Most people don't need to take vitamin supplements and can get all the vitamins and minerals they need if they eat a healthy, balanced diet. Certain groups of people, such as young children, vegans, and pregnant women, may benefit from taking supplements. Taking vitamins and minerals may seem like a good idea, but research has shown that it has surprisingly few health benefits and could even be harmful. Everyone should consider taking a daily supplement containing 10 micrograms of vitamin D during the fall and winter.
Multivitamins have been studied for several other purposes, such as promoting brain function and eye health. Vitamins and minerals are essential nutrients that the body needs in small amounts to function properly. A study involving nearly 6000 male doctors over the age of 65 found that taking a Centrum Silver multivitamin or similar placebo pill daily had no effect on their health. If you're taking a multivitamin complex that contains a fat-soluble vitamin, it's best to take it with some food that contains some fat.
A review of research evaluated evidence from 27 studies on vitamin and mineral supplements that included more than 450,000 people. The amount of iron in a multivitamin complex may also be beneficial for women of childbearing age. Some population groups are at greater risk of not getting enough vitamin D and are advised to take a supplement every day of the year. Some studies suggest that multivitamins are correlated with a reduction in the risk of heart attack and death, while others show no effect.
Smokers should avoid multivitamins with large amounts of beta-carotene or vitamin A, as these nutrients may increase the risk of lung cancer. Two observational studies linked long-term use of multivitamins to a reduced risk of colon cancer. However, the same study had previously found that multivitamins could modestly reduce the risk of cancer and cataracts. Vitamins are essential for our bodies to function properly, but research has shown that taking them in supplement form may not be as beneficial as we think. While certain population groups may benefit from taking supplements, most people can get all the vitamins and minerals they need from a healthy diet.
Taking multivitamins may reduce the risk of heart attack and death, as well as colon cancer and cataracts, but more research is needed to confirm these findings.