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Multivitamin Researchers Say 'Case Is Closed' As Studies Find No Health Benefits

Soulskill posted about 4 months ago | from the flintstones-have-betrayed-me dept.

Medicine 554

schwit1 sends this excerpt from CBS: "'Enough' with the multivitamins already. That's the message from doctors behind three new studies and an editorial that tackled an oft-debated question in medicine: Do daily multivitamins make you healthier? After reviewing the available evidence and conducting new trials, the authors have come to a conclusion of 'no.' 'We believe that the case is closed — supplementing the diet of well-nourished adults with (most) mineral or vitamin supplements has no clear benefit and might even be harmful,' concluded the authors of the editorial summarizing the new research papers, published Dec. 16 in the Annals of Internal Medicine. 'These vitamins should not be used for chronic disease prevention. Enough is enough.' They went on to urge consumers to not 'waste' their money on multivitamins."

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554 comments

supplementing the diet of well-nourished adults (5, Insightful)

jaymz666 (34050) | about 4 months ago | (#45719373)

yeah, and those that don't get a balanced diet?

Re:supplementing the diet of well-nourished adults (5, Interesting)

Capt.DrumkenBum (1173011) | about 4 months ago | (#45719459)

yeah, and those that don't get a balanced diet?

Like me. I live alone, and so I don't cook very often. Mostly I get home from work, heat something up quickly and that is dinner.
I started on a daily multivitamin about a year ago, and have since generally felt better. For the minimal expense I will stick with my daily multivitamin.
YMMV.

Re:supplementing the diet of well-nourished adults (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45719689)

Our foods, even junk foods, are highly fortified. They have been for almost a hundred years. At one time a large percentage of American adults had real nutrient deficiencies, leading to deformities, vision problems, and most visibly skin conditions. The government fixed all of that by adulterating our food, and they continue to do that (unless you buy "organic" dry food stuffs).

If you feel better because of a multivitamin, it's almost certainly because of a single vitamin deficiency. Probably vitamin D, which is common and which can cause depression. A blood workup probably would have shown.

Multivitamins are mostly packed with stuff you don't need and aren't deficient in, even if all you eat is junk food all day.

source? (4, Interesting)

globaljustin (574257) | about 4 months ago | (#45719795)

Our foods, even junk foods, are highly fortified.

at first read this seems counter to everything I've experienced..."highly fortified....for almost a hundred years"???

i know some products advertise that they have vitamins & some regulation took place, but those regulations were always fought by the industry as "government intervention that costs consumers"

also, i'm more skeptical of a Pepsi that says it has vitimin C that will help me than I am of a multivitamin

Re:source? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45719859)

Different AC here, but you seem to be confusing "vitamin-fortified" with "healthy".

Re:supplementing the diet of well-nourished adults (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45719875)

Our foods, even junk foods, are highly fortified. .

In the USA perhaps. Adding stuff to food is not always legal elsewhere.

Re:supplementing the diet of well-nourished adults (4, Informative)

cayenne8 (626475) | about 4 months ago | (#45719691)

Like me. I live alone, and so I don't cook very often. Mostly I get home from work, heat something up quickly and that is dinner.

Try this...

Try dedicating some Sundays, to cooking...do it for the week. I often cook 2-3 main dishes, maybe 2-3 sides...or one thing I like, is to grill a bunch of stuff, meats, veggies and just bag them. Then during the week, you can put them together in quick and interesting ways for lunches and dinners all week long.

Say you make up some hummus, and grill some veggies (eggplant, zucchini, onions, etc) and some chicken. A quick week night meal, is get some pita bread, spread on some hummus, and the veggies and chicken and there ya go. Next night, make a quick salad, throw in grilled, marinated veggies and whatever..etc. Doing stuff like that works well and make for easy throw together meals all week long (and lunches). I'd much rather do this than eat fast food, eat better, and with the money you save, treat yourself out every once in awhile to a finer dining experience, and get out and meet some girls. Do this...and then cook for them at your home, etc. All pluses!!

But I digress....cooking and eating this way cheaper and more nutritional, and hey..is kinda fun to spend a sunday with a couple of cocktails, throw on some tunes or some TV in the background and cook a bit.

One thing you might try too, is check the grocery store ads in your town, and see what's on sale and plan to cook around that. This way, you save money AND, most importantly, it keeps you from getting in a rut of cooking and eating the same thing day after day after day....

Re:supplementing the diet of well-nourished adults (2)

Capt.DrumkenBum (1173011) | about 4 months ago | (#45719767)

That is just not going to happen.
From time to time I get out my slow cooker, and make up a batch of stew, or split pea soup, but mostly I just couldn't be bothered.

Re:supplementing the diet of well-nourished adults (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 4 months ago | (#45719791)

Long term use of multivitamin are showing adverse effects.
All food that you buy prepared is fortified.

"I started on a daily multivitamin about a year ago, and have since generally felt better. "
That's great, but so what? Going at simply talking to a doctor will also make you feel better even though it's not actually doing anything.

Re:supplementing the diet of well-nourished adults (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45719815)

Welcome to Slashdot, where anecdotes and the placebo effect are accepted forms of scientific data. Please check your scientific literacy at the door.

Re:supplementing the diet of well-nourished adults (3, Insightful)

Barlo_Mung_42 (411228) | about 4 months ago | (#45719855)

The study isn't saying people didn't feel better. Just that it didn't help any more than a placebo. So you need to have a neighbor or someone administer them blindly and mix in fake pills and see if you notice a difference.

Also, if multivitamins helped, imagine how you would feel doing something with a ton of positive peer reviewed data backing it up, like eating a well balanced diet.

Re:supplementing the diet of well-nourished adults (5, Funny)

EmagGeek (574360) | about 4 months ago | (#45719463)

SHHHH! Case closed! Stop asking questions.

Re:supplementing the diet of well-nourished adults (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45719819)

Taking it gives you a balanced diet, so there is no point in anyone taking it.
Case closed.

Re:supplementing the diet of well-nourished adults (1)

gandhi_2 (1108023) | about 4 months ago | (#45719469)

Oh, yeah in those cases they are helpful. Or in cases where people's habits leave certain vitamins and minerals out. But never mind that. Just pay attention to my edgy new study and talk-show appearances.

Re:supplementing the diet of well-nourished adults (5, Informative)

Frobnicator (565869) | about 4 months ago | (#45719761)

Oh, yeah in those cases they are helpful. Or in cases where people's habits leave certain vitamins and minerals out. But never mind that. Just pay attention to my edgy new study and talk-show appearances.

As is frequently the case, the article is misleading and misinterpreting the scientists.

Also just like /. tends to do, the linked news article headline is sensationalized and exists just to get people to read the story.

The scientists talk about three specific things: (1) Preventing chronic disease, including heart disease and cancer, (2) preventing cognitive decline in seniors, and (3) high-dose pills to prevent subsequent events after a confirmed heart attack.

For those three specific things, multiple studies show they do not provide statistically significant benefits. They found that high doses of specific nutrients could slightly increase the risk of certain cancers in people pre-disposed to them, which is why they recommended against the multivitamins for those in good health.

Note that also in TFA they agree that there are some health benefits in specific cases. These include vitamin D in the elderly for bone strength, iron and folic acid for pregnant and nursing mothers (and in unrelated studies elsewhere, also in men wanting children), those with poor nutrition, and for other specific situations.

Note that the studies do not say multivitamins are worthless, nor does it address any other health areas except those three. That is just the headline sensationalism.

"chronic disease" (2)

globaljustin (574257) | about 4 months ago | (#45719857)

Note that the studies do not say multivitamins are worthless

exactly

in TFA summary "chronic disease" jumped out at me...that's a pretty high bar for ***anything known to medical science*** to hit, and no one ever really claimed that multivitamins would just flat prevent cancer.

it seems like TFA wants to beg the question...but we can't let the researchers off the hook either...they *chose* the language and 3 categories

(1) Preventing chronic disease, including heart disease and cancer, (2) preventing cognitive decline in seniors, and (3) high-dose pills to prevent subsequent events after a confirmed heart attack.

by which to analyze the factors. That is research design and it, obviously, affects every part of your result. IMHO they look like amateurs for not including those who take multivitamins expecting a small performance boost (like athletes or fitness junkies) or to make up for a poor diet.

after reading this over and seeing a few other comments i'm definitely stickign with my vitamins

Re:supplementing the diet of well-nourished adults (4, Funny)

girlintraining (1395911) | about 4 months ago | (#45719503)

yeah, and those that don't get a balanced diet?

Reduce funding to supplimental assistance, call them lazy, imply that obesity and poor health is a moral failing, and that prayer is an effective medical treatment.

Duh... what are you, some kind of non-american? :/

It's the Prosperity Gospel (1)

Xaedalus (1192463) | about 4 months ago | (#45719557)

And it's the number one tool social caste-preferring Americans growing up in a Judeo-Christian culture prefer for defining who's Right and who's Wrong.

Re:supplementing the diet of well-nourished adults (5, Interesting)

msobkow (48369) | about 4 months ago | (#45719519)

Exactly. A $12 bottle of multivitamins every two months is a heck of a lot cheaper than fresh produce. And when you're on a disability budget, there is no where near enough money for a "healthy" diet.

Hell, I ate better in university than I do nowadays.

Re:supplementing the diet of well-nourished adults (4, Insightful)

vidnet (580068) | about 4 months ago | (#45719563)

A $12 bottle of multivitamins every two months is a heck of a lot cheaper than fresh produce

You're saying that as if the two are in any way equivalent.

Re:supplementing the diet of well-nourished adults (4, Interesting)

kylemonger (686302) | about 4 months ago | (#45719807)

Well, no, they aren't equivalent but they can, for example, be the difference between general good health and having your teeth rocking in their sockets from scurvy if you can't afford the produce. Vitamin C is also important for connective tissue repair, which means that if you do hard manual labor, a supplement can produce a huge difference in your day-to-day quality of life for a whole lot less money than the produce.

Re:supplementing the diet of well-nourished adults (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45719577)

I really don't understand this attitude. Eating Healthy is generally CHEAPER, not more expensive. eating healthy doesn't mean spending a fortune on fresh produce. There are plenty of cheap healthy foods for a balanced diet. What is unhealthy AND expensive is eating takeaway or most of the prepackaged meals people nuke in the microwave.

Re:supplementing the diet of well-nourished adults (2)

jaymz666 (34050) | about 4 months ago | (#45719617)

Healthy foods are not cheaper. You can get a full meal from mcdonalds for under $4.
That can live in the fridge for weeks and never go bad. Spend the same $4 on fresh foods and they will go bad in days

Re:supplementing the diet of well-nourished adults (1)

I'm just joshin (633449) | about 4 months ago | (#45719715)

If you substitute a salad for the fries & milk for the drink, it's within shooting distance of healthy.

Re:supplementing the diet of well-nourished adults (1)

Nethemas the Great (909900) | about 4 months ago | (#45719895)

You also just added $2 to the price. With respect to the feed trough dwellers you're trying to address, after they get done drowning their salad in dressing to hide the taste of salad they've inevitably created something as healthy as fries but to them much less tasty that's more expensive to boot. Thus explains why they just opt for the fries and carbonated corn-syrup. Cattle shall always be cattle.

Re:supplementing the diet of well-nourished adults (3, Informative)

GodInHell (258915) | about 4 months ago | (#45719729)

Says the man who has never heard of beans and rice?

Re:supplementing the diet of well-nourished adults (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45719753)

Healthy foods are not cheaper. You can get a full meal from mcdonalds for under $4.
That can live in the fridge for weeks and never go bad. Spend the same $4 on fresh foods and they will go bad in days

Okay, look, people might actually take your comments as advice, which is horrifying. But if I post to food reference, you'll think that I'm some sort of organic nut. So here's a link to Paul Graham's webpage [paulgraham.com] (and if you don't know who he is, you should learn), with a suggestion on how to eat cheaply as a programmer...

The "ramen" in "ramen profitable" refers to instant ramen, which is just about the cheapest food available.

Please do not take the term literally. Living on instant ramen would be very unhealthy. Rice and beans are a better source of food. Start by investing in a rice cooker, if you don't have one.

Rice and Beans for 2n
    olive oil or butter
    n yellow onions
    other fresh vegetables; experiment
    3n cloves garlic
    n 12-oz cans white, kidney, or black beans
    n cubes Knorr beef or vegetable bouillon
    n teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
    3n teaspoons ground cumin
    n cups dry rice, preferably brown
Put rice in rice cooker. Add water as specified on rice package. (Default: 2 cups water per cup of rice.) Turn on rice cooker and forget about it.

Chop onions and other vegetables and fry in oil, over fairly low heat, till onions are glassy. Put in chopped garlic, pepper, cumin, and a little more fat, and stir. Keep heat low. Cook another 2 or 3 minutes, then add beans (don't drain the beans), and stir. Throw in the bouillon cube(s), cover, and cook on lowish heat for at least 10 minutes more. Stir vigilantly to avoid sticking.

If you want to save money, buy beans in giant cans from discount stores. Spices are also much cheaper when bought in bulk. If there's an Indian grocery store near you, they'll have big bags of cumin for the same price as the little jars in supermarkets.

Re:supplementing the diet of well-nourished adults (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45719783)

Healthy foods are not cheaper. You can get a full meal from mcdonalds for under $4.
That can live in the fridge for weeks and never go bad. Spend the same $4 on fresh foods and they will go bad in days

You can get a bunch of food from McDonald's for under $4. Claiming it is a meal is flat out wrong.

Re:supplementing the diet of well-nourished adults (4, Informative)

cayenne8 (626475) | about 4 months ago | (#45719831)

Healthy foods are not cheaper. You can get a full meal from mcdonalds for under $4.

If you buy things that are on sale and in season, you can easily make meals that are in the $4 per meal and much better for you than McD's.

Hell, buy a bag of dried beans, onion, meat, etc....make a pot of chili that you can eat on for 5+ meals and it is in that range.

Make a big salad, and grill some chicken that was on sale...you can get several meals out of that for that price range, and is much healthier for you.

And no, it doesn't go bad in a day or two. Buy what's on sale each week and work from there.

Re:supplementing the diet of well-nourished adults (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45719657)

Whoops, you forgot to substantiate your claim!

Re:supplementing the diet of well-nourished adults (4, Interesting)

cayenne8 (626475) | about 4 months ago | (#45719785)

Exactly. A $12 bottle of multivitamins every two months is a heck of a lot cheaper than fresh produce. And when you're on a disability budget, there is no where near enough money for a "healthy" diet.

Wow....where do you live where junk food is cheaper than healthy, home cooked veggies, etc?

I cook most everything at home, and I've done it for awhile, even on very restricted budgets. But you have to buy raw ingredients (not preprocessed) and cut and cook them yourself.

Start by seeing what is on sale at the various grocery stores each week, and build your menu around those. I often hit 2-4 stores each week buying the sale items and going from there.

Buy what veggies and fruits are in season, those are usually the cheapest and best for you.

Doing things like that, can really help you eat healthier and cheaper than dining on preprocessed crap which will kill you in the long run. Also, find the days on which they mark down meats for quick sale, that's a good one. Hell, one time in college, studying for finals, I took a break to cook a late night snack...while a friend was coming over.

He came over with a pizza, and I was eating veal chops in a champagne cream sauce, and my meal cost far less than his....

Re:supplementing the diet of well-nourished adults (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45719523)

Keep taking them as multivitamins are better than nothing.

Now what I'm about to say is anecdotal, so take it for what it's worth...

I remember when I was eating nothing but junk food for a while as I was stuck in a rut. One day I felt really tired and almost sickly, like I couldn't pay attention and that I needed to lay down and take a nap. Coke or redbull didn't help at all because I needed energy to study for a final. So, my girlfriend recommend i take a multivitamin with my food, which was nothing but ramen noodles as I have been eating that for a while.

So I took a pill, fell asleep and took a nap for a couple of hours. When I work up I felt like a million dollars.

So yeah, while my experience is totally subjective, I think a multivitamin does help supplement a poor diet.

Lately though my diet has been much better. I eat more veggies and better meats and almost no processed foods, except breaded chicken.

Re:supplementing the diet of well-nourished adults (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45719685)

So I took a pill, fell asleep and took a nap for a couple of hours. When I work up I felt like a million dollars.

Vitamins don't work that way.
What happened to you is that you were tired, had a rest, and then were not tired any more.

Re:supplementing the diet of well-nourished adults (1)

tibit (1762298) | about 4 months ago | (#45719777)

Sure as heck multivitamins will help if you're on a ramen diet, you don't get any water-soluble vitamins from that, only a tiny bit of stuff that's naturally dissolved in chicken fat (or beef fat)! The flavor and the salt should be in split sections of the pouch. I really don't need the salt, nor do most other people.

When I was on a ramen diet (by default, not by choice), I'd get a chicken thigh every once in a while and boil the heck out of it in a small pot with minimum amount of water. I tossed the bones and joint tissues out, chopped the remainder on a plastic cutting board, put it back into the pot. Boiled out as much water as possible, then dehydrated further in the freezer. This was a great replacement lower-sodium chicken flavoring for ramen. A small amount would do (half a teaspoon, say). I'd supplant the fat with a bit of butter. Worked great as we had a freezer at work.

Re:supplementing the diet of well-nourished adults (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45719545)

This is tech news? Or is my shampoo killing me?

Re:supplementing the diet of well-nourished adults (1)

tibit (1762298) | about 4 months ago | (#45719561)

Yes, especially that many modern "diets" are anything but balanced.

Re:supplementing the diet of well-nourished adults (1)

ADRA (37398) | about 4 months ago | (#45719575)

Yes, be the point is that those that eat healthy don't need multi-vitamins, and people that do need more balanced diets aren't buying them. So they service a market that doesn't exist.

Re:supplementing the diet of well-nourished adults (1)

gfxguy (98788) | about 4 months ago | (#45719843)

I don't believe that's true... my doctor told me to stop taking multivitamins because a study showed they actually lead to shorter life expectancy. After I left the office it struck me that it's more likely to be correlation - unhealthy people who don't eat right and don't exercise enough (or at all) take multivitamins to "compensate." If I'm right, those people might still be extending their lifetimes - just not as much as people who eat right and exercise.

Re:supplementing the diet of well-nourished adults (1)

jaymz666 (34050) | about 4 months ago | (#45719593)

I bet the news of this study causes more harm than good. The takeaway many will have is that multi vitamins don't help anyone. When they clearly serve a purpose for those stuck on the fast food treadmill

Re:supplementing the diet of well-nourished adults (1)

cayenne8 (626475) | about 4 months ago | (#45719867)

I bet the news of this study causes more harm than good. The takeaway many will have is that multi vitamins don't help anyone. When they clearly serve a purpose for those stuck on the fast food treadmill

Well, in that case, kind of a moot point.

If you're "stuck on the fast food treadmill", you've got bigger health problems ahead that no amount of vitamin supplements are going to help with....

childhood diseases, procedure biased the sample (1)

lyapunov (241045) | about 4 months ago | (#45719603)

I am of two minds on this...

Even though the US diet isn't that great many of the diseases that were fairly common during the depression era are no longer that common. My dad knew of many kids that had rickets, and I have never known, or even heard of, a modern case.

I think, however, that many of the people that are taking vitamins, or even think that they are taking them (e.g. the placebo vs vitamin study) may become a little more health conscience and make it a point to eat their veggies.

Re:supplementing the diet of well-nourished adults (1)

Nethemas the Great (909900) | about 4 months ago | (#45719763)

Like the overwhelming majority of Americans, a not insignificant amount of Europeans, and most everyone in the developing world...

Re:supplementing the diet of well-nourished adults (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45719781)

...or vegetarians (like me)?

FRAUD! The used ineffective analogs on purpose!! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45719803)

To make sure these multivitamins fail to produce positive results, they used vitamin analogs
that are cheap, low-grade, synthetic vitamins and inorganic minerals. The same brands of
low-grade multivitamins you get at CVS and Safeway/Publix and not the quality vitamins
you get at a health-food store. There is a huge difference in effectivity between cheap
Cyanocobalamine and the vitamin B12 that actually works: Methylcobalamin.

The vitamin E they "studied" was a synthetic, isolated vitamin E as well which
HAS A LONG HISTORY OF BEING TOXIC. They never looked at full-spectrum vitamin E,
including the tocopherols, nor did they bother to study a food concentrate form of vitamin E
(because THAT would have been amazingly beneficial to heart health).

If I wanted to make all cars look dangerous, I could buy a dozen Toyota Prius cars, line them
up bumper to bumper, fill them with gasoline and ram them together in a mock road accident
that caused them all to explode. From that, I could declare, “All cars are unsafe!” even though
I only tested the Prius. That’s the same as what’s happening with these multivitamin studies.
They intentionally choose the most toxic forms of synthetic nutrients, then they use the
negative results to declare that all multivitamins are dangerous.

I'm glad I don't get my health education from Slashdot and whoever paid for this to be placed
on Slashdot, I hope you're on a statin.

Re:supplementing the diet of well-nourished adults (1)

jedidiah (1196) | about 4 months ago | (#45719899)

...which is probably everyone.

I can't imagine that everyone here in the peanut gallery doesn't have some sort of vitamin deficiency. Let's go with Vitamin-E for starters. Do you know if you get enough? Would you know what to eat to get more?

More than anything, this makes it sound like the RDA numbers are a fiction.

Extra vitamins don't help? Then whatever bad diets we all eat must be all hunky dory then...

"Well Nourished" (5, Insightful)

nurb432 (527695) | about 4 months ago | (#45719379)

No kidding.. but for those that are not, ( which is a LOT of people.. ) vitamins can help.

Re:"Well Nourished" (5, Insightful)

jaymz666 (34050) | about 4 months ago | (#45719465)

exactly.

The qualifier is stupid. If you are well nourished you don't need to supplement anything. But if you aren't lucky enough to be able to have the time to prepare your own perfect meal every day, then you may need something.

Re:"Well Nourished" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45719579)

Except that multivatims had been marketed as a panacea supplement for everyone. Additionally, if you have an improper diet, you'd be much better off identifying which vitamins and minerals you are deficient in and only taking supplements for those instead of mildly overdosing on the ones you do get enough of in your diet.

Re:"Well Nourished" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45719643)

>>>but for those that are not, ( which is a LOT of people.. )

This is for the most part, nonsense.

It is actually QUITE DIFFICULT to be vitamin deficient. You don't need much of them. This late 20-th century believe that somehow

a) vitamins are MAGIC
b) more vitamins MUST BE BETTER

is nothing but a sad failure of education.

Re:"Well Nourished" (2)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about 4 months ago | (#45719801)

These were enormous, decade-long studies. The qualifier is perhaps a poor description -- vitamins offer no benefits outside specific, diagnosed vitamin deficiencies. So unless you think every one of the 100,000 nurses ate properly, yes, they are indeed saying your McDonald's and hot dog and macaroni and cheese diet is fine (vitamin-wise).

No differences in disease onset betweem the two groups, ergo useless. This is also how they fpund out silicone breast implants were actually safe, in spite of fraudulent lawyers driving Dow into bankruptcy because they could FUD juries. No difference (aside from immediate rupture effects) between implants and not. And specifically, onset of things like arthritis, joint issues, and autoimmune things, lupus, etc. No difference in rates.

Re:"Well Nourished" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45719839)

In this context, "well nourished" means "not starving to death".

Re:"Well Nourished" (1)

Barlo_Mung_42 (411228) | about 4 months ago | (#45719879)

Perhaps a little. Any positive effect is far outweighed by the negative effect of too much fat, sugar, sodium etc that is in a typical bad diet. Trying to fix it with a multi vitamin is just delusional thinking.

not my Flintstones! (2)

turkeydance (1266624) | about 4 months ago | (#45719381)

is nothing sacred?

Re:not my Flintstones! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45719529)

One thing I noticed on Flintstones is that they can actually kill a kid that snacks on them like candy. So make sure they're in the medicine cabinet up and away from kids. Thankfully Tumms are harder to over dose on. When I was a kid, I snacked on a roll of Tumms.

For 10 cents a day... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45719387)

For 10 cents a day, I'll take the risk that I'm wasting my money. It's cheap insurance, and there might even be a benefit.

Re:For 10 cents a day... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45719659)

Seriously. They switch opinions on health matters all the time.

Re:For 10 cents a day... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45719747)

The benefit is that the transgender frogs in the watershed will be better off.

But there is a clear benefit! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45719391)

There is a clear benefit. The companies selling vitamins to over-fed and over-nourished citizens make large profits. Is that not a benefit?

well-nourished? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45719395)

So are they helpful with the typical American diet of fast food, which probably has little to no nutritional value?

Re:well-nourished? (2)

Koby77 (992785) | about 4 months ago | (#45719607)

Fast food DOES have nutritional value. In fact it is usually associated with having too much nutrition, too many calories, too much fat, and too much sodium. But I think your point is that fast food lacks sufficient vitamins and minerals, which may be true for a several restaurants.

"Well Nourished" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45719399)

So what about people who are not well nourished? Do multi-vitamins help them?

Tautology (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45719419)

"supplementing the diet of well-nourished adults with (most) mineral or vitamin supplements has no clear benefit"

If there were a benefit, then clearly they weren't "well-nourished".

Do they even define what well-nourished means? (1)

swb (14022) | about 4 months ago | (#45719701)

Or is it really a tautology and well-nourished means eats enough food with vitamins?

terrible title (4, Informative)

larry bagina (561269) | about 4 months ago | (#45719429)

Not slashdot's fault, this time. The real conclusion is that multivitamins don't cure heart disease. But who takes them to cure heart disease?

My rock might be useless at keeping tigers away but it's useful for throwing at glass houses.

Re: But who takes them to cure heart disease? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45719707)

I take 'em to prevent scurvy. Arghhh!

Three new papers. Case closed! (1)

EmagGeek (574360) | about 4 months ago | (#45719441)

I love these quacks.

Re:Three new papers. Case closed! (1)

Desler (1608317) | about 4 months ago | (#45719487)

Except these aren't the only papers to show this. But, hey, keep lining the pockets of Bayer, Unilever, Novartis, GlaxoSmithKline and other big pharma companies who sell the vast majority of the vitamin supplements out there.

I'm not a well-nourished adult ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45719473)

... you insensitive clod!

The best way to make a choice about supplements (4, Informative)

QilessQi (2044624) | about 4 months ago | (#45719479)

In my opinion, the best way to make an informed choice about supplements is to have your doctor do blood work when you get a physical exam (which you should be doing yearly once you hit middle age). Labs can test for key things like iron, B vitamins, vitamin D, etc.

Your doctor can then ask you questions to help interpret the results. If your D is low, do you get a lot of sunlight or do you spend most of your time indoors? If your iron is low, do you feel tired or mostly energetic? What sorts of things do you eat?

Based on that personalized information, supplements or other dietary/lifestyle changes can improve your health, certainly far more than grabbing a random bottle of multivitamins at GNC.

Re:The best way to make a choice about supplements (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45719711)

THIS^

AC, MD.

Precisely no surprise (5, Interesting)

SheldonYoung (25077) | about 4 months ago | (#45719485)

“... supplementing the diet of well-nourished adults with (most) mineral or vitamin supplements has no clear benefit...”

This is a great example of how a precise statement by a researcher is misinterpreted or misrepresented when presented to the general public. The above statement is a useful result with a well-defined meaning which is being used in a context that makes it sound like supplements have zero benefit. It's no surprise that that supplements have no clear benefit... when you are a "well-nourished adult'! The danger is that this result can cause people who are not well-nourished to stop taking supplements that may be keeping them outside of harm.

Writers looking to make a story where there isn't one cause much more harm than supplements ever could. (No facts were harmed in the making of that statement.)

Re:Precisely no surprise (1)

vux984 (928602) | about 4 months ago | (#45719789)

The danger is that this result can cause people who are not well-nourished to stop taking supplements that may be keeping them outside of harm.

Since this is /. here's a car analogy:

My car is pulling to the left, because the wheels aren't balanced, what do I do?

a) Add a spring to your steering column to push right by about the same amount the car is pulling to the left, to balance it out. (take pill supplements)

b) BALANCE YOUR FUCKING WHEELS YOU FUCKWIT (ie correct your diet)

If you have some genuine condition that prevents you from synthesizing or absorbing sufficient vitamin D then sure you might need pills and other solutions. But if you feel like shit and its because you aren't eating right, that's not a medical condition that needs "supplements". That's a wake up call to take better care of yourself.

Sitting in the basement all day eating Doritos isn't a healthy lifestyle, and taking vitamins to stave off the worst effects of it isn't "fixing the problem".

Targeted vitamins can help though (2)

sandytaru (1158959) | about 4 months ago | (#45719493)

I felt like crap last winter and it turns out my Vitamin D level was on the floor (after extensive blood tests determined it was not thyroid problems or cancer. Thank goodness.) For geeks who don't go outside and prefer the dungeon/basement lifestyle, a 1000 mg dose of Vitamin D daily can be a godsend. (I was prescribed 10 minutes of daily sunshine at first, too.)

I also donate platelets regularly, and prior to a stint on the chair there I munch on some calcium chews, because otherwise I'll experience a total calcium crash from the citrate and pass out.

So while it's okay to stop wasting your money on multi-vitamins, it's important to know how your body responds to both long and short term situations and have the appropriate supplement on hand.

Re:Targeted vitamins can help though (1)

jones_supa (887896) | about 4 months ago | (#45719675)

For geeks who don't go outside and prefer the dungeon/basement lifestyle, a 1000 mg dose of Vitamin D daily can be a godsend.

You must mean 1000 IU of vitamin D. That is about a typical dose.

For vitamin D, 1 IU is the biological equivalent of 0.025 micro-grams cholecalciferol/ergocalciferol.

Re:Targeted vitamins can help though (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45719881)

I felt like crap last winter and it turns out my Vitamin D level was on the floor (after extensive blood tests determined it was not thyroid problems or cancer. Thank goodness.)

I can buy a lifetime supply of vitamins for the cost of those tests. Why not take them and avoid having to go to the doctor because I feel like crap? In my experience telling a doctor you feel crappy doesn't get you any help. They need something specific they can verify.

So multivitamins can improve my quality of life. I never expected them to prevent cancer or heart disease, which is all this study looked at.

GM rice with Vitamin A (1)

schneidafunk (795759) | about 4 months ago | (#45719515)

Golden rice is genetically modified to include Vitamin A. There are plenty of people dying from a lack of vitamins.

"The research was conducted with the goal of producing a fortified food to be grown and consumed in areas with a shortage of dietary vitamin A, a deficiency which is estimated to kill 670,000 children under the age of 5 each year"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golden_rice [wikipedia.org]
 

Americans have most expensive pee in the world (1)

JoeyRox (2711699) | about 4 months ago | (#45719527)

Based on how much excess nutrition is flushed down the toilet. The human body is supremely adaptable - feed it too little of a nutrient and the digestive system will increase the absorption rate of that nutrient. Feed it to much and the nutrient will pass through the system and out to the world, hopefully to another organism who actually needs it.

Re:Americans have most expensive pee in the world (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45719737)

Based on how much excess nutrition is flushed down the toilet. The human body is supremely adaptable - feed it too little of a nutrient and the digestive system will increase the absorption rate of that nutrient. Feed it to much and the nutrient will pass through the system and out to the world, hopefully to another organism who actually needs it.

Thats why all those African kids can run so fast! Their system adapted to make eating dirt healthy!

Don't waste your money on vitamins - (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45719535)

Waste your money on drugs your doc's prescribe to you that big pharma can reep in more money on and in turn pay these docs to prescribe more!

Re:Don't waste your money on vitamins - (1)

Desler (1608317) | about 4 months ago | (#45719709)

As opposed to taking Centrum, One a day, etc. that are made by Big pharma companies? Yeah, you're definitely sticking it to them!

More pharma-financed bullshit coming our way! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45719537)

Most people are vitamin deficient because they do NOT have access to a
diet that includes all the nutrients the human body needs on a daily basis
and that's been the case for the past > 2000 years. Back in the old days
people were off worse and better at the same time. They didn't have a lot
of food but what they had then wasn't grown on industrial agriculture but
they could barely afford it and went without .. giving rice to rickets, scorbut
and all those deficiency diseases. Now everything is grown on nutrient devoid
soils and the meat is jacked up with hormones and antibiotics so we're still
not off any better... Nutrients and vitamins in foods have decreased substantially
in the past 50 years, you can't get enough even if you eat Whole Foods for
1000s of $$ every month.

AND NOW THESE PHARMA FUCKS want to tell us not to get any vitamins
at all. I suppose they'd like to see us all on statins and antidepressants instead.
I say fuck this, and to whoever paid for placing this on SLASHDOT: FUCK OFF
AS WELL. I will be taking my vitamins and minerals, the rest of you can go to
bed each night tired and feeling awful, that's fine but living like that is not good
enough for me.

Re:More pharma-financed bullshit coming our way! (1)

Russ1642 (1087959) | about 4 months ago | (#45719629)

They didn't have a lot of food but what they had then wasn't grown on industrial agriculture but they could barely afford it and went without .. giving rice to rickets, scorbut and all those deficiency diseases. Now everything is grown on nutrient devoid soils and the meat is jacked up with hormones and antibiotics so we're still not off any better.

I don't even know where to start with how derpy this is.

Re:More pharma-financed bullshit coming our way! (2)

Desler (1608317) | about 4 months ago | (#45719725)

Why would big pharma be against multivitamins? One. A Day, Centrum, Flintstones , etc brands are all made by Big Pharma.

Re:More pharma-financed bullshit coming our way! (1)

tibit (1762298) | about 4 months ago | (#45719835)

now everything is grown on nutrient devoid soils

It doesn't matter all that much, since the plants, you know, synthesize stuff. If there isn't enough nitrogen in the soil, the yields will be poor, but it's not like you'll get nitrogen-deficient plants. They'll be plant-matter-deficient in general. So talking about "nutrient devoid soils" is quite pointless: it only affects the yields, not the nutritional value of the end product. There'll be less stuff, smaller bulbs or fruit, etc. At least that's my high-school understanding, plant biologists please correct me.

Unhealthy people often do need vitamins (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45719555)

Yes, people with no health problems and a robust diet don't need additional vitamins. For those living on junk food, or with substantial health issues (such as myself) vitamin support can be not only useful but essential.

"Case closed"? (3, Insightful)

mi (197448) | about 4 months ago | (#45719641)

Though I've suspected the "multi-vitamins" myself for a while, I'm wary of any claims about "case closed" or "the science is settled"...

Re:"Case closed"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45719903)

...I'm wary of any claims about "case closed" or "the science is settled"...

Just like AGW, right? (yes, I've seen your postings on this subject)

Important details missing (1, Informative)

PapayaSF (721268) | about 4 months ago | (#45719693)

Not all "vitamins" are equal. For one thing, Recommended Daily Allowances are set to prevent known diseases: e.g., if you don't have scurvy, establishment medicine says you must be getting enough vitamin C. Rarely is research done to discover an optimum level of supplementation. So studies that involve giving people the RDA or a little more aren't as dispositive as they might be.

Second, vitamins vary in quality. Cheapo supermarket multivitamins might have the same quantities listed on the label as something from a high-quality source like LEF [lef.org], but they won't use the highest-quality sources, the most bio-available kinds, etc.

So my guess is that these "debunking" studies involved people taking Centrum multivitamins or whatever and they didn't see much in the way of results. I'd like to see a study done with LEF multivitamins, which I've taken for years and been happy with.

So except for.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45719705)

Except for pregnant women, malnourished individuals, individuals with unhealthy diets, those with celiac disease, those with a history of alcohol abuse resulting in diminished ability to absorb B vitamins, those living in locations with extended periods of time without enough direct sunlight to provide sufficient vitamin D, those living in America where the average level of consumed Magnesium is incredibly below recommended levels, those at risk of bone fractures who require more magnesium and calcium to fortify bone strength, those at risk of goiter and/or breast cancer who require more iodine, those at risk of scurvy requiring vitamin C, and those requiring vitamin K for that nearly useless thing known as blood clotting...EXCEPT for all of those AND more, multivitamins are completely worthless!

Good on ya', doctors! We totally trust the results of your research considering there's no conflict of interest and none of you or your employers could stand to benefit from increased hospital visits as a result of lacking nutrition. Thanks for saving me pennies today so I can spend plenty of Benjamins in one of your fine health and wellness establishments tomorrow!

Re:So except for.... (1)

ichthus (72442) | about 4 months ago | (#45719887)

that nearly useless thing known as blood clotting

Tell that to hemophiliacs and menstruating women.

(On second thought, maybe you'd better not mention it to the women)

Re:So except for.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45719905)

+1

Sure (4, Funny)

nospam007 (722110) | about 4 months ago | (#45719741)

"doctors behind three new studies ..."

Doctors? Who cares what doctors say, what does Jenny McCarthy say?

Re:Sure (2)

Desler (1608317) | about 4 months ago | (#45719897)

It's even funnier to hear how this is supposedly some sort of big Pharma conspiracy. Big Pharma companies sell billions in vitamin supplements every year. So in fact big Pharma would be against someone saying that multivitamins don't provide any benefit.

So drugs good, vitamins bad? Trustworthy message (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45719775)

Coming from "doctors" who are paid by pharmaceutical companies to push High Blood pressure drugs or Cholesterol Statins so people will become lifelong customers/addicts.

Now what they don't want to recommend is diet and exercise to prevent hypertension and high cholesterol even though those 2 strategies are far more effective and cheaper than drugs.

And about vitamin supplements most diets are not balanced nor can they be as the amount of food one would need to eat to achieve it is nearly impossible. And it's already been proven that selenium yeast (not selenomethionine) supplements prevent multiple forms of cancer, Vitamin C and Zinc ward off colds and B vitamins reduce inflammation levels in the body, so yes Multivitamins are necessary.

Thanks for the opinion but.. (1)

samantha (68231) | about 4 months ago | (#45719913)

I would not care about such biased research in an actually free country where I can purchase and consume whatever vitamins and supplements I wish. But in a country on its way to government controlled medicine and with a powerful FDA this could doom me to "officially approved" opinions in this and other medical manners. I took the time to find a good longevity research group that did substantial over time blood work and other testing regarding recommended supllementation. The end experiential result is that I felt 10 years younger in terms of energy and mental focus and general health. So I don't really give a damn how many official studies say there is nothing to it. I know better.

I don't care if it's a placebo effect (1)

Isara (869637) | about 4 months ago | (#45719915)

But I noticed after I started taking a multivitamin about a year ago, I didn't get a cold at all. Before that, I was getting a cold every 1-2 months! It's worth $30/year for me not to get sick. And I'm pretty crap about eating my vegetables, so I don't have a lot of faith I'm getting some trace elements. And what about pregnant women who have little parasites sucking up all the good stuff? I know the first link mentions the need for folic acid supplements for pregnant women, but what about the rest of it?
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