First, let me say in advance that I am not a nutritionist and I don’t claim to have any special expertise whatsoever in this area relating to vitamins and supplements, except to say that my girlfriend once gave me a few bottles of multivitamins ostensibly designed for (ugh) ‘seniors.‘  (I think she was stuck on the idea of “high potency.”)  The box containing these supposed super pills was semi-dazzling.  It had the word “Centrum” printed on a beautiful silver package, leading  me to believe that I could live to a 100… or maybe even catch up to Methuselah (the biblical guy who made it to 969 – could this have been doggie years?).  Anyway, I took ‘em dutifully for a few months, and I still couldn’t return a serve.    Forget the lack of improvement in my ping pong skills, I just don’t think the pills were doing me a lot of good for anything.  So much for the hype.  I mean I still had some lucid intervals when my brain appeared to function, but there were numerous times when l couldn’t find my keys, when I’d forget to take the garbage out on garbage day or I’d forget to feed the cat ( yeah, Snowball missed a couple of meals – don’t fret, he needed to be on a diet anyway). And my back pain never let up. Additionally, I still went through several colds, my blood pressure remained high and my arthritis still made it difficult to put on my socks in the morning.  And did I mention my sore back?   

       But, look, I can still read and I am able to do some research which entails finding reliable, medically trustworthy sites which enable me to make this post (even though my back is killing me – did I bring that up already?).

     First, let me ask you something:  Do you take vitamin pills and supplements?  Well, if you’re older than 65 you probably do. According to a Gallop Poll from 2013, sixty-eight percent of Americans who are 65 or older do just that, and they’re very content doing it.  As a matter of fact, there’s a good chance that you are not just taking one pill.  If  you’re like the average pill poppin’ devotee out there – a pillbilly – you’re  probably taking a few of these things.  We’ll assume that you gulp ‘em down  because it improves your health, right?  At least that’s what you probably believe.  But guess what?  Ding!  Ding! Ding!   Incorrecto! (with some few exceptions).

     Everything is out there. Stuff to make you smarter, to give you an erection, to grow some hair, to make your muscles pop, to put you to sleep, to wake you up – I mean  there’s no end to it.  It’s downright dizzying,  and just about all of it is worthless and useless (notwithstanding what some PBS gurus are saying).   Yep, all those  pills and capsules are for naught (with exceptions, as noted).  The 30 billion dollars spent on attempts to improve one’s health and fitness  with  those B vitamins, Vitamin C,  magnesium, melatonin, the assortments of powders and enzymes, zinc , the kids formulas, the women’s formulas, the men’s formulas, etc. etc., is tantamount to pouring money down the drain.   “Almost all vitamin, mineral and other nutrient supplements or diets cannot be linked to longer life or protection from heart disease.”  That’s not me saying this, it’s Johns Hopkins Medicine saying it.  And it’s current information.  The article corroborating this conclusion appears in  the July 8th edition of the Annals of Internal Medicine, an authoritative medical publication.   The senior author  goes on to say that “The panacea or magic bullet that people keep searching for in dietary supplements isn’t there … People should focus on getting their nutrients from a heart-healthy diet, because the data increasingly show that the majority of healthy adults don’t need to take supplements.”

   Actually, taking some of these supplements can be risky or just plain dangerous.  Example:  I just came upon a recent study  published in July  of this year (2019) which found that taking calcium and vitamin D supplements together might increase your risk of having a stroke.  Example II:  Ingesting high doses of vitamin C can cause stomach cramping and diarrhea. (Be aware that there’s a host of other side effects and potentially serious drug interactions that can do great harm – far too many to mention here.)

    Conclusion:   There is strong  medical evidence that you can satisfy your vitamin and mineral  needs by having a balanced, nutritious diet, which is a positive goal for PwP.  Lao Du