The Best Dietary Supplements That Just Might Save Your Life

By Nicci Micco, Anna Roufos, "These Supplements May Save Your Life…," December 2006

The truth about vitamin and mineral diet supplements.

"I am glad that you alerted me to the danger of "overdosing" with calcium. My wife needs to know this! "

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), 52 percent of Americans use dietary supplements, mostly vitamins and minerals. Are they helping? Maybe. Maybe not. Fact is, supplement makers aren’t required to prove their products effective. There is little scientific proof—at least in the form of randomized clinical trials, the gold standard of scientific research—that vitamin and mineral supplements actually help prevent chronic diseases. This was what a panel of top nutrition experts reported at a “state of the science” conference held in May 2006 at the NIH headquarters in Bethesda, Maryland.

It goes beyond that. As J. Michael McGinnis, M.D., senior scholar at the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies, notes, “We’re concerned that, without stronger oversight of the quality of supplements and the monitoring of adverse effects, we can’t tell how many people may be getting too much of certain nutrients.”

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