Supplementing Your Health

NBC 7 Responds looks at the benefits of daily supplements.

Just how effective are those daily supplements in maintaining your health?

Some health professionals say not very and, in fact, according to a recent study by the American Osteopathic Association more than three-quarters of all people that take vitamins and supplements do not need them.

“Numerous investigations show the alleged benefits are unproven and in the worst cases, vitamins and supplements can be harmful,” Dr. Mike Varshavski told the American Osteopathic Association for the study.

“In particular, I advise patients that this industry is highly unregulated, so it’s important to research manufacturers to ensure their products actually contain the nutritional supplements advertised.”

Varshavski and others say that more often than not big business - the vitamin and supplement industry generates billions per year in revenues - is driving the use of supplements and vitamins.

Doctors in San Diego County agree.

“There are about 90 different supplements on the market here in the U.S.,” says Dr. Jorge Mota from Sharp Rees-Stealy. “Most of the time we don’t even know what’s in them. So, most of the time we’re just wasting our money and taking things that we don’t need.”

Mota says there is little evidence on the benefits of supplements and that most are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration.

“Take them if you need them,” added Mota. “But you should also talk to your doctor and get tested to see if you have any deficiencies first.”

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