Over the last few decades, people have been more concerned about health. The fitness boom of the 1970s led to a running craze and the 1980s could be described as the supplement decade, where people started taking multivitamins. (We could refer to the 1990s as the bodybuilding age and the noughties as the creatine and steriod age.)
Why do people take supplements? As the term suggests, it is to make up for vitamins that might be missing in your diet. But a report by the Guardian found that not only did supplements not have any positive effect, some vitamins actually have a higher risk of death of poor health.
Researchers at the University of Toronto looked at the effect of various vitamins on the risk of heart disease and stroke. What were the results? There was no significant proof that vitamins prevented heart disease, although folic acid, found in the B vitamins, did reduce the risk of stroke.
However, niacin (vitamin B3) and antioxidants (vitamins A, C and E) were associated with an increased risk of all causes of death, according to the findings published in the Journal of The American College of Cardiology.
Too many people have assumed that multivitamins only have a positive effect, but the levels in the products on sale can be well over the daily recommended limit, sometimes by as much as 1000%.
Vitamin C, in particular, is assumed to be good but too much can be dangerous.
There should be no need to take multivitamins if you are on a balanced diet, and the money spent could turn out to be a waste, or even harmful, if you happen to get supplements that have high levels of certain vitamins.
The pianist Robert Schumann suffered from poor health and even lost the use of his left hand, causing his performing career to be over. While part of it was reportedly due to a device that he used to widen the reach of his handspan, medication he was taking did not help either – which goes to show you must be careful what you put in your body.
Part of the problem is due to what we call anchoring. When we have a fundamental belief in an assumption, subsequent opinions are formed relative to that first opinion. If you believe supplements are good, then successive formulations of opinion are assumed to be good too, even though they may be distorted.