Taking diet supplements doesn’t guarantee good health

Last Updated: Apr 23, 2011, 11:42 AM IST

Washington: Do you belong to the one-half of the population that frequently uses dietary supplements to get better health?

Well, a new study has shown that taking dietary supplements doesn’t guarantee good health.

Wen-Bin Chiou of National Sun Yat-Sen University decided to test if frequent use of dietary supplements had ironic consequences for subsequent health-related behaviours after observing a colleague chose an unhealthy meal over an organic meal simply because the colleague had taken a multivitamin earlier in the day.

"After reviewing the literature of the prevalence of dietary supplement use, it seemed to show that use of dietary supplements is increasing, but it does not appear to be correlated with improved public health," said Chiou.

Chiou conducted the study along with Chao-Chin Yang of National Kaohsiung University of Hospitality and Tourism and Chin-Sheng Wan of Southern Taiwan University.

Two different experiments were conducted using a diverse set of behavioural measures to determine whether the use of dietary supplements would license subsequent health-related behaviours.

Participants in Group A were instructed to take a multivitamin and participants in the control group were assigned to take a placebo.

The results from the experiments and survey demonstrated that participants who believed they had taken dietary supplements felt invulnerable to health hazards, thus leading them to engage in health-risk behaviours.

Specifically, participants in the perceived supplement use group expressed less desire to engage in exercise and more desire to engage in hedonic activities, preferred a buffet over an organic meal and walked less to benefit their health than the control group.

The study was published in Psychological Science.

ANI