We should never have told people to start taking vitamins.

It seems like simple, obvious advice: Eat your vegetables, get some exercise, and, of course, take your vitamins.

Or not.

Decades of research has failed to find substantial evidence that vitamins and supplements do any significant good.

Nevertheless, several shiny new pills and powders have materialized in recent years that promise to deliver health and wellness in ways no other vitamin has before.


One of them, called Ritual , arrives at your doorstep in a bright white and highlighter-yellow box. Inside, you’ll find a 1-month supply of pills. These aren’t your grandma’s vitamins. Each pill is a clear, glass-like capsule filled with a handful of tiny white beads that float suspended in oil.

Despite the fact that each pill is practically a work of art, Ritual’s pills don’t differ much from your standard vitamin. They contain less of some traditional vitamin ingredients that decades of research have shown we don’t need, but have similar amounts of magnesium, Vitamin K, folate, Vitamin B12, iron, boron, Vitamin E, and Vitamin D as a standard Alive-brand vitamin.

Another one of these newly-designed vitamins is Care/of , whose personalized daily vitamin packets come in a box that looks like a tea-bag dispenser with the words “Hi [your name],” printed on the top right corner. Again, the ingredients don’t differ drastically from those in conventional vitamins.

No matter how colorful their packaging or personal their messaging, all of these vitamin formulations fall prey to the exact same problem: We simply do not need vitamins to be healthy. Instead, we should be getting the nutrients that vitamin-makers peddle from the foods we eat.

“We use vitamins as insurance policies against whatever else we might (or might not) be eating, as if by atoning for our other nutritional sins, vitamins can save us from ourselves,” writes science reporter Catherine Price in the book ” Vitamania.

Here’s the thing: They can’t.

Virtually any registered dietitian, doctor, public health expert , or physician will likely reiterate some version of the advice health professionals have been giving for decades. Eat real food. Eat fruits and veggies. Eat in moderation. Stay away from processed foods and sugary beverages when you can. Or, in the words of the well-known journalist and food writer Michael Pollan , “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”

There’s another reason to stay away from most pills and powders: Some can be harmful. Several supplements have been linked with an increase in certain cancers , for example, while others have been associated with arisk of kidney stones .

In her book, Price suggests that this knowledge about vitamins might help us “rediscover something both surprising and empowering: that, while nutrition itself is amazingly complex, the healthiest, most scientific, and most pleasurable way to eat is not that complicated at all.”


Boron has been detected on Mars for the first time.

The first signs of habitable groundwater.

The Curiosity rover has found boron on the surface of Mars, indicating that, at some point, the Red Planet had long-term habitable groundwater.

Boron is a chemical signature of evaporated water, and while we still don’t know if Mars once hosted life, the discovery is further evidence that the planet was once plentiful with water, and therefore habitable.

“No prior mission to Mars has found boron,” said one of the researchers, Patrick Gasda, from the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico.

The location of the discovery indicates that the subsurface groundwater the boron was dissolved in would have been warm and suitable for microbial life to thrive in.

“If the boron that we found in calcium sulphate mineral veins on Mars is similar to what we see on Earth, it would indicate that the groundwater of ancient Mars that formed these veins would have been 0-60 degrees Celsius [32-140 degrees Fahrenheit] and neutral-to-alkaline pH,” said Gasda.

Curiosity found the boron on its trek up the slopes of Mount Sharp, within the Gale Crater. It identified the mineral using its on board laser-shooting instrument called Chemistry and Camera.

Boron here on Earth is associated with sites where there was once lots of water, but it’s since evaporated away – like California’s Death Valley.

That might not necessarily be the case on Mars, but the team thinks the boron could have once been dissolved in the great lake that filled the Gale crater. As the lake dried up, the boron seeped down into groundwater.

Further testing is needed to identify exactly how the boron ended up in this site specifically and nowhere else we’ve yet studied, but the team has two hypotheses.

Either the drying out of the Gale lake resulted in a vast boron-containing deposit in an overlying layer that Curiosity hasn’t yet reached, or maybe shifts in the chemistry of clay-bearing deposits and groundwater changed how boron was transported around local sediments, so it’s not found everywhere that water once was.

The results were presented at a meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco last week. They’ve yet to be published in a peer-reviewed journal, and the team has a lot more work to do in analysing the samples before that happens.

But the find is still incredibly exciting. As Curiosity made its way up Mount Sharp, drilling every 25 metres (80 feet), it’s seen evidence of changing rock composition that indicates shifting ancient lakes and wet underground environments back on ancient Mars.

“There is so much variability in the composition at different elevations, we’ve hit a jackpot,” said one of the team, John Grotzinger from Caltech.

“A sedimentary basin such as this is a chemical reactor. Elements get rearranged. New minerals form and old ones dissolve. Electrons get redistributed. On Earth, these reactions support life.”

“We are seeing chemical complexity indicating a long, interactive history with the water. The more complicated the chemistry is, the better it is for habitability. The boron and clay underline the mobility of elements and electrons, and that is good for life.”

Without actually finding evidence of ancient microbes, we’re not going to be able to say for sure whether Mars once hosted life. But with each discovery, it seems more and more likely that it could have at least been possible.

And if we can find out why life did or didn’t form on the red planet, we might gain some insight into one of the most fundamental human mysteries: why we seem to be so alone in the Universe.

Watch the video. URL:https://youtu.be/D29hjfiSHzc