To Your Health: Do Daily Multivitamins Have Health Benefits?

Mar 20, 2019

If, like the majority of Americans, you take a daily multivitamin to make up for a suboptimal diet and promote wellness, you may want to change your routine.

Because so many Americans take dietary supplements, the National Institutes of Health has spent up to $300 million to study their health effects. They found that in randomized clinical trials, most of the supplements failed to demonstrate a significant benefit. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force has concluded that the current evidence is insufficient to assess the balance of benefits and harms of the use of multivitamins for the prevention of cardiovascular diseases or cancer. In December of 2013, The Annals of Internal Medicine failed to find benefits from multis, prompting the authors of the accompanying editorial to title it “Enough is enough: Stop wasting money on vitamin and mineral supplements.”

The reason some of us may keep taking vitamins is that there are certain times in life when they are valuable. The March of Dimes advises a daily multi for women who may become pregnant because 400 micrograms daily of folate can prevent neural tube  defects. Postmenopausal women may take a calcium supplement to prevent bone loss. People who have an illness that inhibits normal eating could require vitamin supplementation. People over 65 might benefit from a basic multi because they tend to have a harder time absorbing or utilizing certain nutrients.

To determine if taking your daily vitamin is the best choice for you, talk with your healthcare provider about the risks and benefits.