Benefit of multivitamins may be ‘all in the mind’, Harvard study suggests

A sample of more than 21,600 US adults who were asked about their use of supplements in the 2012 annual National Health Interview Survey, and were asked to self-evaluate their health, was used.

They were also questioned on five psychological, physical, and functional health outcomes including; a subjective assessment of health, their history of 10 long term conditions such as diabetes or asthma, and the presence of 19 common health conditions in the last 12 months, such as infections or memory loss.

Around one in five of the participants said they regularly took multivitamins or supplements.

The regular users were significantly older, had higher household incomes than non-users, and were also more likely to be women, educated, married, and to have health insurance.

On the self-evaluation section, regular takers reported 30 per cent better overall health than those who didn’t take MVMs.

Better self-reported overall health for regular takers was consistent across all race, sex, and education groups, as well as in the under 65s and those on low household incomes, the study found.

But, the findings also revealed that users and non-users did not “differ in various psychological, physical and functional outcomes”, which the researchers say supports previous findings that multivitamins “do not improve overall health in the general adult population”.

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