Editorial: You do not need a multivitamin

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Daily multivitamins are not needed.

Vitamin Pills

Vitamin Pills

A daily multivitamin and mineral pill are the most popular supplement in the United States. The vitamin and supplement industry is a multibillion-dollar business that is predicated on making you think you need them to survive.   They want you to believe that you can make up for nutrients absent from your diet can be replaced with a pill.  The problem is that the researchers do not agree with this concept.  I am not saying that vitamins are not necessary.  Your doctor may tell you that you need a vitamin.  This is especially necessary when you are pregnant or have a known deficiency or if you are taking a medication that depletes your supply of a vitamin or mineral.  In pregnancy, for example, you need to take more folic acid to lower the risk of neural tube birth defects.  

Fruit bowl

Fruit bowl

The best way to get your nutrients is to eat a balanced diet filled with fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and healthy oils, but when we diet, it is often hard to get enough of certain foods.  People often take them to make up for poor eating habits, to help prevent a variety of diseases, or just to stay healthy in general, but the evidence is lacking for anyone other than those with a documented health need or deficiency.  

According to “Enough is enough: Stop wasting money on vitamin and mineral supplements” from the Annals of Internal Medicine from 2013, vitamins should not be used for chronic disease prevention[1].  The also pointed out that β-carotene, vitamin E, and possibly high doses of vitamin A supplements are harmful.  Thier research found that other antioxidants, folic acid and B vitamins, and multivitamin and mineral supplements were ineffective for preventing mortality or morbidity due to major chronic diseases.  In fact, Meanwhile, the influential U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, independent experts who advise the government, concluded that it still couldn’t recommend taking multivitamins and mineral supplements.  Where does all this leave people who take these supplements?

The bottom line: Supplementing the diet of most of us is unneeded, a waste of money, and potentially harmful.  Well-nourished adults simply do not need a supplement.  As the authors put it: “Stop wasting money on vitamin and mineral supplements”.

Footnotes
[1]Guallar et al., “Enough Is Enough: Stop Wasting Money on Vitamin and Mineral Supplements.”
Guallar, Eliseo, Saverio Stranges, Cynthia Mulrow, Lawrence J. Appel, and Edgar R. Miller. “Enough Is Enough: Stop Wasting Money on Vitamin and Mineral Supplements.” Annals of Internal Medicine 159, no. 12 (December 17, 2013): 850–51. https://doi.org/10.7326/0003-4819-159-12-201312170-00011.
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About the Author

ChuckH
I am a family physician who has served in the US Army. In 2016, I found myself overweight, out of shape, and unhealthy, so I made a change to improve my health. This blog is the chronology of my path to better health and what I have learned along the way.

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