Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

If Buying Vitamins Feels This Good, Why Take Them?

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

If Buying Vitamins Feels This Good, Why Take Them?

Article excerpt

My friend Peter shrugged last weekend when I asked him about vitamins.

"Years ago," he said, "I took them for a few months. But they didn't do anything, so I stopped."

My friend Troy carries his vitamins around in a plastic box the size of the Encyclopedia Britannica - an image that should register with you if you happen to be over the age of 20.

If you're not, imagine printing out Wikipedia.

All of it.

"Vitamins give me energy," Troy insisted, referring, presumably, to the energy to carry them everywhere he goes. "They are expensive, though."

I was suddenly curious about this subject because, in the course of my (early) spring cleaning, I keep uncovering dusty stashes of vitamins that I've purchased through the years, tossed into a drawer, closet or cabinet, and promised - but failed - to toss down my throat.

I have the energy to buy vitamins. I just don't have the energy to take them. And I don't understand them, either.

I can tell you everything you need to know about A, E, I, O, U and sometimes Y.

But I'm a little fuzzy on B-12, D and sometimes K.

I know that companies like GNC and the New Jersey-based Vitamin Shoppe are highly profitable. Every three years or so, I go into one of these stores and spend over $100 at a time on little bottles of this, that and the other thing.

I also shop for supplements online and on the Home Shopping Network, where I've purchased such impressive-sounding formulas as Ginseng-200 ($53.90), Ultimate Eye Support ($149.90) and Co-Enzyme Q- 10 (for $179).

Then, I sit down with my purchases, read their labels, swallow a few and vow that THIS TIME - unlike last time - I have a regimen I'm going to stick to.

"As God is my witness, I will never stop taking vitamins again."

Alas, that faux fortitude lasts about a week. Every morning, thereafter, I wake up, pour myself a steaming cup of coffee - filled to the brim with Vitamin Zero - and stare at my yellow, pink and scary-gray pills and capsules.

"You don't really want to swallow all those things, do you?" I seem to ask myself.

"Maybe later," I seem to reply.

Of course, plenty of people gobble down handfuls of vitamins every day. And they don't just take them, they research them, fetishize them and try to get you hooked on them, too. …

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