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American Osteopathic Association

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Survey finds 4 in 5 Americans take vitamins, but it could be causing them more harm than good

More than 86 percent of Americans take some form of over-the-counter vitamin or supplement in attempt to improve their health. After all, it can’t hurt — right? Unfortunately, no. Taking vitamins does come at a cost. According to a recent survey on behalf of the American Osteopathic Association, only about a quarter of people (24 percent) actually received test results indicating a nutritional deficiency. “Numerous investigations show the alleged benefits are unproven and in the worst cases, vitamins and supplements can be harmful,” said Mike Varshavski, DO, an osteopathic family physician. People with documented nutritional deficiencies can most often and most effectively correct the problem with a change in diet. Since supplements don’t work as well as most people assume, taking vitamins can distract or deter people from taking other steps to treat their ailments, like improving nutrition or moderate exercise. As the multibillion dollar vitamin industry grows, Dr. Varshavski says…