Researchers have long suspected that multivitamins are not only largely ineffective, but can even do more harm than good. As new analysis data from Harvard scientists show, the benefits of over-the-counter vitamin supplements can be fully based on the placebo effect.
It is estimated that 77% of Americans regularly consume nutritional supplements, according to the vitamin lobby, which is an industry with a turnover of 36.2 billion dollars. However, no clinical trial has shown sustainable or significant benefits from daily intake of multivitamins.
The goal of the new study was to examine the psychology of vitamin users by analyzing biological data from the National Health Survey, including responses from 21,603 adult Americans. 4,933 said they regularly take multivitamin or mineral supplements. These users were more likely to be elderly, wealthy, married, educated, and insured – and 30 percent of them believed their overall health condition was better than that of those who had not. However, their responses in terms of health history and results did not show “any differences” despite daily increases in nutrients.
In addition, the researchers found that demographics such as race, gender, education, income level and age did not affect whether or not they believed supplements were useful. Available evidence suggests that supplements are at best a waste of money for people who do not have a known nutritional deficiency.