The Annals of Internal Medicine recently published an editorial entitled "Enough is Enough: Stop Wasting Money on Vitamin and Mineral Supplements."
The editorial, which focuses on the effect multivitamins have on preventing the "occurrence or progression of chronic disease," reports that "supplementing the diet of well-nourished adults with (most) mineral or vitamin supplements has no clear benefit and might even be harmful."
As an active, hard-charging Ironman triathlete who needs lots of nutrients, vitamins and minerals, I have to admit that this editorial turned my head. However, after digging further, I decided that I'm not going to toss my vitamins and supplements in the trash.
#1 Vitamins Have Other Benefits
#2 Athletes Have Deficiencies
In active, exercising individuals Vitamin D and magnesium deficiencies are rampant. But the studies referenced in this editorial don't look at extremely active people, or at some of the downstream issues associated with low Vitamin D and magnesium levels, such as hormone imbalances, cramping and poor sleep. I don't know about you, but these are important health and performance variables for me.
While most multivitamins are woefully inadequate in their levels of both these important compounds, targeted vitamins can fill the gap. For example, one very popular multivitamin on the market has 200 IU of Vitamin D and 50 mg of magnesium. In contrast, most of the athletes I coach take 2,000 to 4,000 IU of vitamin D and 400 to 600 mg of magnesium.