Multivitamins are touted as a necessary supplement to ensure that the body gets enough daily nutrients. But according to recent research, they may actually be ineffective because our bodies cannot absorb them, reports Correspondent Sandra Mass of CBS affiliate KFMB-TV in San Diego.
"My problem is that with these vitamin formulations you have too many that are blended together and then they make a complex which is insoluble," says Dr. Fasshihi at the Temple University School of Pharmacy.
Multivitamins are the number one over-the-counter supplement, taken to prevent everything from heart disease to cancer.
However, Dr. Fasshihi says, "All those quantities that you see on the labels of these multivitamins may not absorb for greater than five percent."
Pharmacist Joseph Boullat agrees.
"If you have vitamin C in there and you have vitamin B-12 in there, the vitamin C will actually destroy a lot of the vitamin B-12," he says.
Dr. Fasshihi has come up with a solution called "controlled delivery technology" that separates various nutrients.
The system can "make little granules of vitamins of different kinds" which are then put into a capsule, he says.
The granules keep the different vitamins from interacting. Once swallowed, the capsule dissolves, releasing the vitamins intact.
"We can deliver these vitamins independently to dissolve in segments," Fasshihi says.
The technology is slowly making its way onto the market. In the meantime, precaution should be used when taking vitamins, experts say.
For example, taking more vitamins will not improve their effectiveness. Additionally, too much vitamin A can be toxic and cause kidney and liver problems. Overall, it's important to remember that nothing can replace the nutrition of a healthy diet, health experts say.