If anyone was to look at my desk at work they’d think I was super healthy. I have Blackmores Executive Stress Formula B, recommended to me by my mum, which helps reduce symptoms of stress. But I’m not an executive and, to be perfectly honest, I don’t get all that stressed.
I think it’s normal to get a bit anxious from time to time but I bought the vitamins nonetheless. Why? Probably because my mum swears by them, but I’ve only ever taken less than five from the bottle so who am I to judge? Mum is a teacher and teaching kids all day is a stressful job. She is also a single mum to my sister, 14, who lives at home. Sometimes I view her a bit like wonder woman as her days are always so full-on but I think she thrives on that and vitamins obviously help her.
But according to an article in The Age this morning, popping a daily multivitamin pill could be a waste of time and money, says consumer watchdog Choice.
“Healthy individuals who already eat a balanced diet but also take multivitamins could be spending money unnecessarily, an investigation by Choice found.”
“If you have a healthy diet and you’re not a person with specific nutritional requirements, there’s a good chance you’re wasting your money,” Choice spokeswoman Ingrid Just said.
“At 20 to 70 cents per day for multivitamin products we priced, the ‘worried well’ can spend several hundred dollars a year simply by taking a daily pill.”
It’s hard not to be influenced by advertising, especially during the Olympic Games – am I the only one who sings along to those Swisse vitamins ads? Or know their slogan off by heart “You’ll feel better on Swisse!”
“Marketing messages, often backed up by high-profile sporting celebrities, give the impression that we all need multivitamins to be fit and healthy,” she said in a statement.
Earlier this year I was finding it hard to fall asleep and it was driving me crazy. I didn’t want to get a prescription for sleeping tablets as they have a reputation for being addictive, so I purchased Swisse ‘sleep’ tablets. I will admit that this product helped calm my nerves and made me drowsy enough to fall into a peaceful sleep. I noticed that physically it aided my problem and I think this is the point. How do we really know how much these multivitamins are helping us if we don’t have any physical effects?
“Multivitamins are a big business, with Choice identifying eight different multivitamin products marketed by both Blackmores and Nature’s Own, 11 by Nature’s Way and 16 by Swisse. But some groups definitely benefit from supplements, including pregnant women taking folate before and after conception, the study pointed out.”
It’s an interesting study and I’m sure it will generate much debate. It’s easy to get sucked into clever marketing and with our fascination of being better, healthier versions of ourselves I’m not surprised.
Do you take multivitamins? Do you think they’ve helped you in any way? Are they being marketed to the ‘worried well’?
SUPPLEMENTS: WHO NEEDS THEM?
FOLATE: Pregnant women and those trying to conceive
VITAMIN D: People with limited exposure to sunlight such as institutionalised or bedbound elderly, dark-skinned people and veiled women.
VITAMIN B12: People on a strict vegan diet and the frail aged who may be eating poorly and/or absorbing less from their food.
OTHERS: People on restrictive diets (including those with eating disorders, food allergies or intolerances and those on low-kilojoule weight-loss diets). Supplement depends on the diet.
Choice recommends individuals consult a dietician or GP about their nutritional needs before opting for multivitamin or other supplements.
Rose Russo has written 56 posts.
Rose is a freelance writer, blogger and self confessed chocoholic who could quite easily live on a diet of turkish delight and English breakfast tea. She loves the fast paced nature of online media but sometimes feels like she’s the only member of Gen Y who still gets excited to pick up the newspaper on weekend mornings. If anyone has a Sportsgirl addiction cure please let her know [I may be on a first-name basis at my local store] She also writes a weekly column focusing on relationships, friendship and life stuff on her blog at The Budding Rose
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