By Laura Stampler , @laurastampler
Dec. 17, 2013
Multivitamins aren’t making people healthier, and they might even be doing the opposite, according to a series of recent studies. Signaling a sea change in the medical consensus about using multivitamins, leading experts say they’ve had “enough.”
“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,” said the authors of an editorial published Monday in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine Monday. “These vitamins should not be used for chronic disease prevention. Enough is enough.”
That message came after a review of past studies and some new ones. One recent study looked back at past surveys of more than 350,000 subjects and found no significant decrease in risk of heart disease, and only a marginal decrease in cancer risk, but only among men.
Co-author Dr. Edgar Miller told CBS News that people should “stop wasting [their] money” on multivitamins, which make up a large portion of vitamin supplements’ $12 billion business, and focus instead “fruits, vegetables, nuts, beans, low fat dairy, things like that ..exercising would probably be a better use of the money.”
A panel of experts convened by the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force in November came to similar conclusions. Based on 26 studies conducted between 2005 and 2013, the panel said that there wasn’t enough evidence to conclude that most multivitamins could curb heart disease or cancer, but that taking Vitamin E could actually contribute to higher lung cancer risk in smokers.