Are Multivitamins Really Good For You?


(intro song) From colorful pills to chewy gummies in the shape of your favorite cartoon character There are tons of multivitamin supplements to choose from and people spend billions of dollars every year trying to boost their health with them. But if you look on the back of the bottle lots of these supplements have more than 100%. Sometimes up to 500% or 2000% of the recommended daily value for different vitamins inside. So, why are they so jam-packed with vitamins? And is taking all these supplements actually good for you? Well, if you are healthy and eating a balanced diet, you should be getting all the vitamins you need. So at best, they probably aren’t doing very much. At worst, they could be doing you harm. Vitamins are important compounds that our bodies need to grow and function. But we need to get them from food because we can’t make them, or enough of them, ourselves. There are fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K which means they dissolve in lipids and B vitamins and Vitamin C are water-soluble which means they dissolve in water. And different vitamins come from different foods. Vitamin K, for example, can come from dark green vegetables, while Vitamin C is in all kinds of citrus fruits, and your body can vitamin D after spending some time in the sun. If you’re deficient in any of them, your cells and enzymes won’t be able to work properly, and you could be prone to diseases. So the reason to taking multi-vitamin supplements is usually to prevent any vitamin deficiencies. Sounds reasonable. But taking supplements when you don’t actually need them can cause problems. Multi-vitamins generally have more than 100% of your Recommended Dietary Allowance, or RDA. RDA values are set by national organizations that study food and nutrition. They’re basically the estimated nutrient requirements for healthy people. The same scientific committees also estimate a tolerable Upper intake Level, or UL which is the max amount of these nutrients you can take, without risking some negative health effects. Generally, the levels for water-soluble vitamins are a lot higher than for fat-soluable vitamins. Either way, when you take a multivitamin that has more than 100% of the RDA for different vitamins, your body might not be digesting and absorbing it all. Your body tends to get rid of any excess water-soluble vitamins by peeing them out. But it stores the extra fat-soluble vitamins in your fatty tissues. The problem is megadoses of vitamins. If you consistently take the UL dose over weeks or months, especially with fat-soluble vitamins, these vitamins will keep building up in your body, and eventually cause toxicity or other health problems. For example, Vitamin D normally helps your body absorb calcium but a lot Vitamin D could cause a buildup of calcium in your blood called Hypercalcemia or even damage your heart. So even though your body needs vitamins to survive, taking multivitamins doesn’t replace the nutrients you get from a balanced diet, and can even be harmful if you overdo it. If you have some sort of health condition, or pregnant, definitely listen to your doctor and the supplements they recommend. But, usually just taking a bunch of extra multivitamins won’t do much for your health. Thanks to Patreon patreon Richard Willis for asking this question. And thanks especially to all of our patreons on Patreon who keep these answers coming. If you’d like to submit questions to be answered, or get some videoes a few days early, go to Patreon.com/SciShow. Don’t forget to go to Youtube.com/Scishow and subscribe. ♪ ending song ♪
(Why that comforting old book smell, ) ♪ (you know the ones sometime people describe as a little musty with hints of vanilla or coffee) ♪ ♪ (or even newly cut grass.) ♪ ♪ ending song ♪ (Or maybe you prefer the smell of new books, which can seem—-fades out)

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100 thoughts on “Are Multivitamins Really Good For You?

  1. Yeah, I tried not taking my multivitamins for a week after watching this video, just to see if they were unneccessary. This past week, I felt like I was going to pass out all the time and slept almost constantly. I felt AWEFUL! Four hours ago, I decided to take the vitamins again and see what happened. Now, I feel a LOT better and have some energy. If you asked my doctor, however, she would agree with you and say that a multi-vitamin isn't important in my case. Why? Because the Doctor has NO CLUE about my body. She makes no useful suggestions and can't even recite the most basic points of my medical conditions. Sadly, there aren't a lot of Doctors around here, and I doubt any are much better in that reguard.

    Seriously, though, before you believe that you don't need your multi-vitamins, try going without them for a week and see how you feel. If you're anything like me, you may well need them, and the idea that a Doctor should be the final say on your vitamins is like saying your car mechanic should tell you what kind of seat cover will be the most comfortable for you.

  2. "assuming you eat a balanced diet" i'm going to stop you right there–what if i'm not? isn't that a situation where multivitamins are helpful?

  3. I liked the old way then there was music on the end of video, now there is always some talk from an episode that I already watched.

  4. I guarantee you, at least in the U.S, the vast majority are vitamin deficient, just look outside 1/3rd are obese, 3/4 men are overweight (yes you read that right 74% of American men are overweight), and you really think most people eat a "balanced diet"..

  5. What about if you're NOT eating healthy!? Wtheck?? Lol Were we just supposed to not at all notice that huge hole? hahaha omg that made me laugh. If you're deficient, that's why they pump them up, with the idea you just pee out the rest as your body is pretty good at filtering out things it doesn't need. And most people are deficient in Vit D, which over the past 7-10 yrs has been shown as being more and more important. Most compounds do Not compound in the body– heh heh. 😉 Can be harmful with say, Iron as an easy example, but conversely, a deficiency in iron can be a serious issue. This video is a fluff piece with not a lot of info.

  6. I can't take this man seriously with those earrings, goatee, and yellow patch of hair on the left side of his head.

  7. Sorry, but this one missed the mark. The title and opening remarks talked about multivitamins–but then went on to say that megadoses can be dangerous. Megadoses of nearly everything can be dangerous, even water and oxygen. It's true that large amounts of water soluble vitamins can lead to needlessly expensive pee, and that the fat soluble vitamins can potentially be toxic, but by multivitamins most people mean the one per day variety, and I challenge to you to cite a case where anyone who took these as directed suffered ill effects. It should also be noted that RDA's do not usually specify the age, sex, or mass of the taker. And it should also be pointed out that not everyone is eating anything near an ideal diet. Those simple and really inexpensive daily pills are the cheapest health insurance available. Of course they won't work forever. Neither will anything else. In the meantime, don't leave your house, don't drink the water, and don't breathe the air.

  8. Well this is about the right time to be skeptical of those recommended daily dosages, since the entire video is based on that.

  9. Didn't seem to cover much in this video. No benefits were explained and you spoke as if everyone has a balanced diet. and I know for a fact there are micronutrients that are not consumed every day. So why not take a multi to ensure you get everything you need?

  10. Er….this video sounds like it was made in the 50's (about when the vitamin dosage standards were created). I expected something better from you guys.

  11. There is no chance of you hitting 100% of the RDA through a balanced diet. If you had a degree in this you would know how impossible it is. Vitamin D is an easy example.

  12. You need a blood test to show if you are overdosing or underdosing. But since you're just trying to get views you wouldn't state this.

  13. Thank you SO MUCH for this video! ^__^ Personally, I have Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS) and people with EDS are advised to take massive doses of vitamin C — 4g on an ordinary day and 6g if we have a viral/bacterial infection or if we're experiencing a flare-up of our EDS symptoms. But that's because of the role vitamin C plays in collagen synthesis, since collagen-related mutations (either in the collagen genes or in other genes that produce, for example, enzymes involved in the protein folding) are believed to be at the heart of Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome. There's a lot more going on with EDS than just collagen, but that's the part we mostly understand, at the moment.

    We also tend to suck at synthesizing vitamin D, so most of us have to supplement that, too.

    But it drives me insane to hear normal, healthy people with balanced diets raving about all the supplements they take "for their health". And don't even get me started on the whole "vitamin C prevents/cures colds" bullshit…! I'd really love to see you guys do a video on that, too — the vitamin C vs colds myth. Please? =] xox

  14. I've been taking an Omega 3 supplement every morning for months. Am I wasting my money/damaging my health?

  15. GEEZ, I bought orange triad multivitamins, if I take 1 serving (6 tablets) it is 10000% DV of b12, WTF DID I BUY?

  16. My VitaminD level is low my doctor prescribed me 50,000 I just started taking multivitamins and now laying out in direct sunlight for 15-20 minutes to get my VitaminD level up. I always thought multivitamins were good to take.

  17. stop trying to legislate vitamins like you know something that nobody else does i dont see you telling people to stop buying food do to all the poisons and chemicals found in it

  18. It pretty much doesn't make any sense. I bet 90% of the people especially in the 1st world are not taking the essential minerals and vitamins from their daily meals. So this means you definetly need supplements. Now, if you are doing some blue collar job or you are doing sports regularly than it is crital to use some sort of multivitamin.
    If I take the recomended daily dosage than how in the world am I supposed to be sick from it, since authorities (cough cough influenced by the pharmaceutical companes) are usually picking on nutrition supplement companies?
    Last but not least, some might forget that the fruits and vegetables which are grown in glass houses doesn't contain shit. What is best? Plant your own vegetables and fruits in your garden.

  19. THE KEY IS ONLY AND ONLY LAB BLOOD TEST FEED BACK , YOU MUST UPHOLD YOUR D3 WHICH ARE TWO COMPOUNDS PHOTO COLECALCIFEROL (WHICH ASWELL DISSOLVES IN WATER AND COMES FROM SUN) AND LIPID COLECALCIFEROL (COMES FROM OILS) IN A MANNER THAT YOUR 25 OH COLECALCIFEROL TEST IS BETWEEN 70 AND 90 , LESS THAN THAT IS DAMAGING AND MORE THAN THAT IS DAMAGING , ASWELL PROPORTIONS !!! FOR EACH 10000 IDs OF D3 YOU WOULD BE NEEDING 100 MICRO GRAMS OF K2 , THAT ITS JOB IS THE TRANSFER OF CALCIUM WHICH IS BROUGHT BY THE D3 INTO THE BLOOD , OUT TO THE CELLS , UNLESS THEY`D REMAIN AND GET WASTED ASWELL`D CAUSE CALCIFICATION OF THE ARTERIES , AND THUS PROPORTIONS , WITH MEASUREMENT (LAB FEED BACK) ,

  20. this dont help. our pee holds the extra stuff our bodies dont use so technically too much vitamins of a certain kind won't do much to u either. it makes ur pee neon yellow like a piss glow stick

  21. You should take in mind that most of the first world urban population does not have a healthy, balanced diet and thus needs such supplements. Said urban population is the main target of the stores that sell them. So I don't think that the first of your statements is true.

  22. This has always been a question of mine about if vitamins are really good for you or unnecessary for some people. The truth is they are unnecessary to some who think they need to take them. I understand there are people that for whatever reason are deficient in some vitamins, common ones like vitamin D or vitamin C but without being told that you are deficient in these, you should not take vitamins. Annual physicals tell you whether you are in need of certain vitamins, nutrients and many other things, so don't play doctor and take it upon yourself to take vitamins when there is no need. Fat-soluble vitamins are the ones that you should be concerned about physically. Water-soluble are not as big of a deal because like he said, you just pee those out where as the fat-soluble vitamins can build up and cause a toxicity. Those that take vitamins without the consultation with a doctor are just wasting money and putting themselves at risk for vitamin toxicity.

  23. i dont follow. if youve got a shit diet so you take multivitamins how is that a bad thing. how is that gonna hurt you if you dont overdose? how is that not going to help

  24. lul im sure a multivitamin is bad for us when the vast majority of us don't get the proper nutrients in our diets……..(sarcasm)

  25. My concern is to replenish any other vitamins that contain in Multi Vitamins. I might get enough dosage those mentioned Vits in my food but how about others? Eg Calcium, Iron, Folic Acid etc?

  26. I have thalassemia and I hate red meat. I don't take multivitamins everyday but when I do I take kids multivitamins. Does anyone know if that's bad???

  27. My mom has some health issues. She watches yahoos on youtube and makes her own ideas. I keep telling her, trust your doctor!

  28. Huge fan of SciShow. Disappointed in this episode that there was no mention of recent research showing that gut bacteria appears to be partially responsible for people absorbing vitamins at different rates. Blood tests are one way for people to find out how much of the RDA a person is actually absorbed for use by the body.

  29. Vitamins are best for people with malabsorption who don't get enough vitamins from food. Best practice is to have a blood test before taking any vitamins.

  30. Would it make sense to take a 500mg Vitamin C supplement every 4 days, since 125mg is slightly higher than 25% of the RDA?

  31. say what you want but my skin nails and hair got alot better after using muti vitamins and I feel less fatigue.

  32. I don't know why every time i take a multivitamin such as GNC sport or centrum i get agitated and my OCD hits the roof !؟

  33. Multi-Vitamins are useless for a individual who has a good diet, but this is rare, so we still sell them as they are still useful for quite a lot of people. http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/253031246156?ssPageName=STRK:MESELX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1555.l2649

  34. Is it true that if you eat sea food combined with orange juice (or vitamin C) you can intoxicate yourself with arsenic because this combination in your stomach creates arsenic trioxide (As2 O3) which is what we call arsenic?

  35. I was born with multiple deficiencies and vitamins, and food it doesn't exactly give me all of the vitamins that I need. So, in my case multivitamins are incredibly crucial.

  36. I have a bottle of iron supplements in my medicine cabinet. Each pill has 65mg of iron – 361% of your daily value.

    I remember a couple years ago, I took one every day for three days straight. I practically felt like I was going to die on that third day.
    Now I only take one of those supplements when I know I need one.

  37. you guys better off watching a reputable advise from dr oz videos than this. he recommends taking multivitamin as in today's busy life nobody will be able to eat perfectly balance diet.

  38. Well, the multivitamin brand I buy contains less than 100% of RDA of everything. So, no danger there. And it's cheap. It's actually very easy to take care of oneself, it just needs a bit of common sense.

  39. many vitamins have additional benefits that can be gained by consuming more than the 100% RDI, and some of those RDI's are being shown to probably be too low, like vitamin D.

  40. most studies show the average americn deficient in vitamin A, vitamin C, and magnesium.
    Vitamin A deficiency: Deficiency impairs immunity and hematopoiesis and causes rashes and typical ocular effects (eg, xerophthalmia, night blindness).
    Vitamin C deficiency: Signs of vitamin deficiency include dry and splitting hair; gingivitis (inflammation of the gums) and bleeding gums; rough, dry, scaly skin; decreased wound-healing rate, easy bruising; nosebleeds; and a decreased ability to ward off infection. A severe form of vitamin C deficiency is known as scurvy.
    Magnesium deficiency: the symptoms of low magnesium in the body?

    Calcification of the Arteries. Though this is not (hopefully) the first symptom of magnesium deficiency, it can be one of the most dangerous. …
    Muscle Spasms and Cramps. …
    Anxiety & Depression. …
    High Blood Pressure/Hypertension. …
    Hormone Problems. …
    Pregnancy Complaints. …
    Sleep Problems. …
    Low Energy.

    PISS UP A ROPE 'SCIFUCKIN SHOW…. DOG AND PONY SHOW IS MORE LIKE IT
    https://www.ewg.org/research/how-much-is-too-much/appendix-b-vitamin-and-mineral-deficiencies-us
    https://thebiostation.com/resource-center/nutrient-iv-therapy/92-of-u-s-population-have-vitamin-deficiency-are-you-one-of-them/
    https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/7-common-nutrient-deficiencies
    https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2015/10/19/most-common-nutrient-deficiencies.aspx
    https://www.naturalnews.com/033719_American_diet_nutritional_deficiencies.html

  41. most studies show the average americn deficient in vitamin A, vitamin C, and magnesium. Vitamin A deficiency: Deficiency impairs immunity and hematopoiesis and causes rashes and typical ocular effects (eg, xerophthalmia, night blindness). Vitamin C deficiency: Signs of vitamin deficiency include dry and splitting hair; gingivitis (inflammation of the gums) and bleeding gums; rough, dry, scaly skin; decreased wound-healing rate, easy bruising; nosebleeds; and a decreased ability to ward off infection. A severe form of vitamin C deficiency is known as scurvy. Magnesium deficiency: the symptoms of low magnesium in the body? Calcification of the Arteries. Though this is not (hopefully) the first symptom of magnesium deficiency, it can be one of the most dangerous. … Muscle Spasms and Cramps. … Anxiety & Depression. … High Blood Pressure/Hypertension. … Hormone Problems. … Pregnancy Complaints. … Sleep Problems. … Low Energy. PISS UP A ROPE 'SCIFUCKIN SHOW…. DOG AND PONY SHOW IS MORE LIKE IT https://www.ewg.org/research/how-much-is-too-much/appendix-b-vitamin-and-mineral-deficiencies-us https://thebiostation.com/resource-center/nutrient-iv-therapy/92-of-u-s-population-have-vitamin-deficiency-are-you-one-of-them/ https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/7-common-nutrient-deficiencies https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2015/10/19/most-common-nutrient-deficiencies.aspx https://www.naturalnews.com/033719_American_diet_nutritional_deficiencies.html

  42. This is why when I take multivitamins, I don't take the whole reccommended dosage/serving on the back. I don't need all 300% of the vitamin C that comes in two gummies. I'd say I have a relatively balanced and nutritious diet, but things like vitamin D are hard to get normally because of where I live. I have noticed though that over the months I've been taking multivitamins, I do tend to feel better as opposed to when I run out and don't take them for a few days, though this be something akin to the placebo effect.

  43. You can't listen to a doctor's recommendations these days because all of them tell you to take a multivitamin daily even with a balanced diet. That's one reason I switched doctors – my previous physician was old school and (I believe) suggested treatments, medications or products that I never needed.

  44. You need to take vitamin C. You must if you live in a city or if you are smoker/alcohol drinker. You need to get some vitamin K and D, also Mg, K, Cr, Fe, and more… Most natural sources (soil) are depleted. BUT, you should consult it with your physician.

  45. I think they definitely get absorbed if not as efficiently as vitamins in food. Definitely some multivitamins are imporoperly manufactured but to dismiss multivitamins as a whole seems to be a reactionary news based response. It's a lot more shocking to say multivitamins are a lie rather than explain they may be overkill etc. say, instead of daily weekly? Every other week? Outright dismissal seems wrong.

  46. We must supplements. We don't get enough minerals from foods because the minerals are not in the soil anymore. Furthermore, we need 90 essential nutrients. 60 minerals, 16 vitamins, 12 amino acids and 2 essential fatty acids but they are not all present in foods. Some are, most are not. This is why Youngevity is a must have product as Dr. Peter Glidden confirm.

  47. Show me one multivitamin that has more then 100% of the RDA of any of its components . I've yet to see one. Where are you getting this nonsense ?

  48. I love how no scientific testing has showed that multivitamins do anything. If they did a test on vegetables to see the health benefits it would be quite clear. Also the methods they use to make vitamin tablets may make them not adsorb into your body at all and go right through you. Think people take them because of the placebo effect. Hey people who get medicine degrees need to find a job somewhere :p

  49. Okay, but my food stamps ran out so my diet has been poor, so if you can't get enough of certain vitamins from your food will taking a supplement give it to you in a form that your body can use? I know that it doesn't matter if you actually get it from your diet, but I'm asking about a scenario in which you don't.

  50. I doubt most people, even people into fitness have a balanced diet. I was never a picky eater but ended up with Vitamin D deficiency (hair falling out, more fragile teeth, worse vision) and even an iron deficiency. This happened even with my habit of eating salads, veggies, and beans every day.

    Vitamin D supplements helped with the hair, but still not fully cured. And let's be frank, most veggies ppl eat are too processed and cooked in incorrect ways to yield them the right dose of these vitamins.

  51. My diet is not well balanced, I eat mainly carbs, fats, meat and dairy products. I seldom eat veggies or fruits and I've noticed my inmune system is a lot better and I have gotten less sick, I used to get sick almost every 2 weeks, after taking multivitamins from time to time I'm feeling better. But if you have a healthy diet, you are just actually peeing and pooping all of the vitamins, your body is smart, and knows having too much of something inside you can kill you. That said, don't test your body, be smart.

  52. Scishow, could you please make a video about elderberry syrup? I live in an area where everybody swears by it, and not just holistic people.

  53. So if I cut the vitamin in half and take it daily (men’s “one a day” ) will it be better than taking the entire pill everyday ??

  54. Eating liver multiple times a week…I'm just a hypervitaminosis A ticking time bomb. I've got the being-a-hypervitaminosis-A-ticking-time-bomb-blues!

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