Do multivitamins help your health? New research says nope


“One expert agreed some nutrient-deficient people may still benefit from multivitamins.
“There might be an argument to continue taking a multi(vitamin) to replace or supplement your not healthy diet,” Dr. Robert Graham, an internal medicine physician at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, added to CBS News.”

Do multivitamins help your health? New research says [YEAH, PROBABLY, IN A LOT OF CASES]


So if you eat a balanced diet, no. If you’re a picky eater or a vegan or lactose intolerant or something, maybe, depending on what’s in your diet.

Barney says “Om nom nom nom nom”

To be clear, this isn’t just attacking multivitamins, but supplements, period (single, multi, whatever).

Even the source doc doesn’t use the word “multivitamins,” but “Vitamin and Mineral Supplements” in its title.

In my experience the people who take vitamins regularly tend to be the people who eat healthy regularly as well. The people who don’t care or can’t afford to eat healthy also don’t care or can’t afford to buy vitamins.

‘Supplements’ are a massive scam industry with minimal oversight. Huge profits, minimal benefit.


“What will protect you is if you spend the money on fruits, vegetables, nuts, beans, low fat dairy, things like that …exercising would probably be a better use of the money.”

Drs: please don’t make recommendations to the press based on assumptions which were not tested by your study. For instance, there is a lot of evidence now that full fat dairy is more beneficial than low.

And didn’t Pollan say something like: eat like someone who takes supplements, and then don’t take the supplements.

1 Like

As even the author stated, there are numerous times in one’s life where additional vitamins would be beneficial. Also, there is the question of whether the recommended dosages are the ideal versus the level at which no undesired symptoms appear. The third question is if the dosage for the average individual is sufficient for a given individual.

Taking these three factors into play, there does exist benefits to taking supplements. However, it can be difficult to discern the exact level of the benefits, and which supplements are of benefit. That said, which a few notable exceptions, the human body is capable of excreting excess vitamins without harm.

I would thus consider the supplements as something akin to an optional low-value health insurance. For a low monthly fee, one is likely reducing one’s risk of some illnesses over time. Albeit, one is uncertain if and when said “policy” is ever collected upon.

Is it possible for one to obtain sufficient levels of all vitamins and minerals? Most definitely. However, for those who are willing to bear the expense, having a “top up” to be certain that optimum reserves are available for various conditions would be of benefit.

1 Like

(Oh, the irony that this is posted just after a McDonald’s advert.)

Seriously, the issue with these and all medical tests are that they rely upon statistical measure that look at a sample and the variance of that sample. So, the average may not be very different, but it doesn’t mean that they’re aren’t extremes that are. For example, in a sample of 100, maybe only 3 of the people benefit from vitamins. Maybe 3 people actually get hurt by vitamins! The point is that these large tests really say nothing about your individual health and your individual situation.

Does this mean that we are going to have access to healthy food now, since people that eat healthy don’t need vitamins?

(Full disclosure: I take a multivitamin and a glucosamine every day. And I eat mostly healthy, for an American.)

1 Like

Too bad it didn’t compare vitamins in pill/tablet form vs. powder form.

Augh, this is so frustrating. Obviously I don’t need a multivitamin supplement if I’m eating my recommended daily dose of food groups. But I’m not, because I’m tired and lazy and stressed-out and don’t have enough time to handle basic life tasks, let alone writing up and cooking a balanced menu for three meals a damn day; and I think I’m representative of most Americans. This is like saying, I dunno, “rotating the tires on your car is pointless unless you drive more than three miles a week.” That’s great that it’s not necessary for a hypothetical perfect human being, but I wanna know if it’s helpful for me.


As a rule, doctors don’t speak about vitamins, or shouldn’t, because they have no training in the subject. If some doctor wants to speak, he needs to establish that he is qualified to speak. Until then I will go on assuming that I know more than doctors because I do have training in that field: I read a book once.


There’s a particularly impressive ecstasy manufacturer somewhere in north-west England puts out Es that look exactly like kids vitamins. Last lot I saw were Ninja Turtles.

Smells like pharma, once again.


I take vitamins every now and then, but I’ve never taken them thinking they would prevent heart disease or improve brain function thirty years from now. I take them for more immediate (perceived) benefits: more energy over the next few hours, a better disposition (maybe vitamin B makes me happy), to make up for not eating a single vegetable for the last three days, in the hope that it might help keep me from catching a cold when I visit children, that sort of thing.

Reports of the study (from what I’ve read about it in three articles now) seem to equate “health benefit” only with improved health in the LONG term. It doesn’t seem to address any of the SHORT term reasons I have to take vitamins. I’m not claiming that my reasons are any good, or that they’re verifiable or reasonable or sane. I’m just noticing that there’s a difference in long term health benefits and short term benefits.


The entire reason vitamin pills were invented was to nourish the poor who couldn’t get enough or proper nutrients from their diets. They served an especially vital role in times of shortage such as World War II, where rationing severely affected even the wealthier middle classes, and where “vitamin biscuits” were given out by various governments to schoolchildren and the poverty-stricken.

If you’re a comfortably well off person with enough money to eat well in the modern world, vitamins are of minimal value. If you’re one the many, many, many poor in the United States or elsewhere, odds are good you can’t afford or otherwise lack the capacity or resources to have a properly balanced diet that provides all the nutrients you need, and consequently vitamins can make the difference between health and sickness.


So my steady diet of beef fried in butter doesn’t really need any supplements? Good to know!


These sorts of general studies bother me. People take it to mean that ALL supplements are not beneficial when it is clear that some are. For example: Fish Oil: It’s been shown to lower inflammation in the body and lower cholesterol. Red Yeast Rice: This is what the current cholesterol drugs are based on except they took the active ingredient and altered it to be more effective (and patentable). What dosage of a vitamin provides a pharmacological effect? That’s the question. Low dose vitamins probable don’t do anything but some vitamins and minerals at well titrated dosages do provide benefit. You just need to know what to take, how to dose it and what it does. Where are THOSE studies?
Sad to say but you probably won’t see them since the chemical in question is not patentable so doesn’t merit the money spent to give a profit to the sponsor.


Yeah, that’s how I felt every time I read an article about how what we really needed to do was cut the supplements and eat a diet of mostly fresh raw foods. Who has time for that? Then I gave in and got a really good blender, and now I’m addicted to juicing up my raw foods. Take some fruit, some broccoli, a few carrots, some nuts, wheatgrass, toss it in the Blendtec, and hit a button. Even if everything else you eat is crap, you can at least drink one really good nutritional snack.

1 Like

Having been on a strict ketogenic diet for the last year and a half, I’d probably have scurvy and/or several other vitamin deficiency disorders by now if I didn’t take at least a few vitamins per week. My diet is admittedly “terrible” from a nutrition standpoint, but it has allowed me to lose more than 150lbs in about 20 months.

Fish oil has turned my bloodwork 180 degrees, so I can’t say that supplements do nothing for me. I mean I would like to eat more fresh fish, but it’s either not around or ridiculously expensive.

1 Like