While many people rely on a multivitamin to help them get sufficient nutrients daily, they may not be improving their health as well as expected. Often, people start taking a multivitamin to help prevent a specific medical condition, but research has shown this is a myth that has very little basis in fact. The better option is to change your diet to get more nutrients naturally.

Multivitamins Won’t Prevent Cardiovascular Disease
It’s common to take a multivitamin to improve heart health, but if this is your reason for adding a dietary supplement, you’re just wasting money. Research has found that taking a daily multivitamin won’t lower the risks for stroke, heart attack, or cardiovascular disease. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force determined in a 2014 study that multivitamins didn’t provide any discernible benefits for heart health.

Men Can’t Reduce Their Cancer Risks
Certain types of cancer target men, such as colon, prostate, and lung cancer. Contrary to a popular myth, taking multivitamins won’t reduce those risks. A dietary supplement won’t improve your recovery from cancer either. The best way to cut your cancer risks is to eat more fresh foods that are rich sources of antioxidants.

A Supplement Won’t Prevent Cognitive Decline
The Physician Health Study II assessed the effects of taking a multivitamin and how the supplement affected cognitive decline. A group of 6,000 male physicians aged 65 and older comprised the study group. The study found that memory loss and cognitive degeneration were similar to doctors who did not take a multivitamin. This suggests that taking a multivitamin won’t prevent or slow cognitive decline. Instead, eat foods rich in vitamin K, lutein, folate, and beta carotene. Kale, spinach, broccoli, and other leafy greens are excellent sources of these nutrients.

If you suffer from a specific deficiency or if you have a medical condition that can be alleviated with more of a specific nutrient, your doctor may recommend taking a dietary supplement. However, most people should avoid taking a multivitamin. Instead, focus on eating right, getting more exercise, and reducing stress. These steps will help you live a longer and healthier life.