Do multivitamins really work?

Do multivitamins really work?

Say What! Ditch your daily dose of multivitamins? Believe it or not, that seems to be the consensus after a series of recent studies caused a volcanic shift in the medical community about the use and benefits of multivitamins. The question…Do they really work?

Leading experts are weighing in with a resounding, NO.

“We believe that the case is closed — supplementing the diet of well-nourished adults with (most) mineral or vitamin supplements has no clear benefit and might even be harmful,” said the authors of an editorial published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine. “These vitamins should not be used for chronic disease prevention. Enough is enough.”

This strong message comes after a panel of experts convened by the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force in November found that there wasn’t enough evidence to conclude that most multivitamins could curb heart disease or cancer. The group, which reviewed 26 studies conducted between 2005 and 2013, also found that taking vitamin E may actually increase the risk of lung cancer in smokers. But the group did give a nod to vitamin D, which has been shown to be both effective and ineffective for preventing fractures and falls in the elderly.

In a statement to CBS News, one of the study’s co-authors, Dr. Edgar Miller said people should “stop wasting [their] money” on multivitamins.

Instead, Miller suggests folks spend their dollars on healthier food choices like veggies, fruits, nuts, beans and get plenty of exercise. These things, he said, will serve you better long-term.

It’s estimated that half of all Americans take vitamin and mineral supplements—with sales in 2010 reaching a whopping $28 billion.

The latest string of studies has put mounting pressure on the industry. Just last year, Pfizer agreed to remove both “colon and breast health” claims from some of its Centrum multivitamins following pressure from the Center for Science in the Public Interest, which called their claims of cancer prevention misleading.

But not everyone agrees with the data. In fact, a dietary supplement industry group slammed the editorial and studies.

In a statement Steve Mister, president and CEO of the Council for Responsible Nutrition, said “It’s a shame for consumers that the authors refuse to recognize the real-life need for vitamin and mineral supplementation, living in a fairy-tale world that makes the inaccurate assumption that we’re all eating healthy diets and getting everything we need from food alone.”

Mister’s comments drive home the point of America’s reputation for poor diet choices and not-so-great obesity statistics. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 72 million Americans are considered obese.

And other experts agree that those who are nutrient-deficient may still benefit from multivitamins such as people with conditions like celiac disease — where the body doesn’t properly absorb nutrients. The same goes for women who are pregnant where folic acid has been shown to help prevent birth defect of the baby’s brain and spinal cord.

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  1. Interesting article..t

  2. *Side Eye* The Medical doctors are paid by the pharm companies. Of course they would say that vitamins were a waste. They are in the “Sick” business. There’s no money to be made be healthly people. There are too many people who do not get enough vitamins through their diets or allergic to components in certain foods and vitamins fill the gaps. High doses of vitamin C has been proven to help heal.

  3. This study stated that multivitamins have no benefits for those who are healthy with adequate nutrition. And the study was of of muliviatamins made in China that had minimal if any natural ingredients. Chicken is being reported to contain arcenic and how depleted are the soils, add in all the chemicals and GMOs being used on food. Continue the obsession with quick food how can people recieve adequate nutrition? Big Pharma has been trying to kill the supplement industry for years

  4. To me, we need to listen to the wording of what is being said. The studies show “no benefit in the prevention of heart disease or cancer” but that is not the only reason to take multivitamins. What about vegans who need extra iron and B12 or those of us on chloesterol lowering medications that may interfere with the absorbtion of fat soluble vitamins, etc? As the article points out, there are many of us who do not get enough of all vitamins and minerals in our diets no matter how healthy we try to eat. Yes, I agree that it is best to get what we need by eating a variety of healthful foods, but I for one have not been taking vitamins with the idea that they would prevent chronic diseases but rather help to keep me healthy by insuring that I am getting everything I need with a supplement. Until I see evidence that says there is NO BENEFIT in taking a vitamin/mineral supplement I will continue to take my daily multi.

  5. If FDA makes corps stop dumping toxins into our water /air Cancer would go down
    FDA is way too lenient . Billionaire owners of corp have way TOO much power
    aka MONEY TALKS Lobbyists as well Likes of the Koch Bros

  6. This talks mostly of multivitamins. I always wondered how they fit the list of ingredients on the back of my multivitamin bottle I’m one small pill when if you took it with individual supplements it would be two handfuls of taking individual supplements more useful? Are multivitamins compacted in a way that makes them less effective?

  7. I really enjoyed the article as well as the shrewd responses. It was nice to see someone caught the mention of there not being a clear connection between vitamin intake and prevention of hearth disease etc and also doctors being in the sick business. I guess researchers are as well.

    Heart disease and other illnesses like it depend on how much good and bad fat you eat and genetics. Not a miracle multivitamin. As I eat my arugula, cauliflower, chickpea and tomato salad for lunch, I was wondering if I should order some Alive! multivitamins. Even though I eat healthier than most people I still recognize that I may be missing some minerals and enzymes. I know that they must do something because when I take vitamins, my hair seems to grow much faster and I have more energy. Last year, I started a combination of D3 and C and didn’t get sick once– when every other year I have.

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health enews Staff
health enews Staff

health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Health Care and Aurora Health Care sites, which also includes freelance or intern writers.