Most popular vitamin and mineral supplements provide no health benefit, study finds

should runners be ditching vitamin supplements

If you regularly take a multivitamin or supplement, it could be time to consider replacing this with real-food alternatives, new research suggests. According to a study published in St Michael’s Hospital and The University of Toronto, the most popular vitamin and mineral supplements provide no consistent health benefit or harm.

Related: The nutrient every runner needs, and almost no one gets 

The study found that multivitamins, vitamin D, calcium and vitamin C showed no advantage or risk in the prevention of cardiovascular disease, stroke, heart attack or premature death.

The study’s lead author, Dr. David Jenkins, said: “We were surprised to find so few positive effects of the most common supplements that people consume. Our review found that if you want to use multivitamins, vitamin D, calcium or vitamin C, it does no harm – but there is no apparent advantage either.” 

Eat yourself healthy

If you are ditching the multivitamin, the table below lists some real-food alternatives to stocking up on the supplements:

 vitamins runners should be getting

Vitamin D

The main exception for runners, however, is vitamin D tablets, which can come in handy during the winter months, “It’s difficult to get enough vitamin D through diet,” says dietician Renee McGregor. “We make it in our bodies via sunlight but this is tricky in the UK. Vitamin D plays a big part in bone health, muscle recovery, immune health, fatigue and mood, so runners can benefit from a supplement through the winter months.”