Dietary supplements are unnecessary?
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
With health benefits unconfirmed, Americans continue to support the multi-billion dollar dietary supplement industry.
WHAT WE KNOW
The dietary supplement industry is a multi-billion dollar business, and it’s easy to see why when about half of U.S. adults use supplements. Folic acid has been proven to decrease birth defects, but most other supplements lack scientific evidence and support. Most of the supplements use in the U.S. are by personal choice, not because of a physician’s order. By consuming a diet composed of a variety of foods, particularly fruits, vegetables and whole grains, you can meet nutritional requirements. Why then do people continue to spend upwards of twenty dollars per month on dietary supplements rather than nutritionally dense foods? A recent study looked closely at the reasons why people choose to purchase these supplements.¹
HOW DO WE KNOW THIS?
Data from almost 12,000 adults was examined in the 2007-2010 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey to better understand the reasoning behind why Americans continue to take dietary supplements. Researchers found that 45% of Americans taking a multivitamin did so because they believed it would improve their health. Another 33% believed it would maintain their health, and 23% reported taking supplements because of advice from their doctor. Calcium and fish oil were two supplements most likely to be recommended by a doctor. The calcium recommended for bone health and overall health, and the fish oil for heart health and to supplement the diet. Researchers noted that it’s hard to tell if vitamins and other supplements directly improve health because most of the people who take them lead a very healthy lifestyle.²
Dietary supplements can’t replace a diet rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Eating a balanced diet that includes adequate fruits and vegetables is the best way to keep you and your family on track toward a healthy lifestyle! Include a wide variety of fruits and vegetables in your diet. Remember, there is no magic pill to protect you and your family from the development of disease and several leading causes of death.
Fruits and vegetables are the safe and effective way to keep you and your family healthy and strong! Be sure to consume the recommended amount of fruits & veggies each day and encourage your family to engage in daily physical activity. Combining daily exercise with a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low in saturated fats is essential to leading a healthy lifestyle!
¹ “With Benefits Unproven, Why Do Millions of Americans Take Multivitamins?” MedlinePlus
. U.S National Library of Medicine. U.S. National Library of Medicine, 4 Feb. 2013. Web. 13 Feb. 2013. View Article
² Bailey, Regan L., Johanna T. Dwyer, Jamie J. Gahche, et al. “Why US Adults Use Dietary Supplements.” JAMA Internal Medicine (2013). JAMA Network, 4 Feb. 2013. Web. 13 Feb. 2013. View Article