Study Finds Multivitamins Are a Complete Waste of Money, Why Do We Keep Taking Them?

The Slatest
Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Dec. 16 2013 9:41 PM

Study Finds Multivitamins Are a Complete Waste of Money, Why Do We Keep Taking Them?

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A study finds multivitamins don't help, yet we buy them anyway.

Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

If you’re a vitamin-taker, you may want to reconsider your morning routine. The latest issue of the medical journal Annals of Internal Medicine posted online on Monday, looks at the research and clinical trials and penned an editorial with a headline worth reading: “Enough is Enough: Stop Wasting Money on Mineral Supplements.”

The message may come as a surprise to many Americans—40% of us reported taking some sort of multivitamin or mineral between 2003 and 2006. That’s helped create a global vitamin industry, which sold $23.4 billion of the stuff last year, the Wall Street Journal reports. Despite a number of major studies showing that multivitamins don’t contain any proven health benefits, the medical journal editorial writes, sales continue to grow in the US and Europe.

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Here’s more from the Annals of Internal Medicine or you can check out the full report yourself.

The large body of accumulated evidence has important and public health and clinical implications. Evidence is sufficient to advise against routine supplementation, and we should translate null and negative findings into action. The message is simple: Most supplements do not prevent chronic disease or death, their use is not justified, and they should be avoided…The evidence also has implications for research. Anti-oxidants, folic acid, and B vitamins are harmful or ineffective for chronic disease prevention, and further large prevention trials are no longer justified…With respect to multivitamins, the studies published in this issue and previous trials indicate no substantial health benefit.

Elliot Hannon is a writer in Washington, D.C. Follow him on Twitter.