Recently, attention has been drawn to some studies questioning the value of vitamins and minerals. This comes mostly from a few recent studies: one showing modest prevention of future heart events after someone has had a heart attack, one showing no improvement in brain function in elderly men after taking Centrum, and a third looking at prevention of cancer and heart disease showing mixed results. One problem is that there are recent studies showing a protective effect that were not included in these reviews.
The vast majority of studies on multivitamins use Centrum which is low dose, has poorly-used forms of the nutrients, contains chemical binders, and whose ability to dissolve has been questioned (though improvements have been made). I have been shocked at the poor design (form, dose used, not distinguishing between food and supp sources) of some supplement trials. This poor design would never be tolerated in a trial of a pharmaceutical. Also, no one is saying, “Here, take this multi to prevent your heart attack!” I would be a terrible doctor if that was all that I discussed with a patient after heart attack.
While the studies on Centrum have shown little to mixed benefit, solid scientific research on nutrients *abounds*, so statements that supplement use is not scientifically based are unfounded. Further, when used in conjunction with someone trained and who understands the science, therapy beyond correction of deficiency comes into the process. For example, B12 is used for energy production, vitamin C stabilizes cells to minimize releasing histamine (involved in allergic response), magnesium is a muscle relaxant, etc. The nutrients are cofactors for every reaction in the body. So, keep researching, tell it like it is, and be careful about blanket statements.
Trained as a family practitioner to address acute and chronic conditions, Dr. McNaughton focuses on autoimmune disease, allergies, and digestive issues. She facilitates healing as a knowledgeable guide and partner, helping her patients make lasting changes and achieve health goals. She graduated from Bastyr University in 2003.