Q: I eat a pretty balanced diet but have never been able to get into the habit of taking vitamins. Should I be concerned about that?
A: Vitamins and supplements are a big, big business. There’s no shortage of people who want to sell us things that we don’t need.
As I have said before, there is very little research that supports that taking vitamins and other nutrients in pill form has any benefit. Food is much more complex than these individual elements. It’s the interaction of all of the nutrients together in their whole form that likely does the body the most good (though, to be honest, that’s hard to prove scientifically as well).
There are some vitamins and minerals that have sufficient evidence to support their use, especially when a deficiency is documented by the appropriate blood test, namely calcium, vitamin D, iron, folate, and b12.
Keep eating your well-balanced diet. Your body and your bank account will probably be healthier in the long run.
Dr. Brent Ridge is the health expert for Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia. You can call and ask him a question live every Tuesday at 2 p.m. Eastern on Sirius Satellite Radio, Channel 112 (1.866.675.6675). You can also follow along as he learns to grow his own food and raise goats on his farm in upstate New York by visiting www.beekman1802.com.
Got a health question for Dr. Brent? E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.