Multivitamins: 5 Studies That Suggest They’re Not Improving Your Health

Multivitamins are a combination of many different vitamins that are normally found in foods and other natural sources. These are used to provide vitamins that are not being sufficiently consumed in one’s diet. Multivitamins are also used to treat vitamin deficiencies caused by illness, pregnancy, poor nutrition, digestive disorders, and many other conditions.

For decades, doctors and health experts alike have suggested taking a daily multivitamin as a dietary supplement. In recent years though, more research calls to question whether or not these supplements, which can be very costly, are truly necessary.

StudyFinds has published research on both sides of the debate. World-renowned physicians and mental health experts say multivitamins can do our bodies lots of good. But for those unsure about taking them, here’s a look at five pieces of published research that suggest the very opposite.

Note: The original post for each study, including journal citation, is posted as “READ MORE” after each section.

Multivitamins don’t prevent heart attacks, stroke, cardiovascular death

Research shows that multivitamin supplements have no effect on heart health, and won’t reduce one’s odds of suffering a heart attack, stroke, or even death from a heart-related condition.

The study examined data from 18 different studies on multivitamin and mineral supplements. Results for more than 2 million people were recorded, with an average follow-up about 12 years from the start of their respective study. Findings show no clinical benefit of multivitamin and mineral use to prevent heart attacks, strokes or cardiovascular death. Thus, it only adds to a growing body of evidence that multivitamins are more taboo than anything else.

While the study shows no health benefits, there doesn’t seem to be any harm in taking vitamin supplements either. Still, in light of this, the study does not recommend using multivitamin or mineral supplements to prevent cardiovascular diseases. There’s just no substitute for a balanced, nutritious diet with more fruits and vegetables that limits excess calories, saturated fat, trans fat, sodium, sugar and dietary cholesterol.

READ MORE: Research: Multivitamins Don’t Prevent Heart Attacks, Stroke, Cardiovascular Death

Won’t reduce the risk of dying from COVID-19

Taking a few extra vitamins while dealing with a case of COVID-19 certainly seems to make sense. However, a new study finds immune-boosting supplements such as vitamin C, vitamin D, and zinc do virtually nothing to lower a patient’s risk of dying from coronavirus.

The study reviewed a new set of COVID-19 hospitalization data to formulate this review, warning that there is no real evidence that supplements actually treat or lessen the severity of COVID-19 symptoms. This aims to correct the misconception that if you load up on zinc, vitamin D or vitamin C, it can help the clinical outcome of being infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

Specifically, the study analyzed 26 global peer-reviewed studies encompassing 5,600 hospitalized COVID-19 patients for this project. Results show no evidence of a drop in mortality rates among COVID-19 patients taking vitamin D, vitamin C, or zinc supplements in comparison to other patients. However, the data did suggest that vitamin D supplementation in particular has a loose association with lower rates of intubation and shorter hospital stays.

In a continued survey of people taking a vitamin D supplement habitually prior to contracting COVID. Once again, the study did not find a significant change in mortality rate among these individuals. The study wants to make it clear that their work is in no way stating that vitamins are unhealthy or should be avoided. It is solely indicating that vitamins will not lower COVID-19 death risk.

READ MORE: Taking vitamins won’t help lower the risk of dying from COVID-19

Multivitamins, other common supplements have no health benefits

Taking multivitamins or other commonly consumed vitamin and mineral supplements won’t actually provide you any health benefits, but they won’t harm you either, one study finds.

The study conducted a review of 179 studies on popular vitamin supplements published between January 2012 and October 2017. Studies covered a vast spectrum of supplements, including vitamins A, B1, B2, B3 (niacin), B6, B9 (folic acid), C, D and E; and mineral supplements β-carotene; calcium; iron; zinc; magnesium; and selenium. Multivitamins that contained a wide variety of the vitamins and minerals were also reviewed.

Results of the study conclude that the most commonly consumed supplements — multivitamins, vitamin D, calcium, and vitamin C — had no effect on a person’s risk of suffering a heart attack stroke, heart disease, or early death. Moreover, findings show that intake of multivitamins, vitamin D, calcium or vitamin C, does no harm – but there is no apparent advantage either.

The only supplements that showed any benefit among the studies were folic acid or B-vitamins that contained B6, B12, and folic acid, which could lower one’s risk of heart disease and stroke. Thus, these findings suggest that people should be conscious of the supplements they’re taking and ensure they’re applicable to the specific vitamin or mineral deficiencies they have been advised of by their healthcare provider.

READ MORE: Study: Multivitamins, Other Common Supplements Have No Health Benefits

No reduction in heart disease risk, even in people who have poor diets

Taking multivitamins won’t help people improve their chances of developing heart disease, even in those who have poor diets.

The study examined 13,316 participants who completed in-depth food frequency questionnaires. Sought to determine whether or not those who exhibited unhealthier dietary conditions would find more benefit to multivitamins than those who already enjoyed a nutritious diet.

Results of the study show no raised or reduced risk of the disease years after the study began, compared to those who took a placebo. Moreover, the study also found that poor nutrition made no difference in the effect of daily multivitamin consumption on cardiovascular disease risk or overall mortality.

Intuitively, many had thought that men with ‘poor’ nutritional status at baseline may benefit more from long-term multivitamin use on heart-related outcomes. However, there is no seen evidence for this in the recent analysis. Thus, it remains critical for people to understand its role on nutritional status and other long-term health outcomes, especially through clinical trials.

READ MORE: Multivitamins Don’t Reduce Heart Disease Risk, Even In People Who Have Poor Diets

Health benefits of multivitamins ‘may all be in the mind’

The health benefits of taking multivitamin supplements may be all in the mind, scientists suggest. People’s positive expectations could be behind the benefits of multivitamin and mineral tablets as there is no hard evidence otherwise.

The study collected data on 21,603 adults in the United States who took part in the 2012 National Health Interview Survey. Of the sample, 4,933 people reported taking multivitamin or mineral tablets regularly.

Findings reveal that regular multivitamin or mineral supplement users reported 30 percent better overall health than those who didn’t take them. However, there was no difference between those who did and didn’t take them in any of the five psychological, physical or functional health outcomes assessed. Two possible explanations were offered for the findings: either people who regularly take supplements simply believe they will give them a health boost, or they are generally more positive about their personal health, regardless of what they take.

The effect of positive expectations in those who take multivitamin or mineral supplements is made even stronger when one considers that the majority of them are sold to the so-called “worried-well.” Nevertheless, the lack of any difference in the health outcomes assessed is in line with other studies indicating that multivitamin or mineral supplements don’t improve overall health in the general adult population.

READ MORE: Power of positivity: Health benefits of multivitamins ‘may all be in the mind’

It’s worth noting that StudyFinds does not agree nor disagree with these studies. If you are thinking about taking a multivitamin supplement or are considering stopping, you should absolutely speak with your physician or health care provider first.

Comments

  1. Every person who left a reader comment regarding this “Study Finds” article really gets it, and they know that the source material for publishing this nonsense regarding the lack of health benefits in taking vitamins was pure rubbish funded by big pharma. Peolple should read Dr. Robert Lustig’s recent book “Metabolical” in which he strikes out at big pharma and exposes this industry for their century long deceit and thievery in their promotion of costly pharmaceitical drugs to prolong illnesses. PubMed and the on-line NIH library can be freely accessed to reveal that many vitamins and minerals are truly essential for proper nutrition and improved body function and wellness.

    I’m really sorry to see that “Study Finds” has published this kind of pseudoscientific material without putting strong caveats on it to suggest it in invalidaded by decades of scienticfic trials showing that vitamins and minerals can be very important to human health and that other supplments which contain them are well worth the money spent to purchase them.

    Again, I was so happy to see the reader’s contrary viewpoints written by those who severely criticized this junk science reporting. But I must admit it certainly got my attention and, just like you, I immediately understood it was bogus shortly after reading the title and the first paragraph or two. CAVEAT EMPTOR when reading other “Study Finds” articles in the future because they may similarly contain BS. The author or curator for this web site did himself a real personal disservice by publishing this nonsense.

  2. For those interested. The drug companies have been funding the research behind articles such as this for many years. I call the studies “A Study Done to Get a Headline.” You can take a few words from this article and search PubMed to find the original article.

    On example is a large double blind placebo controlled trial (The “Gold Standard” of studies) on the benefits of vitamin D. The study ran for a long time looking for any benefits to the study group. The inclusion was vitamin D did not help with heart problem, cancer, infections, all cause death, etc. Since this is counter to smaller studies of vitamin D I was reading, I was intrigued.

    I pulled a copy of the study and found they had given the trial group a whopping 400IU of vitamin D2. First vitamin D2 is known to be much less effective in raising the blood levels of vitamin D than vitamin D3. It is also known that 400IU of vitamin D will make little or no difference in the vitamin D status of the patient. Bottom line, the study was designed to show no effect and it produced that exact result.

    As I noted above, these studies have now been going on long enough to pollute the research to the point that any new meta-analysis will result in the report that vitamins are of no benefit which is what you are reading here. It is not as much the fault of Study Finds as it is the fault of the drug companies that produced the bogus studies and polluted the research database.

    As we all have been admonished: “Believe none of what you hear and only half what you see.” That should be about right for medical research since it has been estimated that half of the published research is misleading or just plain wrong. Caveat Emptor.

  3. Studyfinds has published the same type of article for at least the last 6 years. There are no dates given in the article. Is this a article based on new data or just their old article republished just to add COVID? The article only focuses on cardiovascular disease and COVID and concludes that since multivitamins are useless against these, they’re completely useless. What about the plethora of other health issues that multivitamins purport to address? The article says nothing about effectiveness for other uses.

  4. Has it occurred to any of the rocket scientists involved that there just might be a distinction between Zinc/VitD/Quercitin/Curcumin and NOT GETTING THE VIRUS, or being asymptomatic with it? How many people on that regimen have never been tested? It’s complete B.S. to say it doesn’t help if all you’re assessing are the most seriously ill and we don’t know the true denominator. Somebody needs a refresher course in statistics and modeling.

  5. A terribly written article. If what we eat has no effect, you can eat al all sugar diet. Or you don’t have to eat at all since anything you ingest according to this article, does nothing.
    The people who wrote this need to eat a bag of prunes, or given the content, they may have already.
    You are what you eat, the basic building blocks of your body is found in what you eat and if you do not ingest the right amounts of foods, you will get sick. multi vitamins are a great way to insure you get the basic nutrients your body needs. And there are literally thousands of studies showing the positive effects of the individual vitamins found in multi vitamins.
    This is purely an anti-vitamin anti health food targeted article, the writers should be ashamed for such a poorly written and researched article.

  6. I had bloodwork done and discovered I had a vitamin D deficiency
    My doctor prescribed me a supplement. I took it for several weeks and went back for more labs.

    Guess what? My vitamin D level went up

  7. Please cite your references. We need to be able to read the original research to see if it says what you say it says.

  8. This reminds me of Robert Cummings (the vitamin addicted actor) quote in his advanced age: “I’d like to tell all my friends about how vitamins are good for you but they’re not around anymore.” That’s as close as I can get on the quote.

  9. Vitamins don’t help at all. OK. You do YOU and I will do ME. I have been taking vitamins and supplements for decades. I have done a lot of research too. Understand the “placebo effect” and know what does and does not work. Ask yourself one question: Who is looking after you? The medical community that makes a great living off your your illness from deficiencies or you?
    If I have no conscience and made my living off of sick vitamin deficient people; vitamins and supplements would have me up at nights for sure! They would be an enemy to my $$$ and way of life. The only positive thing from articles like this is that they might keep supplement prices down due to a lower demand. If people only knew what certain vitamins and supplements do what they would be mad as hell. I will keep it to myself. Don’t want certain things banned. Just living my healthy life with no covid since the beginning of the pandemic. Just laughing at the ignorance of the masses.

  10. Obviously the scope of this study couldn’t cover ALL supplements. So take that into account.

    However, in the last 75 years food manufacturers have been supplementing their products (cereal and bread are excellent examples) with vitamins. I think the proliferation of that food fortification has resulted in multivitamins being less necessary than they otherwise would be.

    But there are other supplements with tremendous health benefits, so don’t throw the baby out with the bath water!

  11. Stop reading stupid internet articles and read the Bible.

    Jesus is alive and He wants to know that He has saved you!

  12. Which multivitamins did they test? Many use cheap synthetic ingredients with poor absorption at levels too low for any benefit.

  13. Most multi-vitamins are a bad joke. That should be obvious. How do you get all those supplements into one little pill? By using the cheapest means available with the least bio-available ingredients. Magnesium, for instance. Multi-vitamins use magnesium oxide which is the most useless form with only a 4% absorption rate, but they can put enough mg of it in that little pill to say it provides some %DV, which is basically a lie because it is not actually bio-available and doesn’t provide that %DV, at all.

  14. When I attended dental school in 1970, all of our pharmacology professors said vitamins (vital-minerals) were useless especially with a healthy normal diet. There are some RARE conditions where there is a deficiency. People are wasting a lot of money on “placebos”

  15. 80% of grocery stores here in USA are stuffed with very profitable but cheap easy to afford junk foods while nutritious foods are more expensive for the consumer. That’s all you need to know. Take the vitamins and supplements. This article is BS.

  16. Welcome to another conspiracy theory. According to this article, I can infer that there is no such thing as beri-beri or scurvy. (Two fatal diseases caused by lack of specific vitamins.)

  17. It’s unfortunate that StudyFinds actually publishes this kind of garbage information. StudyFinds holds such great potential as a worthy news source and now, it’s ruined. As the other comments noted, there are clearly dark agendas at play that serve StudyFinds financially. The idea that proper vitamin & mineral supplementation does not have a positive affect on human physiology is absurd after the great work of so many medical & science professionals for most of documented human history. StudyFinds…I think you’re finally cancelled!

  18. I wouldn’t trust any report such as this one which simply says “Research finds that…” without giving any specifics about what research and who conducted it. At the very least this is bad journalism. Or does the management of this site have its own dog in the fight?

  19. “Vitamins will not help you.” Research brought to you by Big Pharma.

    We do have one pill that cures everything. Only $299.99 per month. FDA approved (sort of).

    .

  20. I believe that Big Pharma wants to control the over the counter supplements and if they keep lobbying Congress, it will happen. Sad

  21. ???? ???? And 105 other studies prove that they DO improve your health.

    There wouldn’t be a big pharma agenda here, would therrrre???

  22. I have seven relatives who are doctors. None give any credence to the benefits of taking any type of multi-vitamin but say “it’s your money and spend it as you like if it gives you some sort of peace of mind”. Still, every senior is bombarded with advice in the media – virtually, nonstop on TV, to take any of a number of over-the-counter supplements to enhance your overall wellness. I can’t see how any of them can hurt you, so was at least happy to see they don’t in any study. I know many who take MANY times the recommended units of some vitamins – have always felt that just doesn’t seem too smart. Interesting article, however.

    1. No real need to actually go through with any of these “studies”. Find out who is funding them and what “result” they hope for, those will inevitably be what the study says. The actions of the “medical professionals” the last 2 plus years has proven they lie, manipulate, and censor to get out only the “results” they want to he heard

  23. Same thing has been reported for decades.

    Still most people have inadequate levels of D and older people inadequate B as well.

  24. Most of these studies are a joke! Basically they ask the patient if he takes multi-vitamins but not what brand (BIG DEAL), how often, how often do they forget, and do they REALLY take them. Do all the patients live the same lives, eg stress levels, exercise, food consumption, alcohol and tobacco consumption and amounts???? The studies are totally uncontrolled and must be funded by Big Pharma as a way to encourage their poison be given instead. You have to be a fool to believe this stuff!

  25. Then why eat at all? Aren’t we consuming the very same vitamins and minerals in food as provided by such supplements? And to suggest that today’s food provides anything close to what are grandparents ate is a total fallacy. More msm BS most likely funded by Big Pharma to sell more drugs. These are the same people who haven’t seen a gym in their life, pop a pill for all that ails them and still try to cram their lifestyles on all the rest of us. Go smoke another joint, have three more drinks and stay out of our business.

  26. Taking vitamins doesn’t improve gas mileage, so you shouldn’t take them. Sounds silly, but that is what this article does. It takes a couple of heath issues and concludes that vitamins don’t help anything. It even glosses over a few cases where some supplements do seem to help.

  27. From a life long vitamin taker this is absolutely Believable! Flintstones sugar pills are probably worthless. No study is is paying for expensive food source or food form supplements, they’re buying synthetic junk from sold in the dime or grocery store. If Pharma and medical experts are worried that generic medicines aren’t as good as the real brand, why isn’t the same true for vitamins? Does chemistry magically have different rules for naturopathy than it does for allopathy? Ask a chemist why LAB GRADE chemicals cost astronomically more than industrial grade.
    Of courses this is all baloney in a closed ecosystem. Other countries like Japan have government studies for things the revolving door FDA says is quackery or outright bans, like ionized water given to mice given cancer cells. We know only Yanks can do healthcare, the rest of the planet are dummies, like the French Government licensing Homeopathic medicines, right?

    1. Well maybe if Jim Fix and Yuell Gibbons could come back and have there say theres room for debate for shur !

  28. I would be willing to bet that heart health is more related to your overall cardio fitness level than taking vitamin supplements. However, that said, people who exercise, watch their weight and take care of their bodies tend to take more vitamin supplements, with good outcomes and overall better health. In my experience, people with poor diets also tend to have poor exercise habits and tend to be more sedentary and over weight. No amount of vitamin supplements will overcome poor exercise and obesity, which are two of the leading contributors to heart disease.

  29. Ha, Ha, so now StudyFinds is hiding the comments?
    Only fake news outlets bother to hide comments. It tells us everything by hiding.
    People already know about getting the essential vitamins and minerals. And they know the minerals in soil are depleted.
    You insult people, and your credibility is also depleted.

    1. No comments are hidden, I can read them all. Sounds like you need some vitamin A to cure your blindness.

  30. there is no context for how the studies were done, for how long, were they double blinded etc. This data is worthless. Vitamin D for instance is fat soluble, it takes time to build up in the tissue of people and the fatter they are, the longer it takes. I see no evidence of any consideration of this basic fact in this “survey says” trash article.
    This is not science or journalism, it is merely click bait.
    Vitamin d is also produced by exposure to the sun. guess we shouldn’t go out to the sun as vitamin d is useless per this article.
    if you already have an infection, begining use of vitamin d won’t help you with the infection, it takes time to saturate your tissue and begin providing results. Vitamin D is used as a hormone by the body, it will activate up to 1% of your genes – that is a substantial change in your body.
    This “study says” that vitamin D does nothing for you. I find this study toxic…

  31. If you follow the advice of this article, then you deserve your fate. Try checking out new research that debunks most of the “accepted science” of these ass clowns. Keto diets are the way to go. Low carbohydrate, minimal refined sugars and grains, more meat, eggs, and fat. It works. The science of the last 70 years has been unquestioned because… consensus. Consensus is not science.

  32. So how many people eat the right foods that incorporate all the Vitamins they need on a daily basis? Most people eat a lot junk that have practically no Vitamins, so I would think a Multi Vitamin would help them.

  33. Here’s a handful of negative studies concerning vitamins.

    Funny how the literally hundreds of studies which indicate benefits don’t get anywhere near the same publicity.

    Hmmm… Looks to me like big pharma is using the threat of pulling ads to make sure most people stay uninformed about vitamins and thus chronically ill and therefore good customers.

    It’s all about profits ahead of patients’ best interests.

    This is yet another example of medical disinformation.

    1. Thank you. According to superb MD and Substack contributor, Dr Robert Rowen, “Senator” Durbin is trying once again to take away freedom to purchase supplements over the counter. I wonder how much cash they are paying Durbin, that fraud…

  34. This article is very misleading. The headline should include the statement that it is limited to heart desease and stroke. Multivitamins are not “which can be very costly” . Standard multivitamins for people over 50 are usually around $10.00 for 70-100 tablets. Very poor article. Probably will not read a Study Finds article again.

  35. the “exercise myth” is next..followed by “deep breathing” health risks

    research finds: the “Golden Arches” saves lives

    tobacco health benefits found !

    Doctors recommend: “..a bottle of bourbon a day before noon..”

  36. BS!!
    It depends on WHO exactly is FUNDING this “research”

    https://scholar.google.com/scholar?hl=en&as_sdt=0%2C5&q=Studies+on+the+efficacy+of+multivitamins+and+supplements+in+illness&btnG=#d=gs_qabs&t=1650389922503&u=%23p%3DYoOBIbVcDNY
    https://scholar.google.com/scholar?hl=en&as_sdt=0%2C5&q=Studies+on+the+efficacy+of+multivitamins+and+supplements+in+illness&btnG=#d=gs_qabs&t=1650389971629&u=%23p%3DNPnzxRHjr-cJ
    https://scholar.google.com/scholar?hl=en&as_sdt=0%2C5&q=Studies+on+the+efficacy+of+multivitamins+and+supplements+in+illness&btnG=#d=gs_qabs&t=1650390147215&u=%23p%3Dz_OXuTCRhPoJ
    Personally, as a nurse, I have worked with holistic medical doctors for the last several decades and have seen thousands of patients helped in chronic disease with the application of vitamins and minerals and other metabolic supplementation. Sadly, because the pharmaceutical companies cannot make huge profits like they do with drugs, they fight tooth and nail to prevent the truth from coming out about the efficacy of supplementation, even go so far as to destroy physicians professional lives.
    I know, because I worked for several of them.

    1. The benefits are actually really obvious when you look at nutrient deficiency diseases paired up to the nutrient qualities in everyday foods. Grain products are mandated to have some form of enrichment to keep kids from dieing, this practice of ‘food fortification’ has been around since 1941. Breakfast is almost always a grain product and the ‘food pyramid’ recommends 6-11 servings of grain products each day, that is a lot of vitamins and minerals, but hardly anyone eats even the minimum in that pyramid thus supplements.

  37. Vitamins and minerals are no substitute for a healthy diet, exercise and sleep. That is why they are called supplements and not wonder cures as some claim.
    They do not stop heart attacks and such as some claim. What they will do is help to strengthen your immune system.
    What was omitted in this article was who commissioned the surveys and who paid for them, Big Pharma possibly? Big medicine and the drug companies are well known to want to control the supplement industry. There’s a lot of money to be made. If you don’t believe me just go to your local drug store and look at who’s manufacturing your vitamin/mineral supplements. You might be surprised as to who owns what.

  38. Sounds like just maybe they work good enough to cause concern within Big Pharma who makes money off of a lot of much more dangerous drugs that make you get on other drugs to counter the side effects of the first.

  39. This article is the most ridiculous bunch of baloney I have read in years. The sad thing is some people might actually believe it.

    1. I don’t believe that for a minute! Your body needs minerals electrolytes etc. The synthetic versions which most are are not recommended. I took D3-K2, Quercetin, Zince, E3 etc. throughoutCovid and did not get Covid! Did not have any effects from two Moderna shots, even while my family had Covid! You tell me?

  40. Your writing seems very short sighted. Multivitamins are not claimed to help, or assist with any of the conditions you mention. I do agree however, taking one every day is overkill.

  41. This article bobs an weaves. It says specifically it does not stop heart issues and so on and then infers they do no good at all. This is not the case. I mean they never even name “the study” but allude to a review of a survey from 2012. Of course vitamins do nto keep one form being intubated from Covid. My fave line is “No reduction in heart disease risk, even in people who have poor diets” Ha ha. Quite the sleight of hand. I wonder why they would post this? There is always an underlying motivation and this site has quite a few articles decrying supplements.

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