Are Vitamins Money Down the Toilet? New Study Has the Answer

vitamins, minerals, diet, food, supplements, Vitamin C, Vitamin A, Vitamin D, Vitamin E, Vitamin B, stress, lifestyle, sleep, pollution, diabetes, infection, obesity, exercise, zinc, magnesium, diabetes, sun protection

Some people swear by them and some say they’re money down the toilet – do vitamin supplements actually make a difference to our health, or can we get everything we need from our diet?

A joint U.S/ Swiss review conducted in 2020 set about answering this question. The review looked at whether current recommended daily allowances were high enough to support good immune function and the ways in which poor food choices, pollution, stress, infection and other environmental factors decrease vitamin stores in the body.

The review found that in industrialised nations like Australia, where healthy food was plentiful and easily affordable, there were still many factors that could contribute to vitamin deficiency in an individual. These factors include:

A stressful job or lifestyle accompanied by lack of sleep

Stress and sleep deprivation leads to oxidative stress which increases the body’s need for anti-oxidants such as vitamin C and E as well as magnesium.

Limited physical activity and obesity

As above, lack of exercise and obesity can also lead to oxidative stress, requiring a higher intake of vitamins to maintain optimal immunity.

A recent infection

The body loses micronutrients when exposed to pathogens and when suffering an active infection. Levels of Vitamins A, C, E, calcium, zinc and iron are particularly affected. Therefore adequate micronutrient intake may aid in a quicker recovery. One Scottish study found that levels of Vitamin C in plasma are depleted by half during an infection.

Air pollution

A study in Jakarta, Indonesia, looked at a cohort of 350 people suffering from sick building syndrome (SBS) acute respiratory tract infections (ARTI) and diarrhea and whether their symptoms improved after taking a course of multiple micronutrients. At the conclusion of the study it was found that many of the symptoms experienced by the study group had significantly reduced compared to a control group:

  • Headache (48.9% reduction)
  • Sore eyes (45.5% reduction)
  • Nasal congestion (51.9% reduction)
  • Throat inflammation (27.2% reduction)
  • Tiredness/pain (40.8% reduction)
  • Cough 46.2% reduction
  • Diarrhea (64.6% reduction).


Research conducted in 2020 suggests zinc supplementation may help reduce risk factors for developing diabetes and assists with managing the condition. Another study has shown beneficial glycemic changes in a small study group after Vitamin D3 supplementation.

Excessive sweating

Excessive sweating caused by high temperature in summer or prolonged strenuous exercise can lead to a higher-than normal loss of magnesium, zinc and iron. These elements cannot be synthesized by the body and must be replaced through diet or supplements.

Hyper-vigilant sun protection

In a country like Australia where the sun shines brightly all year round, Vitamin D deficiency is not common, however people in the high-risk category for sun-related cancers who avoid sun exposure and always wear sunscreen and protective clothing may not get enough vitamin D.

The authors of the review conclude that, “ … although some contradictory data exist, the overall available body of evidence suggests that supplementing the diet with a combination of multiple, selected, immune-supportive micronutrients may help to optimize immune function and reduce the risk of infection.”

Note from National Custom Compounding: We can make up multi-vitamin supplements in combinations especially custom-made for your individual requirements. For more information and no obligation advice contact us on 1300 731 755 or [email protected].

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