I like to start off everyday with a daily vitamin. I usually take two of the chewable gummies once a day, and occasionally I take some vitamin C supplements. With the end of the semester nearing and with the inevitable Penn State Plague waiting to sweep the campus, I am really wondering if these vitamins are truly beneficial to your health? I personally have not gotten sick since I started taking the vitamins, but I am curious if this may be another case of confirmation bias,and the vitamins are only working because people are believing in them?
According to recent findings posted on WebMD in 2013, people should stop taking these supplements. This article brings in recent studies that show that multivitamins don’t actually have any health benefits. It is said to be suffering from the placebo effect, because the pills themselves are not curing any illnesses, or preventing them for that matter. The placebo effect is when you take a pill, or substance, that has no actual effect but because of belief in the drug, people think it is beneficial. If we read on, you find the idea that vitamins are a way for the rich companies to continue to gain more wealth. But regardless of the money, this industry is clearly still convincing people that the multivitamins work. So if you’re one of these people, consider the following studies.
The article continues to touch on the three studies that were done testing these multivitamins. I will break them down numerically:
- The first study tested 6,000 male doctors who were at least 65 years old. Half of the men were randomly given the placebo drug and the others took the vitamin. It followed them and their health for twelve years after they were expected to the take the multivitamin daily. Though only 84 percent said they actually followed through, the test revealed that there was no “significant” difference in the two groups.
- The second study was done with 17,000 heart attack survivors who were randomly assigned a placebo or given six daily vitamins to take. While the majority of participants dropped out early, they still found no significant differences after 55 months.
- The third study just looked at 27 other studies on the vitamins and the various supplements included in the study. Like we learned in class this an example of meta-analysis, because they are analyzing other studies in an attempt to compile all of the data. Once again, they found these vitamins had no benefits. There was a small potential for decreasing cancer, but they were still thought to be insignificant pills.
Another article found on the Harvard Health Publications found similar results. The vitamins were thought to potentially work towards preventing cancer, however they were not found to help with the heart or brain. So the daily uses of them were pointless.
It seems to me that this is plenty of sufficient evidence supporting the idea that vitamins don’t work. With both of these credible sources, it doesn’t seem plausible to me that these vitamins are giving me any sort of health benefits. However, If we are looking at the potential costs to continuing to take the vitamins, it is small to none. So, even with the mounds of evidence ,I do not plan to stop taking my vitamins. Maybe me thinking they are working is enough, and as long as I am not getting sick, I will continue to take them.Also, if there is any chance that I can prevent cancer, I am going to take it. So, what will you do?