Vitamins and Supplements: Do They Deliver as Promised?

While a daily vitamin can be beneficial, in many cases that money could be much better spent elsewhere. In fact, some of these products do more harm than good.


As we toast to good health in 2017, you may think about taking a daily vitamin as part of your wellness routine. That’s not surprising, as Americans spend more than $30 billion a year on vitamins, dietary supplements and herbal products—many hoping for better health, to undo the damage of a poor diet, or reap the benefits hyped in many advertisements.

The Federal Trade Commission says, “People spend billions of dollars a year on health-related products and treatments that not only are unproven and often useless, but also sometimes are dangerous. The products promise quick cures and easy solutions for a variety of problems, from obesity and arthritis to cancer and AIDS. But the ‘cures’ don't deliver, and people who buy them are cheated out of their money, their time and even their health.”

Following a well-balanced, nutritious diet remains the best way to get the vitamins and minerals you need for good health. One orange, for example, may provide all the vitamin C you need for the day. A small carrot has more than a day’s worth of vitamin A. Sweet potatoes are a nutritional powerhouse. They are packed with vitamin A and a good source vitamins B-5 and B-6, thiamin, niacin,  and riboflavin. Due to their orange color, they also are high in carotenoids, which act as antioxidants and help protect against chronic disease.

For more useful consumer tips related to supplements, check out the article 5 Tips: What Consumers Need to Know About Dietary Supplements from the National Institutes of Health.

While most people get the vitamins and nutrients they need from their diet, there are some who need supplemental doses of nutrients. Strict vegans, for example, should take a daily B-12 supplement. Others who likely need supplements include women who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant; individuals who spend very little time in the sun; and those with osteoarthritis, age-induced macular degeneration or who are suffering from other chronic diseases. If you fall into one of these categories or think you require supplements for any reason, we encourage you to discuss the matter with your physician to determine what’s best for you.

Make an appointment today to talk to your doctor about vitamins and health supplements.