Are Vitamins worth the cost?

 

Overwhelming supplement aisle at local pharmacy. Image credit: author’s own

Walking into a pharmacy we see so many different supplements that it can be overwhelming. From vitamin C to biotin we can choose many types for our diverse needs, but are all of them worth the price tag?

Research shows not all supplements can deliver on their promises. Here are some that aren’t worth the cost.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C supplement advertising the benefits it provides. Image credit: author’s own

Vitamin C is an essential micro-nutrient and each country has some adequate amount adults should take. In Australia, men and women over 18 years of age should have a daily intake of 45 mg. Most humans get their daily dose from a well-balanced diet and do not need to take an extra supplement.

Most people start taking vitamin C when they are sick from the common cold or to avoid getting sick; however, a study showed vitamin C does not affect our immune system as much as we like to believe. Instead, vitamin C has beneficial effects for individuals with a higher cardiovascular risk than a healthy human. The study showed no effects of vitamin C on healthy individuals.

Zinc acetate fights colds better than vitamin C. Image source: author’s own

If you have a cold, pick up the zinc acetate supplement instead. Researchers from University of Michigan found zinc acetate reduced the duration and severity of cold symptoms because of its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It is less expensive than a doctor’s visit and nontoxic.

Chlorophyll

Two types of chlorophyll supplements both promising they help detox the body. Image source: author’s own

Ah chlorophyll, you belong in plants not in humans, yet there are chlorophyll supplements promising it can detox our bodies. There are very few studies researching the effects of chlorophyll on humans and they are mainly about two medical purposes.

Chlorophyll can be used to restore blood count for anemic patients by restoring hemoglobin, the red blood cells in our bodies. It also can also heal patients’ wounds faster than penicillin.

In fact, the supplement chlorophyll we can get in the pharmacy is a water soluble derived from chlorophyll. Originally, it was put in deodorant due to its ability to deodorize. Now if individuals take a chlorophyll supplement, it will deodorize their bodily fluids and saliva, not detox the body.

Calcium

“Drink your milk it will build strong bones.” A phrase we’ve all heard around the breakfast table when we were young. Milk has calcium in it which is vital for healthy bones. As we age, we believe we consume less calcium in our standard diet so we take supplements. Many adults take calcium supplements to prevent osteoporosis, a condition in which our bones are weak and brittle.

In 2012, a study found high dosage of calcium intake from supplements did not provide benefits in hip bone density for older adults. They also concluded excessive total calcium intake can have negative effects to older adults and can be a risk for cardiovascular disease.

Calcium and vitamin D supplements advertising their use. Image source: author’s own

Increasing calcium supplements can also have deadly consequences. One study found a higher risk of death among women consuming high intakes of calcium (over 1400 mg/day) compared to women who consumed the daily dose (600 to 100 mg/day).

A balanced diet is the best way to get calcium in your body, and Australians do not realise many types of food they consume contain calcium.

This list is only the tip of the iceberg of the number of supplements we can get in a pharmacy that do not affect our bodies. Being supplement smart is friendly on our bodies and wallets.


3 Responses to “Are Vitamins worth the cost?”

  1. Debbie says:

    I’m definitely sending this link to my mum – she swears by vitamin supplements and has a supplement for anything you could possibly imagine.
    I wonder though, about how the placebo effect may influence research into supplements – did any of these studies look at a placebo?

  2. Tomas Haddad says:

    You wouldn’t like my pantry: protein powders, glutamine, BCAA’s … While the science is iffy, I’m perfectly okay with a placebo effect! The only one suffering is my wallet. 😛

  3. Sophia Ren says:

    May or maybe not, but they are still very good replacements, and much cheaper than medicines