FYI Daily

Moneysaving Research: Skip the Supplements, Especially After 60

Last updated: Oct 11, 2011

Vitamin Packaging

Are you among the half of all adults who take multivitamins or other dietary supplements? You could probably save yourself some money by quitting them without compromising your lifespan, according to a new study in the Archives of Internal Medicine. Looking across 19 years at 39,000 white women who were 62 or older at the start, researchers found a small increase in risk of death among those who took supplements, compared with those who didn't, and no benefits. In particular, iron had the strongest association with death.

The Wall Street Journal coverage notes that nine servings of fruits and veggies a day is the best source of nutrients. (Healthy eating and nutrition are easier than you think, really!) But if you just can't manage nine servings a day? The experts quoted say supplements may help, especially if there's a particular deficiency you and your doctor are targeting, such as calcium and vitamin D for older bones.

An earlier, even larger study also concluded that supplements are a waste (with no benefit found to fighting cancer or cardiovascular problems, or lowering death rates) -- though this may be hard news to swallow for generations raised on the phrase, "Take your vitamins!"