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Are Multivitamins Truly the Magic Cure?

Shrewsbury, MA

The multivitamin industry is quickly growing and could be worth 300 billion dollars by the end of the year. But are they really the magic cure? The science says we are not getting healthier. So why do so many people take different kinds of vitamins and supplements?  

multivitamins, cure, pills, bottle

The multivitamin industry is massive. But that also makes it highly unregulated, and with no prescription or supervision, you can get these pills everywhere: on Instagram, on Amazon, and even in your neighborhood grocery stores. They come in different colors, shapes, and names.

There is also no standard for what a multivitamin is. Think of it like this: if your body is Batman, the multivitamin is like Robin, essentially a sidekick to your body’s biological systems. 

Multivitamins are now the trend. But where and how did this trend begin? Supplements were first introduced in the 1930s and 1940s as a way to cure diseases like rickets or scurvy by addressing nutrient deficiencies. It was a time when countries were dealing with WWII, and medical treatment was expensive. So, supplements were seen as a good alternative way to avoid hospitals and expensive treatments. Supplements came like knights in shining armor, promising to keep people healthy. In recent years, their popularity has boomed, and so now people have become more health-conscious about the negative side of these pills. 

More than half of Americans took some sort of vitamin or supplements. This increased during the pandemic because people wanted to be armed with nutrients to fight the COVID-19 virus. But Batman doesn't always need Robin. Similarly, we only sometimes need vitamin supplements.

Studies show that there is no clear health benefit. One such health study, which began in 1997 and ended in 2011, was the largest study looking into multivitamins. In this study, more than 14,000 people participated, and they took one of two pills for over a decade. One was a multivitamin and the other

Pills, green, bottle, multivitamins

was a placebo dummy pill. The results showed no clear evidence of any health benefit due to multivitamins. So why do so many people take them?

The answer is this term: the placebo effect. This is essentially a dummy treatment that shows results. When you take these supplements, your mind is thinking about health, so you tend to adopt a healthier lifestyle as well as you tend to start eating better or exercising. In most cases, the effect you see comes from these healthier choices, not the pills you pop. Then again, you can argue to take the multivitamins just for morale. But, they can lead to side effects in some cases like the adverse ones in 2011. 

Researchers found that women who took multivitamins died at a higher rate than women who did not. Another study said that men had a higher risk of prostate cancer. High doses of vitamins A and D can be harmful they increase the risk of cancer, plus there's a risk of heart disease and

lower lifespans. Some can even be poisonous. Some of these may be extreme cases, but there's enough empirical evidence to show that vitamins could send you to the emergency room. In the UK, more than 23,000 emergency room visits are linked to supplements in a year. 

There was another study conducted in 2017, which found that 20 percent of all cases of liver toxicity are because of supplements. The truth behind the supplement industry is that these vitamins and supplements are supposed to help us; instead, they could send us to the ER.

 If you look at the internet and social media today, everyone is a health expert; everyone has

something to recommend. More often than not, it’s multivitamins. They're marketed everywhere often without real research. Vitamin coffee, vitamin e-cigarettes, vitamin beer, vitamin vodka; you name it, it exists!

fruits, vegetables, healthy, red, yellow, green, white
Fruits and Vegetables

If you are suddenly turning green, it's time to ditch those pills. The real hero is not these pills, it is a balanced diet. Instead of relying on an army of vitamins, rely on fruits and vegetables, and if you still feel the need for a pill, call your doctor first. They got their degrees for a reason. They will help you make an informed choice. Whatever you do, remember this: there is no secret formula to good health. We all know how to do it but don't want to swallow that bitter pill.

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