A study in America of 162,000 women aged 50-79 who took dietary supplements experienced no reduction in the risk of heart disease, cancer, or improved general health. People who eat a healthy diet already get the right amount of vitamins, and any extra is simply got rid of by the body.
The research showed that, compared with those not taking multivitamins, the number of people who suffered from a heart attack or cancer was the same.
In Britain it’s thought that 31 % of the adult population take vitamin supplements, costing on average £7 a month per person, and in America around half the population take the supplements.
Dr Sylvia Wassertheil-Smoller, professor of epidemiology at Albert Einstein College, Yeshiva University said: “Based on our results, if you fall into the category of the women described here and you do in fact have an adequate diet, there really is no reason to take a multivitamin.”
However, a related article on Patrick Holford’s blog states: “What the summary of the study didn’t point out is that a small group also took what the researchers described as ‘stress multisupplements’ with higher doses (often above 200% of RDA) of several B vitamins, often including large doses of vitamin C or selected minerals, such as selenium or zinc. This group had a 25% decreased risk of having a heart attack. This study suggests, in post-menopausal women, that simply taking a low dose, RDA based supplement isn’t going to make any difference to cancer or cardiovascular risk. It also suggests that higher doses might significantly reduce heart attack risk”.