The Multivitamin industry is one of the fastest-growing industries in the world. But are multivitamins really a magic cure?

Credit: Healthline

Vitamin pills may not be as beneficial as we think. Delectable gummies and a variety of supplements make their way onto store shelves, each day, to be bought without a prescription. According to research company IBISWorld “local and international consumers [are] purchasing more vitamins and supplements in line with health and well-being trends.”

Explaining that,

“Consumers’ booming health consciousness translates into higher expenditure on dietary supplements. Sales of vitamins have increased as Australians take a more proactive approach to maintaining their health and well-being, especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. An aging population is boosting demand.”

More than half of us take a supplement or other complementary medicine each year, and some experts say it could be up to 80% of us. But are they benefiting us? On the contrary, a new study claims, they pose additional risks. Most of us take multivitamins out of a sense of feel-good. But this study finds most commonly consumed vitamin and mineral supplements provide no consistent health benefits or harms. They conclude multivitamins may be instead, be linked to heart disease and cancer.

Vitamins Can Conceal Existing Conditions and are Potentially Toxic

Credit: ABC

Vitamins A, D, E and K are fat soluble, which means they are stored in the body; and if taken in high doses can be toxic. High doses of some water-soluble vitamins, such as vitamin B6, can also become toxic. Large folate intakes can hide vitamin B12 deficiencies. High levels of vitamin B6 have also been linked to some types of nerve damage.

Large doses of vitamin C may also cause nausea, abdominal cramps, headaches, fatigue, kidney stones interfere with your body’s ability to process (metabolise) other nutrients – such as dangerously raising your iron levels. Excessive amounts of vitamin C in the body can also interfere with medical tests – such as diabetes tests, by giving a false result. High doses of vitamin A may cause birth defects, as well as central nervous system, liver, bone and skin disorders. High-dose vitamin E supplements have been linked to higher rates of early death (mortality). Fish oil thins your blood.

The health benefits and risks of dietary supplement use are controversial. No medical advice suggests that multivitamins can replace a healthy diet.

Like prescription drugs, multivitamins, minerals, and other supplements can have adverse effects and cause harm if used incorrectly or in doses that are too high. This can happen when a person takes a supplement without realising that they are getting higher amounts of a particular vitamin or mineral from another source, such as another supplement or food.

For example, taking too much vitamin can cause nausea, vomiting, dizziness, and blurry vision. Taking too much (more than 10,000 mcg per day) over a long period of time can also cause adverse effects or damage including bone thinning, liver damage, joint and bone pain, and birth defects.

Daily Allowances and the History of Vitamins

In fact, multivitamins first hit the shelves on a global scale during World War II. In 1930 to 1940, medical treatment was expensive and out of reach for common people. As American men were called up for service during World War II, a third of them were found to be suffering from a disability caused by poor nutrition. This led President Franklin D. Roosevelt to create the National Nutrition Conference for Defence in 1941. Of these, six were government-sponsored, recommending daily allowances for vitamins and two minerals.

The Covid pandemic leaves no stone unturned – to make our protagonist multivitamin an elixir for health. Every man now considerings this as the basic mantra for good health.

Countless news articles and research reports are available on social media today, which give information about how this supplement proved fatal for people, the irony is that despite this, the vast majority of the people remain blind devotees of it.

We all know from ancient times what the routine of a healthy life is and overall, there is no shortcut. Vitamins can have adverse effects or cause harm. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you are unsure how much is safe. And if you are pregnant, you should check with your doctor before taking vitamins or supplements.

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