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Doctors slam vitamins: 'They're useless and should be avoided'

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Five top research physicians say spending money on vitamins and mineral supplements is a waste of money, saying the $28 billion vitamin industry is doing nothing for public health.

The surprising revelation was made in a volcanic editorial ("Enough Is Enough: Stop Wasting Money on Vitamin and Mineral Supplements") in the Dec. 17 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Lead editorial writer Dr. Eliseo Guallar of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health said long-term research shows that vitamins do not curb disease the way manufacturers claim they do.

Dr. Guallar and his colleagues based their conclusion on a meta-analysis of 27 long-term studies involving more than 450,000 people that showed that vitamins had no effect in preventing cancer, cardiovascular disease or mortality.

The message is simple: Most supplements do not prevent chronic disease or death, their use is not justified, and they should be avoided. What we've found time and again is that the supplements are not working. We don't need to go on studying them forever."

Researchers say people should rely on a healthy diet and regular exercise to prevent disease, not on sham quick-fix pills that do nothing but empty their wallets.

Interestingly, Dr. Mehmet Oz, who's known for promoting trendy new vitamins and supplements on his daily talk show, agrees that people should get their nutrients from food — not from supplements.

On the Dec. 17 episode of the Dr. Oz Show, Oz and his longtime colleague, Dr. Michael Roizen, said if anything, taking too many vitamins could actually be harmful to your health.

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