One-a- Day, Vitafusion, Centrum, and First Response: There are endless brands and versions of vitamin supplements on the market claiming to lend numerous health benefits to its consumers. Companies even target little kids with alluring and colorful packaging, making multivitamins one of the most diverse and inclusive products in the pharmaceutical department. I’ll admit that as a child, I can recall begging my parents for the Flintstone or Princess themed multivitamins. The fun shapes and array of fruity flavors made the supplement more like candy than a health enhancer. With that being said, there has been several studies conducted that examine whether or not there are tangible benefits to consuming a daily multivitamin. It is reported that nearly half of American adults regularly take vitamin supplements, with little scientific proof regarding if they are doing any good for our bodies. To my surprise, studies have actually uncovered adverse effects that can potentially be damaging to one’s health.
First I sought out to examine the more optimistic side of the argument and I researched the benefits of consuming a daily multivitamin. To my surprise, there were virtually no scientific studies on the internet that found clear benefits that outweighed the harmful side effects. So, instead of aimlessly attempting to uncover a positive study on the vitamins, I decided to explore the “One A Day” for women product website. The website proudly lists the benefits to the multivitamin pill, which supposedly include:
- Calcium and Vitamin D for bone health
- B-vitamins that convert food to fuel for physical energy
- Vitamins A, C, and E to boost the immune system and promote healthy skin
Although these all appear to be beneficial to one’s health, I noticed that there is not any scientific evidence or credible sources backing up these claims. Therefore, the benefits seem a tad questionable, since they are not backed by reliable sources.
Researching studies that examined the negative side effects to consuming a daily multivitamin was much easier of a task. First off, I would like to discuss the societal need for vitamins in the first place. Vitamins are necessary for the body to properly function. If your conscious in eating a balanced diet of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, you are probably already getting your daily dosage of vitamins. However, what most Americans do not realize is that if you are consuming a healthy and balanced diet, along with taking a daily vitamin, you are probably exceeding vitamin levels much higher than the FDA recommendation, which could be potentially dangerous to one’s health.
I stumbled upon a study performed by Medical researchers at the University of New England, where two meta-analysis of studies collected data on the effects of multivitamins in 400,000 patients. It was found that the individuals who consumed the daily supplement had an increased mortality rate. Similarly, another study was released to CBS news, in which two trials of 350,000 volunteers were conducted, examining the vitamin supplements role in preventing chronic diseases. The outcome was not surprising, there was no link detected between vitamin supplements and a reduction in illnesses such as heart disease.
Overall, I think that it is clear that taking a multivitamin supplement is completely unnecessary for one’s health, as no clear benefits have been discovered. For those of who are already in a good state of health, the negative effects of multivitamins blatantly outweigh the benefits. The only logical reasoning to using multivitamins is if one already has a vitamin deficiency from a poor diet or lingering medical condition.