Americans love vitamins, love them to the tune of $122 billion each year. That's how much money we spent on vitamin and supplements in 2016. And we're going to be spending more. It's predicted that by 2024 vitamin sales will top $278 billion, an incredible sum of money when you consider that they are a waste of money. There, I said it — vitamins and supplements are a waste of money.
Multivitamins are the most widely purchased of the bunch. People believe this makes up for bad eating habits. People also believe this keeps you from getting sick, and believe they help prevent you from getting chronic diseases. But the facts will surprise you. First, there is no standard for what is a multivitamin, their composition changes by each brand and product. They come in many forms, pills, capsules, powders, liquid, even chewable gummies.
The supplements industry is notorious for fraud. The Food and Drug Administration doesn't even regulate the vitamin and supplement industry. Some manufacturers don't even list all the nutrients and ingredients on their labels. And the truth is that nutrients in multivitamins can be derived from eating real foods. World wide, the leading cause of death is heart disease. But research and studies have shown that spending money on Multivitamins — or taking them — does not reduce heart attacks, strokes, or death. Some vitamins should be avoided. Smokers, for instance, should avoid multivitamins with large amounts of Vitamin A and Beta Carotene. These nutrients might increase your chance of lung cancer.
In the interest of fairness, we will say if you have a vitamin deficiency, taking vitamins and supplements can help. People who swear by vitamins and supplements live a healthier lifestyle to start with, so it's not the vitamins that are making them feel better. They exercise, and eat healthy foods. Their diet has large amounts of fresh food, fresh fruits, and vegetables: no junk food or fast food. I'd love to see if these people were 50 pounds or more overweight what they would think of their vitamins and supplements.
Some specifics. The liver is the most nutritious part of any animal. Beef liver has high amounts of copper, vitamin A, and vitamin B12. Although you should not eat liver more than once or twice a week because you may develop nutrient toxicity. For vitamin D, it's sunshine. I work nights, and I'm hardly ever in the sun. So I have a vitamin D deficiency and take a vitamin D pill once a day. If you have a diet of fresh fish, no need to spend money on fish oil. If you lack selenium, one large Brazil Nut has all the selenium you need. Selenium is essential for immune and thyroid function, as well as antioxidant activity.
Studies do not back up the claims of the vitamin and supplement industry. Dr, David Jenkins of St. Michael's Hospital at the University of Toronto said: "We were surprised to find so few positive effects of the most common supplements people consume."
Look up the Harvard Gazette article about the study of vitamins and supplements. If you think you can eat junk food, fast food, candy, and especially soda all you want, and take vitamins to keep you healthy —you're sadly mistaken. Exercise, fresh food, plenty of fruits, and vegetables beat all the vitamin pills and supplements that you're spending money on. No tobacco, sugar, and fats will keep you alive and healthy much longer than everything in GNC has to sell. Live a healthy lifestyle, and save your money.