Millions of Americans pop a multivitamin every morning in order to boost their health. Unfortunately, this morning ritual is shaping to be a fruitless exercise, which would be better substituted with actual fruit. Few people realize that vitamin supplements did not originate from scientific research, but from the marketing departments of pharmaceutical companies.
Recent research suggests that both children and adults do not benefit from taking a daily multivitamin. Nevertheless, this hasn’t stopped Big Pharma from banking in on the multivitamin cash cow, which has roots grounded in the departments of pharmaceutical companies, like Miles Laboratories in the 1940s. (1)
“Convincing the public to take a daily supplement as a preventative health measure was part of a very effective marketing strategy to increase sales of its One-A-Day brand vitamins,” explained Consumer Reports chief medical adviser Marvin M. Lipman, M.D. “But there is no reliable medical evidence to support healthy people of any age taking a daily multivitamin,” he added.(1)
Equally eye opening, Consumer Reports is not aware of any U.S. government health organization or professional medical establishment that recommends the regular consumption of multivitamins at any age. According to a nationwide study of children under the age of 4, published in the Journal of the American Dietetic, most children do not receive any more nutrients from multivitamins than from their regular diet.(1)
In an ironic twist of turns, doctors claim that children that receive a multivitamin from their parents each morning, are the ones whom are the least likely to need a multivitamin. “The very concerned parents, the ones who make sure kids wear a helmet when they ride a bicycle, wear seat belts, and eat healthfully, their children are the ones who are least likely to need a supplement,” notes Corkins, a Certified Nutrition Support Clinician and a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics Council on Nutrition.(1)
The inefficiency of multivitamins has been cross verified by multiple lines of research. A meta-analysis released by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality in 2006 reviewed 63 randomized trials on multivitamins. Across the board, the researchers found that multivitamins did not thwart heart disease nor cancer in most people, excluding those in impoverished developing countries.(2)
In addition, according to a second paper published in 2009, researchers at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, tracked 160,000 postmenopausal women for nearly ten years, and found no evidence to support the claim that multivitamins helped prevent cancer, heart disease or any cause of death, despite what the women were eating.(2)
Furthermore, in 2010, a group of French researchers published a study in the International Journal of Epidemiology, about how they followed 8,000 volunteers who took either a multivitamin or placebo for six years. The results of the study found that the multivitamin group exhibited no more improvement in health and well-being than the placebo group.(2)
It’s also important to emphasize that dietary supplements, like multivitamins, are not subject to Food and Drug Administration (FDA) analysis and do not require FDA approval before reaching supermarket shelves. In other words, there is no security that the ingredients listed on the bottle are real, safe or effective.(1)
Fortunately, there are sufficient sources for vitamins and minerals. Many believe that “good grade” supplements are the best alternative, but debates rage about their efficiency as well. A relatively recent trend centers around a balanced trio complex. This model of supplementation involves three daily pills, which work in a synergistic way by providing the body’s dietary needs at different times of the day.(3)
In the meantime, don’t swallow the multivitamin myth.
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