Response to Mineral Supplement Editorial

Teratology Society Response to Supplementation Concerns

In an article entitled "Enough Is Enough: Stop Wasting Money on Vitamin andMineral Supplements," published in Annals of Internal Medicine, (2013;159:850-851) it is reported that "supplementing the diet of well-nourished adults with (most) mineral or vitamin supplements has no clear benefit and might even be harmful." Teratology Society members Suzan L. Carmichael and Carl L. Keen provided the following response:

"In the U.S., women of reproductive age (e.g., 15-44 years) comprise about 24% of the adult population, and 45% of female adults. We hope that the recent commentary will not detract from supplement use in this vulnerable – and substantial – part of the population. Supplement use is particularly important for women “at-risk” of becoming pregnant – i.e., before they become pregnant. Good pre-pregnancy nutritional status is important since over half of all pregnancies are unplanned, and most birth defects occur in the first several weeks of pregnancy, before many women even realize they are pregnant.

The Public Health Service, including the Surgeon General, CDC and FDA, and the National Academy of Sciences recommend that women at risk of becoming pregnant take a multivitamin/mineral supplement that contains at least 400 µg of folic acid, primarily to prevent neural tube defects. Supplement use has also been associated with reduced risk of other birth defects and adverse reproductive outcomes. The Teratology Society reiterates its support for the daily intake of vitamin and mineral supplements for women of childbearing age."

See full article and responses online.


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