Wellness Wednesday

Dr. Kristin Woodward takes a look at multivitamins and antibacterial soap.

Are we wasting our money on vitamins? 53 percent of U.S. adults take vitamins and supplements to improve overall health. Three articles published in the Annals of Internal Medicine looked at vitamins and the progression of heart disease, cancer, overall cognitive function, and death. The three studies failed to show a clear benefit. Experts address this issue in a letter titled, “Enough is Enough: Stop Wasting Money on Vitamin and Mineral Supplements.”

However, other experts argue that the individuals in the study are not a clear representation of people in the U.S. They state, although over thirty percent of Americans are obese many are malnourished. Taking a Multi-vitamin are low risk and anecdotally many people “feel better” when taking a vitamin.

We know it is best getting your vitamins and minerals in your diet. Try to eat a colorful diet, or all the colors in the rainbow, and try to stick to the perimeter of the store when grocery shopping.

There are some groups that should take vitamins. Women trying to become pregnant or are pregnant need to take a prenatal vitamin. People with gastrointestinal disorders or chronic liver and kidney disease, post-menopausal women, and anyone with vitamin deficiencies will need to supplement their diet with vitamins. Talks to you doctor to see if you have further questions about your specific needs.

Another medical topic this week asks looks at “anti-bacterial soap.” The Federal Drug Administration is proposing new rules for various products that use a chemical called, triclosan. Triclosan is found in many household items such as hand soap. There is concern that the chemical interferes with hormones in the body and may lead to early puberty or even infertility.

Hand sanitizers that do not require water use alcohol and do not have triclosan as an ingredient. You can look at the label to see if a particular soap has the chemical.