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Experts Report Multivitamins are a Waste of Money

Update Date: Dec 17, 2013 03:36 PM EST
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Even though multivitamins and supplements are not regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which means that they do not need FDA approval, people continue to spend hefty bucks on these products. The concept of taking daily vitamins might sound healthy. However, two recent studies found more evidence that vitamins do not help improve overall health and reduce risk of diseases. Based on the findings from these two studies, experts wrote in an editorial that multivitamins are not worth the money.

"People over time and particularly people in the United States have been led to believe that vitamin and mineral supplements will make them healthier, and they're looking for a magic pill," Dr. Cynthia Mulrow commented reported by the New York Daily News. Mulrow is a senior deputy editor at the journal, the Annals of Internal Medicine. She added that people should focus on exercising and eating healthy as opposed to simply taking multivitamins as a preventative measure.

In one of the studies, the researchers had assigned a group of around 6,000 older male doctors to either a multivitamin group or a placebo group. Over the course of 12 years, the participants were given up to four memory tests. The researchers headed by Howard Sesso from Brigham and Women's Hospital concluded that the multivitamins did not help improve memory scores at any point during the study. The vitamins also did not harm memory scores either.

In the other study, researchers had recruited around 1,700 heart attack survivors. The participants were randomly assigned to a high dosage vitamin/supplement group or a placebo group. After four and a half years, the researchers calculated that 27 percent of the people from the vitamin group died or had another cardiovascular event. In the placebo group, the rate of death or heart event was slightly higher at 30 percent. This study also did not find any negative side effects of taking vitamins.

"As of now, there is no need to be taking multivitamins and multiminerals to prevent heart disease and there is extensive evidence on that," said Dr. Gervasio Lamas, who headed the second study. Lamas is from the Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami Beach, FL. "For the general population who (is healthy) and they are taking vitamins because they are thinking that somehow the vitamins are going to make them do better, people are entitled to waste their money in any way that they like."

The review of the studies, "Enough is Enough: Stop Wasting Money on Vitamin and Mineral Supplements," was published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

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