GIM faculty members Professors Edgar (Pete) Miller, MD, PhD, and Lawrence Appel, MD, MPH, along with GIM joint faculty member Professor Eliseo Guallar, MD, DrPH, are co-authors of an editorial in the December 17, 2013, issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine that has captured the attention of many news media. The editorial, titled “Enough Is Enough: Stop Wasting Money on Vitamin and Mineral Supplements”, summarizes the results of three studies reported in the same issue of the journal and refers to other similar studies in concluding that vitamin and mineral supplements should not be used in hopes of preventing the occurrence or progression of chronic diseases. The authors point to the use of dietary supplements by an increasing portion of the American public despite the scientific evidence that such supplements offer “no clear benefit and might even be harmful.” The other co-authors of the editorial were Saverio Stranges, MD, PhD, from the University of Warwick (UK) and Cynthia Mulrow, MD, MSc, Senior Deputy Editor at the Annals of Internal Medicine.
Media attention has included coverage on television, radio, websites, and newspapers. Dr. Miller, well known for his history of research on dietary supplements, has served as the point man for media interviews and is quoted in virtually all reports of the co-authored editorial. CBS Evening News broadcast a story on the findings on December 16th, pointing out that dietary supplements in the United States total close to $30 billion in annual sales. CNN focused on the conclusion that multi-vitamins were not helpful and thus a waste of money. In England, both The Times of London and The Guardian reported on the editorial. Both general interest and science-oriented websites, such as the Huffington Post and Livescience respectively, reported the research. In Canada, CBC Radio’s program “The Current” carried the story. Although not named, the professors reached super-star status on December 21st, when the report of their conclusions figured as a question about the week’s top news stories on National Public Radio’s quiz show “Wait, Wait. . . Don’t Tell Me!”. The contestant (from Bethesda) knew exactly what the public had been warned to stop wasting their money on.
All the media outlets cited above received many comments--sometimes into the thousands--on their wesites in response to the report. Congratulations to Drs. Appel, Miller and Guallar and their colleagues on bringing this important scientific evidence into the realm of public awareness and discussion!