Many people take vitamins and supplements every day, it is beneficial after all. However. a recent article from the Annals of Internal Medicine claims that multivitamins may be a waste of money and research. Could it be possible that something considered so helpful is not actually necessary?
These new studies were published today (December 16) and span the length of a large review of past clinical trials as well as two new clinical trials, all of which were conducted by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. These new studies attempted to find deeper results coming from individuals that use multivitamins daily.
As living creatures we need many different things to function properly, including vitamins. The way we get those necessary vitamins is either by eating them, or making them. It is possible that long ago our ancestors had the ability to make vitamins, but that ability was likely lost millions of years ago. In order to stay healthy we need to exercise and eat healthy, which not everybody does. Multivitamins help keep our body full of what we need even when out diets are not doing that.
Our world relies heavily on food that is low on vitamins, such as corn and wheat. For some, diets change constantly and multivitamins act as the safety net to ensure that we have no nutritional gaps in our eating habits. Most Americans would agree considering the percentage of people who use multivitamins in the U.S. is just above 50 percent. To some multivitamins and supplements look like a waste, one that drives an industry that makes more than $20 billion dollars annually.
One of the studies followed males over the age of 65 for 11 years and found that the multivitamins that participants took daily had no effect on cognitive decline. A different study found that heart disease was also not effected by multivitamins. In the editorial of the new study researchers wrote, “We believe that the case is closed — supplementing the diet of well-nourished adults with most mineral or vitamin supplements has no clear benefit and might even be harmful.” They note that some studies found that beta-carotene supplements could increase the risk of lung cancer for smokers.
John Michael Gaziano, one of the researchers from Bringham and Woman’s Hospital that helped to co-author one of the studies disagrees with those saying that it is over. “It drives me crazy that they say ‘enough is enough,’ when there’s only been one large study of (standard) multivitamins and it’s ours.” Gaziano continues by saying “I’d say the case is not closed.” There is more to learn from what vitamins can do. Researchers are also learning from vitamins certain ways to stop disease that feed off of vitamins in the body such as Malaria.
In the end the decision comes down to the consumer. If the consumer feels that they are not malnourished and have a balanced diet then maybe they shouldn’t spend their money on vitamins and supplements, but if the consumer finds comfort in knowing that extra help is always there without negative risks then maybe it is not a bad idea for them to buy vitamins and supplements.
By Garrett Jutte