Today on the The SkepVet blog, I read that the UK National Health Service just published a report on dietary supplements: Supplements — Who Needs Them? The 34 page report summarizes the current state of research into supplements.
Here’s my layman’s summary of their summary:
- Vitamin Supplements: Pregnant women and young children might benefit from specific vitamin supplements, eat right rather than supplement.
- Weight Loss Supplements: Don’t bother.
- Cold Supplements: Zinc of limited benefit, Vitamin C and Echinacea don’t bother.
- Anti-Aging Supplements: Ginko, Ginseng, and Glucosamine — don’t bother.
- Fish oils: Omega-3 is important, eat fish, be careful supplementing if you are pregnant.
- Body Building Supplements: We get the protein we need from a normal diet, too much protein is bad, some supplements contain anabolic steroids.
I still think it’s worth skimming the entire report. The report starts with talk about the economics behind the supplement industry, how they are regulated in the UK (still interesting for those of us in the US), and why people take supplements. Then they break the report into different types of supplements, talk about the supplements in that category, and summarize the key points at the end of each section.