The idea of taking one pill is considered an easy fix. With over half of Americans using the one pill solution – a multivitamin – this appears to be the go-to foolproof way to maintain good health.
In fact, a recent study is challenging this common practice. Research published in the Annals of Internal Medicine this December, has found that multivitamins don’t assist our health in any way. Essentially, you could be swallowing a placebo or sugar pill, thinking you’re fulfilling your vitamin and mineral daily requirements.
A formula can only be labeled a multivitamin if it contains at least three different vitamins. Oftentimes, there’s a long list of ingredients in a single multivitamin. This is not to be confused with a single vitamin supplement, such as vitamin C or D. The purpose of multivitamins is preventing illness because they provide nutrients in high amounts to fill in any dietary gaps. These dosages are often higher than those recommended for daily consumption by the Institute of Medicine’s recommended dietary reference intake.
Researchers aimed to demonstrate that multivitamins were ineffective and failed as a preventative measure to ward off chronic illness. They reviewed previous research from 2005 to 2013 – this included clinical trials with men and women on the effects of multivitamins on preventing chronic illness, cancer, heart disease and mortality.
They found limited evidence to support multivitamins as effective preventative measures against chronic illness and supporting good health. The study also suggests that unless a person is deficient in a particular vitamin, taking a multivitamin will not benefit them in any way.
Research presented in March 2013 at the American College of Cardiology’s 62nd Annual Scientific Session, also supports the conclusion that higher dosages of vitamins – taking a multivitamin – do not improve the well-being of heart attack patients. Patients were either given multivitamins or a placebo. The findings revealed there was no major difference between those taking the multivitamins and those receiving the placebo.
There’s a growing belief that we’re deficient in our vitamins and nutrients, and that’s the cause of poor health, stress, anxiety, insomnia, and so on. Meanwhile, we’re not addressing the negative lifestyle habits that might be to blame: Poor diet, lack of activity and work exhaustion.
Forget the quick-fix pill, and recognize that it takes time and effort to remain healthy.