Everything You Know About Supplements Is Wrong, Says Stunning New Meta-Study

You're wasting your time.

Everything You Know About Supplements Is Wrong, Says Stunning New Meta-Study

Image: EverydayHealth

A new study has found that one of your cabinet’s mainstay supplements has been a total waste of time and money.

While all sorts of alternative supplements have been sweeping into people’s kitchen cabinets in recent years — ancestral supplements made from ground organs being one, and heroin’s distant cousin Kratom being another — the king of the cupboard has always been the humble multivitamin… until now.

A groundbreaking meta-study led by researchers at the National Institutes of Health’s National Cancer Institute has turned conventional wisdom about multivitamins on its head. Published on June 26, 2024, in JAMA Network Open, the study titled “Multivitamin Use and Mortality Risk in 3 Prospective US Cohorts” analyzed data from nearly 400,000 healthy U.S. adults over more than two decades. The findings? Regular multivitamin use does not correlate with a reduced risk of death… at all.

No Impact On Longevity

For years, millions of Americans have taken multivitamins daily, believing these supplements would enhance their health and ultimately prolong their lives. However, the new analysis, which scrutinised data from three large, geographically diverse studies, found no significant difference in mortality rates between those who took daily multivitamins and those who did not.

Some of the study’s figures. Image: JAMA Network

The vast meta-study included 390,124 U.S. adults who were generally healthy and free from chronic diseases at the start. With over 20 years of follow-up, the researchers were able to mitigate biases present in previous studies, such as the healthier lifestyles often led by multivitamin users or the increased supplement use among sicker patients.

Rethinking Multivitamin Use

The study’s results unfortunately showed that people who took daily multivitamins did not have a lower risk of death from any cause compared to non-users. There were no differences in mortality from cancer, heart disease, or cerebrovascular diseases. The results remained consistent even after adjusting for demographic factors like race, ethnicity, education, and diet quality.

The Mediterranean diet is one of the healthiest in the world… give that a try. Image: Getty

These findings suggest that the assumed health benefits of multivitamins may not hold up under rigorous scientific scrutiny. As such, the study’s authors suggest that it’s important to consider other avenues for maintaining and improving health:

  1. Emphasise a Balanced Diet: Prioritise getting nutrients from a varied and balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins. This approach ensures a more comprehensive intake of essential vitamins and minerals.
  2. Consult Healthcare Providers: Seek personalised advice from healthcare professionals, especially if you have specific nutritional deficiencies or health conditions that might benefit from targeted supplementation.
  3. Adopt a Holistic Health Approach: Focus on overall healthy lifestyle choices, such as regular physical activity, adequate sleep, stress management, and avoiding smoking and excessive alcohol consumption, which are proven to support long-term health far better than any pill.

The Future Of Supplements

While this study does not completely rule out the potential benefits of multivitamins, it highlights the need for more targeted research, especially among populations with documented nutritional deficiencies. It also makes clear the importance of evaluating the impact of multivitamin use on other health conditions associated with aging.

All in all, this meta-study invites a reevaluation of the role of multivitamins in daily health regimens. Rather than relying on supplements, a well-rounded diet and healthy lifestyle practices seem to be more effective strategies for promoting longevity and overall well-being… so to all those who were relying on their magic multivitamin pill, this may be the end of the road.