Multivitamin tablets on white

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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.

About StudyFinds Wire

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StudyFinds publishes digestible, agenda-free, transparent research summaries that are intended to inform the reader as well as stir civil, educated debate. We do not agree nor disagree with any of the studies we post, rather, we encourage our readers to debate the veracity of the findings themselves. All articles published on StudyFinds are vetted by our editors prior to publication and include links back to the source or corresponding journal article, if possible.

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Steve Fink

Editor-in-Chief

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Editor

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Associate Editor

65 Comments

  1. Boe Jiden says:

    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.

  2. Rich says:

    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.

  3. APhotoWizard says:

    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.

  4. Don B. says:

    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.

  5. Esther Thaler says:

    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…

  6. Bob says:

    The conspiracy theorists are out in force! Of course people who sell small packages of vitamins for 25 or 40 dollars have no financial interest in getting you to believe you need them daily.

    Still, the arguments for supplements listed here aren’t that helpful. The people here are united in a goal. Go read the comments on pro supplements sites, where they’re not on red alert, and you’ll find much wilder claims and obvious inconsistencies