Multivitamins effect: Timespan and When to Be Concerned
Timespan and When to Be Concerned
Multivitamins are one of the most commonly used supplements in the United States — around one-third of adults currently take them (1).
People who take multivitamins often do so to improve or maintain their health, protect themselves against nutrient deficiencies, or simply make up for the odd nutrient gap in their diet (1).
You can purchase multivitamins without a prescription, and most people view them as safe, which might explain their popularity. Despite this, multivitamins are not risk-free.
This article discusses whether you should be concerned about taking multivitamins. It reviews the potential side effects of multivitamins and which ingredients may cause them.
Your body needs to consume at least 13 vitamins and 16 minerals regularly to function properly.
A well-balanced diet is the best way to obtain these nutrients. That said, multivitamins provide a good alternative source for those who are unable to meet their nutrient requirements through diet alone.
Multivitamins that provide up to 100% of the daily Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs) are generally considered safe and often free of side effects, as long as you take them as directed.
Nonetheless, some people may still experience a few side effects when taking multivitamins. Some side effects are more common than others (2, 3).
Common side effects
Certain side effects are more likely to occur than others when you’re taking multivitamins. These include (2, 3):
- upset stomach
These gut-related side effects are generally minor and often temporary. They tend to disappear as your body gets used to taking the multivitamin.
Nevertheless, contact your healthcare provider for further assistance if your symptoms persist.
Rare side effects
Rarer side effects of multivitamins include (2, 3):
These typically occur very infrequently, especially if the dosage of nutrients in your multivitamin does not exceed the daily safe upper limit (UL).
However, people who combine multivitamins with other supplements or eat significant amounts of fortified foods may exceed the UL for certain nutrients. This may increase their risk of side effects (4).
Food companies sometimes add nutrients to foods during the manufacturing process. These are fortified foods.
Some people may also experience severe allergic reactions to certain multivitamins, although this is very rare.
If you notice hives, difficulty breathing, or swelling of the face, tongue, lips, or throat after taking a multivitamin, seek emergency medical help immediately.
Side effects in infants and children
Side effects in children are similar to those that adults may experience. However, children are likely to experience them at much lower doses than adults.
In other words, children who take multivitamins may have a higher risk of consuming extremely high levels of nutrients, which can lead to nutrient overdoses and even death in severe cases.
Companies market many multivitamins specifically for infants and children. However, a recent study suggests that up to 65% of them contain nutrient levels above the safe upper limits (UL) for children (5).
This may explain why experts report that children who consume multivitamins have a high risk of exceeding the UL, particularly for vitamin A, folic acid, and zinc (4).
Giving your child an iron-containing multivitamin when they don’t need it may also cause them to overdose on iron. Scientists consider this to be a lead cause of poisoning in children 6 years old and under (4).
To reduce the risk of side effects or toxic overdoses, make sure to consult your healthcare provider before giving your child a multivitamin.
Multivitamins are generally safe as long as they provide nutrient levels that fall within the DRI guidelines. Some people experience gut-related side effects when they first start taking a multivitamin, but these usually resolve quickly. Other side effects are rare.
The National Institutes of Health asserts that multivitamins providing nutrient levels that fall close to their DRI shouldn’t cause serious side effects. However, it’s important to note that the government doesn’t regulate multivitamins in the same way as it does medications (4).
This means there’s a risk that a multivitamin could contain higher levels of nutrients than its label states. Nutrient levels in some multivitamins may sometimes even reach or exceed the daily UL.
Others offer megadoses of certain nutrients that purposefully exceed the UL recommendations, capitalizing on some people’s belief that the more nutrients you ingest, the better the health effects.
Megadoses of some nutrients may not be particularly harmful, but extremely high doses of certain nutrients can seriously harm your health (4).
Nutrients to watch out for
Multivitamins generally contain three categories of nutrients:
- Water-soluble vitamins. These can dissolve in water and don’t usually accumulate in the body nor cause severe side effects if you take them in excess (e.g., B vitamins, vitamin C).
- Fat-soluble vitamins. These dissolve in fat and accumulate in the body, reaching toxic levels and potentially causing havoc if you take them in excess (e.g., vitamins A, D, E, and K).
- Minerals. These are inorganic elements that can accumulate in the body and sometimes cause harmful effects if you take them in excess (e.g., iron, iodine, zinc, copper, and selenium).
Some of these cause more side effects at higher dosages than others. The sections below highlight the nutrients from each category that may be particularly harmful if you take them at high doses.
Excess intakes of water-soluble vitamins don’t typically cause severe side effects, even when intakes are close to the UL.
This is because your body tends to flush out excess intakes of these vitamins through your urine. Still, intakes that are several times over the UL may result in a variety of issues.
For instance, vitamin C intakes that are three times larger than the UL may cause cramps, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, or migraines (6, 7).
Excess vitamin B3, also known as niacin, starting from intakes three times above the current UL may result in stomach pain, high blood pressure, vision problems, and liver damage (8).
Similarly, taking vitamin B6 at 10 times above the UL over the long term has been linked to skin lesions, light sensitivity, heartburn, and neurological problems (9).
Finally, excess intakes of vitamin B9, also known as folic acid, may weaken the immune system, cause neurological problems, and mask a severe vitamin B12 deficiency (10).
Multivitamins that offer large amounts of fat-soluble vitamins can be harmful, as excess levels of these vitamins can build up in the body.
For instance, excess intakes of vitamin A may cause headaches, liver damage, weaker bones, and birth defects (11).
Smokers and former smokers may especially benefit from avoiding multivitamins containing high amounts of vitamin A or beta carotene, which the body can convert into vitamin A. Getting too much of these nutrients may increase the risk of lung cancer (1, 4, 11).
Similarly, taking too much vitamin D, either due to manufacturing errors or taking an inappropriately high dosage, may result in nausea, vomiting, muscle weakness, cognitive problems, heart problems, kidney failure, and even death in severe cases (12).
Moreover, excess amounts of vitamin E may result in bleeding, diarrhea, weakness, blurred vision, and fertility problems (1, 13).
As for vitamin K, research has not found excessive intakes to cause too many problems. However, this vitamin can interact with various medications, including antibiotics and blood thinners.
People currently taking medications should let their healthcare provider know if they’re taking a multivitamin containing vitamin K (14).
Like fat-soluble vitamins, minerals can accumulate in the body if you take them in excess, possibly causing harmful effects.
For instance, overly high intakes of certain minerals, such as iron, copper, magnesium, and zinc, can cause stomach upset, constipation, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, and headaches (4, 15, 16, 17, 18).
Excess iron intake is particularly harmful because it may also cause liver problems.
For this reason, authorities advise adult men and postmenopausal women to avoid taking multivitamins that contain 18 mg of iron or more unless their healthcare provider advises them to do so (19).
Multivitamins containing high levels of iron, copper, and zinc may also prevent the body from absorbing other nutrients you consume (15, 16, 17).
Multivitamins containing too much iodine can cause thyroid problems. On the other hand, those with too much selenium may cause garlic-like breath, hair loss, brittle nails, or a metallic taste in the mouth (20, 21).
Selenium intakes above the UL may also cause severe neurological symptoms, kidney failure, and heart issues (21).
DRIs and ULs for each nutrient of concern
Most of the side effects mentioned in this article occur after a person consumes nutrient amounts that exceed the current upper levels (ULs).
Every nutrient has a UL at which scientists believe it becomes toxic. Exceeding a nutrient’s UL can lead to an overdose and severe side effects, such as liver damage and even death.
The following chart outlines both the DRI and UL for each nutrient of concern for adults.
Specific recommendations for infants and children vary widely based on their age. You can find more information in these exhaustive nutrient tables (22).
|DRI for adult men||DRI for adult women||UL|
|Vitamin A||900 mcg retinol activity equivalents (RAE)||700 mcg RAE||3,000 international units (IU)|
|Vitamin B3 (niacin)||16 mg niacin equivalents (NE)||14 mg NE||35 mg*|
|Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine)||1. 3 mg||1.3 mg||100 mg|
|Vitamin B9 (folate)||400 mcg dietary folate equivalents (DFE)||400 mcg DFE||1,000 mcg*|
|Vitamin C||90 mg||75 mg||2,000 mg|
|Vitamin D||600 IU||600 IU||4,000 IU|
|Vitamin E||15 mg||15 mg||1,000 mg*|
|Vitamin K||120 mcg||90 mcg||No UL established|
|Copper||900 mcg||900 mcg||10,000 mcg|
|Iodine||150 mcg||150 mcg||1,100 mcg|
|Iron||10 mg||18 mg||45 mg|
|Magnesium||420 mg||320 mg||350 mg*|
|Selenium||55 mcg||55 mcg||400 mcg|
|Zinc||11 mg||8 mg||40 mg|
*Applies only to synthetic forms from supplements, fortified foods, or a
combination of the two.
It’s important to note that there’s no DRI available for folic acid, the synthetic form of vitamin B9 that you can find in multivitamins.
The form of vitamin B9 in the table above is called folate, and you can get it from natural sources — not multivitamins.
However, studies have found that dosages of the synthetic folic acid of more than 1,000 mcg per day may be associated with a range of negative health consequences in several populations (23, 24, 25).
Currently, researchers don’t fully understand the effects and safety of long-term intakes of vitamin or mineral dosages that fall between the DRI and UL. Therefore, scientists need to do more research on this topic.
Until more is known, it’s likely safest to avoid supplements that offer nutrient levels that exceed their DRIs.
Consuming multivitamins that contain nutrient levels exceeding the daily UL may result in an array of side effects. Scientists need to conduct more research to evaluate the effects of nutrient intakes that fall between the DRI and UL.
Multivitamins may also become contaminated with harmful compounds, such as arsenic or lead (26, 27).
When you ingest these harmful compounds in large amounts or over a longer period of time, they may cause a variety of health issues, including physical, muscular, and neurological problems, as well as birth defects (26, 28).
It’s impossible to identify whether a multivitamin contains these harmful compounds by looking at its label alone.
However, some manufacturers opt to get their supplements verified by third-party labs, which can confirm whether they’re free of contaminants and that they truly contain what the label states.
Some examples of independent supplement testing companies include ConsumerLab, NSF International, and U.S. Pharmacopeia.
Multivitamins can become contaminated with harmful compounds, such as arsenic or lead. To minimize this risk, consider choosing multivitamins that a third-party lab has independently tested.
Depending on the nutrient and its dosage, some side effects may occur very quickly, while others may take a longer time to develop (11).
For instance, taking a very high dose of one or multiple nutrients may cause gut symptoms that generally develop shortly after taking the supplement (15, 16, 17).
However, more severe side effects may develop over time as excess amounts of nutrients or unwanted contaminants gradually accumulate in the body. These longer-term side effects may include birth defects and liver, heart, and cognitive issues (11, 20, 21, 27, 28).
If you think you’re experiencing any side effects, make sure to bring them up with your healthcare provider as promptly as possible.
The speed at which you may experience side effects depends on the type and dosage of nutrient you consumed. Make sure to discuss any side effects with your healthcare provider as soon as you notice them.
Multivitamins can be helpful for those who are unable to reach their daily nutrient needs through diet alone.
However, multivitamins cannot replace a balanced diet, and taking them in high amounts may result in side effects ranging from mild stomach upset to severe liver and heart problems.
Like many supplements, multivitamins are not strictly regulated and may contain much higher levels of nutrients than the label states. Depending on the nutrient, this will influence the speed and severity at which you may experience side effects.
You can minimize your risk by only taking multivitamins when you truly need them. Opt for ones that contain nutrient levels close to the current DRIs and have been tested by a third-party lab.
Multivitamins Uses, Side Effects & Warnings
Generic name: multivitamins [ MUL-tee-VYE-ta-mins ]
Brand names: Berocca, Primaplex, Becomject-100, M.V.I.-12, Nephplex Rx,
… show all 306 brands
Nephrocaps, B-Ject 100, Therobec, B-Plex, Formula B, Vitaplex, Tri-Vi-Sol, Vi-Daylin ADC, Nephro-Vite Rx, Lipogen, Lipotriad, Lipoflavonoid, Cholinoid, Liponol, Bee-Comp with C, Cholidase, Cota-B-Plex, 1000 BC, Neurodep, Neuroforte-Six, M. V.I. Pediatric, B-Plex Plus, Nephrolan Rx, Zymacap, Vi-Daylin, Poly-Vi-Sol, Dayalets, Sigtab, Therems, StressTabs, Allbee-C 800, Cefol, Cod Liver Oil, Daily Multiple Vitamins, Daily Vite, Protegra, Sesame St. Vitamins with Extra C, Surbex-T, Theragran, Superplex-T, Vi-Stress, Cod Liver Oil Mint, Animal Shape Vitamins, B-50 Complex, B-Complex 50, Vitamin B Complex 100, Balanced B-100, B-Stress, B-Scorbic, Bee with C, Children’s Chewable Multivitamins, Balanced B-50, Balanced B-150, Unicap Capsule, Unicap Jr., Unicap, Optilets-500, Super Plenamins, Vitamins for Hair, Tab-A-Vite, One-A-Day Essentials, Essential Balance, Vi-Daylin Chewable, Sunkist Child Chewable with C, Sunkist Child Chewable, Poly-Vi-Sol Chewable, Fruity Chew, Poly-Vit Chew, Chewable-Vite, Flintstones Multivitamins, Bugs Bunny with Extra C, Flintstones with C Multivitamins, Bounty Bear Vitamins, Garfield Vitamins, Vi-Daylin Drops, Poly-Vi-Sol Drops, Baby Vitamin Drop, Vita Drop, Poly Vit Drops, M.V.C. SDV, Glutofac, Nephro-Vite, Vitabee with C, Stress B with C, High Potency B+C, Farbee with C, Surbex with C, Super B Complex, Surbex, Vitamin B-50, Vitamin B-100, Vitamin B-100 T/R, Hexavitamin, Kenwood Therapeutic, Thera, Theravite, Thera-Plus, Oncovite, Beminal-500, High Potency B Complex with B12 and C, Super B-50, Super B-100 TD, Tri-Vit Drops, Stress Formula, One Tab Daily, Vitamin C, E, and Rose Hips, Scotts Emulsion, Stress Formula 600, Tri-Vit, B Complex 50, Mega B, Apatate, T-Vites, High B Complex, Theragenerix, Cernevit, Cardiotek, B-12 Plus Folic Acid, Beminal, Beminal with C Fortis, Bugs Bunny Multiple Vitamins, Fletanol, Male Formula, Allbee with C, Prevital, Surbex Filmtab, T-BMP, Tender Age Vitamin ADC, Watkins Harvest, Foltx, Folgard Rx 2. 2, Cernevit-12, Infuvite, Infuvite Pediatric, Diatx, Vitamin A, D, One-A-Day 50+, Thex Forte, Protegra Cardio, Vitamin Daily Liquid, Rena-Vite Rx, Renal Caps, Renaphro, Cerefolin, Dialyvite Rx, Dialyvite 800, Vesselvite, Folbee Plus, Folbee, Folcaps, Combgen, Abidec, Unichem Multivitamin, Topfit Vitamin B Complex, Topfit Vitamin B Complex Forte, Vitamin B Compound Strong, Health Aid Multivitamin, Vitamins, Essentiale, Jetepar, Neurobion, Vitamin A and D Concentrate, Centrum 8400, M.V.I. Adult, Nephronex, Foltrate, Cardiotek Rx, Folbic, Metanx, D-400 international units, Folbalin Plus, Folbalin, Multi Vits with Beta Carotene, Foltabs 800, Folgard RX, B-Complex with B-12, FaBB, CerefolinNAC, Folamin, DexFol, One-A-Day Men’s Health Formula, Rena-Vite, Equaline One Daily Essential, Daily-Vite Men’s Formula, Folplex, Folmor, Zycose, Biotin Forte, Vigomar Forte, Vimar, Multi-Delyn, Foleve Plus, Folnate, Folnate Plus, Foleve, B 100 Complex, Renatabs, AllanTex, Cardiotek-Rx, NuFol, Folplex 2.2, Reno Caps, Ivites Rx, TL Gard, Vita-Respa, Folast, Triphrocaps, Enfolast-N, Enfolast, Neurpath-B, Triveen-CF, Rovin-CF, Vol-Care Rx, Nephrocaps QT, B-Complex SR, Apetigen, L-methylfolate Ca, Me-Cbl NAC, L-methylfolate Ca, P-5-P, Me-Cbl, MTX Support, Menopause Relief with Lifenol, Vitacirc-B, Alz-Nac, Tri-Vita Drops, Poly-Vita Drops, Prostate 2. 4, Apetex, Folastin, Folbee AR, Metafolbic, Metafolbic Plus, Foltanx, Virt-Vite Forte, Virt-Vite, Foltanx RF, Folbic RF, One Daily Multi-Essential, Flintstones Toddler, Full Spectrum B with C, Metafolbic Plus RF, PoDiaPN, Super Theravite-M, Nature’s Bounty Hair Skin and Nails, Total B with C, Hair, Skin, and Nails Gummies, Concentrated Whole Food Multivitamin, Niva-Fol, Glycogenics, SeroSyn, Virt-Vite Plus, Rheumate, Folinic-Plus, Allbee Plus, Av-VITE FB Forte, Celebrate B-12, Virt-Gard, Mebolic, DEKAs Essential, Multi Vitamin+, Xyzbac, Nufola, Folika-T, Hylavite, K2 Plus D3, Dosoquin, VP-Vite Rx, Genicin Vita-S, Genicin Vita-Q, Zyvit, Folika-V, Tobakient, Renal Vitamin, Folic-K, LorMate, Poly-Vite Drops, WesTab Mini, Flintstones Gummies Plus Immunity Support Children’s Multiv, Flintstones Gummies Complete Children’s Multivitamin, Neuriva Brain performance Plus, WesTab One, WesTab Max, Wescaps, Norwegian Cod Liver Oil With EPA and DHA, Folate Forte, Ristela, K-Right, Carotenall, B Activ, Natrol L-Arginine, Mood Positive 5-HTP Mood and Stress, Olly Undeniable Beauty Hair Skin and Nails Gummy, Methyl Protect, Vitafusion Elderberry Gummies, Davimet
Dosage forms: oral capsule (Lipotropic with Multivitamins; Multiple Vitamins; Multiple Vitamins with Folic Acid and Antioxidants; Therapeutic Multiple Vitamins; Vitamin A and D; Vitamin A, D, E and K; Vitamin B Complex; Vitamin B Complex with C; Vitamin B Complex with C and Folic Acid; Vitamin C and E),
. .. show all 10 dosage forms
oral gum (Multiple Vitamins), oral liquid (Multiple Vitamins; Pediatric Multiple Vitamins; Therapeutic Multiple Vitamins; Vitamin A and D; Vitamin A, D and C; Vitamin B Complex), oral oil (Vitamin A and D), oral solution (Vitamin A, D, E and K), oral tablet (Lipotropic with Multivitamins; Multiple Vitamins; Multiple Vitamins with Folic Acid and Ubiquinone; Therapeutic Multiple Vitamins; Vitamin B Complex; Vitamin B Complex with C; Vitamin B Complex with C and Folic Acid; Vitamin B Complex with Folic Acid; Vitamin B12, Folate, and Acetylcysteine; Vitamin B6, B12 and Folate; Vitamin D and K), oral tablet, chewable (Multiple Vitamins), oral tablet, dispersible (Multiple Vitamins), oral tablet, extended release (Vitamin B Complex; Vitamin B Complex with C), sublingual tablet (Vitamin B12 with Folic Acid)
Drug class: Vitamin and mineral combinations
Medically reviewed by Drugs.com on Jan 12, 2023. Written by Cerner Multum.
What is a multivitamin?
Multivitamins are a combination of many different vitamins that are normally found in foods and other natural sources.
Multivitamins are used to provide vitamins that are not taken in through the diet. Multivitamins are also used to treat vitamin deficiencies (lack of vitamins) caused by illness, pregnancy, poor nutrition, digestive disorders, and many other conditions.
Multivitamins may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.
Seek emergency medical attention if you think you have used too much of multivitamins. An overdose of vitamins A, D, E, or K can cause serious or life-threatening side effects. Certain minerals contained in a multivitamin may also cause serious overdose symptoms if you take too much.
Before taking this medicine
Many vitamins can cause serious or life-threatening side effects if taken in large doses. Do not take more of this medicine than directed on the label or prescribed by your doctor.
Before you use multivitamins, tell your doctor about all your medical conditions and allergies.
Ask a doctor before using this medicine if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Your dose needs may be different during pregnancy. Some vitamins and minerals can harm an unborn baby if taken in large doses. You may need to use a prenatal vitamin specially formulated for pregnant women.
How should I take multivitamins?
Use exactly as directed on the label, or as prescribed by your doctor.
Never take more than the recommended dose of a multivitamin. Avoid taking more than one multivitamin product at the same time unless your doctor tells you to. Taking similar vitamin products together can result in a vitamin overdose or serious side effects.
Many multivitamin products also contain minerals such as calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, and zinc. Minerals (especially taken in large doses) can cause side effects such as tooth staining, increased urination, stomach bleeding, uneven heart rate, confusion, and muscle weakness or limp feeling. Read the label of any multivitamin product you take to make sure you are aware of what it contains.
Take your multivitamin with a full glass of water.
You must chew the chewable tablet before you swallow it.
Place the sublingual tablet under your tongue and allow it to dissolve completely. Do not chew a sublingual tablet or swallow it whole.
Measure liquid medicine carefully. Use the dosing syringe provided, or use a medicine dose-measuring device (not a kitchen spoon).
Use multivitamins regularly to get the most benefit.
Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat. Do not freeze.
Store multivitamins in their original container. Storing multivitamins in a glass container can ruin the medication.
What happens if I miss a dose?
Take the medicine as soon as you can, but skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next dose. Do not take two doses at one time.
What happens if I overdose?
Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222. An overdose of vitamins A, D, E, or K can cause serious or life-threatening side effects. Certain minerals may also cause serious overdose symptoms if you take too much.
Overdose symptoms may include stomach pain, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, loss of appetite, hair loss, peeling skin, tingly feeling in or around your mouth, changes in menstrual periods, weight loss, severe headache, muscle or joint pain, severe back pain, blood in your urine, pale skin, and easy bruising or bleeding.
What should I avoid while taking multivitamins?
Avoid taking more than one multivitamin product at the same time unless your doctor tells you to. Taking similar vitamin products together can result in a vitamin overdose or serious side effects.
Avoid the regular use of salt substitutes in your diet if your multivitamin contains potassium. If you are on a low-salt diet, ask your doctor before taking a vitamin or mineral supplement.
Do not take multivitamins with milk, other dairy products, calcium supplements, or antacids that contain calcium. Calcium may make it harder for your body to absorb certain ingredients of the multivitamin.
Multivitamins side effects
Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
When taken as directed, multivitamins are not expected to cause serious side effects. Common side effects may include:
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
What other drugs will affect multivitamins?
Multivitamins can interact with certain medications, or affect how medications work in your body. Ask a doctor or pharmacist if it is safe for you to use multivitamins if you are also using:
tretinoin or isotretinoin;
a diuretic or “water pill”;
heart or blood pressure medications;
a sulfa drug; or
NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs)–ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), naproxen (Aleve), celecoxib, diclofenac, indomethacin, meloxicam, and others.
This list is not complete. Other drugs may affect multivitamins, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible drug interactions are listed here.
Frequently asked questions
- What is Foltanx prescribed for?
More about multivitamin
- Check interactions
- Compare alternatives
- Reviews (223)
- Drug images
- Side effects
- Support group
- Drug class: vitamin and mineral combinations
- En español
- Patient Information
- Folic Acid, Cyanocobalamin, and Pyridoxine
- Folic Acid, Vitamin B6, Vitamin B12, Omega-3 Acids, and Phytosterols
- Methylfolate, Methylcobalamin, and Acetylcysteine
- Multivitamins Capsules and Tablets
Folbee, Vitamins, Folbic, MVI Adult, … +25 more
- Prescribing Information
Related treatment guides
- Dietary Supplementation
Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.
Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.
Copyright 1996-2023 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 3.10.
Multivitamins: is there any benefit from them, or is it a waste of money?
Sign up for our ”Context” newsletter: it will help you understand the events.
Image copyright Getty Images
Half of American adults and 70% of those over 65 regularly take multivitamin and mineral supplements, spending about $12 billion a year on them.
It would be better to spend it on healthy foods that contain all the vitamins and minerals that a person needs in a natural form, such as vegetables and fruits, whole grains and low-fat dairy products, say Johns Hopkins University experts.
- Why vitamin supplements don’t work and can be deadly
- “Vitamin drips” in schools and hairdressers. Why are they dangerous?
- Scientists: multivitamins are not needed during pregnancy
Multivitamins (or multivitamins) are preparations containing several vitamins, sometimes together with trace elements, in one capsule.
In an editorial in the Annals of Internal Medicine entitled “Enough: Stop Throwing Money on Multivitamin and Mineral Supplements,” they reported on the results of three studies they conducted. Here are the main findings:
- Analysis of 450 thousand people shows that multivitamins do not reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer
- Follow-up of 5947 men over 12 years showed that they do not reduce the risk of cognitive and memory degradation
- Among 1708 people heart attack survivors, of whom one group took high doses of multivitamins for 55 months, and the other placebo, the number of repeated heart attacks, heart operations and deaths was about the same
Researchers have also found that vitamin E and beta-carotene supplements can be harmful, especially at high doses.
“Pills are not a shortcut to health and chronic disease prevention,” says Larry Appel, director of the Center for Prevention, Epidemiology and Clinical Research at Johns Hopkins University. and salt.”
The exception is folic acid supplements for women of childbearing age, he points out. “Folic acid prevents neural tube defects in babies if the mother takes it before and in early pregnancy. Therefore, a multivitamin is recommended for young women.”
The Center for Prevention, Epidemiology and Clinical Research advises all women of reproductive age to take 400 micrograms of folic acid daily. The iron found in multivitamins can also be good for them, adds Larry Appel.
“I don’t recommend anything else,” he says. “If you eat a healthy diet, you’ll get all the vitamins and minerals you need from food.”
Image copyright, Getty Images
“I don’t take any supplements,” said Larry Appel. for dinner”.
“Skim milk and yogurt contain calcium, magnesium, potassium, so I have whole grain porridge with milk for breakfast several times a week and often eat yogurt.”
“At home, we usually have fish or chicken for dinner, which contains the necessary proteins. I’m not a vegetarian, I just try to eat less meat. Some types of fish, such as salmon, are rich in healthy omega-3 fatty acids.”
Other advice and what Hopkins University scientists do not advise
Skip the Podcast and continue reading.
What was that?
We quickly, simply and clearly explain what happened, why it’s important and what’s next.
End of Story Podcast
Whole Grains: Wheat, brown rice, and barley grains contain vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats. Whole-grain breads and cereals reduce the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and cancer, and improve digestion.
Omega-3 fatty acids: They are indispensable for the construction of brain cell membranes. The body does not produce them itself and must receive them from the environment. They are abundant in salmon, tuna, and mackerel, as well as nuts, flaxseed, and rapeseed oil. An appropriate diet reduces the risk of heart disease, stroke, cancer, and intestinal inflammation.
Saturated fat: Found in excess in butter, whole milk, full fat cheese, ice cream, fatty meats, poultry skins, palm oil, and coconut oil. Contribute to the accumulation of cholesterol in the vessels, adversely affect the absorption of sugar in the blood. Reducing the intake of saturated fat is a means of preventing cardiovascular disease.
However, it is possible that not everyone will agree with the recommendations of experts at Johns Hopkins University regarding the optimal diet. The views of some modern nutritionists and their conclusions about the benefits of a number of products, in particular, dairy, low-fat and cereals, differ from traditional recommendations.
Multivitamin complex – instructions for use, doses, side effects, reviews of the drug:
All forms of release, dosages, registration certificates, drug manufacturers, drug characteristics
Product description Multivitamin complex (tablets) based on the official instructions, approved by the manufacturer in 2008
Approval date: 12/28/2008
- Active substance
- Pharmacological group
- Storage conditions
- Best before date
A11JC Vitamins, combinations
Vitamins and vitamin-like products
Pharma action. Combined preparation, the action of which is due to the effects of the vitamins included in its composition.
Indications. Prevention of hypovitaminosis. Conditions accompanied by an increased need for vitamins: during the period of convalescence after serious illness, during periods of increased physical and mental stress, during pregnancy and lactation, malnutrition or unbalanced nutrition, reduction diets, to improve metabolism and general condition in the elderly and senile age (in part of complex therapy).
Contraindications. Hypersensitivity, hypervitaminosis A and D, children under 10 years of age.
Dosing regimen. Inside, after meals: adults – 1 tab. 3 times a day, children 11-14 years old – 2 tablets. per day. Tablets should be chewed and washed down with a small amount of liquid. The course of treatment is 20 days. If necessary, repeat the course after 2 months.
Side effects. Skin allergic reactions (urticaria).