Multi-vitamins 'a waste of money', say researchers

Following the annual Christmas blow-out, many of us will be thinking once more about a healthier lifestyle and for some that means taking daily supplements to ward off illness.

multi-vitamins a waste of money

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A major new study, however, suggests we're wasting our hard-earned on multi-vitamins that do little to stave off serious health problems.

Researchers at Nancy University in France led a study of more than 8,000 people over the course of six years and found that those taking supplements were just as susceptible to cancer or heart disease as those who did without.

The volunteers were separated into two groups - one took a supplement containing vitamin C, vitamin E, beta-carotene, selenium and zinc, while the remainder were given a placebo.

The health of each participant was assessed at the beginning and end of the study and each took a quality of life survey aimed at measuring their physical and mental well-being.

Researchers found little difference between the health of the volunteers - 30.5 per cent of those taking supplements suffered major health problems such as cancer or heart disease, compared to 30.4 per cent of those taking the placebo.

Catherine Collins, chief dietician at St George's Hospital in London, suggested multi-vitamins are a waste of money.

She told the Daily Mail, "It's the worried well who are taking these pills to try and protect themselves against Alzheimer's disease, heart attacks and strokes.

"But they are wasting their money. This was a large study following people up for a long period of time assessing everything from their mobility and blood pressure to whether they were happy or felt pain."

However, Health Supplements Information Service spokeswoman Dr Carrie Ruxton insisted multi-vitamins were not meant to be "a magic bullet".

"The role of vitamin supplements is to prevent deficiencies and make sure people are receiving their recommended levels," Dr Ruxton explained. They won't have measurable impact on how you feel on a day-to-day basis but what they are doing is topping up your recommended levels to the right amount."

What do you think? Are vitamin supplements a waste or money? Leave a comment below...