/ Food & Drink, Health

Your view: do you feel the need for food supplements?

Vitamin pills exploding

You had a lot to say about our research which concluded that people are wasting money on unnecessary food supplements. Do you buy into food supplements?

A third of adults regularly take supplements, despite government advice recommending that most people should just eat a balanced and varied diet. Wavechange made his opinion clear:

‘I will continue to eat a healthy diet, rather than paying for supplements and supporting the companies that make them.’

James takes multivitamins:

‘I take the cheap multivit supplements from the local supermarket because I am on low income and can’t afford a balanced healthy diet. The healthy food you buy is always more expensive than the unhealthy food, so us people on minimum wage don’t have much of a choice.’

However, Alan Henness thinks James should rely more on the food he eats:

‘Healthy food can be cheap – I suspect you may well be getting enough from the food you eat – perhaps ask your GP or a Dietitian?’

Moving away from food supplements

Stephen has since moved away from food supplements:

‘I used to take garlic tablets, cod liver oil, glucosamine and vitamin c. As an experiment I stopped them all at the end of last year, as far as I can tell it has not affected my health.’

L2 is similarly sceptical:

‘My grandmother took cod liver oil for her whole life as she thought it would be good for her joints, but it did her no good. She is crippled with arthritis.’

Does gulcosamine work?

A debate about glucosamine soon took hold. In our research, 94% of people who took this said they thought it supported healthy joints. Even though this health claim has been rejected by the European Union, commenter Michael G feels it helps him:

‘I tried glucosamine and chondroitin and have used it successfully for 12 years, thus avoiding any operation. I’ve tried many times to stop taking it to see what happens and my knees within two weeks start to click and buckle. Evidence or no evidence… it works for me.’

Rosalind also takes glucosamine and can apparently feel its effects:

‘I was told by several orthopaedic surgeons to take glucosamine and choindroitin, as I have traumatic arthritis in my ankle from an old sports injury and had to have my ankle replaced. I find that if I don’t take it for a couple of days, I definitely feel less supple and stiffer.’

However, Maurizio had a different experience:

‘I used to take glucosamine & chondroitin, I stopped two years ago, I didn’t find any improvements in my joints when I took it or a worsening when I stopped. If it works for you, whether is the placebo effect or not, if you think it works, carry on and take it. We all respond differently, it seems.’

Malcolm M lays it on the line for glucosamine and other unproven supplements:

‘When I see properly-derived scientific evidence that particular medicines work – conventional or alternative – I’ll believe the claims made. Until then I’ll be sceptical. However, if other people believe a medicine does them good, then it may be they are in the right mindset to help themselves. However, where I believe unproven medicines are dangerous is when you have a potentially serious condition that is not properly treated by a proven drug, in favour of a so-called alternative.’

Don’t believe the hype

Guy Chapman thinks it’s about time the spotlight was on the supplement industry:

‘The supplement industry has been getting away with misleading claims for as long as I can remember. Even now, US websites will still be carrying essentially unregulated claims for these products, entirely due to industry lobbying. I support a level playing field for health claims: no robust evidence, no advert, no exceptions.’

John Ward, who gets our Comment of the Week, thinks Brits need better health education:

‘It seems to me that there is a powerful case for much better health education on diet and well-being to combat the influence of commercial promotion. I am concerned that too many people who can ill afford, or might be at risk from, unprescribed supplementation do not realise how much they could do to help themselves without synthetic preparations.’

So, what do you think about the comments above? Do you buy into food supplements or are you sceptical of their efficacy?


The study has already been debunked…………..

I looked at the study. They looked at the effect of vitamins on cognitive functioning in adult men 65 years old + and another part of the study looked at people ALREADY WITH heart issues and saw no improvement in either one of these categories. Ummm, why didn’t they look at the worst possible groups of people. That is hilarious. In order to see the effects that vitamins have on a person’s health you would have to have two people with the exact same genetic make up and health issues, etc. and give one vitamins and one not and follow them over the course of their life. This would be pretty close to impossible, not to mention unethical. For those who want to believe studies like this, keep in mind, traditional medicine DOES NOT look for cures or ways to prevent illness, they only treat the symptoms.

The first study cited was a review of 27 studies, but only 3 were on multivitamins; the rest were on singular nutrients. Second paper was on physicians – probably the best-nourished demographic in America. And in America, only about an estimated 5% of the population gets a nutritionally satisfactory diet, meaning there is much room for multivitamins to fill in nutritional gaps. In the third paper, the “nonadherence rate” was more than 50%! The authors themselves said any “interpretation is very difficult.” Also of note in this commentary, when a vitamin study was found to be successful (hint: there are many), it is characterized as an “enormous controversy.” The bias is clear: The mainstream American medical establishment wants people to be unhealthy so they can dispense profitable pharmaceuticals to treat people once they are sick, and they are not interested in keeping them well in the first place. As the Chinese proverb goes, “The superior doctor prevents sickness; the mediocre doctor attends to impending sickness; the inferior doctor treats actual sickness.”


A Murdoch paper for a balanced view ….. : )

Have they printed a link to the research you can share?

I add the adjoining Times teaser articles they have carried. Its incredibly interesting that the top two articles I have copied are actually about different things which shows how stupid the media is in how it presents studies.

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There is a long history of poor reporting of science in the press, but different articles can support different views, giving a very crude balance. Ignore the popular press and look at articles in New Scientist, Scientific American and other publications that aim to provide the general public with good quality information in a comprehensible format.


Yes there is a link dieseltaylor and referenced at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, but am not able to locate it at the moment even from my browser history.
I shall keep on searching.


Some simple lifestyle changes confer such remarkable benefits for the prevention of disease, that if they were pills, they would be called “miracle” drugs.

As we approach an epidemic in the number of newly diagnosed cases of dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, irrefutable evidence continues to emerge supporting the science behind following simple lifestyle modifications to dramatically lower the risk of developing memory-robbing illnesses and most other chronic diseases as well. Based on the current trend, experts fear that as many as one in three Americans over the age of 65 will suffer from some degree of dementia by the year 2050. Not more than 50 years ago, Alzheimer’s disease was virtually unknown to the average person, yet it now threatens to directly or indirectly impact the life of almost every man, woman and child in the US. Fortunately, there are some very simple lifestyle changes that we can adopt to change the current course of this explosion in new dementia cases.

Publishing in the journal PLOS One, a research team from the Cardiff University School of Medicine in the United Kingdom has identified five lifestyle behaviors that have been shown to reduce the risk of cognitive decline, and researchers say these healthy habits are more beneficial than medical treatments or preventative procedures.

Researchers identified exercise as the most important lifestyle factor to lower dementia risk

The researchers followed a cohort of 2,235 men aged 45-49 from 1979 to 2004 in the UK. During this period, incidences of diabetes, vascular disease, cancer and death were recorded, along with an examination in 2004 to determine cognitive state. After a detailed analysis of all available data, the scientists identified the following five healthy behaviors as being essential for the best chance of living a disease-free life: performing regular exercise, not smoking, maintaining a low body weight, following a healthy diet and having a low alcohol intake.

Additionally, the study demonstrated that the individuals who adhered to four or five of these behaviors had a 60 percent lowered risk of dementia and cognitive decline, and there were 70 percent fewer cases of diabetes, heart disease and stroke, compared with individuals who followed none of the behaviors. As far as reducing the risk for dementia, the scientists noted that regular moderate-intensity exercise was the strongest factor.

“What the research shows is that following a healthy lifestyle confers surprisingly large benefits to health,” the lead study author, Dr. Doug Brown, concluded. “We have known for some time that what is good for your heart is also good for your head, and this study provides more evidence to show that healthy living could significantly reduce the chances of developing dementia.”

Many natural health enthusiasts already understand the importance of adhering to the five identified factors to lower disease risk, while many other people are on a direct collision course for dementia and declining health by ignoring these simple lifestyle modifications.

Sources for this article include:


John Phillip, who is a Certified Nutritional Consultant and Health Researcher and Author who writes regularly on the cutting edge use of diet, lifestyle modifications and targeted supplementation to enhance and improve the quality and length of life.


A balanced diet and moderate exercise will benefit almost everybody (except the vitamin peddlers, and I don’t care about them).