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Why Dietary Supplements are Ineffective

November 30, 2016
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The dietary supplement industry receives more than $30 billion a year from Americans who believe that they are improving their wellbeing by taking a vitamin, mineral, or herbal supplement. That breaks down into each person spending about $100 each year on something that may not even work. After the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act was passed in 1994, the industry was given the go-ahead to advertise their products without backing them up with evidence to the Food and Drug Administration. As long as these supplements are promoted only as “supporting” the health of certain body parts and there is no claim that they can effectively treat, cure or prevent an ailment the pill can go on the shelves. However, for most of us, the term “support” would logically imply a proven benefit, but more often than not, this isn’t the case. The overall use of supplements by American adults has remained relatively constant since 1999, what has changed is only the type of supplement that is being used. Which is shocking to some researchers, considering the millions of dollars from the supplement industry going towards advertising. It is also interesting to note that although supplements do help to treat some vitamin and mineral deficiencies, and age-related macular degeneration, for most adults taking these supplements there is actually little to no proven benefit. But as mentioned previously, despite major research findings suggesting that supplements are basically useless for your health, people still routinely take them. The reasons why people take supplements can vary from a “nutritional insurance” to add to their unhealthy diet to frank distrust of the evidence that disproves supplemental benefits. Mostly, taking these questionably-effective pills will have no negative effects, however it is still wise to be a bit cautious. Make sure that your doctor knows what you are taking in case it has the potential to interfere with your medication.
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