There are many people across the nation that take a daily multivitamin because they believe it will improve their health. However, according to a new editorial published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine, purchasing multivitamins could be a waste of time and money. The editorial is in response to three new studies that were recently published in the same journal.
The editorial says that research does not show a health benefit to taking most vitamin supplements. It also talks about how multivitamins don’t seem to prevent death or disease. The editorial’s authors included researchers from Johns Hopkins University, the University of Warwick and the American College of Physicians.
In the editorial, the authors wrote, “The message is simple: Most supplements do not prevent chronic disease or death, their use is not justified, and they should be avoided. This message is especially true for the general population with no clear evidence of micronutrient deficiencies, who represent most supplement users in the United States and in other countries.”
Supplements of antioxidants, folic acid and vitamin B specifically have been found to hold no benefits and could potentially be harmful. Beta-carotene and vitamin E could also be harmful, along with high doses of vitamin A. The authors of the editorial also wrote that multivitamins also don’t seem to hold any additional benefits, saying, “this evidence, combined with biological considerations, suggests that any effect, either beneficial or harmful, is probably small.”
Dr. Edgar Miller, a professor of medicine and epidemiology at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and one of the authors of the editorial, said, “The (vitamin and supplement) industry is based on anecdote, people saying ‘I take this, and it makes me feel better.’” He continued, “It’s perpetuated. But when you put it to the test, there’s no evidence of benefit in the long term. It can’t prevent mortality, stroke or heart attack.”