Multivitamins: Are They Worth It? — Health Hub from Cleveland Clinic

If you’ve taken daily multivitamins for years, you’re not alone — about 40 percent of Americans do. In 2009, we spent $ 27 billion on multivitamins, and today we probably spend even more.

But do multivitamins work? Experts disagree. Some think that multivitamins supply nutrients missing from our diets. Others think that multivitamins are a crutch — and an expensive one at that.

The Physicians’ Health Study II tracked multivitamin use in 14,500 male physicians, aged 50 and above, over 11 years. The Iowa Women’s Health study tracked multivitamin and supplement use in 38,772 women over 18 years (the average age at the study’s start was 61).

What multivitamins won’t do Dr. Seballos says these studies found that:

When taking multivitamins is important Anyone who is malnourished or who has a nutritional deficiency needs to take a multivitamin, stresses Dr. Seballos.

For the rest of us, “the most important thing to ask yourself is, ‘Am I doing everything possible to optimize my overall health before taking a multivitamin and/or supplement?’” he says. “That is your best guarantee of future health.”

5 things you can do to prevent illness Want proven results? Research shows these steps will reduce your risks of illness — especially cardiovascular disease and cancer, says Dr. Seballos:

Don’t forget! Tell your doctor about ALL vitamins and supplements you’re taking. And to ensure a healthier future, ask about important screenings you may need based on your age, sex and family history.

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