According to a recent newspaper article by Associated Press’ Lauran Neergaard, two major studies found that taking multivitamins doesn’t protect men’s aging brains or aid heart attack survivors. In addition, the government doesn’t recommend routine supplementation of vitamins as a way to prevent chronic diseases. This same article quoted a study done on 15,000 healthy male doctors age 50 and older. It found that the vitamin-takers had an 8 percent lower risk of cancer than the non-vitamin-takers. The article quoted another study, this one a longitudinal study on Alzheimer’s, in which male doctors, age 55 or older were given either a multivitamin or a placebo. After ten years, it was determined that the vitamin-takers fared no better on memory and other cognitive exams than non-vitamin-takers. Studies involving post-menopausal women a few years back concluded that vitamins didn’t prevent cancer or heart disease. According to this article, in most cases, it appears that vitamins have no particular protective effect.
When multivitamins are essential for health
There are some people who literally cannot exist without daily multivitamins. These are individuals who for medical reasons, are not able to absorb nutrients. They rely on total parenteral nutrition (TPN) also known as IV nutrition, to provide their nutrients. They obtain virtually all of their life-sustaining nutrition through a tube. These are individuals who have been diagnosed with a disorder or disease such as short bowel syndrome, intestinal cancer, or hyper-emesis and must rely on getting their macro and micronutrients, including vitamins, through a tube. There are also other people that depend on these same nutrients by a feeding tube inserted into the stomach or small bowel, due to a history of dysphagia or other disorder that prevents them from swallowing.
Do you need multivitamins?
For those of us who are blessed with good health, have no swallowing disorder and no absorption problems, we can and should do our best to obtain our vitamins from whole foods. In some cases it does appear that vitamins can contain harmful ingredients. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, some mass-marketed vitamins contain chemicals that have been banned in drinking water. Other multivitamins contain destructive forms of nutrients. Green Med, an alternative medicine/vitamin research organization has state that “sodium selenite/selenate can cause cancer, whereas the selenium found within food, or laboratory chelated forms like selenomethionine have all been shown to prevent and combat cancer.”
There is no easy answer to the question, Should you take multivitamins? Rather, you need to educate yourself and make this decision based on what you feel your body needs. Mankind has existed for thousands of years without taking pills to provide the vitamins needed for good health. On the other hand, only in recent years, has mankind been subjected to fluorinated water, bioengineered and GMO foods, FDA approved medications that contain death as a side-effect (i.e. Embrel, Abilify) and high fructose corn syrup, among others. There will always be articles written to sway you one way or another regarding your health. My advice is to keep an open mind and be cautiously skeptic. Ask yourself, “who wrote that article?” I would bet money that the FDA is behind some of the articles trying to sway you for certain medications and against supplements. Some supplements are helpful when added to the diet, particularly omega-3 fatty acids and CoQ10. It’s unfortunate that we live in a society that cares more about making money than the health and welfare of its citizens, but it’s true. The article quoted above states that “the government doesn’t recommend routine supplementation of vitamins as a way to prevent chronic diseases.” This is the same government that allows Monsanto to poison our foods and approve harmful medications with multiple side effects.
My recommendation is to do your best to obtain your nutrients from whole foods. ancak, if you want to cover your bases by including a multivitamin, choose a high quality manufacturer and take it twice a week. This way, you will be more inclined to maintain a healthy diet and not rely on pills for your nutrition. Choose organic, non-GMO foods and avoid fast food restaurants. Also, keep the old saying in mind, “You get what you pay for.” This is true for multivitamins like everything else. If you wouldn’t buy cheap shoes and then expect your feet to be comfortable, don’t buy cheap vitamins. Choose a natural whole-food form versus a synthetic form. Dr. Mercola recommends following industry standards for quality assurance including ISO 9001, ISO 17025 and Good Manufacturing Processes (GMP) certifications. Here’s to your health!
1) “Studies question multivitamin benefit” by Lauran Neergaard, Associated Press, Washington, Feb, 2014..
2) Green Med Info.com.
3) Dr. Joseph Mercola.