After I got out of the shower this morning, I rushed through a breakfast of two Greek yogurt cups to get some protein in me, a V8 because vegetables are expensive, and a lukewarm bottle of water to top it all off. But as I was heading out the door, I realized I hadn’t taken a multi-vitamin the night before so I popped one of those too.
But then I realized that it’s cold season and I haven’t been getting that much sleep, so I took a few Vitamin C and zinc supplements as well.
Then I remembered I was going to the gym later, so I mixed a quick protein shake, loading it with things like creatine and L-arganine, whatever the hell that is.
Finally, I made it out the front door, only to see a bright penny, heads up, on the ground in front of me. With the giddiness of an 8-year old, I scooped it up, observed it for a second, and happily put it in my pocket. Now I knew that penny wasn’t doing anything more than raising my personal net worth by one single cent, but, like a well-stocked vitamin shelf, it just felt good to have.
Except now Slate has gone and reported today on yet another medical journal stating that multivitamins contain “no substantial health benefit.” The journal, The Annals of Internal Medicine, also scientifically skewers a few other popular supplement types such as anti-oxidants, folic acid, and B-vitamins, all of which I think I’ve taken before.
But so I’m just supposed to NOT take a multi-vitamin now?
What if science is wrong? What if they just don’t understand the magic behind multi-vitamins yet? Didn’t they once think the sun revolved around the Earth? They could be wrong again, right?
Plus it feels so good to take them…
They’re the physical encapsulation of the self-rationalizing notion, “This will make up for what I didn’t do before.” They’re what I believe will make up for the lack of sleep, the skipped workout, the high-stress environment. They’re a promise in a pill that it’s all going to be ok. I mean, I checked the label; I’m getting 100% of what I apparently need.
And if I’m not, I’ve decided it doesn’t matter.
I’m going to stay a part of the 40% of Americans that report taking some sort of multi-vitamin or mineral. I’m going to let my hard-earned money join the $23 billion that industry has raked in. I’m going to take my multi-vitamin and my turmeric and my creatine and my anti-oxidant blend — even if I don’t have a good reason to.
I consider myself a man of Science. I believe in empirical proof. I usually try to ascribe to the most rational lines of thinking. But I am, however, incredibly superstitious…
I stop the microwave at 12 seconds because it’s Aaron Rodgers’ jersey number, I kiss yellow lights when I drive through them, and before every rugby game I pick up a handful of grass and rub it between my hands. I don’t know why I do these things, but I know that like an assuaged OCDer, I just feel better after it’s done.
And I know those things sound a bit nuts (and I’m not arguing), but with all the evidence mounting that says our respective snake oils aren’t doing shit, isn’t it the same mentality we’re all using when it comes to vitamins?
Aren’t we just spending a pretty penny on supplements that might give us the feeling that an actual penny brought me earlier today?
Unfortunately, I know that I’m still going to take my multi-vitamin today, feel good about myself for doing it, and then hate myself when I have to go buy a new jug of them for $31.99.
I am not the change I wish to see in the world.