For decades, people have relied on taking multivitamins to fill in the nutrition gap. The busy lifestyle makes it a tad difficult to opt for nutritious foods. While vitamins are the easiest "nutritional fillers," a recent study showed that they may not be that effective after all.

A Harvard study titled, "Self-reported health without clinically measurable benefits among adult users of multivitamin and multimineral supplements: a cross-sectional study" published in BMJ Open revealed that there is new evidence which showed that the benefits of taking vitamins may only be based on the placebo effect.

Researchers aimed to examine the psychology of users of vitamins by analysing bio-data, which users themselves reported, and collated by the National Health Interview Survey. The study also included responses of 21,603 adults from the US.

The researchers gathered information that pertained to the respondents' health history. They looked at both short and long-term health data, including the physical and mental aspects. The respondents' supplements use was given particular attention.

Out of the thousands of respondents, researchers found that 4,933 were regular consumers of either a mineral supplement or multivitamin. They also observed that these regular vitamin consumers were educated, old, married women, insured, and have good income streams. Thirty percent of them believe that they are in good health as compared to those who do not regularly take vitamins.

One thing that researchers noted was that, a look at the health history of vitamin users and those who are considered as non-users, would reveal that there is no significant difference in their health. The researchers underscored that their observational study also could not prove that vitamins are ineffective based on the self-reported assessments of the respondents.

Authors of the study say that the evidence would suggest that vitamin supplements may be considered as a "waste of money" among individuals who are not nutritionally deficient. They noted that the industry on supplements enjoys minimal or even no regulation at all at the federal level.

Dr Pieter Cohen, a Harvard internist who was not involved in the aforementioned study, said in New York Post, that the absence of regulation on these supplements or vitamins warrants their entry into the market without even analysing their content. He added that there is no possible way anyone will know how safe a pill is if they do not know what were the ingredients used in that pill.

Study answers whether vitamin supplements work or not. Pixabay