As winter approaches, many people ask me about the ever-popular Berocca and its supposed ability to stave off colds. But does taking Berocca actually help? Let’s see what the experts have to say:
It contains loads of vitamins - mainly B vitamins and some vitamin C, plus some added magnesium, calcium and zinc – which sounds like a really good thing, but actually turns out to be a bit of a placebo. ‘There are no studies to suggest that taking general vitamins like that are useful for anything, and you can get what you need from just your diet,’ says nutritionist Kirsten Crothers from The Food Treatment Clinic.
‘Berocca gives you way above the levels of vitamins that you need each day, so your body simply pees them out!’
In 2013, three major studies were conducted on the health benefits of taking multivitamin tablets with Dr Eliseo Guallar, a professor of epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health (one of the authors of the studies) saying: ‘We believe that it’s clear that vitamins are not working. The probability of a meaningful effect is so small that it’s not worth doing study after study and spending research dollars on these questions.’
Berocca side effects
However, if this isn’t a good enough reason not to take it, nutritionist Lana Almulla (who is firmly opposed to the above studies, and believes that there is a benefit in taking extra vitamins) is still against taking Berocca because of other ingredients that can be actively detrimental to your health. For example, the detrimental effects of consuming too much sugar are well documented and the amount in Berocca is enough to have a negative effect.
‘Maltodextrin is a food additive made from refined starches that affect the healthy balance of our blood sugar levels. It’s an ingredient in Berocca alongside sugar and other sweeteners,’ she told The Debrief.
Blood sugar imbalances can create hormonal imbalances and weight gain as the extra sugar is stored in our liver and converts itself into fat for ‘emergency/stored’ energy. This in turn causes a whole host of other negative side effects.
She adds: ‘Spikes in our blood sugar does provide high energy or hyperness which is why Berocca makes you feel “awake” but that’s quickly followed with a great crash in our sugar levels, causing an energy dip that makes people feel tired slowly after and usually with cravings for even more sugar. And so the vicious cycle begins.’
Aspartame is another issue, a deeply controversial ingredient that does way more harm than good, according to a lot of medical professionals and nutritionists.
‘Aspartame has had 90 different documented symptoms that make up for 75% of the adverse food reaction from additives reported to the FDA. These symptoms include dizziness, memory loss, weight gain, insomnia, joint pain, vision problems, dizziness, depression, rashes, headaches, migraines, to name a few,’ says Lana.
So Berocca doesn’t stop colds, will probably act as a placebo and contains ingredients that are potentially harmful, thereby balancing out the placebo-based positives. It’s no wonder Lana, and so many other nutritionists, are against using Berocca!