16 Feb 2019
The vitamin and mineral supplement industry is a multimillion-dollar industry. But just how effective are multivitamins at improving health and preventing disease? Not very, studies show. Find out why you should stop spending your money on multivitamins.
Multivitamin regulations are lacking. The FDA generally monitors the quality of multivitamins, but there are no regulations as to what can or cannot be included in products labeled as multivitamins.
It’s best to get your vitamins and minerals from actual foods due to something called the “synergistic effect of foods,” where your body absorbs vitamins and minerals better when consumed from food versus a supplement due to the other nutrients present in the food.
Most multivitamins consist mainly of water-soluble vitamins, which
1) most people are not deficient in, and
2) are excreted through our urine if we consume more than our body needs. In a nutshell, multivitamins give us expensive pee.
Unless you’re deficient in a vitamin or mineral, taking in excessive amounts provides no benefit and can even be harmful as certain vitamins can build up to toxic levels in your body, with side effects ranging from nausea to nerve damage.
The Harvard Physicians’ Study II found that multivitamins had no effect on heart attack, stroke, or mortality in men after a decade of research.
In fact, some studies show that multivitamin intake may be correlated with INCREASED risks of disease and mortality.
That said, there are certain populations who can benefit from specific vitamin or mineral supplements, such as the elderly, pregnant women, vegans, or people consuming fewer than 1,600 calories/day. In these cases, it’s best to consult with a doctor and have a blood test to see which nutrients are lacking and only supplement with those nutrients, NOT with a general multivitamin.