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Do Vitamin Supplements Really Work?


Follow us over to It’s OK To Be Smart to find out about the weird science behind the placebo effect:

This week Reactions is taking a look at the science and chemistry, or lack thereof, behind supplements. You’ve seen them in late night commercials and at your local pharmacy—little pills that claim to cure your cold, help you wake up or maybe help you lose weight. Vitamin and mineral supplements are everywhere and generate billions of dollars in revenue in the U.S. each year. But do they really work?

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Music:
Funk Delite
Nylon Flares

Producer:
Elaine Seward

Writer:
Sam Lemonick

Executive Producer:
Adam Dylewski

Scientific consultants:
Francisco Tomás-Barberán, Ph.D.
Darcy Gentleman, Ph.D.
Sophia Cai

Sources:
Should you take multi-vitamins?
Prenatal vitamins:
Industry revenue:
Large multivitamin studies showing no significant benefits for healthy people:

Some experts recommend multivitamins as “nutritional insurance”:

For those with diabetes, supplements can help:
Adverse effects:
Fish oil claims not supported by research:
Choline:
Other sources: Trials for supplements don’t show adequate evidence of benefits

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