The 40-Billion-Dollar Con

I could easily write a long blogpost citing countless credible sources which themselves cite hard scientific studies to prove that vitamin supplements are not only a waste of money, but actually harmful and potentially deadly. I would summarize and cite numerous articles from The New York Times, The Atlantic, CNN, the BBC, The Guardian, Time Magazine and even Forbes, all of which would convince you to stop popping vitamin supplements immediately. But we all know you wouldn’t read a long article, so let me be brief.

Over half of Americans (and 68 percent of those over 65) spend about 40-billion dollars a year on colorful capsules that have no scientific benefits whatsoever. None. And yet we continue to believe that popping these magical pills makes us healthier. Vitamin supplements are a massive scam.

Supplements are not just a waste of money, they are dangerous. Way back in 1994 a study published in The New England Journal of Medicine found that beta carotene increased lung cancer and heart disease. In 2004 randomized trails found that the vitamin supplements A, C, E and beta carotene increased mortality – vitamin E has been found to be particularly dangerous by numerous studies tying it to heart failure and prostate cancer.

“We believe that the case is closed,” concluded the authors of a 2016 research paper published in the Annals of Internal Medicine. “Supplementing the diet of well-nourished adults with mineral or vitamin supplements has no clear benefit and might even be harmful. Enough is enough.”

Scientist say the supplement industry lies on three faulty assumptions. The first is the idea that Americans need more vitamins and minerals. In fact, we get plenty from real food. The second is that the benefits of…say broccoli, can be boiled down into a magic bullet. Not true. The last faulty assumption is that megadoses are safe and what our bodies don’t use is simply excreted in our supersonic neon-yellow urine. There is evidence to the contrary on this one as well.

Instead of wasting your money on the 90,000 (actual figure!) dietary supplements on the market, eat real food, mostly vegetables. Your body will be sufficiently nourished with all the vitamins and minerals it needs.

Dr. H.