When we nip into the supermarket, it’s easy to be enticed by vitamins that promise to work wonders on your skin, fight flus and colds; to make you more energetic and help you lose weight.

Especially as college students, we convince ourselves that vitamin supplements have the magic power to get us up in time for that 9 o’ clock lecture we’ve been missing all semester or to get the motivation and concentration to get that 4,000 word essay done…in one night. But do they really work?

Vitamins play an essential role in most cellular processes. From regulating our metabolism to the creation of sperm, vitamins are what keep us going on a daily basis. When we lack these vitamins, it can play havoc with our bodily functions but we may not know necessarily which vitamins we need.

It’s important to visit your doctor who can advise you on what vitamins you need to up your intake of and how much you need to take. The common action of people who are unsure is to pick up the box that uses the key word ‘multi’. Last year, the Daily Mail published an article that stated that researchers had concluded after 6 years of following over 6,000 people who had taken ‘multi-vitamin’ supplements, that they in fact do nothing for your health.

They are not the magic answer to your fatigue or bad nails, they are simply there to top up your nutrient levels to the recommended levels, not provide them. For people who may suffer from chronic fatigue or balding, these vitamin supplements will not do anything to ease the problem.

In fact, over-doing it on the vitamins can actually be detrimental to one’s health. The body has a typical RDA (Recommended Daily Allowance), and if we exceed these levels we may begin to feel adverse effects on our bodies. For example, by taking too much Vitamin B12, there is a chance of lasting nerve damage to your body.

While there is no evidence that vitamin supplements can do more harm than good, looking at getting your nutrients from foods is by far the better option. There are a wide range of lists out there that tell you what you should be eating for different nutrients and if in doubt, always see your doctor who can guide you on what you need and how much you really need of it.