A recent editorial published in Annals of Internal Medicine is claiming that multivitamins, once thought to be a crucial staple in a healthy diet, may potentially offer no substantial benefits to preventing diseases, such as stroke, heart attack, and cancer.

The editorial discusses three studies which observed the effects that multivitamins had on preventing adverse health conditions, as well as the supplement’s influence on the cognitive function in men over the age of 65. All three studies collectively concluded that multivitamins provided no significant benefit in preventing cardiovascular disease or cancer and did not improve cognitive function in the aging.

The first study discussed in the editorial was of a meta-analysis on 27 studies, and encompassed a group of 450,000 individuals. The meta-analysis allegedly discovered that there were no benefits to taking a multivitamin to prevent the reoccurrence of a heart attack.

The second study determined that multivitamins were also not beneficial to improving cognitive function of the brain in the elderly.The final study found that high-potency multivitamins did not prevent the recurrence of heart attack.

Indeed, for those that lack a nutrient-rich diet, multivitamins can fill the gap to provide the body with a sense of balance. However, for those that do not suffer from a deficiency, it could be useless to consume a daily multivitamin if the body already receives the nutrients elsewhere.

“Without oversight, pharmaceutical companies would paint the perfect picture about a product for consumers, when in reality, the product could possibly carry significant risks, or in this case, could prove useless in most instances,” commented Christopher Paulos, a product liability lawyer with the Levin, Papantonio law firm. “The FDA regulates dietary supplements under a different set of laws than traditional drugs. Often this involves only acting to remove a product from the market once it proves harmful to the public. Manufacturers of dietary supplements do not need to prove to the FDA that their products are effective before they begin selling the products, and thus, the alleged benefits of certain supplements may not even exist.”

Multivitamins came under scrutiny after studies linked the popular supplements to a shortened lifespan. Nevertheless, with such unfavorable evidence continuing to mount against multivitamins, it seems a supplement once praised as a preventer of life-threatening diseases could possibly be impractical for consumers in the long-run.

Krysta is a writer and researcher with Ring of Fire. Follow her on Twitter @KrystaLoera.