Why it's time to ditch your multivitamin for good

New research shows that those supplements you're taking may be a total waste.

pesto and bibb lettuce salad

Pesto and bibb lettuce salad (Photo by Roberto Caruso).

If the goal for 2014 is to improve your health then you may want to leave the multivitamins and supplements on the shelf and head to the produce aisle instead. The reason is it’s becoming increasingly clear that vitamins and supplements are doing nothing for you. A healthy diet, however,  appears to be the wisest course.

A new report published in the Annals of Internal Medicine makes the claim that for the majority of the population these products are all hype and offer no significant benefit to health.

In particular, the vitamins don’t appear to have any significant impact on reducing the risk of cognitive decline, heart disease or cancer. (One recent study did find a small decrease in cancer risk by consumers of multivitamins but only among men.)

The report comes on the heels of many recent articles and reviews of the literature related to multivitamin and supplement use.

An article in The Atlantic recently made the claim that far from being benign, multivitamins and supplements do more harm to our health than good. Some studies indicate that people who take supplements are less healthy and have an increased risk of death than those who simply eat a healthy diet.

Rather than seek to fill gaps in our diet and nutrition with supplements, most experts advise people follow a few basic guidelines when it comes to maintaining health and wellness.

These guidelines were reiterated by one of the Annals of Internal Medicine’s study’s authors. “People . . . should be active, should not (overeat), should avoid excessive alcohol and should not be spending money on these pills, these vitamins and minerals,” Dr. Cynthia Mulrow told Reuters Health.

Click here for the salad recipe shown above.