Vitamins: A Pointless Expense?

Med­ic­al research is begin­ning to sug­gest that vit­am­ins have ques­tion­able health bene­fits.

One study found that vit­am­in C is inef­fect­ive for cold–prevention unless you’re exposed to extreme phys­ic­al stress (read: ultramara­thon run­ners and “sol­diers dur­ing sub-Arc­tic winter exer­cises”).

The New York Times looks at this trend, not­ing that in some cases, vit­am­ins may do more harm than good. How­ever, there are always excep­tions (B12 sup­ple­ments for the eld­erly and folic acid for women of child-bear­ing age have proven health bene­fits) and caveats:

Des­pite a lack of evid­ence that vit­am­ins actu­ally work, con­sumers appear largely unwill­ing to give them up. Many read­ers of the Well blog say the prob­lem is not the vit­am­in but poorly designed stud­ies that use the wrong type of vit­am­in, set­ting the vit­am­in up to fail. Industry groups such as the Coun­cil for Respons­ible Nutri­tion also say the research isn’t well designed to detect bene­fits in healthy vit­am­in users.