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Two weeks ago CBS news reported that multivitamins are basically worthless and you shouldn’t waste your money on them. Dylan Conrad personal trainer in West Los Angeles reported that this is a crock of $%$* and throwing away your multivitamin is probably NOT the best idea (yes, I just cursed and addressed myself in third person).

Here are 7 reasons you may want to dig your multivitamin out of the trash can:

  1. Functions of multivitamins other than preventing disease. Even if the authors are right and multivitamins do not prevent disease (which I make the argument against below), we have to look at why we are taking the multivitamins in the first place. In a North American society where we want results yesterday, it’s hard to believe that the SOLE MOTIVATION for taking multivitamins is to possibly prevent disease 40 years down the line. For the body to perform optimally, there must be sufficient variety of vital nutrients. Deficiency in any of the nutrients causes the breakdown of physiological processes that promote optimal efficiency and performance. Translation: NOT GOOD!!!!
  2. The article authors raise some eyebrows with there statement to “urge consumers to not waste their money on multivitamins.” Why do the authors feel so strongly against multivitamins if:
    1. The researchers found NO adverse health effects in taking multivitamins.
    2. You probably shouldn’t be practicing medicine if you do not understand the importances of taking multivitamins aside from disease prevention as stated above.
    3. Their conclusion is based mainly on THREE research articles (discussed below)
    4. “What will protect you is if you spend the money on fruits, vegetables, nuts, beans, low-fat dairy, things like that…” Yes, I am a huge supporter of getting nutrients through diet first, but why would you recommend including vitamins and minerals in your diet if you just spent 3 research papers on telling us why we don’t need vitamins and minerals???
  3. The “conclusive” research is a stretch.
    1. Does Long-Term Multivitamin Supplementation Help Cognitive Function in Men? (link) Most misleading title of the year award goes to… The subjects were ALL men. Over 65. They were also ALL physicians. Some biasing and placebo effect may have taken place due to their vast knowledge and stance on the subject. Basically the subjects (if you call them that) did cognitive tests for a short period of time and showed no significant improvement. The authors go on to explain that because there was no improvement in cognitive tests, multivitamins will not prevent alzheimers and dementia. Wait, why didn’t they measure declining cognitive function? Oh yeah, because this research sucked.
    2. Vitamin and Mineral Supplements in the Primary Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease and Cancer: An Updated Systematic Evidence Review for the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (link) FEAR THE META-ANALYSIS!!! What is a meta-analysis? A meta-analysis is a grouping of data from a number of related studies in order to increase the statistical power in relation to the variables that were originally reported on. They are frequently prepared in order to gain an overall understanding of a given area. The problem  with this type of research? Inequalities between research papers proves that other variables were not in fact equivalent.
    3. High-Dose Multivitamins and Minerals After a Heart Attack (link) I thought this was about preventing disease, not preventing onset of another one??? ‘Nuff said #misleadingclaims
  4. Vitamin D. We’ve morphed into a society of vampires, and as such we do not reap the health benefits from the sun.
  5. Habit formation. Psychology can be a huge limitation in living a healthy lifestyle. The ease of taking a multivitamin and fish oil every morning is the foundation for other healthy habits to form upon.
  6. There’s too much supporting evidence for each vitamin and mineral. Further, the known mechanisms of effect are vastly studied and displayed in various texts and cannot be fully disregarded.
  7. We live in North America. Interpretation: process foods, contamination, pesticides, no variety in foods etc. We are nutrient deficient, plain and simple.

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