Insta-vitamins: Celebrities, influencers boast vitamins and supplements — but are they worth it?

A scrolling session on Instagram can quickly suck you into the vortex of celebrity-hyped beauty and health products, a veritable glossy revolving door of goo, pills and promises.

We’re all over social media bloggers and floggers buzzing about brighteners, tighteners and whiteners, giving cult status to products like black toothpaste, liquid lipsticks, coffee grain scrubs and industrial-strength charcoal face masks to pull out our perceived ugliness and mask our imperfections.

There’s lots of glow and flawlessness promised from the inside out too with a litany of thumb-stopping vitamins and supplements to boost hair, skin and nails, hyped by the stars and consumed by rabid fans. Gwyneth Paltrow, actress turned online nutritionist, claims certain vitamins can fight dull skin, wrinkles and fatigue, and she peddles her Goop vitamins and supplements with cutesy names like Why Am I So Effing Tired and Balls in the Air.

The Kardashian-Jenner clan are all about sharing beauty secrets, including Sugar Bear Hair gummies. Kim recently paraded 17 of her beauty staples – for a grand total $4,200! La Mer The Serum Essence is one of her big favourites at US$630 – and now likely a favourite of infected followers.

Khloe Kardashian has Instagramed her regime of mass vitamin intake – 23 per day! She along with her sister Kylie and stars like Katy Perry have shared images of their extensive vitamin obsessions on social media. Instagram queen Tati Westbrook, a.k.a. @glamlifeguru, promises her 1.2 million followers that her candy-pink Halo Beauty supplements will prevent premature greying hair and wrinkles. And for “gorgeous skin, strong bones, and overall glow,” beauty guru Bobbi Brown claims the fix is in her Evolution 18 supplements and protein powders.

Instagram Photo

Instagram Photo

So will Insta-famous vitamins and supplements deliver what they promise, make us more Gwyneth-esque? Or is it best we just chew our food rather than rely on a pill? According to Atlantic pharmacist Alan Strashok, of Express Scripts Canada, you may want the Kardashians’ hair, but save your money. “In terms of effectiveness, there are no studies that prove that these products do what they say they do, and often they are two to five times as expensive as other supplements containing the same ingredients.”

Unfortunately, social media is a world where public opinion can often trump science, says Strashok. There is little evidence that these products do what they say but if enough celebrities claim miracles, scientific proof be damned. “Many of the celebrity-endorsed supplements contain the same ingredients as other, cheaper supplements. Paying more is not getting you better results… It’s nice if a celebrity you admire endorses the product, but that does not guarantee the effectiveness or even the safety of the product inside,” says Strashok.

According to leading food and nutrition expert Abby Langer, recent research shows that multivitamins aren’t of any benefit for most healthy people. If you eat a fairly complete diet, you should be getting everything you need from that. “The exception may be B12 for vegans. Sometimes I’ll recommend individual vitamins or minerals to people who are short on, most often, B12 but also iron and omega-3 fatty acids.”

We live in a culture where celebrities sell the concept of wellness and quick fixes to what they say is wrong with us – even if it’s not,” says Langer, of abbylangernutrition.com. “I’m very skeptical of most of the products that celebrities promote, because they tend to be overpriced and unnecessary for most people. I’ve never actually seen a supplement sold by a celebrity that was a prerequisite for anyone being healthy.

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According to Strashok, a vitamin’s effectiveness is not dependent on the price. Some vitamins are cheaper to manufacture than others. Vitamin D3, for example, is around $5 for a bottle of 90 capsules, and a multi vitamin is typically around $15 for 90. “There are some substances, such as calcium, where the more expensive varieties are in fact better and easier for the body to absorb. Calcium carbonate derived from oyster shell is $5 for 90 and Calcium Citrate 300mg might be $12 for 90. You actually absorb much more pure calcium from the citrate variety and so in fact it’s bargain at $12 for what your body gets from it.”

Our modern diets don’t always contain all of the vitamins and minerals we need to stay healthy, says Strashok, adding that a nutritionist can take a look at your diet and let you know what changes you could make to get a better balance of nutrients. “If you don’t have the time or the inclination to change your diet, a multivitamin might be a good idea.”

More is not better when it comes to vitamins: Take what you need according to your pharmacist or doctor but do not take more than the recommended dose, ever.

And avoid colorful painted vitamins as well as any ingredient you know you cannot tolerate, adds Strashok, who is part of express-scripts.ca which fills prescriptions and offers a pharmacist online consultation experience for Canadians.

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Source:: Toronto Sun – Movies