Experts Say Vitamin Supplements Don’t Improve Health

Unless you have a known, specific deficiency, buying vitamin and mineral supplements is a waste of money.

That’s the take-home message from three studies, published in Annals of Internal Medicine, that found no health benefits from the use of vitamin and mineral supplements.

In the first study, researchers reviewed the results of three trials of multivitamin supplements and 24 trials of single or paired vitamins, and found no clear evidence that they reduced the risk of all-cause mortality, cardiovascular disease, or cancer in adults with no nutritional deficiencies.

The second study found that daily multivitamin use was not associated with cognitive benefits among among male physicians age 65 and older.

The third study evaluated the effects of high-dose multivitamin and mineral supplements on recurrence of cardiovascular events among people with a previous history of heart attack. Again, the outcomes were similar among those who took the supplements and those who took the placebo.

An accompanying editorial notes that studies have consistently found that multivitamin supplements were not associated with benefits and were possibly associated with harms.

Setting aside the more guarded language of the three above studies, the editorial writers title their piece, “Enough is Enough: Stop Wasting Money on Vitamin and Mineral Supplements.” They write, “The case is closed – supplementing the diet of well-nourished adults with (most) mineral and vitamin supplements has no clear benefit and might even be harmful. These vitamins should not be used for chronic disease prevention.”

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