My wife and I both participate in a multivitamin study conducted by Dr. Kenneth Cooper. I feel comfortable taking these because I believe in the institution behind it. Its pretty hard to find a more credible organization than the Cooper Clinic. I believe the pills themselves to be of outstanding quality too. Dr. Cooper is doing a massive study in association with several high profile clinics that would indicate that a correct vitamin level will significantly decrease heart attack and strokes, especially in compulsive athletes. There is a wide body of study to support this, he is now trying to prove it.
The vitamin industry is not impressed because most of what Dr. Cooper finds to be missing from a persons life style is easily corrected by diet changes. Personally, I haven’t noticed much difference. But my wife, who had high cholesterol problems, had a very significant lowering of her cholesterol in the first three months. And, she claims her fingernails are less brittle. Although I can’t say that I got a PR because of vitamins and so on, I am convinced that overall I am in better shape. I haven’t had a cold since I started the program 6 months ago.
Since they seem to improve my overall body conditioning I am sure it has some effect on my competition as well. I’ve been taking GNC’s Men’s Mega (or is it Mega Men’s?) multi-vitimins and minerals since May and have definitely noticed that I feel better/stronger/peppier since I started. I’ve been setting PRs all year, but think the vitamins may only be a little part of this. I had always pooh-poohed taking vitamins, going with the line that a good diet would supply everything I need. But then a top runner in our running club chewed me out for not taking a multi-vitamin, especially when training for Ironman. He contended that giving the heavy training I was certainly not getting everything I need from my diet.
I thought about it, and recognized that my diet was not what it should be and that multi-vitamin would not “hurt” in any case, according to what I could find in the literature. (My reading suggested that vitamins from food might be somehow better than vitamins from a pill–but that vitamins from a pill were better than not getting them at all.) I am no lover of pills, nor do I have any interest in “health foods” (though, I do eat “healthy”). Given this, I take a “Muti” and an additional C, plus: Chromium Picolinate, and Siberian Ginseng. My experience is that I have far fewer colds, during IM training/racing when I keep up on my vitamins. Some may dispute my claims with credible evidence, but I have gone back and forth – vitamins, no vitamins – the difference has been a cold.