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Instagram user purports multivitamins are not beneficial. How true? 

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Claim: Multivitamins are not beneficial.

Instagram user purports multivitamins are not beneficial. How true? 

Verdict: MISLEADING. Our findings from experts note that the nutrients provided by multivitamins are found in our food. If people eat right, they don’t need multivitamins, but this does not make it non-beneficial. 

Full Text 

Multivitamins are used to provide vitamins that are not taken in through food. They combine different vitamins normally found in foods and other natural sources. Multivitamins are essentially used to treat vitamin deficiencies (lack of vitamins) caused by illness, poor nutrition, digestive disorders, pregnancy etc.

Just like any other drug, multivitamins have side effects, from mild ones like stomach upset, headaches, and an unpleasant taste in the mouth to severe life-threatening ones. 

This is why it is important only to take them as prescribed or as spelt out on the label to avoid experiencing severe side effects.

An Instagram user, Leslie (makemoneywithleslie), who claims to be a pharmacist, thinks multivitamins are not beneficial. In a reel she shared, she listed products she never buys as a pharmacist because they do not work or cause harm. These products include Neosporin, multivitamins, antibacterial soaps, vitamin E, and energy drinks. 

Her mention of multivitamins stood out because while other articles have addressed issues like energy drinks, the assertion that multivitamins are not beneficial seems new. She alleged that many clinical trials show that the average person does not benefit from multivitamins unless they are over 65 or have specific absorption issues. 

This sounds absurd because we have all been prescribed multivitamins at some point in our lives, either as children or adults. This prompted us to verify this assertion. 


We conducted a keyword search and found an editorial titled “Enough Is Enough: Stop Wasting Money on Vitamin and Mineral Supplements,” published in 2013. This editorial reviewed three articles on the role of vitamins and mineral supplements in the occurrence or progress of chronic diseases. 

These articles found that multivitamins do not reduce the risk of heart disease or cancer or the risk of a mental health disease like memory loss. 

An article by Harvard Health Publishing referencing the Physicians’ Health Study II looked at the effect of long-term multivitamin use in healthy men on different health areas like cancer, vision, cardiovascular disease, brain and caveat. The research found that the protective effect of multivitamins was greatest in men with a history of cancer, and it lowered the risk of developing cataracts. However, no protection was found against heart attacks, strokes, or death from cardiovascular disease and declining memory or mental skills, which aligns with the findings contained in the editorial above.

John Hopkins Medicine also referenced the 2013 editorial noting multivitamins don’t reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer, cognitive decline or early death. John Hopkins Medicine also stated that in prior studies, vitamin E and beta-carotene supplements appear harmful, especially at high doses.

Expert Opinion 

A consultant at the National Hospital Abuja, Jeremiah Agim, noted that multivitamins, which are very important to the body, can be obtained from natural foods, but are typically recommended when there is a deficiency.

He said that people don’t eat fruits, vegetables and nuts very often, which are some of the sources of these vitamins. He also noted that certain situations result in high demand for some vitamins, and lack of supplementation might result in poor outcomes, e.g. growing children, pregnant and breastfeeding women, and people taking medications to stabilise their mood or medication to prevent seizures. 

Mr Agim, therefore, noted that no one can say multivitamins supplementation is not important.

“Multivitamins, as the name suggests, contain many vitamins. If the medication should consist of what the label claims, it has many benefits. Note that these vitamins can be obtained from eating natural foods. But can be destroyed by overcooking the food. Green vegetables are rich in folate. Vitamin B12 and vitamin C are required in the maturation process of red blood cell formation. Deficiency of folate (B9) and VitB12 is associated with anaemia and has also been linked with depression and neurocognitive disorders. In pregnant women, folate deficiency will not only cause anaemia but also neural tube defects.”

Highlighting the benefits of certain vitamins and their possible side effects, Mr Agim wrote, 

“VitA plays an important role in the eye; deficiency causes night blindness. VitB1 causes beriberi, which can damage the heart. Also, its lack can cause excessive vomiting in pregnancy, called emesis gravidarum. VitB2 is needed for the metabolism of glucose and has antioxidant effects. VitB6 is important in the nervous system. VitC aids in wound healing and absorption of iron from the gut. Also, has anti-inflammatory effects. VitD helps calcium absorption from the gut, indirectly helping to build strong bones. VitE prevents sterility, while K plays a role in blood clotting.

“However,  high concentrations of the fat-soluble vitamins, VitA,  D,   E, and K stored in the body will result in toxicity, which might manifest as dry, scaly skin, headache,  weakness, and many other symptoms. The excess of other vitamins is excreted when the body takes what it needs for the day.”

Another medical doctor, Sunday Idoko, agreed with Mr Agim that if people eat the right food, there will be no need for multivitamins. This might be why this Instagram user is dismissing multivitamins. He, however, noted they are still beneficial to people who can not get these vitamins from their daily meals. 


Our findings from experts reveal several benefits of multivitamins and side effects of abusing them, but they are still beneficial to people’s health. Available studies only show multivitamins were not helpful in certain health conditions like heart disease, cancer, memory loss, etc.  

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