Science Has Spoken: Investing In A Daily Multivitamin May Be A Waste Of Money
One multivitamin a day keeps the doctor away, right? According to a new study led by researchers at St. Michael’s Hospital and the University of Toronto, this claim might just be false advertising.
The study, which was published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, looked at the effects of the most common supplements in reducing the risk of serious health conditions like cardiovascular disease, heart attack, stroke and premature death. Supplements reviewed included vitamins A, B1, B2, B3 (niacin), B6, B9 (folic acid), C, D and E, as well as beta-carotene, calcium, iron, zinc, magnesium and selenium. The effect of multivitamins, a term that the researchers used to describe supplements that included multiple vitamins and minerals rather than just a few, was also analyzed in the study.
The team reviewed existing data and single randomized control trials (a particular type of study that aims to eliminate participant bias) published between January 2012 and October 2017 to determine whether these popular supplements played a role in preventing the aforementioned deadly conditions. And according to lead author Dr. David Jenkins, the study findings indicate that although no harm can come from supplementing with multivitamins, vitamin D, calcium or vitamin C, these popular supplements offer “no apparent advantage,” either.
The only supplements that presented significant health benefits were folic acid (vitamin B9) supplements and other B-vitamin supplements that also included folic acid. Supplementing with folic acid was linked to a possible reduction in the risk of stroke and heart disease.
In worrisome news, the study also found that supplementing with vitamin B3 (niacin) and antioxidants may result in a “very small effect” that could mean an “increased risk of death from any cause.” NBD.
The moral of the story: Unless you suffer from a serious vitamin or mineral deficiency (in which case you should consult your doctor for proper care), you’re better off getting your daily dose of vitamins from a balanced diet high in fruits, vegetables and healthy fats. If you already center most of your meals around fruits, veggies and lean proteins instead of eating a bunch of processed foods, chances are that you’re already getting what your body needs. And that means that buying additional supplements is just a waste of your hard-earned cash that you could put toward more important things, like your upcoming trip to Europe, for instance.