Should I Take a Multivitamin Every Day?
While I’ve written about taking a daily multivitamin before, I decided to revisit the subject after reading a new report released today. It discusses a metastudy by 18 researchers from 11 medical schools and institutions across the U.S..
The study analyzed multivitamin use data collected from 4,933 respondents. They compared those participants’ “self-reported and clinically measurable health outcomes”
with those of 16,670 respondents who didn’t use vitamins.
Although 30 percent of the multivitamin takers thought they were healthier, the researchers found “no difference” in verifiable health outcomes.
What accounts for the vitamin group’s mistaken belief in the power of their pills?
The researchers came up with one suggestion:
“The effect of positive expectations in the MVM user community is made even stronger when one considers that the majority of MVM and supplements are sold to the so-called ‘worried-well’ population who may assign greater weight to the purported health benefits of dietary supplements… It is possible that members of this population are more susceptible to positive expectations.”
In other words, their belief that the vitamins would make them feel better accounts for the positive reviews. Score one for the placebo effect!
The irritating thing about all this, however, is that these elderly worried folks are ripe for exploitation. A 2019 Harris Poll survey found that Americans based their multivitamin use on recommendations from:
Their own research
Their friends and family
Their store shelves
Their trainers, exercise professionals, or nutritionists
Celebrities or social media influencers
While not all these sources are ill-intentioned, they may be more concerned with making sales than with the health of their patients or customers.
The bottom line is that a preponderance of research has verified the measurable benefits of daily fruit and vegetable intake. But, based on the best balance of evidence, taking multivitamins every day is a waste of money.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the doctors, trainers and celebrities endorsed consuming fruits and veggies every day instead?