Q. I have read lately that vitamin and mineral supplements are a waste of money. I beg to differ. I am a firm believer in supplements.
Magnesium and vitamin B6 have prevented a recurrence of kidney stones. Magnesium also prevents leg cramps. If I skip a few days, the excruciating muscle pain reminds me to restart my supplements.
A. An editorial in the Annals of Internal Medicine (Dec. 17, 2013) concluded that well nourished people don’t benefit from supplements and might even be harmed. It urged Americans to “stop wasting money on vitamin and mineral supplements.”
Your regimen of magnesium and vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), however, is supported in an article telling doctors how to help patients avoid recurrent kidney stones (Expert Opinion on Pharmacotherapy, March, 2013).
A recent study on veterans found that vitamin E (2000 IU daily) was more effective than placebo or the prescription drug Namenda (memantine) in delaying the onset of dementia in patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease (JAMA, Jan. 1, 2014). The controversy over supplements is not likely to go away any time soon. We expect that further research will continue to find instances in which vitamins do not help, as well as others in which certain vitamins make a difference. To stay up to date as more research is reported, Sign up for our Email Newsletter.