Vitamania: Our Obsessive Quest for Nutritional Perfection

Catherine Price. Penguin Press, $27.95 (336p) ISBN 978-1-59420-504-0
This lively investigational work from journalist Price reveals how little we know about vitamins—both how much we need or how they work—and how our vitamin obsession is actually making us less healthy. “[R]espected health organizations," she writes, “do not recommend that healthy people with no nutritional deficiencies take multivitamin supplements." Instead, the best advice is the simplest: “if the healthiest doses of vitamins and other micronutrients appear to be those found in food... then we should stop taking pills and just eat food." Price's survey of the history of vitamin discovery—prompted by deadly deficiencies in vitamins C, D, and A—unveils troubling societal consequences: We've become “obsessed" with the idea of the vitamin, “one of the most brilliant marketing terms of all time." With the introduction of the first multivitamin in the mid-1930s, “protection in a pill" has become the goal fueling a supplement industry that has escaped stringent regulation: “many supplement ingredients that are allowed to be sold in the United States have been definitively proven to have both short- and long-term health risks." Price raises important questions about both supplements and vitamins, and if our government isn't asking them, at the very least, consumers must. Agent: Jay Mandel, William Morris Endeavor. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 02/09/2015
Release date: 02/24/2015
Compact Disc - 978-1-4815-0282-5
Compact Disc - 978-1-4815-0280-1
MP3 CD - 978-1-4815-0281-8
Ebook - 453 pages - 978-1-925113-69-3
Paperback - 336 pages - 978-0-14-310815-3
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