Q.  The latest issue of Prevention Magazine has apparently taken the position that vitamin supplementation (except for vitamin D, Omega 3s, B-12, and calcium) provides no real health benefits and may even be harmful. I would expect this from outdated medical sources, but was quite surprised to see this position taken by Prevention Magazine. They are claiming that their new position is supported by the latest cutting edge research. Can you shed light on this?

A.  I have not seen or read this issue but if what you say is true, it makes little sense to me. It's like saying only certain medications, such as a few antibiotics or heart medications are of benefit in treating certain medical conditions and the rest are not of any benefit. The whole issue is much more complicated. There are billions of people who live on this planet each with their unique biochemistry, physiology and metabolism, plus each has a diet from food sources from different regions that have different nutrient and mineral compositions. Add other factors such as climate, latitude, use of medications, medical diseases, psychiatric conditions, use of alcohol, tobacco, activity levels, sleep patterns, etc, and you can see that making blanket statements makes little sense. I cannot emphasize enough the metabolic uniqueness of each individual. There are hundreds of nutrient supplements and thousands of herbal supplements and they each have a role to play in health and disease.

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