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Multivitamins – Are they a Waste of Money?


The supplement industry is a colossal one, with the worldwide worth of the business being valued north of $23 billion. Multivitamins, or multiminerals as they are sometimes referred to, are the most consumed supplements.

These preparations rose to fame because at their onset, they promised a world of good. With the human body needing an alphabet of vitamins to make do, you need to take an assorted diet rich in fruits and vegetables to get the recommended amounts. Multivitamins promised to provide these in many different forms. This is how convenience became a pill.

The Debate

A series of studies conducted recently have begged to discredit any value added by multivitamins. That they make people healthier, or prevent chronic diseases is an assertion that has failed to be evidenced. Apparently, multivitamin supplements offer no clear benefit. They do not protect from memory loss or offer a longer life, and that they can actually be harmful if intake is unregulated.

The desire for substantiation has in the last few years inspired a series studies. These have tried to evidence the health benefits that multivitamins are purported to offer.

The Women’s Health Initiative conducted one study before the turn of the new decade. In the study group, which consisted of postmenopausal women, it was found that multivitamins didn’t influence the risk of common cancers.

A cohort study, conducted in 2011, showed that multivitamin use was not associated with the risk of developing breast cancer.

Another 12-year long study that used doctors aged 65 and above as a test group, showed that there was no difference in memory problems between the group who took their supplements daily, and those who did not.

The US Preventative Services Task Force affirmed the truths that these studies tried to seek. Basing their argument on evidence presented by over two dozen studies, the panel asserted that there simply isn’t any proof that multivitamins lead to harm or benefit in adults who have zero nutritional deficiencies.

The Alternative

The resounding recommendation is to take a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, nuts and low-fat dairy products. These food groups contain all the minerals and vitamins necessary for sustenance. The money used for the multivitamins can be redirected towards enriching the diet with the aforementioned foods, and perhaps a little exercise as well.

Should You Take Them?

Multivitamins are supposed to fill in nutrient gaps. There is a general consensus that those populations whose nutritional statuses are poor can benefit from taking them.

Research is still ongoing regarding the health benefits or effects of multivitamins are to the other populations.

It would be easy to conclude that they serve no real purpose. With so many experts advocating that you spend your hard-earned money elsewhere, you might as well reconsider if there is any real need to take them.

It is hard to convince you not to pop one everyday if you think of them as your nutritional safety net. As they are not unaffordable, they will perhaps remain popular for some time to come. The choice to take them is all yours.

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