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Multivitamins Revisited, Again: Mission, Methods and Muddled Messages

(David L. Katz, MD, MPH, FACPM, FACP, Yale Prevention Research Center) [H]eadlines telling us to skip supplements or stop wasting our money on them are based on conclusions the authors reached before ever the new research came along, not on any of the actual data. The actual data support no such pretensions.
What the data do indicate is that multis are not a panacea, and it would be a fool's errand to rely on them preferentially to prevent premature death or serious chronic disease. As noted, I don't know anyone who does that, but if you are one of those rare individuals, I suggest you desist. All the more so since lifestyle practices can reliably add years to life and life to years, and cut risk for all chronic disease by some 80 percent. At the very best, supplements are supplements to – not substitutes for – living well.
The data also show some potential for nutrient supplementation to do harm. But, in fact, multis have been impressively harm-free in most trials. So what's good for the goose should be good for the gander. On the basis of the same studies propagating indictments, multis may be vindicated of any appreciable harmful effects.
And finally, the study methods did not address the real reasons most people take multis – to feel and function a bit better every day. Maybe they exert this effect; maybe they don't. Basically, we still don't know what we didn't know before.
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Please do not give advice. We can best help each other by telling what works for us, not what we think someone else should do.