A tough few days for the supplement industry last week. You may have read the news reports. One newly published study found that, in a large observational sampling of women over 60, those who took a multivitamin had a higher death rate than those who didn’t. And another new piece of research, this time involving a ten-year clinical trial, concluded that men over 55 taking vitamin E are more likely to develop prostate cancer.
To be fair, the first study has methodological shortcomings – there was no adjustment for initial health levels or use of a placebo – and the second one has a limited scope. But both are important reminders of a little secret underlying the global supplement industry: there is almost no science validating the many hypotheses that taking supplements is a good idea. Add to this a bit of new evidence suggesting the practice may not be as benign as many people previously thought, including food and drug regulators, and it really was a bad week all around for the industry.
HumanaNatura remains open to scientific research showing clear net benefits from specific supplement regimes. But perhaps like you, we have been waiting for this evidence for a while and there have been many studies seeking to find reliable and scientifically-valid supplementation strategies during this time.
Today, based on available science, we recommend two and only two nutritional supplements for adults (and none for children) using our natural health system, and both only on the advice of your physician: 1) a daily vitamin D supplement if you have inadequate sun exposure and low circulating levels of this critical vitamin-hormone, and 2) a daily low-dose aspirin, given its low-cost, limited risk of side-effects, and strong correlation with reduced cardiovascular disease and lowered large-organ cancers (both findings via randomized clinical trials).
Given the new studies and pervasiveness of supplement use (by roughly half of North American adults), many medical experts have been in the news on the topic of supplementation these last few days. By an informal reading, it appears most are saying to save your money, unless you have a known vitamin deficiency, and to focus instead on healthy eating, exercise, and lifestyle. As we have suggested, there is a lot of science upon which to base this advice.
Before you take or buy another supplement, learn more about the new studies via three news articles on the topic – Dietary Supplements Risky, Should You Take Vitamins, and Is It Time To Stop – and review HumanaNatura’s Supplement Guidelines (Item #7) in our comprehensive, science-based Personal Health Program.
Photo Courtesy of Wyeth Centrum
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