Multivitamins provide “no benefit” to most people and instead just create “very expensive urine,” the president of the Australian Medical Association has said.
While vitamin supplements can help those with specific deficiencies, a good diet is enough to keep the average person healthy, said Michael Gannon.
“What a lot of Australians have is very expensive urine,” Mr Gannon told national broadcaster ABC. “What you need is a good diet, you’re pissing the money down the toilet for no benefit.”
Nearly half of adults in the UK take multivitamins, with 46 per cent saying they use them daily or occasionally, according to Mintel.
In Australia, the vitamin pill market has doubled over the last decade and seven out of every ten people take some form of supplement, reported ABC.
Industry bodies have said the tablets are useful because many people have poor diets and do not receive the nutrients they need from food alone.
“Vitamin and mineral supplements can play an important role for the 52 per cent of Australian adults who do not eat the recommended intake of fruit or the 92 per cent who do not eat the recommended intake of vegetables each day,” said the Australian Self Medication Industry.
For the average person living in a highly-developed country like Australia or the UK, “there is no benefit to taking multivitamins and minerals,” said Mr Gannon.
“Many of these products have 50 or more ingredients,” he said. “It really is crazy stuff."
"If that’s what you want to do, and you want to give some profits to the companies that produce those products, well good on you. That’s not what I want to do.”
Former BBC breakfast host Sian Williams said she had taken vitamin tablets throughout her life, spending up to £300 a year on the supplements – but had discovered through blood tests that they were not being absorbed by her body.
"I had a blood test before I gave them up for six weeks and I had another blood tests at the end. For me, the vitamins weren't making any difference.' she told the Daily Mail.
“They said I had very expensive wee. I was spending money on vitamins that were just going straight through.”
Ms Williams, who took part in the experiment for the ITV programme Save Money: Good Health, said she had since stopped taking the tablets.
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