It sure does seem that there’s a pill for almost every type of disease imaginable nowadays. And especially when it comes to vitamins, Americans are a supplement-happy group! We spend close to $14 billion a year on vitamins and supplements. And nearly 40% of adults in the U.S. regularly take multivitamins. But the real question is are regular multivitamin users actually benefiting from them? The research might suggest otherwise.
The question of “should I or shouldn’t I take a multivitamin” started gaining traction back in the ’70’s when Nobel Prize-winning scientist Linus Pauling wrote Vitamin C and the Common Cold. Pauling recommended taking 3,000 mg of vitamin C every day to ward off colds and prevent degenerative and sometimes incurable diseases. This was in shocking contrast to the 60mg recommended daily allowance (RDA) at the time. And wow, did people listen!Sales of vitamin C quadrupled, and an estimated 50 million individuals in the U.S. were supplementing with vitamin C by the mid 1970s. A number of studies subsequently followed to discredit Pauling’s claims, but they certainly did little to discourage vitamin marketers from taking advantage of the hype.