So the Annals of Internal Medicine has made a lot of recent headlines with an editorial arguing that multivitamins are a waste of money. From CNN:
However, there is also a counterargument presented:
The argument against multivitamins is nothing new. I remember my HS science teacher making this same point 30 years ago. But I tend to be sympathetic to this counterargument. Most of those who argue against multivitamins also hasten to add that people should make sure to get enough fruits and vegetables. Which is great. But most people don’t do that, and are not going to do that. So the question then is: if you know that as a practical matter you’re not going to get your recommended amounts of F&V anyway, does it then make sense to take a multi? I don’t know, and these contra arguers don’t address this clearly enough IMO.
One additional point that my father has told me over the years - which I’ve not seen addressed in any recent article covering this editorial - is that the absorbtion rates for multivitamins is very poorly understood. He says to cover for this, the multis are loaded with doses of vitamins that go well beyond any possible necessary requirements, in the hopes that enough will be absorbed even at low rates. But conversely, he says, scientists have become increasingly aware that overdosing on vitamins also has harmful effects, so that the multi approach risks both being too low and too high for any of these vitamins. (Despite this - and a sickeningly healthy diet and lifestyle generally - I believe he does take some supplements as well, what do you know. Maybe his stuff is very narrowly focused.)