Photo: Mackenzie Stroh
Q: I spend a lot of money on supplements. Now I need to watch my budget. Is this an area where I could cut back?
— Anonymous, Portland, Oregon
A: In a word, yes. Of course, you should continue taking supplements your doctor has recommended for specific conditions—for example, fish oil to treat high blood fats or calcium to protect bone density. But unless your doctor has prescribed them, daily supplements are not necessary. You can also pass on multivitamins: Studies have yet to prove that they significantly enhance health. Likewise with antioxidants—trials testing C, E, and selenium have failed to show conclusive benefits. Researchers have found time and again that we need to get our nutrients in their natural state, in food, to gain their protective power.
David L. Katz, MD, is director of the Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Center and president of the nonprofit Turn the Tide Foundation.