Nutrition In a Pill?

I took 3,000 supplements over five months. Here's what happened

Photographs by Justin Fantl for TIME

Vitamin-C pills don't fall into either category. Instead, they're part of the incredibly popular, poorly regulated world of dietary supplements

The first question isn't why but why not? Vitamins, probiotics, omega-3 capsules, antioxidant pills: they can't hurt, right? Around the corner of each advancing birthday lurks a possible affliction — arthritis, cancer, Alzheimer's — and a giant industry has emerged to try to prevent them all. Americans now spend an estimated $28 billion a year on dietary supplements — more than twice what we spent in 1995 and more than $5 billion more than what we pay each year for gym memberships. But do supplements actually work?

Dietary supplements occupy the broad, poorly regulated space between two more-defined kinds of consumables:...