Studies Say Most Vitamins And Supplements Don't Really Work
Do multivitamins work? While they may offer many health benefits, recent studies show these are not as beneficial as they claim to be. Read more here.
Parents, if you step into any pharmacy store, you might notice that vitamins and supplements take up a huge amount of space, sometimes even up to two aisles.
Among them, there are so many different types and varieties of supplements claiming to improve your health and mental wellbeing. We make a purchase in hopes to either fulfil a nutrient requirement we're lacking, or perhaps provide us more of the nutrients we need to keep us and our families healthy.
But do multivitamins work?
Well, according to a study, not really.
Multivitamins Don't Work: Risk Of Diseases Remains
According to recent research entitled Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality And Outcomes journal, multivitamins and supplements do not improve cardiovascular outcomes in the general population.
A similar stance was also taken by a review published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology which found that multivitamins did little to reduce the risk of heart disease, heart attack, stroke or death from any cause.
Apart from physical diseases, multivitamins also hardly affected mental health and brain development. In an editorial written by Johns Hopkins researchers, multivitamins taken by close to 6,000 men in the U.S. did not reduce the risk for mental declines such as memory loss or slowed down thinking.
Vitamin Supplements That You May Ditch
Of the whole lot, multivitamins are the least beneficial vitamins, the study finds. If you want to get an extra boost, have a balanced diet instead and stay away as much as possible from sugary drinks and fatty foods.
Many antioxidant supplements in the market claim to reduce the signs of ageing and the risk of cancer and chronic diseases. But you don't exactly need supplements to do this. Antioxidant supplements contain concentrated forms of antioxidants which cause damage to your body's cells. Instead, eat foods rich in antioxidants such as berries, kale, spinach and beetroot.
Having a cold and reaching out for some vitamin C tablets? It might not necessarily improve your symptoms. According to a 2013 review of studies done by the University of Helsinki, vitamin C supplements had "no consistent effect on the duration or severity of colds". Instead, eat citrus fruits like strawberries and oranges. And of course, drink plenty of water!
Also known as niacin, most people take this supplement to improve cholesterol levels and lower cardiovascular risks. However, studies show that it is more dangerous than helpful. In a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, participants with heart disease were at a higher risk of developing infections, liver problems and internal bleeding compared to those who took a placebo. To be on the safe side, have some tuna and salmon instead.
Antioxidant vitamin E should also be skipped because studies have shown that high doses of the supplement increases the overall risk of death and other diseases like cancer. Instead, have some avocados and spinach.
Vitamin Supplements That Are Beneficial
Pregnant mums or women who want to conceive – folic acid is especially important for you to protect your baby against neural tube defects, such as spina bifida. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that all women of reproductive age get 400 micrograms of folic acid daily.
Essential to keep our bone structure strong, vitamin D, unlike the other vitamins is not as readily available in the food we eat. So do take it if you have a need to improve your bone strength.
The next time you're having a cold, try zinc supplements instead. Researchers have found that people who took zinc during their cold recovered faster and had less severe symptoms than those placed on placebo.
So to answer the question - do multivitamins work?
Just a handful of them.
Larry Appel, director of the Johns Hopkins Welch Center for Prevention, Epidemiology and Clinical Research, strongly encourages people to ditch supplements as they do more harm than good.
"If you follow a healthy diet, you can get all of the vitamins and minerals you need from food. Other nutrition recommendations have much stronger evidence of benefits—eating a healthy diet, maintaining a healthy weight, and reducing the amount of saturated fat, trans fat, sodium and sugar you eat.”
So parents do be selective the next time you decide to take vitamins and supplements.