Subject was a healthy 25-year old Caucasian male. Subject maintained a predominantly vegequarian diet consisting of cereal, dairy, copious quantities of white rice, various Asian vegetables and fruits, seafood and, rarely, insects or creepy miscellaneous meat. Subject was a non-smoker, and alcohol intake was hearty and regular.
During a routine clean-out of the communal refrigerator, subject discovered a box of Vitamin & Mineral Supplements (“Vitacap”, Mega Lifesciences (Australia) Pty. Ltd.), presumably left behind by a former volunteer. Subject decided to commence a course of these pills a) to see whether they would provide any health benefits, b) because they were free, and c) because they looked kind of fancy and tasted slightly like chocolate.
Material and Methods
Nutritional content of each pill was as follows:
Vitamin A (Palmitate) 5000 IU
Vitamin B1 (Thiamine Mononitrate) 5 MG
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) 5 MG
Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine HCl) 2 MG
Vitamin B12 (Cyanocobalamin) 5 MCG
Vitamin C 75 MG
Vitamin D3 (Cholecalciferol) 400 IU
Vitamin E (di-alpha Tocopheryl Acetate) 15 MG
Nicotinamide 45 MG
D-Panthenol 45 MG
Folic Acid 1000 MCG
Ferrous Fumarate 50 MG
Dibasic Calcium Phosphate 70 MG
Copper Sulphate 0.1 MG
Manganese Sulphate 0.01 MG
Zinc Sulphate Dried 50 MG
Potassium Iodide 0.025 MG
Magnesium Oxide 0.5 MG
One pill was consumed daily between 7.30am and 12.30pm, typically with fruit juice or failing that, water or beer. Course of vitamin & mineral supplements was carried out for approximately 3 months.
1. Morning vivaciousness
2. Energy levels during the day
Throughout the course of treatment there was no improvement in subject’s tendency to feel “over it” and sleepy by lunch time.
3. Resistance to disease
During the period of vitamin and mineral supplementation, subject experienced one pinkeye scare (which luckily turned out just to be tiredness) and two minor bouts of cold. This was not an improvement over general health prior to supplementation.
4. Swallowing aptitude
Subject did experience a marked improvement in his ability to swallow these rather unpleasantly large pills without them hitting his epiglottis.
The results from this study do not support the hypothesis that any health benefits are gained from randomly taking vitamin and mineral supplements of unknown origin that were found in a box in a fridge.
In hindsight, even the scantiest of internet searches would’ve shown that this endeavour was doomed to failure from the outset. As explained by the Victorian Government-funded Better Health Channel :
“Vitamins play an important role in keeping the body healthy. However, taking large doses of certain vitamins can actually be harmful. For most people, it is best to get the vitamins our bodies need from eating a variety of healthy, unprocessed foods, rather than by taking supplements.
Vitamin supplements are frequently misused and taken without professional advice. High-dose supplements should not be taken unless recommended under medical advice.”
The one unexpected benefit from this study was the increase in swallowing proficiency. Whether this will have broader applicability beyond the scope of consuming non-beneficial dietary supplements remains to be seen.
The author did not receive any funding from or have any links to vested interests or bodies related to this “study”.