“The message is simple: Most supplements do not prevent chronic disease or death, their use is not justified, and they should be avoided.”  The very bluntness of this statement from the authors of a study published by the American College of Physicians  speaks volumes, as academic language is often couched in qualifiers like “may” and “might.”  Clearly the editors who reviewed the most recent research on supplement use were exasperated, as repeated warnings of inefficacy — and even dangers — of supplement use doesn’t seem to deter the half of the American population popping one vitamin pill or another.

The first of three studies, all published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, was a review of three trials of multivitamin and 24 trials of single or paired vitamins involving over 400,000 participants. The results: No clear evidence of a beneficial effect on mortality, heart disease and cancers. Second to bat was also a bust: No difference was found between male multivitamin and placebo takers in terms of memory and cognitive function monitored over a dozen years. Third strike and you’re out: A trial involving over 1,700 male and female heart patients found that multivitamin use did next to nothing to prevent recurring heart attacks.

Such findings confirm what David Murdock, Chairman and owner of Dole Food Company, has been saying for years: You can get all the vitamins and minerals you need from a plant-based diet.  The fact that he is still running the world’s largest fresh produce company at his age is living proof!  Indeed, Mr. Murdock even gets his vitamin D naturally — from good old, Southern Californian sunshine.  While that is the exception, particularly in much of the snowbound country, the same editorial review concluded that “current widespread use of [vitamin D pills] is not based on solid evidence that benefits outweigh harm.”

So, what should you do?  Ditch the pills and frequent the produce aisle, where Mother Nature provides a natural “medicine cabinet” in the form of fruit and vegetables.

Published March 1, 2014