Do Vitamin Supplements do any good?

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if we add to our normal diet with vitamin pills, does it actually do us any good?

There are two types of vitamin: water soluble (like vit C and the B vitamins), and fat soluble (like vitamins A & D). If your body already has enough of the water soluble vitamins, then when you take more, they are just filtered straight out into your urine. You can’t ‘boost’ your  levels past ‘enough’. With the fat soluble vitamins, they are stored in your fat and places like the liver, and if you take a large extra dose you can actually overdose on them, so they are usually found in much smaller quantities in multivitamin pills.

A study by the Food Standards Agency recently showed this. The average person gets all their recommended daily allowance of every dietary vitamin from their normal food and drink.  If you already have enough vitamins  taking an extra multivitamin pill cannot give you a ‘boost’ or give you any health benefit.

The Experiment

Chris takes a multivitamin pill and then collects his own urine for 24 hours.  Then visits Professor Bill Fraser and his team at the University of East Anglia. After analysing  Chris’ blood and his urine, the team can tell exactly what is happening to the vitamin C from the pill  he took. It turns out that even on his pretty average diet, Chris was already so full of vitamin C .  He was peeing it out before he even took the multivitamin.  Taking the pill just meant he had to pee out more.

The large body of accumulated evidence has important 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. This message is especially true for the general population with no clear evidence of micronutrient deficiencies, who represent most supplement users in the United States and in other countries

With respect to multivitamins, the studies published in this issue and previous trials indicate no substantial health benefit. This evidence, combined with biological considerations, suggests that any effect, either beneficial or harmful, is probably small.

In conclusion, β-carotene, vitamin E, and possibly high doses of vitamin A supplements are harmful. Other antioxidants, folic acid and B vitamins, and multivitamin and mineral supplements are ineffective for preventing mortality or morbidity due to major chronic diseases. Although available evidence does not rule out small benefits or harms or large benefits or harms in a small subgroup of the population, we believe that the case is closed— supplementing the diet of well-nourished adults with (most) mineral or vitamin supplements has no clear benefit and might even be harmful. These vitamins should not be used for chronic disease prevention. Enough is enough

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