The Supplement Craze

Every year, Americans spend billions of dollars on nutritional supplements, including vitamins, minerals and herbal agents. The great majority of those taking these products receive no proven benefit and many experience side effects, either directly from the supplement or secondary to its interaction with prescription medications.

While a multivitamin is generally beneficial to the very young and elderly and while nutritional supplementation is vital in certain medical conditions (GI pathologies causing malabsorption, osteoporosis and others), a well balanced diet will supply all of the metabolic needs for the vast majority of individuals. Combined with regular aerobic exercise, a diet rich in fresh vegetables, fruits, dairy products and natural protein is the ideal way to remain healthy; expensive and potentially harmful supplements offer no additional benefit.

Nevertheless, television, print media and the internet are loaded with commercials for these agents, touting special benefits (prostate health, mental alertness, increased energy, etc.) for those gullible enough to buy them. Carefully worded advertisements (often with small print warnings or disclaimers) entice customers with the promise of protection in a bottle. Just another symptom of the American approach to good health: an effortless ingestion of pills.