Reviewed by Varnada Karriem-Norwood on June 14, 2012

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Steven Lamm, MD - Clinical Asst. Professor, NYU Medical Center.

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Video Transcript

: Should I add vitamin supplements to my diet?

Steven Lamm, MD: I think that the whole area of supplements is seeking evidence basis. The overwhelming number of individuals are using supplements in our society. And some of them are using them because they appreciate that one, the foods available to us are not as fresh, not as enriched with healthy nutrients as they would like and are hoping that the supplements can replace the inadequacy of our food supply. Some of them have some science behind them, and some of them don't have any science behind them.

Steven Lamm, MD (cont.): I think it's hard to do some of the evidence based studies that we expect—quote— of the pharmaceuticals, because there's not enough money involved to do these studies, or to fund the studies. I think that you've got to use some common sense and you've got to look at the evidence that is available to you when you start picking and choosing supplements.

Steven Lamm, MD (cont.): You know, one day vitamin E is good for you; one day vitamin E isn't good for you. One day vitamin C should be taken in smaller doses, and not the mega doses. Certain supplements become very trendy and very interesting. I do think that there are probably at least 10 supplements that for which there is enough evidence that would justify ingesting.

Steven Lamm, MD (cont.): I think that omega-3s are very useful. I think selenium is useful, I think chromium picolinate is useful, I think calcium and vitamin D is useful. I think pycongenol (pic-noj-en-all) which is an antioxidant, lutein is useful, lycopene is useful. I'm certain I've missed something, I apologize. But I do think that there are certain… probably… co-Q-10, soluble fiber, very, very important, so I do think that there are supplements that can benefit the average person.

Steven Lamm, MD (cont.): I think that it's probably not reasonable to take 100 supplements per day and spend all this amount money on that, but I think if you pick and choose the five or six, you know, the fiber, and the pycongenol and the omega-3s, I think you're probably doing a good job.

Steven Lamm, MD (cont.): But if you use that as a reminder that you need to change your eating habits, it's almost a trigger. Why would I use any of these supplements and smoke? Why would I use these supplements and then have trans-fatty acids in my diet? I mean you want to try to get people to be consistent and I think that the supplements should be part of that process and the road to wellness.