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Could you survive on vitamin pills and water alone? © Getty Images

Could you survive on vitamin pills and water alone?

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The question is why would you ever want to do such a thing!

Asked by: Derek Smyth, by email


Definitely not. Vitamins are micronutrients. Your body needs them in small quantities to ensure optimum health, but they don’t comprise the bulk of the food you need to survive. For that you need the correct mixture of carbohydrates, fats and proteins.

A multivitamin tablet does normally contain a small amount of starch, and some protein in the form of brewer’s yeast. But to get enough calories to survive, you would need to eat a couple of thousand tablets per day. And if you tried doing that, the huge dose of vitamin A would cause liver failure, long before you noticed malnutrition from the missing fatty acids. If you stuck to the recommended dose of one or two tablets per day, you would simply starve to death in about six weeks.

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luis villazon
Luis VillazonQ&A expert

Luis trained as a zoologist, but now works as a science and technology educator. In his spare time he builds 3D-printed robots, in the hope that he will be spared when the revolution inevitably comes.


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