements provide little benefit to people who are not really nutrient-deficient, chose to refrain from recommending supplements to such individuals. They have come to the conclusion that multivitamins play a very minimal role in preventing cancer and other chronic diseases (e.g. cardiovascular).

Even with this statement, though, studies show that many people still choose to take dietary supplements daily. Interestingly, the primary reasons – according to a survey by the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey – for their intake are actually to either improve their current health or to simply maintain it.

Another noteworthy discovery made by the research was that people who choose to take supplements are actually healthy, compared to other members of the population. Supplement takers are actually those who are more likely to adopt a healthier lifestyle. They keep physically active, smoke and drink less, have a higher socioeconomic status, and are more likely and open in acquiring health insurance.

Nonetheless, the challenge still lies in pinpointing just what the exact factors are that were responsible in helping these individuals achieve optimal health. With the decision made by the US Preventive Services Task Force in 2013, though, it’s becoming more likely that the latter should be getting more of the credit.

If we are also to consider the statement that “though supplements are beneficial in making up for nutrient deficiencies, they provide few notable benefits to most adults,” made by Dr. Pieter Cohen from the Cambridge Health Alliance and Somerville Hospital Primary Care, these facts could ultimately disprove the major claims of most supplement manufacturers.

That being said, it is equally important to underscore the fact that nutrition specialists have long pointed out that there is no nutritional pill in existence that could cover all the nutrient requirements of the human body.

For example, fiber is one of the many vital nutrients that you can scarcely get from supplements alone, but it is actually abundant in most servings of fruits and vegetables. This applies to other commonly supplemented vitamins and minerals like calcium and vitamin C as well.