December 19, 2013
Vitamin pills are a waste of money, usually offer no health benefits and could even be harmful, a group of leading scientists has said.
A study of nearly 500,000 people, carried out by academics from the University of Warwick and the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore, USA, has delivered a damning verdict on the claims made by the vitamin supplement industry.
Evidence from the study suggested that “supplementing the diet of well-nourished adults…has no clear benefit and might even be harmful”, despite one in three Britons taking vitamins or mineral pills.
According to The Times, scientists involved in the study, which was published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, concluded that companies selling supplements were fuelling false health anxieties to offer unnecessary cures. The industry in the UK is thought to be worth more than £650 million annually.
Researchers declared ‘case closed’ on the vitamin and mineral pills after making their conclusion based on the study of half-a-million people along with three separate research papers.
One of the research papers involved the retrospective study of 24 previous trials. In total 450,000 people were involved in the trials and the paper concluded that there was no beneficial effect on mortality from taking vitamins.
Another examined 6,000 elderly men and found no improvement on cognitive decline after 12 years of taking supplements, while a third saw no advantage of supplements among 1,700 men and women with heart problems over an average study of five years.