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Prominent scientists have slammed the recent claims that multivitamins are unneeded. If you have paid attention to the media lately you may recall segments regarding how multivitamins are essentially useless. In theory, if you are eating a good balanced diet, there is really no need for multivitamins and you are simply “flushing your money down the toilet”. However, experts from Oregon State University, Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute, Tufts University, and the Harvard School of Public Health have criticised these claims as being narrow sighted.

The above scientists make particular mention about a research paper published recently in the Annals of Internal Medicine which concluded that multivitamins were unnecessary. It was stated that such a conclusion will misinform the general public as well as the medical community for ignoring decades of research.

The reason for this backlash is simple. It is true that in an ideal world, everyone would be able to obtain everything they need from whole foods, fruit, and vegetables. However, the sad truth is, only 6.8% of Australians are reported to consume the recommended amount of vegetables and around half are eating enough fruit. This is where multivitamins come in. They fill the nutritional void that is left by suboptimal diets. The importance of multivitamins is stressed because vitamins and minerals are an absolute necessity to life and are needed for optimal health. Guidelines are often set by governing bodies, and it does appear that most people fall well short.

In addition to providing a nutrient safety net, researchers often make reference to a famous large scale study (the Physician’s Health Study II), which showed that multivitamins were linked to a 8% reduction in cancer among men.

Not only are multivitamins beneficial as an insurance policy, but they are also relative cheap supplements that can be purchased for cents per day. In addition to this, they are extremely safe when taken at recommended doses. Only massive abuse will lead to side effects.

Practical Applications

The take home message of the above is simple. If you are eating a well-balanced diet, then more than likely you will not need a multivitamin. However, if you are like the 93.2% of Australians not acquiring their recommended serves of vegetables, then a multivitamin would be highly beneficial. This is compounded by the fact that hard training individuals have an elevated requirement for certain vitamins and minerals. With such commentary, a multivitamin would be recommended for most people as a safe and cheap way to optimise health and improve performance.

Schultz (2014),  Nutrition researchers shoot holes in assertion that multivitamins are uncessary. Nutraingredients.
Whitehead (2014), Scientists hit back at multivit study for ignoring decades of research. Nutraingredients.

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