Multivitamin Supplements: The False Health Claims


Vitamins are nutrients that one receives and have essential roles in the human body for promoting health and wellness. A common vitamin that is readily available is vitamin D that is essential for healthy bones and improves gut health (Paranjpe et al., 2020). Folic acid is another essential vitamin that has been proven to reduce neural tube defects and prevent the development of certain cancers. The B complex vitamins have been shown to improve the energy levels of an individual and facilitate proper neurological functions (Paranjpe et al., 2020). Vitamin C and zinc have proven to enhance immunological functions. According to Blumberg et al. (2018), multivitamin supplements are prescribed to help individuals fight diseases and improve their health and fitness. The following paper presents in detail false health claims regarding the health benefits of multivitamin supplements. Companies and corporates are continually making false claims about certain multivitamin products in improving health and preventing development of diseases. However, recent studies indicate that the claims by some of these companies are misleading and lack supporting evidence, as shown in the paper below.

Multivitamin supplements have in the past been sold to people with the claim that they will help improve their health and prolong life. The sale of multivitamins was estimated to cost about 25 billion dollars worldwide in 2009 (Bronzato & Durante, 2018). The reason why multivitamins are popular is because of the marketing strategies of the companies involved in production. Companies promote their products by making misleading health claims about their products, increasing their popularity among consumers (Marion Nestle, 2016). Marketing analysts also make their consumers decide on their health by making the masses believe that they would reduce doctor visits and other medical expenses by taking multivitamin supplements.

Claims about popular products such as the Pom Wonderful juice in reducing the chances of developing prostate cancer, erectile dysfunction, and cardiovascular diseases have been made. However, in 2016, it was proved to be deceptive since there was no supporting evidence of its claimed importance. From the Al-Ani et al. (2016) study, the Coca-Cola company also claimed that its Vitamin Water provided health benefits such as promoting healthy joints and preventing eye infections. The company later changed to labels of the bottles after an intervention with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The Sensa weight loss product is another example of a product with misleading health claims about its effects on weight loss (Rao & Wang, 2017). The company depicted that the product works when it is sprinkled on food, and it would, in turn, lower the appetite of the consumer bringing a sense of fullness, therefore, eating less. It was later sued for a 26.5-million-dollar settlement for misleading its consumers.

Why the Claims are not True

Vitamins are essential components for the body’s normal functioning, and supplementation would help improve an individual’s health status but not in a one-size-fits-all fashion. Each individual is unique, and they have their own health needs, and for this reason, multivitamins may not perfectly fit the needs of everybody (Manson et al., 2019). Taking specific vitamins for specific health needs is preferred to taking general multivitamin supplements. In addition, taking multivitamins has proven to interact with other drugs causing undesirable effects (Handal et al., 2016). For instance, multivitamins used with antidepressants have can result in rising serotonin levels implicated in adverse effects on health.

Some of the health claims from companies are misleading because they are not proven scientifically. Most of these companies are interested in making profits, and in increasing sales, they make fallacy on the health benefits of their products. The problem arises when the claimed health benefits are disapproved. Companies state misleading information to make consumers interested in boosting their sales (Hwang et al., 2016). A few decades back, individuals did not research the products that they consume for health. Most of them ended up taking supplements that they did not need in the first place. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Food and Drug Administration are the bodies that deal with the companies’ regulations and the products they release to the consumers.

There are many studies which refute vitamin supplementation’s health benefits. In recent studies conducted between 2012 and 2017, vitamin D, C, and calcium supplementation do not protect against cardiovascular disorders, strokes, and death (Jenkins et al., 2018). According to, the authors, neither does Vitamin D or C affect an individual’s lifespan. On the other hand, vitamin B complexes and folic acid were proved to prevent stroke among people who have vitamin deficiencies. Marion Nestle (2016) believes that having a healthy diet has enough vitamins and minerals for good health. When a doctor prescribes multivitamins, it is prudent to take them as instructed. She also believes that supplements can be unnecessary and that having a good diet is most important to health.

As a healthcare professional, it is vital to keep up with the current studies about health practices. Health care is dynamic, and it is crucial to keep up with the trends to avoid practicing outdated information. According to Cherry and Jacob (2016), medical trends aim to improve healthcare standards and practices for better living. Keeping up with emerging technologies in health care provides an environment for delivering the best care and improving patients’ health outcomes (Lewis, 2016). Healthcare is continuously evolving, and healthcare professionals need to stay updated to increase their competence and effectiveness in providing care and preventing patient harm.


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Rao, A., & Wang, E. (2017). Demand for “healthy” products: False claims and FTC regulation. Journal of Marketing Research, 54(6), 968-989. Web.

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