Beware absolutist statements in the media…

Dear Mark: Are Supplements Useless? | Marks Daily Apple.

Well, wouldn’t you know it, I was too sick (bad cold) to write my own dress-down of the press frenzy about this supposedly conclusive study on the lack of any health benefits to supplementation, but Mark Sisson got to it and handled it just fine.

And he was lots nicer about it than I would have been. When I read the press reports on this study my initial reaction was something like the dad from A Christmas Story swearing at his furnace. Razzafragaractarigistack!

See, this study focuses not on whether multi-vitamins are beneficial, but really whether or not Centrum Silver is beneficial. Why is that important? Because any supplement geek can tell you that Centrum Silver (and most other big name supplements found in grocery stores) are poorly formulated. As Mark gets into in his article, Centrum Silver is not absorbed well by the body. No surprise that any benefits one might get from the nutrients in a pill that passes through you like a hot knife through butter would be minimal at best.

There’s also a problem with the group that was focused on in the study, which Mark gets into in much greater detail than I will. Suffice to say, if your study group is largely unrepresentative of the general population then extrapolating general conclusions from that study is silly. What we really learn from this study is that affluent white guys probably won’t get much benefit from taking a badly formulated multi-vitamin.

Pick your supplements carefully, is the real message here. Along with “If you’re a super-healthy, rich, white dude, keep on rocking’.”

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