Useless or useful? If you are totally confused and wonder whether spending your hard earned cash on a daily multivitamin is a good idea, you are not the only one.
One day it seems that multivitamins are good for you, the other day it’s being reported that supplements could be harmful to your health. So what is the truth?
While it may seem preposterous to say that daily supplementation with a multivitamin may actually save your life, you only need to look at scientific literature and dig deep yourself to find out that it actually does.
A few studies have been conducted on multivitamins (MVMs) - whether they are absolutely necessary or not. Expert opinion is divided on this topic, and most health professionals claim that you do not need multivitamins/mineral supplements as long as you eat a balanced diet.
However what most likely they won't tell you, is that all government nutritional surveys done in the last 40 years have shown that the diets of the majority of people DO NOT provide the minimum Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs) amounts of vitamins and minerals. Most of us simply do not get the vitamins and minerals we need from food alone, and multivitamins are vital to bridging that gap.
The multivitamin is the most popular dietary supplement. After fish oil, multivitamins are the next most often recommended “must have” type supplement that pretty much everyone should be taking them whether they workout, healthy or want to be healthy long term.
56% of American adult women and 48% of American adult men take multivitamins.
52% of American adults take multivitamins; 42% of American adults take multivitamins regularly.
Nearly half of UK adults take multivitamins. In Australia, the vitamin pill market has doubled over the last decade and seven out of every ten people take some form of supplement, reported ABC.
In addition, many long-term studies have demonstrated that nutritional supplementation can have enormous and wide-reaching health benefits.
A 2015 study in the Journal of Nutrition showed that women who took a multivitamin for more than three years significantly reduced their risk (a whopping 35 percent reduction!) of heart disease and death from heart disease.
For example the 2012 Physicians’ Health Study (PHS II) involving nearly 15,000 physicians followed for over a decade, demonstrated that taking a multivitamin pill cut the participants’ risk of developing cancer by 8%.
The researchers concluded: “Although the main reason to take multivitamins is to prevent nutritional deficiency, these data provide support for the potential use of multivitamin supplements in the prevention of cancer in middle-aged and older men.”
If you think that this was only a small reduction, think again. Prof Balz Frei from the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University commented on the study and said that an 8% drop in overall cancer rates is not small.
“Given that more than 1.6 million new cancer cases are diagnosed in the U.S. each year, this translates into about 130,000 cancers prevented every year, and with it all the health care costs and human suffering," he said.
There are more studies like the PHS II trial. I have highlighted these studies below. The advantages of taking a daily MVM are far too many to dismiss, so read on to discover how taking a daily multivitamin might actually save your life!
Why Is Expert Opinion About Multivitamins Varied?
The reason we know so little about MVMs is that not that much long-term research has been conducted on them. Most studies were only a short-term and used different products which makes it harder to compare results or find patterns.
There are hundreds of brands of multivitamins available today in the form of pills, caplets, powders and liquids. Often their compositions are changed at the will of the manufacturers. It is therefore difficult for researchers to predict which specific combination of vitamins and minerals will be beneficial for us.
Also, people who take MVMs also usually follow a healthy lifestyle with balanced diet and exercise. So it is very difficult to identify whether the benefits are coming from the MVMs alone.
Another reason is that clearly there is a huge bias against vitamin supplementation among dietitians and in medical community. It is sad but true that unfortunately people who are supposed to give us good science-based advice are often completely unaware of the vast amount of research pointing out the numerous benefits of nutritional supplementation.
Unfortunately media plays an important role is spreading misinformation too as they often do not report "the whole picture". In the super fast news cycle most articles about nutritional supplements lack details, contain incomplete facts and are usually curated from other reports or hastily written without looking into the actual study details.
Are Multivitamins Safe to Take?
Yes, it is safe to take a daily multivitamin, according to Harvard’s School of Public Health (HSPH), contrary to some recent reports. What’s more, HSPH says that "taking a multivitamin/multimineral supplement “offers safe, simple micronutrient insurance.”
HSPC blames the confusion on grave flaws in numerous multivitamin studies with negative conclusions. HSPH says many study participants were already seriously ill before entering the studies.
Another major problem is the inability to accurately compare the different supplement types and amounts used by participants. And study participants took their separate products for different periods of time — not very scientific!
HSPH says, though we’re still learning about optimal nutrient intake, “the potential health benefits of taking a standard daily multivitamin appear to outweigh the potential risks for most people.”
Daily Multivitamin - Not a Waste of Money at All!
Some medical experts have claimed that consumers should stop wasting money on multivitamins, because they have no proven benefits. Sensational headlines like “Multivitamin Researchers Say Case Is Closed, Supplements Don’t Boost Health” have appeared in the news in the past.
For example in a strongly worded editorial published in December 2013 in the Annals of Internal Medicine, authors exhorted the public to “stop wasting money on vitamin and mineral supplements.”
Millions of disappointed vitamins users have read the editorial and many unfortunately stopped taking their multis without looking at the article more closely.
The authors of the editorial based their opinion on three studies (which I have highlighted below) that showed an apparent lack of evidence of beneficial effect upon the diseases and disorders being studied.
Thy said that "the case is closed" and that the message is simple: 'Most supplements do not prevent chronic disease or death, their use is not justified, and they should be avoided.’ The editorial was signed by two researchers from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, one British researcher and one of the journal's senior editors.
How Flawed Science Has Been Used to Attack Multivitamin Supplements
When you read the details of the three studies you will be shocked to discover that what was reported was NOT what the studies actually found. It is clear that the editorial was written to convince people NOT to take multivitamins. Here is what has actually been shown in the trials mentioned in the editorial.
Study 1-Effect of Multivitamins on Cognitive Decline
The study was conducted on 3501 people in the age groups of 70-89, where results showed no improvement in cognitive decline with exercise and a generic multivitamin supplementation, but when you read the actual study you will learn the following:
- This study accepted subjects who adhered to their multi-vitamin regimen only a minimum of 2/3 of the time. If they skipped their vitamins four months of the year, their data was still included in the results. So the adherence criteria were very poor.
- Data collection was poor as subjects reported verbally on their adherence only once per year
- The multi-vitamins used in this study contained very low levels of nutrients. High quality multivitamin products contain nutrient concentrations four to five times higher than the products used in this study. Even the researchers stated that “the doses of vitamins may be too low”.
Interestingly, despite the low potency of the vitamins used, after 2.5 years of treatment, some improvement in cognitive function was seen in the study group versus the control, but the change was not statistically significant and, since the data was inherently untrustworthy. Therefore, the conclusion was that it was not possible to draw any conclusion from this study.
- The authors also speculated that the supplements were started too late in the aging process to show results.
Study 2-Effect of Multivitamins on Heart Disease
Another study conducted on 14,000 plus male physicians over age 50 including 754 men having a history of cardiovascular disease, showed that high dose multivitamins had no effect on the progression of heart disease in heart attack survivors.
The researchers concluded that “high dose oral multi-vitamins and multi-minerals did not statistically significantly reduce cardiovascular events in patients after MI who received standard medications.” The researchers made a very specific conclusion but too bad they were not rigorous in their methodology.
- Nearly 46% of the study subjects discontinued their multi-vitamin regimen during the study. It’s beyond belief that the researchers felt justified in analysing efficacy of a treatment to which almost half of the subjects failed to adhere.
- In addition, the researchers set a threshold of 25% reduction of cardiovascular risk for the minimum effect necessary to indicate benefit, so positive results of 11% reduction in the primary endpoint (composite of time to death from any cause, heart attack, stroke, coronary revascularization or hospitalization for angina) and 18% reduction in the secondary endpoint (composite time to cardiovascular death, heart attack or stroke) among those taking multivitamins, were totally dismissed!
It is obvious that by calling any reduction of cardiovascular risk by less than 25% as no benefit, this study was set up to conclude from the outset, that multivitamins would provide no benefit.
- Shockingly, the subjects in the multi-vitamin group had a higher rate of diabetes than the control group. As diabetes is a major contributor to cardiovascular risk, it is reasonable to believe that this discrepancy could have biased the results.
- As in the first case, the nutritional used in study were poor quality – Despite describing the multivitamins used as “high-potency” these products had very low levels of two critical nutrients for cardiovascular health – vitamins D and B12. The concentrations were about 25% of those seen in high quality multi-vitamins.
It’s totally incomprehensible that a respected journal would published this flawed study.
Study 3- Effect of MVMs on Cancer
The same study (randomized double blind placebo trial conducted on 14641 male physicians in age group of 50 and above), included 1312 men with history of cancer. The results showed limited evidence to support any benefit of vitamin and mineral supplementation for the prevention of cancer and CVD. The study did mention two trials that showed modest though significant reduced risk of total cancer in men.
- This study was an analysis of the findings of many studies. By their very nature, meta-analyses don’t provide full answers. They raise questions and show correlations. But correlations do not prove causation and questions should not be mistaken for conclusions.
Another point to consider is that meta-analyses don’t evaluate every study ever conducted, just the ones the researchers choose. And this method opens up room for error and/or bias.
Armed with the above three studies, the Annals of Internal Medicine released a strongly worded editorial claiming, “Enough Is Enough: Stop Wasting Money on Vitamin and Mineral Supplements.”
Unfortunately these types of headlines pick just a study or two and spin a totally misleading tale to confuse the public.
Major flaws in methodology, study design and results interpretation are usually not being discussed by media that aim at producing quick headlines and are not willing to spend time actually reading the research. This is only fueling the mainstream effort to undermine high-quality dietary supplements.
What alarming and irresponsible reports like that usually also don’t mention, are the numerous studies that have been published over the years showing that not only multivitamins are beneficial but they can even save your life.
Why Do We Need Multivitamins?
There is no dispute that our food does not provide us with all that we need.
Our body simply cannot make the micronutrients it requires for proper functioning which makes taking a supplement a must. Many water soluble vitamins are also stored to a very small extent in the body.
Our food these days can contain toxic ingredients which deplete the storage of antioxidants our body needs to throw out these toxins.
Additionally, we also need minerals like calcium, magnesium and potassium. Some regulate the water and balance the chemicals in the body. Others are needed for strong bones and teeth. We also need trace minerals such as copper, fluoride, chromium, zinc, selenium, iron, molybdenum and zinc. They are all needed for growth and wellbeing.
But the fact is: We are not eating balanced diets.
All government surveys say so.
It is quite clear we do not get enough nutrition from our food.
It is a fact today that a majority of us do not eat a balanced diet. Many of us also run after fad diets like paleo, ketogenic and vegan or vegetarian diets in order to lose weight or simply as a matter of principle.
These diets are all based on food group elimination which long term is not healthy and can lead to nutrient deficiencies.
Many of so called healthy low carb diets eliminate carbohydrates which may lead to several deficiencies. Even if you are not following any particular diet there is absolutely no way that the food you eat is always completely nutritious and balanced.
And having the right balance of vitamins and minerals is an absolute must. Prolonged deficiencies can cause pernicious anaemia (vitamin B 12 deficiency), anaemia (iron deficiency) and also night blindness (vitamin A deficiency). Even a so called balanced diet cannot eliminate these and one needs to rely on supplements long term..
The Bottom Line Is That We Are Just Not Meeting Our RDA of Vitamins!
It has been know for a long time that we are not getting enough nutrition from food.
A 1977-1978 USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) National Food Consumption Survey (Crocetti and Guthrie, 1982) done on the nutritional intake of nearly 21,000 men, women and children showed shocking results: not one single person in the study was getting their minimum recommended daily allowance requirements for top 10 nutrients from the food they were eating.
In 2010, a study published in the Journal of Nutrition, found that in the U.S. “nearly everyone” failed to meet recommendations for dark green vegetables, orange vegetables, legumes, and whole grains.
The researchers from the National Cancer Institute and the National Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion, examined 2001-2004 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey data including 16,338 individuals’ dietary habits and found that more than 90 percent of all other age groups of men and women, over-consumed discretionary calories (from fats, added sugars and alcohol) but a majority did not meet MyPyramid recommendations for every food group except total grains and meat and beans.
A similar situation exists in other countries. For example less than 4 per cent of Australians are eating enough vegetables and legumes each day and most are failing to meet the minimum number of serves recommended for the five major food groups, a 2016 report has found.
And it's even worse among Australians aged 18 and younger with fewer than 0.5 per cent are eating the recommended minimum for vegetables, according to the National Nutrition and Physical Activity Survey 2011-12, released by the Bureau of Statistics on Wednesday.
A recent study based on 19,000 people surveyed in 2007 - 2010 confirmed all earlier research and determined that 90% of Americans fall short in providing the Estimated Average Requirement (EAR) or Adequate Intake (AI) for one or more vitamins and minerals. Here is a article showing how Americans are failing to meet dietary guidelines.
A 2016 article titled The American Nutrient Gap: And How Vitamin and Mineral Supplements Can Help Fill It describes how 90% of Americans fall short in providing the Estimated Average Requirement (EAR) or Adequate Intake (AI) for one or more vitamins and mineral.
What is particulary worrying about the recent nutritional intake data of the population in the U.S. is that while health professionals increasingly focus on the importance of a healthful, balanced diet, paradoxically, data show that diets of nearly all Americans provide lower than minimum Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs) amounts of vitamins and minerals, because EARs are a lower “nutritional bar” compared to the RDAs.
- 40 cups of peanuts which is approximately 33,600 calories!
- 130 cups of Brown rice which is 91,000 calories!
It is just not possible to meet the RDA of vitamins while watching our calorie intake. (I have talked more about RDAs later in this article).
Our Food Is Depleted of Nutrition and Worse: What You Are Eating May Actually Be Making You Deficient in Many Nutrients!
Take a look at the following...
- Foods with high GI (glycemic index) use up the B vitamins to counter stress
- Your caffeinated drinks are robbing you of B vitamins too!
- Each time you drink a glass of alcohol, you end up losing B vitamins. What is worse: alcohol also reduces vitamin K, vitamin C, zinc and folic acid from your body. Do you take B complex each time you drink? I thought so!
- 25 mg of Vitamin C is lost with every cigarette you smoke
- Do you take aspirin to ward off heart attacks? Did you know that this over the counter drug like many others reduces your body’s ability to utilise vitamin C and folic acid?
- Do you take statins? According to the University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC), there is no doubt that statins will “reduce the natural levels of CoQ10 in the body.” This could potentially complicate other health issues, and leave you vulnerable to side effects from your prescribed statins.
CoQ10 is in hot demand by the body, as its role is critical in maintaining the overall health of your body. Your organs rely on it, and so too do your muscles. In fact, they can’t function without it.
- If you are constipated and you take laxatives, your body is flushing out fat soluble vitamins like A, D and E!
- Contraceptive pills prevent your body from efficient absorption of vitamins B 6, B 12, C and also folic acid.
- Do you eat three perfectly balanced meals every day? Do you take your kids for take-aways, do you buy them lollies,snacks and sweets? Are you often stressed and busy?
Unfortunately We Are Not Living in Perfect World
Yes, I know it is not preferred to take vitamins our bodies are supposed to get from our food. But the fact is: optimal nutrition is just not practically possible. Yes, had we been living in a different era - a world without plastic bags and microwave radiation and organic farming, and stress; only then we would not need a multivitamin supplement at all.
Most people do not know that stress also depletes many vitamins and minerals in our body and wreaks havoc with our hormonal balance. People who suffer from anxiety and panic attacks are often deficient in magnesium and vitamin B 12.
Also, when body is under constant stress, we experience sugar cravings. This is nothing but an indication of deficiency in Vitamin C. Also, during periods of anxiety (hint: try weighted blanket at night to relax and if you suffer from insomnia), the adrenal glands require large amounts of zinc. Signs of zinc deficiency include constant fatigue, appetite changes and frequent colds.
The only sources of zinc are seafood and red meat. Most vegetarians are therefore bound to be deficient in zinc and vitamin B12 which makes supplementation an absolute must.
I Eat Organic- I Should Be Fine! Not so Fast Mister!
It is a sad and alarming fact that nutrition today is not what it is meant to be. Over-cultivation of land and massive use of pesticides and fertilisers has brought down nutrition levels to about 25% of what they were in 1957.
Everyone talks about organic food and most believe that by eating organic, this problem can be tackled. The fact is: there are no standards for testing nutrition and therefore there is absolutely no guarantee that organic foodis healthier or nutritionally superior.
The only thing eating organic means that you are not getting too many chemicals in your body which is great but that does not mean, in any way, that the food you are eating is significantly nutritionally superior.
Even if you were careful to eat a well-rounded diet, you may not be getting in adequate amounts of critical micronutrients. The revealing article Vegetables without Vitamins outlines in detail the diminishing nutritional value of our food. And the numbers are frightening.
Nutritionist Alex Jack compared nutrient values with an old USDA handbook he had lying around. Some of the differences in vitamin and mineral content were enormous - a 50% drop in the amount of calcium in broccoli, for example. Watercress is down 88% in iron content; cauliflower down 40% in vitamin C content-all since 1975!
What Is a Multivitamin?
A multivitamin contains all the nutrients your body needs, in adequate quantities. A multivitamin and multi mineral supplement goes by many other names. Some experts call them multies or simply vitamins. These MVMs play unique and important roles in our body. There are many different kinds of MVMs available today.
- Once-daily - This is the most popular type of MVM. It contains almost all minerals and vitamins with majority of them in amounts that are closer to the RDA.
- Higher potency- These come in packs of 2 or more pills to take each day.
Let me explain a few terms that are very important when it comes to MVMs:
- RDA- Recommended Dietary Allowance- This is the minimal nutritional amount necessary to prevent diseases and deficiency. The RDA of every individual is different. Pregnant women have a higher RDA than no-pregnant ones within the same age group.
- DV- DV stands for Daily Value of each nutrient in the MVM. A DV is often but not always similar to one’s RDA. Most MVM labels will show you %DV or percentage daily value so you can see what percentage of serving of the product contributes to your DV.
- AI-stands for adequate intake.
Multivitamins: What to Take and How Much Is Too Much?
Now here’s an alarming fact. The RDAs for most nutrients are TOO LOW. It is a myth that National Academy of Sciences recommended dietary allowances are the Gold Standard in nutrition (you take 100% so you are covered).
Not so. RDAs are a highly controversial subject with great debate going about it. Take the RDA of Vitamin C. It is 60 mg per day which is just about enough to prevent scurvy. But that’s about it.
A 1996 study pegged the actual dose to 200 mg and to get this RDA of Vitamin C from food you need to eat 8 servings of high C foods like broccoli, oranges, etc. If you do then you are good. If not, you need to supplement with a larger dose. This brings us to the hazards of MVM overdose:
- Iron - This is the most hazardous when overdosed on. A few adult pills could easily kill a small child. It's best not to take multivitamin that contains iron because if you not deficient it can predispose you you to heart problems.
- Vitamin A - Doses above 10,000 IU can cause birth defects and 100,000 IU can cause severe diarrhoea blurred vision and vomiting.
- Vitamin B3 - Overdoses above 2 grams can cause liver damage.
- Vitamin C - Thresholds vary. Overdose (over 3000 mg per day) may cause diarrhoea.
- Magnesium - Doses over 3000 mg can cause laxative effect.
- Zinc - Doses over 1000 mg can cause nausea and vomiting.
According to the American Poison Control Centre, supplementing your multivitamin intake up to 3 times the RDA is generally safe. So, as long as you consult your doctor and take a good MVM having all the right doses and within the RDA range, you should do great. I will be covering an article on the best multivitamins available in the market shortly, so stay tuned! In the mean time, let me enlist the awesome benefits of taking a MVM daily for life.
Awesome Benefits of Taking the Right Multivitamin for Life
1. Anti-Aging - Longer Telomeres in Multivitamin Users
According to a study conducted by a team from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, the cells of multivitamin users have a younger biological age compared to non users.
This study compared several factors, primary among which was the length of the telomeres. Telomeres are an important part of the DNA structure and they shrink in length as we age. This could be the key factor in aging meaning that longer the telomeres, younger we would look!.
This same study showed that multivitamin users’ telomeres were, on an average, 5.1 % longer than those who did not take a daily multivitamin. The study also found a link to higher intake of Vitamins C and E.
2. Reduced Risk of Miscarriages
Most women take pregnancy vitamins as advised by their doctor. We all know how important vitamins and minerals are for normal foetus and development of the baby. Many vitamins also prevent morning sickness.
But what most to-be-mothers do not know s that there are several other benefits of prenatal vitamins. According to a study taking a daily multivitamin can also lower the risk of miscarriage by nearly 57% as compared to those who didn’t.
3. Health Promotion and Prevention of Chronic Disease as Well as Cancer
Specific Multivitamins can help people having specific issues. Studies have shown that high dose multivitamin can prevent age related macular degeneration. As stated in the beginning of this article, MVMs also prevent risk of total cancer. You can read about these studies here, here, here and here.
4. Reduced Risk of Coronary Heart Disease
A Swedish study conducted on female adults aged between 45-70 years showed that the women who took a daily multivitamin cut their risk of heart disease by nearly 27% as compared to those who did not take one. These findings also prove that use of multivitamin may aid in primary prevention of heart attacks.
5. Reduced Risk of Cataract and AMD
A randomised, double blind study of physicians who took part in the Physicians’ Health Study II mentioned above found that those who received a daily multivitamin for 11 years had a 9% lower risk of cataract — and a 14% lower risk of nuclear cataract— than those who received placebo.
6. Positive Impact on Mood, Stress and Cognition
Cognitive improvement - Several studies have found that multivitamin supplements can improve memory in older adults.
In a 2012 Australian study looking at cognitive function and multivitamin use in over 3000 subjects, multivitamins were shown to improve short-term memory.
According to a meta-analysis of 10 randomized, placebo-controlled trials, taking a daily multivitamin can result in improvements in short-term memory. Other study can be read here.
Another 2012 study published in Psychopharmacology reported that elderly women with cognitive decline given a multivitamin/mineral complex for 4 months had significant improvements in memory as compared to those getting placebo.
A 2010 study from UK researchers found that women aged 25-50 years taking a multivitamin/mineral supplement for nine weeks performed significantly better on cognitive tasks than those taking a placebo which suggest that healthy members of the general population may benefit from augmented levels of vitamins/minerals via direct dietary supplementation.
Mood and mental fatigue - A recent 2016 study that looked at the effect of short-term multivitamin supplementation on mood in healthy older women reported that multivitamin supplementation improved ratings of stress, with a trend to reduce mental fatigue.
Older men benefit too. A 2011 study from Australian researchers looking at the effect of multivitamins on mood and alertness, reported that eight weeks of supplementation with a multivitamin in men increased alertness and feelings of general day-to-day well-being.
Depression - In a 2007 study multivitamins were shown to combat depression in older adults. Multivitamin supplements significantly improved mood and attitude in acutely ill older adults. Those in the multivitamin group reported significantly better depression test scores compared to placebo.
Scientists observed that depression test scores in the multivitamin group improved regardless of whether participants had reported mild or severe depression at the start of the study or had not been depressed at all.
Work stress - 60 participants in a 3-month double blind study were given a high dose B-complex pill. The B complex group reported lower personal strain and reduction in confusion and dejected mood in just 12 weeks.
7. Weight Loss
Multivitamins may help with weight loss - In a randomised, double-blind 2010 study, Chinese researchers divided obese women into three groups and gave them a multivitamin and mineral supplement, a calcium supplement, or a placebo daily for 26 weeks.
At the end of the study, the women who took the multivitamin and mineral supplement lost an average of 7.9 pounds, compared to 2 pounds for those taking calcium and half a pound in the placebo group.
The results suggest that multivitamin and mineral supplementation could reduce body weight and fatness and improve serum lipid profiles, possibly through increased energy expenditure and fat oxidation. Supplementation of calcium alone only improved lipid profiles. Although no magic supplement exists for weight loss, evidence suggests that taking a multivitamin may help you burn more calories.
Appetite suppression - It appears that taking a multivitamin supplement during a weight-loss program may help women control hunger and help men lose weight more efficiently than women do, according to research published in the British Journal of Nutrition published in 2008.
The Canadian study reported lower hunger ratings during fasting in those supplementing with a multivitamin. The supplemented group also had significantly lowered their total and LDL (bad) cholesterol and raised their HDL (good) cholesterol. The study also reported that men who regularly consumed multivitamins had lower body fat levels than men who did not.
Reduced body fat - The correlation between inadequate nutrient status and obesity was further strengthened in a new study involving mice and provides more information why supplementation can be so beneficial.
For 12 weeks, mice were given either a standard diet or one that was restricted to 50% of their micronutrient requirements. At the end of the study, the body weight of the mice with a nutrient restricted diet was 6% higher than the controls, and their body fat more than doubled.
8. Improved Child Health and IQ
Child cognitive improvement-Mums-to-be who take a multivitamin can boost their kids’ IQ Children of mum who supplemented during pregnancy had a substantial advantage over classmates by the age of 9 to 12 years by the equivalent of one whole school year. Maternal multiple micronutrients had long-term benefits for child cognitive development at 9–12 years of age, thereby supporting its role in early childhood development according to lead researcher of the study Dr. Elizabeth Prado.
Boosted IQ - In the year 2000, a study titled ‘The Effect of Vitamin-Mineral Supplementation on the Intelligence of American schoolchildren’ a randomised, double-blind placebo-controlled trial was published detailing the results of providing vitamin and mineral supplements to school children in Phoenix Arizona. At the study's conclusion, IQ tests were again administered, and the students who had been taking the supplements and vitamins for children had an average 2.5 point gain in IQ. The truly impressive finding of this study, however, was that the children who were poorly nourished at the study's onset gained at least 15 IQ points!
Juvenile Delinquency: A study was conducted on institutionalised offenders aged between 13 to 17 years or 18 to 26 years with a daily multivitamin supplementation at 50% of the RDA. The children who took active tablets produced lower rates of antisocial behaviour in 8 types of recorded infractions: threats/fighting, vandalism, being disrespectful, disorderly conduct, defiance, obscenities, refusal to work or serve, endangering others, and non-specified offences.
9. Multivitamins Can Prevent Cancers
2012 Physicians’ Health Study (PHS II) involving nearly 15,000 physicians followed for over a decade, demonstrated that taking a multivitamin pill cut the participants’ risk of developing cancer by 8%.
The researchers concluded: “Although the main reason to take multivitamins is to prevent nutritional deficiency, these data provide support for the potential use of multivitamin supplements in the prevention of cancer in middle-aged and older men.”
The food we eat today is not nutritious because of our stressful lives, over-farming practices and toxic environments.
A vast majority of us consume alcoholic beverages and eat fast food, all of which deplete our bodies of vital nutrients.
The studies mentioned above represent just a tiny snippet of the benefits of multivitamins. A good multivitamin can have profound effect on our longevity and quality of life so everyone should make them a part of any health and wellness plan one may be following.
If you have found studies which state otherwise, you should note that they were probably poorly designed and/or were conducted over shorter duration to actually show the results and patterns.
You may exercise, eat healthy, take herbs or follow alternative remedies but along with this, you should take a high quality daily multivitamin.
Multivitamins are more beneficial when you consume them over the longer duration. The Nurses’ Health Study has proven this for a fact. This study concluded that when taken over duration of 10-15 years, MVMs prevented colon cancer while imparting all other health benefits mentioned above.
Of course, you also need omega 3 essential fatty acids and other "optimiser" supplements depend on you age and health needs.
In general, a daily multivitamin can do you a world of good and is very safe and gentle. I have also mentioned hazards of overdosing on vitamins. So do talk to your doctor about the right dose for you especially if you are taking blood thinners which may make it dangerous to consume Vitamin K in excess.
As stated earlier, I will soon be coming up with an article on the best MVM brands available in the market. So stay tuned!