Supplements Safety – PBS Frontline and your daily pills

Supplements Safety –  PBS Frontline and your daily pills

If I need to know what day it is I can look at my weekly vitamin bin. Oh yeah it’s Sunday. Well, at least I think its Sunday ‘cause  “Saturday” is empty.

pill drawers

Sound familiar?   Over the past ten years my pill box with the days of the week initialed on each little plastic door has grown bigger and more massive. I turn on the light and look at the old man in the mirror, then glance down at the initials emblazoned in bold colors and sizes so I can see them as I squint and wonder where the young guy went.

I shrug off the night’s sleep and squint in the bright vanity light. I open Sunday’s door and dump the pills onto the Apple emblem peeking out on the back of my iPad cover. I use it as a tray to try to corral all the pills.  It takes three batches to swallow them all.


Now I have done something good for myself and for my wife.

Or have I?

Earlier in the day in the day Gail recorded a PBS Frontline special about Supplements Safety . Bottom line is my pill box is going to start to shrink. Read on.


Bottom line is the supplement business is full of mis-labeled pills, ineffective results, and little or no scientific data to support claims made by the promoters. My conclusion is this: Take only what your doctor prescribes and instead of supplements eat fresh vegetables and fruit, exercise, and save your pill money for other, more important and more pleasureable things, like a good bottle of wine.

Here are my key take-aways from the above PBS Frontline Special about Supplements Safety that I want to share with you. Then please watch the show (You can watch the entire episode here) and make your own conclusions. (These are mine and I’m just some old guy that takes a bunch of pills everyday).

  1. There is no regulation or oversight on this industry. The FDA has only 25 employees in the supplement side of the business. It’s the wild west.  Not only are the manufacturers not required to prove what is in their pills, they are not even, in many cases, using good manufacturing practices.
  2. Quality control is poor, many tests showed that most bottles didn’t even contain what they said they contained. This was across many well known brands from main line retailers.
  3. There is little or no scientific study that proves supplements do what they say they will do. This goes for fish oil, vitamin E, and many other very popular supplements.
  4. Taking some ssupplements can actually be harmful in the quantities that people are taking them
  5. The supplement industry is huge and profitable and supports a big lobbying group. (Don’t trust the government to have your back in this game).

My pill box is going to get smaller.


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