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Do You Take A Multivitamin?

Do You Take A Multivitamin?

Image source: commons.wikimedia.org by Mark Buckawicki

If so, it is possible you may be wasting your money, according to recent research.

52% of Americans take a multivitamin, and sales are expected to reach over 11 billion in the upcoming year. However, the vitamin industry is probably scrambling to vamp up their marketing and public relations efforts, as 3 new studies recently published in the Annals of Internal Medicine have all concluded that taking a daily vitamin provides practically no benefits for the majority of those who take them.

The studies all concluded that routine vitamin use has little or no effects against the risks of cardiovascular disease, cognitive decline and cancer.

A review was performed of 24 studies and 2 trials on over 350,000 people who took vitamins in order to avert chronic disease. Specifically looking at vitamin supplementation’s role in preventing chronic disease, under the review, the researchers did not find any results that suggested that taking a vitamin supplement lessened heart disease. 2 of the trials did find what researchers referred to as a borderline-significant benefit in reducing the risks of cancer, but in men only.

Overall, there was not any evidence that vitamins did anything to avoid heart disease or cancer. Further, they found reason to recommend against taking beta-carotene or vitamin E for these conditions, as they found they did not help but actually might increase lung cancer risks for some who are already in risk categories.

Another investigation examined cognitive health and multivitamin effects over a period of 12 years. Nearly 5,950 male physicians who were age 65 and older took either a multivitamin or placebo daily for the length of the study. After analyzing the results of cognitive memory assessments the researchers concluded that the daily supplement showed no advantage on slowing cognitive decline in the group who received them than with those who were given the placebo.

In a 3rd study researchers looked at 1,708 people who had a history of having a heart attack to determine whether or not multivitamins had an effect on preventing an additional heart attack. For a 5 year period participants were given either a vitamin or placebo. No changes in rates of additional heart attacks, strokes or other cardiac related issues between those who took vitamins compared to the placebo group were found. However, the researchers pointed out that some in the vitamin group prematurely quit taking the vitamins.

The researchers found no evidence that vitamin supplements were effective, except in some populations of the elderly who took vitamin D where it was proven as both effective and having no effect in preventing falls and related injuries. They also found that high doses of some vitamins can actually be harmful, like vitamin E, which can increase prostate cancer risks.

There are some who do need vitamins, including pregnant women in order to ensure that they receive adequate folic acid amounts which can decrease the chances of birth defects. Also, those who are food insecure and do not receive a nutritious, reliable diet may benefit from a daily supplement.

Experts suggest to consult a doctor for specific questions, but that those who are healthy should probably spend their money on better foods and exercise related efforts, instead of purchasing vitamins.

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