According to Livsmedelsverket, only 13% of Swedish men eat enough fruit and vegetables on a daily basis. For those 13%, a multivitamin does probably not give an extra benefit. For the other 87% though, it is an easy and safe way to make sure their bodies will get sufficient nutrients. Taking a daily multivitamin is a cost-effective way to insure against hidden micronutrient insufficiencies that can sap your immunity, health and long-term vitality.
To date, there’s only two large, long-term clinical trials of multivitamins that has ben published. The Physicians Health Study II was the first to assess the long-term efficacy of multivitamins in preventing chronic disease. It tested four supplements (including a multivitamin) on the prevention of certain diseases among nearly 15 000 male physicians. Over an average of 11 years, the study found multivitamin use decreased risk of cancer by 8% and cataracts by 9%. (https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT00270647)
The last couple of years, there has been interesting studies on how multivitamins affect brain health. In a recent study published in Alzheimer’s and Dementia, more than 2,200 volunteers ages 65 and older were randomly assigned to receive cocoa or a placebo, a multivitamin or a placebo, or both cocoa and a multivitamin for three years.
When tests of cognition were analyzed at the end of the trial, those receiving cocoa did not demonstrate any improvement. But those assigned to take a multivitamin had improved scores on tests of:
Overall brain function (especially in people with cardiovascular disease)
Based on these findings, the researchers estimated that three years of multivitamin use could slow age-related decline in brain function by as much as 60%. Notably, study participants were followed for only three years. However, it was a randomized double-blind trial, which is considered the most powerful study design. (https://alz-journals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/alz.12767)
Improved nutrient Intake: Multivitamins can help ensure you're meeting your daily recommended intake of essential vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin D , calcium, and iron
Improved immune Function: Some vitamins, such as vitamin C and zinc, play a critical role in supporting a healthy immune system. Taking a multivitamin can help provide these essential nutrients, which may help reduce the risk of infections and illnesses
Decreased risk of Chronic Diseases: Adequate intake of certain vitamins and minerals has been linked to a reduced risk of chronic diseases, such as heart disease, cancer, and osteoporosis. Multivitamins can help provide these essential nutrients and may reduce the risk of these diseases
Improved mood and Energy: Certain vitamins, such as B vitamins , play a critical role in energy production and mood regulation. Taking a multivitamin may help improve energy levels and reduce feelings of fatigue
Improved skin, Hair, and Nail Health: Certain vitamins, such as biotin and vitamin E, are important for maintaining healthy skin, hair, and nails. Taking a multivitamin can help provide these nutrients, which may promote healthier skin, hair, and nails
It is important to remember that a multivitamin cannot in any way replace a healthful well-balanced diet. The main purpose of a multivitamin is to fill in nutritional gaps and provides only a hint of the vast array of healthful nutrients and chemicals naturally found in food. It cannot offer fiber or the flavor and enjoyment of foods so key to an optimal diet. However, multivitamins can play an important role when nutritional requirements are not met through diet alone. So if you don’t eat your 500 grams of greens everyday, a multivitamin is your best option.