Multivitamins Remain Multifaceted Issue
The true impact of health supplements remains something of a contested issue, and experts stress that individuals may see the best results if they consult with their doctors. NY1’s Kafi Drexel filed the following report.
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There’s been a lot of talk lately about the long-term impact supplements may or may not have on our bodies. In fact, there’s even a question of whether they do much in the short term.
Food and Drug Administration officials admit their main priority is to just deal with the safety of marketing and manufacturing practices.
“We really don't deal with the benefits in this office. We really deal with when there is harm, the potential for harm,” says Daniel Fabricant of the FDA Division of Dietary Supplements.
Safety doesn't seem to have much to do with long or short-term health impacts. Industry trade groups have been busy defending the use of supplements, but NY1 wanted to hear what an actual manufacturer would have to say.
Hallie Rich's family has been in the industry for decades. After founding alternaVites, she makes her own powdered multivitamin. She admits to being a natural advocate, but she also sounds more like a doctor when you ask her advice about the benefits.
“I think what people can do the most is to do the research on their own and also to talk to their physician about what's best for them. Vitamins are individualized. What's right for one person may not be right for somebody else,” says Rich.
That's something a lot of doctors seem to agree with.
“I think some of my patients are more aware of their body. Some actually feel different when they do not take their supplements or when they feel ‘off,’ then they take their supplements and they get rid of that ‘off’ feeling,” says Dr. Robert Graham, internist at Lenox Hill Hospital. “Unfortunately, we have done studies finding out that 70 percent of patients do not talk to their doctors about supplement use. So, I think that has to be abandoned.”
None of this really answers the initial question about long-term impact, though. Short of more studies or changes in government regulation, the old mantra applies: "When in doubt, talk to your doctor".