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All Lies: Multivitamins Useless, Study Says

All Lies: Multivitamins Useless, Study Says

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Researchers have found that vitamins don't help with cognitive functions, heart disease, or much else

Well, that's one less thing to do during our already hectic mornings: Two new studies have come out detailing how multivitamins are actually completely useless and a waste of money, The industry is probably not pleased.

Reuters reports that two reports published in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that multivitamins had no effect on heart disease, thinking and memory skills, and little effect on cancer risk (and only for men). So taking vitamins? It won't exactly make you any healthier.

Instead of wasting money on pills, "People... should be active, should not (overeat), should avoid excessive alcohol, and should not be spending money on these pills, these vitamins and minerals," Dr. Cynthia Mulrow told Reuters Health.

The first report recorded memory tests for men for 12 years, discovering that multivitamins had no effect on the results. The second study examined both men and women who had suffered from a heart attack. Over the next 12 years, 27 percent of multivitamin users died or had another issue, compared to 30 percent of the placebo users. All of which is to say, vitamins might just be a big waste of money.

"For the general population who (is healthy) and they are taking vitamins because they are thinking that somehow the vitamins are going to make them do better, people are entitled to waste their money in any way that they like," reseracher Dr. Gervasio Lamas told Reuters.

Do You Really Need A Multivitamin?

Multivitamins have been around for ages. Most of us have a bottle of them somewhere in the house, usually in the dark corners of our medicine cabinets or kitchen windowsills, collecting dust. But multivitamins are big business – 76% of Americans take some sort of vitamin/mineral supplement, which is an all-time high for the category.

There are now companies like Ritual and Hum that have made vitamins trendy, with their ‘clean’ promises and on-staff RDs. Ritual even tells you where each of their ingredients is sourced, from Utah to Saskatchewan. Cool. And Kelly Ripa constantly in my social feeds selling Persona vitamins.

I doubt highly that we’re gonna have Kelly Ripa’s life if we start taking them. But let’s get to the real question: do you really need a multivitamin?

Multivitamins are sold with the idea that they’re ‘insurance’ to fill the gaps in your diet. That they’ll give you strong nails, gleaming hair, and lots of energy. It all sounds good, but do you really need to take a multi?

The answer is complicated. Some people, in particular those with chronic conditions such as kidney disease and alcoholism, probably do need multivitamins. Pregnant women need folic acid, and post-bariatric surgery patients and people with IBD need multivitamins.

If you’re on a restrictive diet, this amazing infographic from shows what your needs might be.

Common multivitamins contain a mixture of vitamins and minerals, sometimes with add-ins like lutein or omega-3s. And in case a normal basic multi is too boring for you, supplement companies are cashing in on the ‘personalized’ trend.

On one leading multi’s site, I select my gender, age group, and ‘goal’ – I chose ‘metabolism,’ knowing it would lead me down a woo-woo path. The recommendation that popped up was a women’s vitamin with “B vitamins to aid in the metabolism of fats, carbohydrates, and proteins, plus key nutrients to help support your energy, immunity, and healthy appearance.”

Fair enough, but there’s one problem: B vitamin deficiencies to the extent that they might cause an interruption in the way a body metabolizes nutrients, are extremely rare. You just don’t have a lot of people walking around with a riboflavin deficiency, because our food is full of it and the other seven B vitamins (Thiamine, niacin, folic acid, panthotenic acid, biotin, B12, and B6).

The one exception to this is B12, for which vegans and the elderly in particular are at risk for deficiency. But for the rest of us, this is largely a non-issue. So yeah, thanks but no thanks.

B vitamins are water-soluble, so any excess we take in, gets peed out pretty much right away. As we say in the business, expensive pee.

Here’s one overarching points about multivitamins: if I have the money for a multi, I’m probably also eating a balanced, varied diet. I’m not deficient in B vitamins and have never been, yet I’m being told by this company to ‘feed my cells’ and help my metabolism with a vitamin that contains what I – and most of you – am already eating.

Let’s say I’m a B12 deficient vegan. This same supplement has 250% of my recommended B12, which I suppose is fine, but why wouldn’t I just take a B12 supplement instead of a bunch of shit I don’t need?

Hard-to-find micronutrients, such as iron, zinc, copper, and magnesium, are often not found in multivitamins in amounts that approach the recommended intakes. That’s one of my biggest complaints about multis – that there’s a whole lot of stuff you don’t need, and a whole little of the stuff you might.

On another popular vitamin’s site, I get asked the same question about my gender, age, and ‘goal.’ This time, I choose ‘hair, skin, and nails,’ because naturally I want to see what the company recommends. Turns out, it’s a gummy vitamin high in biotin, otherwise known as vitamin B8. Biotin does legitimately have a part in the health of our hair, skin, and nails, and like the other B vitamins, it helps with the conversation of food into energy.

But the real story? Biotin requirements are very small, and this vitamin is readily available in the food we eat. Biotin deficiency is very rare, but when it occurs, it usually manifests in a skin rash, thinning hair, and mood disruption. In that situation, sure, taking biotin will help clear up your skin and make your hair thicker. But will it do those things for someone who’s not already deficient in biotin? Research says it won’t.

This is something I see a LOT: supplements being promoted for different symptoms and conditions, but the efficacy of treatment by supplement is low unless a person is actually deficient in that nutrient. In most cases, nothing happens if you take a vitamin or mineral supplement and you’re not deficient. You’re just wasting your time.

In other words, more isn’t better. And gummy vitamins? Thanks, I already eat enough sugar. Gummy vitamins are crap.

We live in a society where food is readily available, so even if your diet is halfway decent, there really isn’t a whole lot a multivitamin can do for you. And the research agrees:

Multivitamins haven’t been proven to lengthen life or prevent both early death. They also don’t seem to prevent conditions like heart disease and macular degeneration.

Taking large doses of certain vitamins can actually be harmful. For example, fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K, are stored in the liver, where they can build up and become toxic if megadosed via supplements.

Vitamins can’t ever step into the place of food, even though they’re sometimes marketed in that way. And taking a multivitamin doesn’t mean that you can continue eating a suboptimal diet and get away with it.

Are personalized vitamins worth it?

For shits and giggles, I went over to the Persona website and filled out their assessment. It was really thorough, asking me if I have everything from mood disorders to sinusitis and what medications I’m taking.

It also asked if I have ‘adrenal fatigue symptoms’, saying that “adrenal fatigue is related to overworked adrenal glands producing too little hormones. This can cause tiredness, trouble sleeping, salt and sugar cravings, and digestive problems.”

I have a varied, healthy diet, so I indicated that on the form. I also said I’m interested in ‘overall wellness,’ energy, and immune support.

I tried to actually create a very innocuous profile because I wanted to see what they recommend for a person who has no real concerns or health issues.

One thing I did select was ‘bloating,’ simply to bait the algorithm.

An 11-pill regimen for $66 per 28-day supply. Yes, ELEVEN pills a day.

Normally, the price is $91 a month, but they’re offering a 30% discount on my first two orders. How generous.

Here’s what Persona recommended for me:

A multivitamin to help ‘fill the gaps’ in my diet, except I told them that I have no gaps.

The interesting thing about this particular multi is that it’s just like a regular drugstore multi with some add ons like lutein. It contains over 100% of the recommended intake of the very common B vitamins, but doesn’t even get close to the DRI for things like vitamin D, zinc, and selenium, even though they’re a lot harder to get in food. I guess they want to sell those in single nutrient pills, which, makes $en$e…for them, at least.

A probiotic of 25 billion CFU lactobacillus rhamnosus, which is fine. But honestly, the efficacy of probiotics taken ‘just because’ isn’t really a thing. Sure, if you have diarrhea, taking certain probiotics can help. But to shove a probiotic into my regimen for no clear reason is sort of ridiculous.

Because I live in Canada, I guess:

Vitamin D, 25 mcg, which equals 1000IU. This is a good dose.

Peppermint, which does have some good research behind it for this purpose.

Digestive enzymes, which are generally useless for healthy people. Seriously.

Green Tea, which is simply a source of caffeine. In this case, 32 mg, which is only a fraction of the amount you’d get in a normal cup of coffee. So in other words, useless.

Cordyceps, an adaptogen mushroom that Persona claims can improve liver health and libido. The research, on the other hand, says nothing of the sort. In fact, most of the studies on cordyceps have been done on mice and in lab dishes, which isn’t exactly the same and being done of humans.

Garlic, for which the research is inconclusive in terms of how it affects immunity.

Quercitin, which may help with seasonal allergies

Vitamin C, which is so readily available in food, I’m not sure why they’d provide it in a supplement. Oh, right. $$.

If I ordered Persona vitamins, I’d be spending money on a lot of pills that I didn’t need. The company – like many other supplement companies and the wellness industry in general – wants to convince me that I would benefit from taking all 11 pills every day. I’m sure a lot of people fall for this, but I don’t want you to be one of those people.

Many of the claims made about supplements are ahead of the science.

You feed your cells, when you EAT FOOD. Don’t fall for idiotic marketing tactics.

Multivitamins, personalized or not, are mostly hype. Unless you have a particular condition that requires you to take one, don’t waste your money.

1. Creatine

Creatine is a natural amino acid most commonly found in red meat. ​No other supplement can boast a track record ​as proven as creatine ​when it comes to packing on strength and muscle​​, especially when combined with resistance training. Simply put,​ if you're looking to get bigger and stronger (and most athletes are), creatine can help you ​get there.

Plus, creatine is super cheap relative to most other supplements. What's not to like about that? One thing to keep in mind on creatine is that recent research is finding that it may actually be better to take it immediately following resistance training as opposed to immediately preceding it.

Keep taking your multivitamins!

By that logic, we shouldn’t bother to drink water. We eventually just pee it out.

But for years, skeptics have been publishing strident headlines, like these gems:

Yet, according to industry surveys, multivitamins and minerals are the most popular supplements, with around 58% of the people preferring them.

“Nielsen’s study shows that in 2018, 6 out of 10 American households bought vitamins, and most of these buyers are among senior couples, empty-nest couples, and high-earning suburban homes.”

Multivitamins account for 65.6% of overall supplement sales, with a year over year average growth of 1.1%. Supplements are an 8.5-billion-dollar industry.

Amid the current pandemic crisis, government agencies ceaselessly remind us that supplements for immune protection are without substantiation. Specific disease-prevention or treatment claims fall within regulatory crosshairs.

But cracks are developing in the anti-supplement facade. This summer, in a little-noticed about-face, the conservative Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) reversed a long-standing policy of non-advocacy of nutritional supplements for prevention of chronic disease.

“According to Drs. Fletcher and Fairfield of Harvard University who wrote JAMA’s new guidelines, ‘most people do not consume an optimal amount of all vitamins by diet alone’. ‘Sub-optimal intake of some vitamins, above levels causing classic vitamin deficiency, is a risk factor for chronic diseases and common in the general population, especially the elderly.’ The authors emphasize that dietary improvement is a central component of an overall program of preventive care, while acknowledging that it is often difficult to get individual patients to change their dietary patterns.”

While the JAMA piece didn’t address the current elephant in the room—immunity—a new study places ordinary multivitamins front and center as a bulwark against infectious disease.

Entitled “The Effect of a Multivitamin and Mineral Supplement on Immune Function in Healthy Older Adults”, it’s a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial, the highest standard of scientific validity, as opposed to observational studies, which rank lower on the hierarchy of rigor and relevance.

Researchers at Oregon State University, Corvallis, gave a group of 42 healthy adults aged 55-75 either a multivitamin or a placebo pill. After 12 weeks, there was a “significant decrease in duration and severity of illness (about 3-fold for duration and about 3–6 fold for severity) compared with the placebo arm.”

Days of self-reported sickness in the supplement group averaged fewer than three compared to more than six for the placebo group.

And this was not achieved with a mega-vitamin. It contained 700 micrograms of vitamin A 400 international units of vitamin D 45 milligrams of vitamin E 6.6 milligrams of vitamin B6 400 micrograms of folate 9.6 micrograms of vitamin B12 1,000 milligrams of vitamin C 5 milligrams of iron 0.9 milligrams of copper 10 milligrams of zinc and 110 micrograms of selenium. A supplement like this could cost mere pennies a day.

All are modest doses. If I’d had my druthers, I would’ve pushed for higher potencies, especially of vitamins A, C and D, and minerals zinc and selenium, all known to support immunity. In the interest of safety, and constrained by the conservatism of academic research, the study designers used a low-key multi.

But even the minimal supplementation made a difference. The authors believe this precedent sets the stage for further investigation: “The findings from this study are sufficient to inform our design for future studies on supplements and immune function.”

Along these lines, a new review (scheduled for publication in January 2021) entitled “Immune-boosting role of vitamins D, C, E, zinc, selenium and omega-3 fatty acids: could they help against COVID-19?” hypothesizes:

“Key dietary components such as vitamins C, D, E, zinc, selenium and the omega 3 fatty acids have well-established immunomodulatory effects, with benefits in infectious disease. Some of these nutrients have also been shown to have a potential role in the management of COVID-19. In this paper, evidence surrounding the role of these dietary components in immunity as well as their specific effect in COVID-19 patients are discussed. In addition, how supplementation of these nutrients may be used as therapeutic modalities potentially to decrease the morbidity and mortality rates of patients with COVID-19 is discussed.”

The authors point out that “dietary insufficiency of vitamins and minerals has been observed in high-risk groups of COVID-19 patients, such as the elderly, increasing the morbidity and risk of mortality. It is well known that the elderly are more likely to be nutrient deficient and to have compromised immunity via immuno-senescence, significantly increasing their risk of poor outcomes from COVID-19, and making adequate nutrition doubly important.”

They conclude: “Supplementation with higher doses of these nutrients during COVID-19 infection, have shown positive outcomes, and given their low risk profile are a sensible addition to patient care. However, further research needs to be undertaken to define the effective dosage of vitamins C, D, E, zinc and omega-3 fatty acids to protect individuals or alleviate symptoms against COVID-19.”

Studies are underway. As of now, there’s no conclusive proof that supplements act as a shield against COVID-19. But, despite the detractors, there remains a pretty solid rationale for taking that multivitamin, especially as we face an uncertain fall.

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For this single paper, Pauling received the Langmuir Prize as the most outstanding young chemist in the United States, became the youngest person elected to the National Academy of Sciences, was made a full professor at Caltech, and won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. He was 30 years old.

In 1949, Pauling published a paper in Science titled “Sickle Cell Anemia, a Molecular Disease.” At the time, scientists knew that hemoglobin (the protein in blood that transports oxygen) crystallized in the veins of people with sickle-cell anemia, causing joint pain, blood clots, and death. But they didn’t know why. Pauling was the first to show that sickle hemoglobin had a slightly different electrical charge—a quality that dramatically affected how the hemoglobin reacted with oxygen. His finding gave birth to the field of molecular biology.

In 1951, Pauling published a paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences titled “The Structure of Proteins.” Scientists knew that proteins were composed of a series of amino acids. Pauling proposed that proteins also had a secondary structure determined by how they folded upon themselves. He called one configuration the alpha helix—later used by James Watson and Francis Crick to explain the structure of DNA.

Pauling’s accomplishments weren’t limited to science. Beginning in the 1950s—and for the next 40 years—he was the world’s most recognized peace activist. Pauling opposed the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II, declined Robert Oppenheimer’s offer to work on the Manhattan Project, stood up to Senator Joseph McCarthy by refusing a loyalty oath, opposed nuclear proliferation, publicly debated nuclear-arms hawks such as Edward Teller, forced the government to admit that nuclear explosions could damage human genes, convinced other Nobel Prize winners to oppose the Vietnam War, and wrote the best-selling book No More War! Pauling’s efforts led to the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. In 1962, he won the Nobel Peace Prize—the first person ever to win two unshared Nobel Prizes.

In addition to his election to the National Academy of Sciences, two Nobel Prizes, the National Medal of Science, and the Medal for Merit (which was awarded by the president of the United States), Pauling received honorary degrees from Cambridge University, the University of London, and the University of Paris. In 1961, he appeared on the cover of Time magazine’s “Men of the Year” issue, hailed as one of the greatest scientists who had ever lived.

Then all the rigor, hard work, and hard thinking that had made Linus Pauling a legend disappeared. In the words of a colleague, his “fall was as great as any classic tragedy.”

Pauling followed Stone’s advice. “I began to feel livelier and healthier,” he said. “In particular, the severe colds I had suffered several times a year all my life no longer occurred. After a few years, I increased my intake of vitamin C to 10 times, then 20 times, and then 300 times the RDA: now 18,000 milligrams per day.”

From that day forward, people would remember Linus Pauling for one thing: vitamin C.

In 1970, Pauling published Vitamin C and the Common Cold, urging the public to take 3,000 milligrams of vitamin C every day (about 50 times the recommended daily allowance). Pauling believed that the common cold would soon be a historical footnote. “It will take decades to eradicate the common cold completely,” he wrote, “but it can, I believe, be controlled entirely in the United States and some other countries within a few years. I look forward to witnessing this step toward a better world.” Pauling’s book became an instant best seller. Paperback versions were printed in 1971 and 1973, and an expanded edition titled Vitamin C, the Common Cold and the Flu, published three years later, promised to ward off a predicted swine-flu pandemic. Sales of vitamin C doubled, tripled, and quadrupled. Drugstores couldn’t keep up with demand. By the mid 1970s, 50 million Americans were following Pauling’s advice. Vitamin manufacturers called it “the Linus Pauling effect.”

Scientists weren’t as enthusiastic. On December 14, 1942, about 30 years before Pauling published his first book, Donald Cowan, Harold Diehl, and Abe Baker, from the University of Minnesota, published a paper in the Journal of the American Medical Association titled “Vitamins for the Prevention of Colds.” The authors concluded, “Under the conditions of this controlled study, in which 980 colds were treated . there is no indication that vitamin C alone, an antihistamine alone, or vitamin C plus an antihistamine have any important effect on the duration or severity of infections of the upper respiratory tract.”

Although study after study showed that he was wrong, Pauling refused to believe it, continuing to promote vitamin C in speeches, popular articles, and books. When he occasionally appeared before the media with obvious cold symptoms, he said he was suffering from allergies.

Then Linus Pauling upped the ante. He claimed that vitamin C not only prevented colds it cured cancer.

In 1971, Pauling received a letter from Ewan Cameron, a Scottish surgeon from a tiny hospital outside Glasgow. Cameron wrote that cancer patients who were treated with 10 grams of vitamin C every day had fared better than those who weren’t. Pauling was ecstatic. He decided to publish Cameron’s findings in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). Pauling assumed that as a member of the academy he could publish a paper in PNAS whenever he wanted only three papers submitted by academy members had been rejected in more than half a century. Pauling’s paper was rejected anyway, further tarnishing his reputation among scientists. Later, the paper was published in Oncology, a journal for cancer specialists. When researchers evaluated the data, the flaw became obvious: The cancer patients Cameron had treated with vitamin C were healthier at the start of therapy, so their outcomes were better. After that, scientists no longer took Pauling’s claims about vitamins seriously.

People with cancer now had reason to hope. Wanting to participate in the Pauling miracle, they urged their doctors to give them massive doses of vitamin C. “For about seven or eight years, we were getting a lot of requests from our families to use high-dose vitamin C,” recalls John Maris, the chief of oncology and the director of the Center for Childhood Cancer Research at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. “We struggled with that. They would say, ‘Doctor, do you have a Nobel Prize?’”

Blindsided, cancer researchers decided to test Pauling’s theory. Charles Moertel, of the Mayo Clinic, evaluated 150 people with cancer: half received 10 grams of vitamin C a day and half didn’t. The vitamin C–treated group showed no difference in symptoms or mortality. Moertel concluded, “We were unable to show a therapeutic benefit of high-dose vitamin C.” Pauling was outraged. He wrote an angry letter to the New England Journal of Medicine, which had published the study, claiming that Moertel had missed the point. Of course vitamin C hadn’t worked: Moertel had treated patients who had already received chemotherapy. Pauling claimed that vitamin C worked only if cancer patients had received no prior chemotherapy.

Bullied, Moertel performed a second study the results were the same. Moertel concluded, “Among patients with measurable disease, none had objective improvement. It can be concluded that high-dose vitamin C therapy is not effective against advanced malignant disease regardless of whether the patient had received any prior chemotherapy.” For most doctors, this was the end of it. But not for Linus Pauling. He was simply not to be contradicted. Cameron observed, “I have never seen him so upset. He regards the whole affair as a personal attack on his integrity.” Pauling thought Moertel’s study was a case of “fraud and deliberate misrepresentation.” He consulted lawyers about suing Moertel, but they talked him out of it.

Subsequent studies have consistently shown that vitamin C doesn’t treat cancer.

On April 6, 1992, the cover of Time—rimmed with colorful pills and capsules—declared: “The Real Power of Vitamins: New research shows they may help fight cancer, heart disease, and the ravages of aging.” The article, written by Anastasia Toufexis, echoed Pauling’s ill-founded, disproved notions about the wonders of megavitamins. “More and more scientists are starting to suspect that traditional medical views of vitamins and minerals have been too limited,” Toufexis wrote. “Vitamins—often in doses much higher than those usually recommended—may protect against a host of ills ranging from birth defects and cataracts to heart disease and cancer. Even more provocative are glimmerings that vitamins can stave off the normal ravages of aging.” Toufexis enthused that the “pharmaceutical giant Hoffman-La Roche is so enamored with beta-carotene that it plans to open a Freeport, Texas, plant next year that will churn out 350 tons of the nutrient annually, or enough to supply a daily 6 milligram capsule to virtually every American adult.”

The National Nutritional Foods Association (NNFA), a lobbying group for vitamin manufacturers, couldn’t believe its good luck, calling the Time article “a watershed event for the industry.” As part of an effort to get the FDA off its back, the NNFA distributed multiple copies of the magazine to every member of Congress. Speaking at an NNFA trade show later in 1992, Toufexis said, “In 15 years at Time I have written many health covers. But I have never seen anything like the response to the vitamin cover. It whipped off the sales racks, and we were inundated with requests for copies. There are no more copies. ‘Vitamins’ is the number-one-selling issue so far this year.”

Antioxidation vs. oxidation has been billed as a contest between good and evil. The battle takes place in cellular organelles called mitochondria, where the body converts food to energy, a process that requires oxygen and so is called oxidation. One consequence of oxidation is the generation of electron scavengers called free radicals (evil). Free radicals can damage DNA, cell membranes, and the lining of arteries not surprisingly, they've been linked to aging, cancer, and heart disease. To neutralize free radicals, the body makes its own antioxidants (good). Antioxidants can also be found in fruits and vegetables—specifically, selenium, beta-carotene, and vitamins A, C, and E. Studies have shown that people who eat more fruits and vegetables have a lower incidence of cancer and heart disease and live longer. The logic is obvious: If fruits and vegetables contain antioxidants—and people who eat lots of fruits and vegetables are healthier—then people who take supplemental antioxidants should also be healthier.

In fact, they’re less healthy.

In 1994, the National Cancer Institute, in collaboration with Finland’s National Public Health Institute, studied 29,000 Finnish men, all long-term smokers more than 50 years old. This group was chosen because they were at high risk for cancer and heart disease. Subjects were given vitamin E, beta-carotene, both, or neither. The results were clear: Those taking vitamins and supplements were more likely to die from lung cancer or heart disease than those who didn’t take them—the opposite of what researchers had anticipated.

In 1996, investigators from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, in Seattle, studied 18,000 people who, because they had been exposed to asbestos, were at increased risk of lung cancer. Again, subjects received vitamin A, beta-carotene, both, or neither. Investigators ended the study abruptly when they realized that those who took vitamins and supplements were dying from cancer and heart disease at rates 28 and 17 percent higher, respectively, than those who didn’t.

In 2004, researchers from the University of Copenhagen reviewed 14 randomized trials involving more than 170,000 people who took vitamins A, C, E, and beta-carotene to see whether antioxidants could prevent intestinal cancers. Again, antioxidants didn’t live up to the hype. The authors concluded, “We could not find evidence that antioxidant supplements can prevent gastrointestinal cancers on the contrary, they seem to increase overall mortality.” When these same researchers evaluated the seven best studies, they found that death rates were 6 percent higher in those taking vitamins.

In 2005, researchers from Johns Hopkins School of Medicine evaluated 19 studies involving more than 136,000 people and found an increased risk of death associated with supplemental vitamin E. Dr. Benjamin Caballero, the director of the Center for Human Nutrition at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, said, “This reaffirms what others have said. The evidence for supplementing with any vitamin, particularly vitamin E, is just not there. This idea that people have that [vitamins] will not hurt them may not be that simple.” That same year, a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association evaluated more than 9,000 people who took high-dose vitamin E to prevent cancer those who took vitamin E were more likely to develop heart failure than those who didn’t.

In 2007, researchers from the National Cancer Institute examined 11,000 men who did or didn’t take multivitamins. Those who took multivitamins were twice as likely to die from advanced prostate cancer.

In 2008, a review of all existing studies involving more than 230,000 people who did or did not receive supplemental antioxidants found that vitamins increased the risk of cancer and heart disease.

On October 10, 2011, researchers from the University of Minnesota evaluated 39,000 older women and found that those who took supplemental multivitamins, magnesium, zinc, copper, and iron died at rates higher than those who didn’t. They concluded, “Based on existing evidence, we see little justification for the general and widespread use of dietary supplements.”

Two days later, on October 12, researchers from the Cleveland Clinic published the results of a study of 36,000 men who took vitamin E, selenium, both, or neither. They found that those receiving vitamin E had a 17 percent greater risk of prostate cancer. In response to the study, Steven Nissen, the chairman of cardiology at the Cleveland Clinic, said, “The concept of multivitamins was sold to Americans by an eager nutraceutical industry to generate profits. There was never any scientific data supporting their usage.” On October 25, a headline in The Wall Street Journal asked, “Is This the End of Popping Vitamins?” Studies haven’t hurt sales. In 2010, the vitamin industry grossed $28 billion, up 4.4 percent from the year before. “The thing to do with [these reports] is just ride them out,” said Joseph Fortunato, the chief executive of General Nutrition Centers. “We see no impact on our business.”

How could this be? Given that free radicals clearly damage cells—and given that people who eat diets rich in substances that neutralize free radicals are healthier—why did studies of supplemental antioxidants show they were harmful? The most likely explanation is that free radicals aren’t as evil as advertised. Although free radicals clearly can damage DNA and disrupt cell membranes, that’s not always a bad thing. People need free radicals to kill bacteria and eliminate new cancer cells. But when people take large doses of antioxidants, the balance between free radical production and destruction might tip too much in one direction, causing an unnatural state in which the immune system is less able to kill harmful invaders. Researchers have called this “the antioxidant paradox.” Whatever the reason, the data are clear: High doses of vitamins and supplements increase the risk of heart disease and cancer for this reason, not a single national or international organization responsible for the public’s health recommends them.

In May 1980, during an interview at Oregon State University, Linus Pauling was asked, “Does vitamin C have any side effects on long-term use of, let’s say, gram quantities?” Pauling’s answer was quick and decisive. “No,” he replied.

Seven months later, his wife was dead of stomach cancer. In 1994, Linus Pauling died of prostate cancer.

* This article previously misidentified when Pauling began to suggest that Vitamin C could benefit AIDS patients.

How do Americans waste $28 billion a year? On vitamins, doctors say

Looking for ways to save money in 2014? Here’s some advice from doctors: Stop buying vitamins.

Time after time, studies have shown that vitamin and mineral supplements don’t prevent disease or death. And yet consumers keep buying them, lament the authors of an editorial published in Tuesday’s edition of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

A 2011 report from the National Center for Health Statistics estimated that 53% of American adults used some type of supplement in the years 2003 to 2006, with multivitamin/multimineral formulations being the most popular. Those pills weren’t cheap – U.S. consumers spent $28 billion on them in 2010 alone, the editorial says.

Three new studies published in the Annals of Internal Medicine add yet more data to the mountain of evidence that most people get all the vitamins and minerals they need from food:

A meta-analysis conducted for the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force found “no consistent evidence that the included supplements affected CVD (cardiovascular disease), cancer, or all-cause mortality in healthy individuals without known nutritional deficiencies. Other systematic reviews have arrived at this same conclusion.” The analysis was based on the results of 27 studies involving more than 450,000 people.

A study involving nearly 6,000 male doctors age 65 and older found that cognitive function and verbal memory were no better in the men who took a daily multivitamin than in men who took a placebo. The doctors were tracked for 12 years.

Finally, a clinical trial testing whether a multivitamin could help prevent serious heart problems – including death – in patients who already had one heart attack concluded that the supplements didn’t help.

These results were right in line with other studies that have found “no clear benefit” from taking multivitamins, antioxidants, folic acid and B vitamins, the editorial says.

And those are the good outcomes. Trials of beta-carotene, vitamin E and high doses of vitamin A linked those supplements with an increased risk of premature death.

As far as the five editorial writers are concerned, the jury is still out on only one supplement – vitamin D. Studies to assess whether extra vitamin D could prevent falls in older people have had mixed results. As researchers continue to sort this out, consumers should be aware that there’s no “solid evidence” that this vitamin will be helpful to most people.

“The message is simple: Most supplements do not prevent chronic disease or death, their use is not justified, and they should be avoided,” the five physicians write.

And just in case that message is not simple enough, the headline spells things out even more clearly – “Enough is Enough: Stop Wasting Money on Vitamin and Mineral Supplements.”

If you like to keep up to date on the latest medical studies, you like the things I write about. Follow me on Twitter and “like” Los Angeles Times Science & Health on Facebook.

Dear Mark: Are Supplements Useless?

It’s December 2013, which means it’s time for another round of popular news articles proclaiming “supplements are useless and maybe even dangerous.” This time they’re based on a recent editorial published in the Annals of Internal Medicine entitled “Enough is Enough: Stop Wasting Money on Vitamin and Mineral Supplements” in which the authors looked at (some of) the research on vitamin and mineral supplementation and prevention of various ailments. Understandably, I got a bunch of emails from people worried that their supplements were useless or might even be hurting them. Let’s look at one of them and see what people are saying:

Hear that? The “case is closed.” Or not.

One of the papers the authors examined was pulled from the Physicians’ Health Study II (PHSII), a long-running study of nearly 15,000 US doctors at least 50 years of age or older. Researchers have run a number of studies using this data, mostly examining how taking supplements (either a Centrum Silver multivitamin, vitamin C, vitamin E, beta-carotene, placebo, or some combination thereof) affected various end points like cancer, cardiovascular disease, visual decline, or cognitive decline. The study the authors of the editorial chose to examine looked at the effect of multivitamins on cognitive decline and memory. Turns out multivitamin intake had no effect on cognitive decline or memory when compared to placebo.

Of course, even if multivitamins have no effect on cognitive health it doesn’t say anything about other health conditions. Just last year, a study using the same PHSII data found a beneficial effect on cancer incidence from multivitamin use, with daily multivitamin use predicted a moderate but significant reduction in overall cancer risk, particularly in men with a history of cancer. And although an early PHSII study on cardiovascular disease found no overall effect, multivitamins did reduce the risk of fatal myocardial infarction (your basic heart attack). I’d wager that most people are highly interested in avoiding heart attacks that kill them. Wouldn’t you?

That’s actually pretty impressive when you consider that Centrum Silver is a cheap, relatively low-quality, poorly absorbed multivitamin. That Centrum Silver is a known quantity and inexpensive makes it a good candidate for large trials, but a poor candidate for someone interested in improving their nutrient status when there are so many better options are on the market.

You also have to consider the population studied and how that impacts the effect of a supplement. How do the male doctors included in PHSII differ from other types of people?

According to the latest research (much of it culled from the PHSII), male physicians are a generally healthy bunch. They tend to be wealthier and better-educated than average, which usually results in better health and a greater life expectancy. They rarely smoke, drink, or do (illicit) drugs. They’re thinner than most and rarely suffer from obesity-related diseases like diabetes and cardiovascular disease. They have higher cholesterol than average men, which could actually be a good thing depending on how high it actually is and which lipids are responsible for the elevated readings. High cholesterol could also be a function of access to health care other Americans may be “free” of high cholesterol simply because they’ve never had it checked. They drink a lot of coffee, which is a great source of antioxidants and has been consistently linked to better health outcomes.

In other words, doctors are starting from a healthier spot than the rest of us. They have less ground to make up. Their diets are less likely to leave them vitamin or mineral deficient, and multivitamins are less likely to have an effect on the vitamin and mineral replete.

You’ll notice that supplement critics usually sneak in an important qualifier that drastically changes the context: “nutrient deficiencies.” As in, “multivitamins may be helpful in combating vitamin or mineral deficiencies, but those are incredibly rare in today’s food environment.” They seem to assume that because so many people are overweight or obese, they couldn’t possibly be missing anything because they’re eating plenty of food to cover their bases. Is it really so rare to have a vitamin or mineral deficiency, though? Are Americans and other people from industrialized nations really eating healthy, nutrient-rich diets? I’m not so sure. Just look around at the way people eat. Obesity doesn’t mean nutrient-replete. An immense macronutrient intake doesn’t ensure a high micronutrient diet if you’re eating modern, industrial foods designed to taste good. Most homeless people I see are sadly overweight, but they overwhelmingly suffer from nutrient deficiencies just the same.

People may not be dying of pellagra or beriberi or getting scurvy or rickets (well, maybe rickets) in industrialized nations, but that doesn’t preclude deficiencies. The true face of modern nutritional deficiency is a subtle one that sneaks up on you and saps at your health over the long term.

Vitamin D deficiency is widespread, which the authors acknowledge. We’re either actively avoiding the sun, using sunscreen at the slightest hint of it, or spending most of our hours indoors. Vitamin D supplementation lowers the risk of falls in susceptible populations (high doses only lower doses weren’t very effective), reduces body fat, and lowers the risk of fractures (in case you do fall). It and prenatal folic acid were the only supplements given the green light.

Magnesium deficiency is epidemic, too, with a number of factors negatively affecting a person’s serum magnesium levels, including high stress, sweating, alcohol intake, a low selenium intake, and low vitamin D. The biggest factor in magnesium deficiency, though, is inadequate intake, either from poor diets, soft, low-mineral drinking water, or depleted soils.

Should people not obtain more of those nutrients, either through lifestyle modification (diet, sun) or supplementation, if they are deficient? After all, magnesium supplementation has been shown to improve beta cell function in diabetics, insulin sensitivity in non-diabetics and type 2 diabetics, and blood pressure in people with low magnesium status.

And multivitamins themselves have had positive effects. Three recent clinical trials (AREDS, AREDS2, and LAST) found that specifically-formulated multivitamins can help prevent age-related macular degeneration. Multivitamin supplementation can also positively impact fertility, psychological health (mood, perceived stress which is really just stress in the end), and neural efficiency. The problem is that the endpoints that supplementation seems to undoubtedly help aren’t cancer or cardiovascular disease. Improved insulin sensitivity and lower body fat, better vision and lower stress are all well and good, but they aren’t sexy clinical endpoints with the impact of death from cancer or cardiovascular disease. A “lower risk of fractures and falls” doesn’t make headlines.

There are also nutrients that are difficult to obtain from food alone. Take vitamin K2, which can be found in natto (slimy fermented soybeans), goose liver, and gouda, but not in the amounts shown to be protective or restorative in clinical trials. Supplements will help fill in the blanks.

You know, I actually have no beef with the title of the editorial. People absolutely should not be wasting money on mineral and vitamin supplements they don’t need. That’s just common sense. Where we differ is how to define a wasteful supplement. They think all supplements qualify. I don’t. You can find plenty of evidence showing that supplementation of certain nutrients is unhelpful, harmful, or barely helpful in nutrient-replete, healthy populations. You can find plenty of evidence showing that smart supplementation of certain nutrients is extremely helpful or even life-saving in other groups. So-called skeptics love pointing to the former as resounding evidence that supplementation is pointless for everyone. More reasonable folks naturally see the totality of evidence as supportive of a more nuanced position: some supplements are good for some people, some are bad for some people, some are good for most.

Talking about “this study” or “that study” invalidating (or universally validating) the consumption of supplements is ridiculous. Specific supplements work in specific cases. Multivitamins can be helpful for certain conditions, particularly if you eat a poor diet, or they can be mostly useless. Supplement quality matters, too. There’s a lot of research to parse when it comes to evaluating the worthiness of supplements, too much for nice neat headlines – or even two page articles.

Multivitamin researchers say "case is closed" after studies find no health benefits

That&rsquos the message from doctors behind three new studies and an editorial that tackled an oft-debated question in medicine: Do daily multivitamins make you healthier?

After reviewing the available evidence and conducting new trials, the authors have come to a conclusion of &ldquono.&rdquo

&ldquoWe believe that the case is closed -- supplementing the diet of well-nourished adults with (most) mineral or vitamin supplements has no clear benefit and might even be harmful,&rdquo concluded the authors of the editorial summarizing the new research papers, published Dec. 16 in the Annals of Internal Medicine. &ldquoThese vitamins should not be used for chronic disease prevention. Enough is enough.&rdquo

They went on to urge consumers to not &ldquowaste&rdquo their money on multivitamins.

Trending News

&ldquoThe &lsquostop wasting your money&rsquo means that perhaps you're spending money on things that won't protect you long term,&rdquo editorial co-author Dr. Edgar Miller, a professor of medicine and epidemiology at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, told CBS News&rsquo chief medical correspondent Dr. Jon LaPook. &ldquoWhat will protect you is if you spend the money on fruits, vegetables, nuts, beans, low fat dairy, things like that ..exercising would probably be a better use of the money.&rdquo

The strong message was based on a review of the findings from three studies that tracked multivitamins link to cancer protection, heart health, and brain and cognitive measures.

Vitamin and mineral supplements are taken by an estimated half of all Americans.

The first study, which was released online Nov. 12 in Annals, was a review of 24 studies and two trials on more than 350,000 individuals that looked at vitamin supplementation&rsquos role in preventing chronic disease. The review was conducted to find evidence that can be used to update vitamin treatment guidelines from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, a panel of medical experts who recommend the government on treatments.

That review found no evidence that vitamin and mineral supplementation would reduce heart disease in pill takers. Two of the trials found a small, &ldquoborderline-significant benefit&rdquo in cancer risk reduction, but only in men. Overall, the panel concluded there was no solid evidence for or against taking vitamins and minerals alone, or that a multivitamin to prevent heart disease or cancer. More strikingly, it found enough evidence to recommend against taking beta-carotene or vitamin E for preventing both diseases, finding they not only didn&rsquot help but the former may raise risk for lung cancer for already at-risk individuals.

&ldquoIn the absence of clear evidence about the impact of most vitamins and multivitamins on cardiovascular disease and cancer, health care professionals should counsel their patients to eat a healthy, well-balanced diet that is rich in nutrients,&rdquo the Task Force concluded.

The next study, published Dec. 16 in Annals, looked at cognitive health and whether long-term use of multivitamins would have any effect. Researchers assigned almost 5,950 male doctors aged 65 and older to take either a daily multivitamin or placebo for 12 years in a randomized, placebo-controlled trial,

Based on the results of memory tests, the researchers found the multivitamin did nothing to slow cognitive decline among men 65 and older compared to placebo takers.

&ldquoThese data do not provide support for use of multivitamin supplements in the prevention of cognitive decline,&rdquo wrote the authors, led by Dr. Francine Grodstein, an epidemiologist who studies aging at Harvard School of Public Health in Boston.

It&rsquos worth noting this study only looked at cognitive test results, not actual development of dementia.

Consumer Reports: 10 hidden dangers of vitamins The third study looked specifically at multivitamins and minerals role in preventing another heart attack, or myocardial infarction. They looked at more than 1,700 people who had a heart attack at least six weeks earlier, and randomized them to receive daily high-dose multivitamins and minerals or placebos for five years.

Having a heart attack raises risk for another attack, or cardiovascular event like stroke or premature death, so if multivitamins could reduce risk, they could be a boon to public health.

The researchers found no difference in rates of another heart attack, chest pain, the need for hospitalization, cardiac catheterization, or rates of stroke and early death between vitamin-takers and placebo-takers. But, they said the conclusions should be taken with caution, because several participants stopped taking vitamins early.

The authors of the editorial say the evidence is clear about multivitamin supplements, except for vitamin D, which has been shown to be both effective and ineffective for preventing falls and fractures in elderly. More studies are needed specifically looking at vitamin D, according to the editorial's authors.

&ldquoSales of multivitamins and other supplements have not been affected by major studies with null results, and the U.S. supplement industry continues to grow, reaching $28 billion in annual sales in 2010,&rdquo wrote the authors of the editorial summary, led by Dr. Eliseo Guallar, a professor of epidemiology who specializes in heart disease prevention at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore. &ldquoWe should translate null and negative findings into action. The message is simple: Most supplements do not prevent chronic disease or death, their use is not justified, and they should be avoided.&rdquo

Last year, Pfizer agreed to remove "breast health" and "colon health" claims from some of its Centrum multivitamins following pressure from the Center for Science in the Public Interest, which said their claims of cancer prevention were misleading.

A dietary supplement industry group slammed the editorial and studies.

&ldquoThe editorial demonstrates a close-minded, one-sided approach that attempts to dismiss even the proven benefits of vitamins and minerals," Steve Mister, president and CEO of the Council for Responsibile Nutrition, said in a statement. "It&rsquos a shame for consumers that the authors refuse to recognize the real-life need for vitamin and mineral supplementation, living in a fairy-tale world that makes the inaccurate assumption that we&rsquore all eating healthy diets and getting everything we need from food alone.

One expert agreed some nutrient-deficient people may still benefit from multivitamins.

&ldquoThere might be an argument to continue taking a multi(vitamin) to replace or supplement your not healthy diet,&rdquo Dr. Robert Graham, an internal medicine physician at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, added to CBS News.

LaPook also notes that vitamins can benefit people with certain conditions, like celiac disease -- where the body cannot properly absorb nutrients -- and pegnancy, where folic acid helps prevent birth defects

7 Reasons why I DO NOT recommend Le-Vel Thrive Products:

Folic Acid

Folic acid is the synthetic form of folate, which has proven to be particularly problematic.

Folate is a naturally occurring water soluble B vitamin. Folic acid, however, is a synthesized form of folate that the body is unable to properly absorb or utilize.

In fact, folic acid supplementation has even been linked to cancer.

…in the Journal of the American Medical Association — suggesting that all the extra folic acid might increase your odds of developing cancer. “The more we learn about folic acid, the more it’s clear that giving it to everyone has very real risks,” says folic acid researcher David Smith, PhD, a professor of pharmacology at the University of Oxford in England.

Another study out of Chile linked folic acid supplementation with an increased risk of colon cancer.

And yet another study out of Norway linked folic acid supplementation with a 21% increase in lung cancer.

Folic acid and B12 supplementation was associated with a 21% increased risk for cancer, a 38% increased risk for dying from the disease, and an 18% increase in deaths from all causes.

While folate is a necessary part of a balanced diet, folic acid has actually been linked to increased rates of cancer (another source for ya).

It’s been estimated that 40% of the population has an MTHFR gene mutation which makes people completely inept at absorbing folic acid! Dr. Will Cole has a great article on MTHFR you can check out here.


These products contain the artificial sweetener, sucralose, also known as Splenda.

Sucralose is made through a patented, multi-step process that starts with sugar and selectively replaces three hydrogen-oxygen groups on the sugar molecule with three chlorine atoms. The result is an exceptionally stable sweetener that tastes like sugar, but without sugar’s calories.

That’s right, it’s chlorinated. Sucralose destroys beneficial gut flora, thus impairing immune function and promoting obesity.

No. Sucralose is not a natural product – it is not found in nature. Although sucralose is made from sugar, the sugar molecule is chemically modified to make sucralose which is classified as an artificial sweetener.

This study from Harvard found that men consuming the equivalent of one cup of soy milk per day had 50% lower sperm count than men who did not consume soy (even accounting for other factors like age, caffeine and alcohol intake, etc.).

There was an inverse association between soy food intake and sperm concentration that remained significant after accounting for age, abstinence time, body mass index, caffeine and alcohol intake and smoking. In the multivariate-adjusted analyses, men in the highest category of soy food intake had 41 million sperm/ml less than men who did not consume soy foods.

Several studies have also linked soy to cancer.

…this pilot study indicates that prolonged consumption of soy protein isolate has a stimulatory effect on the premenopausal female breast, characterized by increased secretion of breast fluid, the appearance of hyperplastic epithelial cells, and elevated levels of plasma estradiol. Source

We have demonstrated that the isoflavone, genistein, stimulates growth of estrogen-dependent human breast cancer (MCF-7) cells in vivo…Here we present new information that soy protein isolates containing increasing concentrations of genistein stimulate the growth of estrogen-dependent breast cancer cells in vivo in a dose-dependent manner. Source


I reached out to Thrive (or Level? what do I call them? the branding is NOT clear at all) about their maltodextrin and was told it’s made from rice, which is better than corn but is still an overly processed additive that should be avoided by those with high blood sugar, insulin resistance, obesity and/or diabetes.

There is evidence that maltodextrin can alter gut flora and suppress beneficial bacteria in the gut.

Corn Starch and Modified Starch aka Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)

Corn starch and modified starch are two names that MSG masquerades under. There is no legal reason to disclose this information as the FDA does not require companies to do so.

Glutamic acid is found in foods like tomatoes, beef, walnuts, peas, etc. Monosodium glutamate, however, is manufactured glutamic acid that takes on an entirely different chemical composition and reacts differently in the body.

Studies have linked MSG to nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) as well as type 2 diabetes, inflammation and obesity. From this study,

We previously reported that injection of monosodium glutamate (MSG) in ICR mice leads to the development of significant inflammation, central obesity, and type 2 diabetes. To directly address the long-term consequences of MSG on inflammation, we have performed serial analysis of MSG-injected mice and focused in particular on liver pathology. By 6 and 12 months of age, all MSG-treated mice developed NAFLD and NASH-like histology, respectively. In particular, the murine steatohepatitis at 12 months was virtually undistinguishable from human NASH.

Meanwhile, this study linked MSG to cognitive decline, learning disability and impaired memory function. This study linked MSG to headaches. This study linked MSG to pancreatic dysfunction and diabetes.

Caramel Color

Caramel color, not to be confused with actual caramel (made of cream and sugar), is made using ammonia and sulfites under high pressure.

Caramel color is most notably added to soft drinks, like Coke or Pepsi.

Johns Hopkins did a study on the caramel color found in these drinks and determined that it is indeed a carcinogen.

“Soft drink consumers are being exposed to an avoidable and unnecessary cancer risk from an ingredient that is being added to these beverages simply for aesthetic purposes,” says Keeve Nachman, PhD, senior author of the study and director of the Food Production and Public Health Program at the CLF and an assistant professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health “This unnecessary exposure poses a threat to public health and raises questions about the continued use of caramel coloring in soda.” Source

Potassium Sorbate

PS is a common chemical made in a lab that serves as a preservative, to extend the shelf-life of food. Because why shouldn’t food sit out for months, even years at a time without going bad?

However, two studies have shown that potassium sorbate has the potential to mess with our DNA. In one study, PS is clearly seen to be genotoxic to the human peripheral blood lymphocytes (white blood cells). In another study, potassium sorbate mixed with ascorbic acid (vitamin C, which is present in many foods), caused mutagenicity and DNA-damaging activity. the risk demonstrated in the studies is very low, but it is statistically significant.


When I set out to write this article, I planned on featuring the work of others. It turns out that the studies cited by Juice Plus+® themselves are so flawed that I didn’t need to. There are studies cited throughout the article as direct links, as well.

I’ll provide a few sources and give you some of my main takeaways.

Don’t go all “college-professor” on me and say that Wikipedia doesn’t count. Here’s why it counts: Wikipedia backs each one of its claims up with a source. A few of my favorite notes:

  1. Juice Plus+® failed an independent laboratory review of its ingredients, they provided the source. ( )
  2. There are 11 sources (including the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, UC Berkeley, and the Center for Science in the Public Interest) that “express doubt” in Juice Plus+®.
  3. Other sources show that the studies, besides being unreliable, show wildly differing results in the effect of Juice Plus+® on Vitamins A, C, E, and Lycopene.
  4. The Better Business Bureau has formally complained about one of Juice Plus+®’s former products, which has since been discontinued.
  5. Juice Plus+® may interfere with chemotherapy, according to the Chief of Integrative Medicine at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.

For the science geeks among you, the Wikipedia page does feature a more interesting take down of the studies themselves. Notably, that the shown results are quite ineffective and statistically inconclusive. Reading the sources provided therein should be amusing.

Of key note is the statement that Juice Plus+® does not provide fiber, whereas consuming fruits and vegetables does. Several of the health benefits of fruits and vegetables come from fiber.

#3 – Google Scholar . It’s amazing what a quick search for “Vitamin C gum health”, “Multivitamin gum health”, and “Multivitamin common cold” can turn up.

#4 – Precision Nutrition has two great articles on multivitamins and leanness ( here ), vitamins & minerals ( here ), and fiber ( here ).

Full List of Scientific Sources:

I’m excluding the Juice Plus+® funded studies. Those can be found, and read, here. They are also linked throughout this article.

  1. D. Harats, M. Ben-Naim, Y. Dabach, G. Hollander, E. Havivi, O. Stein, Y. Stein, Effect of vitamin C and E supplementation on susceptibility of plasma lipoproteins to peroxidation induced by acute smoking, Atherosclerosis, Volume 85, Issue 1, November 1990, Pages 47-54, ISSN 0021-9150,
  2. 2. Rui Hai Liu. Health benefits of fruit and vegetables are from additive and synergistic combinations of phytochemicals, Am J Clin Nutr 2003 78: 3 517S-520S (
  3. Dietary Vitamin C and the Risk for Periodontal Disease. Mieko Nishida, Sara G. Grossi, Robert G. Dunford, Alex W. Ho, Maurizio Trevisan, and Robert J. Genco. Journal of Periodontology 2000 71:8, 1215-1223 (
  4. Iain L. C. Chapple, Mike R. Milward, and Thomas Dietrich. The Prevalence of Inflammatory Periodontitis Is Negatively Associated with Serum Antioxidant ConcentrationsJ. Nutr. March 2007 137: 3 657-664 (
  5. H Staudte, B W Sigusch & E Glockmann, Grapefruit consumption improves vitamin C status in periodontitis patients. British Dental Journal 199, 213 – 217 (2005)
  6. K.V. Rameshwar Sarma, P. Udaykumar, N. Balakrishna, K. Vijayaraghavan, B. Sivakumar, Effect of micronutrient supplementation on health and nutritional status of schoolchildren: growth and morbidity, Nutrition, Volume 22, Issue 1, Supplement, January 2006, Pages S8-S14, ISSN 0899-9007,
  7. Neuhouser ML, Wassertheil-Smoller S, Thomson C, et al. Multivitamin Use and Risk of Cancer and Cardiovascular Disease in the Women’s Health Initiative Cohorts. Arch Intern Med. 2009169(3):294-304. doi:10.1001/archinternmed.2008.540.
  8. Huang, et al. Multivitamin/Mineral Supplements and Prevention of Chronic Disease: Executive SummaryAm J Clin Nutr January 2007 85: 1 265S-268S.
  9. Carole A. Palmer EdD, RD. Important Relationships Between Diet, Nutrition, and Oral Health. Nutrition in Clinical Care. Volume 4, Issue 1, pages 4–14, March/April 2001.
  10. Graat JM, Schouten EG, Kok FJ. Effect of Daily Vitamin E and Multivitamin-Mineral Supplementation on Acute Respiratory Tract Infections in Elderly Persons: A Randomized Controlled Trial. JAMA. 2002288(6):715-721. doi:10.1001/jama.288.6.715..
  11. Moyer VA, on behalf of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. Vitamin, Mineral, and Multivitamin Supplements for the Primary Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease and Cancer: U.S. Preventive Services Task Force Recommendation Statement. Ann Intern Med. 2014160:558-564. doi:10.7326/M14-0198.

Juice Plus+® and® are registered trademarks of The Juice Plus+®+ Company. The statements contained in this article are the sole opinion of Devin Gray and do not represent any other company, entity, or provider of nutrition supplements.

This page contains affiliate links for, EXOS, and Clickbank. Please consider using affiliate links as providing a tip for my time and effort into writing this article. I have spent over ten hours of work on this project, and it began as a simple response to a local salesperson. Since then, it’s helped over 100,000 people learn more about Juice Plus.

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