Vitamin supplements a waste of money? Study sparks industry debate

US citizens spent nearly US$50 billion on vitamin and dietary supplements in 2021 – “all for nothing,” according to researchers from Northwest Medicine. A study published in JAMA suggests that the evidence for supplements to have a preventive effect on cardiovascular diseases is “insufficient.”

“Patients always ask, ‘What supplements should I be taking?’ They’re wasting money and focus thinking there has to be a magic set of pills that will keep them healthy when we should all be following the evidence-based practices of eating healthy and exercising,” says Dr. Jeffrey Linder, chief of general internal medicine in the department of medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.

Nonetheless, the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN) hit back saying numerous studies provide evidence for the benefits of taking multivitamins, as they fill significant nutrition gaps among the US population.

“Under-consumption of calcium, potassium, dietary fiber, and vitamin D is of public health concern for the general US population because low intakes are associated with numerous health concerns,” says Andrea Wong, senior VP in scientific and regulatory affairs, CRN.

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