Should I take daily multivitamins?
The pharmacy aisles are flooded with multivitamins, and this makes a lot of us wonder, “Should
I be taking daily multivitamins?” Keep reading to learn some facts and fallacies about these
True vitamin or mineral deficiency is extremely uncommon in United States and other
developed countries because of easy access to wide range of food, some of which are fortified
with vitamins. So, for those eating a healthful diet, multivitamins actually have little or no
benefit. To add to that, there have been several studies done on multivitamins, and they do not
show any benefit in preventing heart disease, cancer, or cognitive deficits. To top it off, taking a
daily multivitamin will NOT help you live longer!
Who is at risk for nutritional deficiency?
These are some of the high-risk groups who may benefit from taking a multivitamin-
- Elderly: Variety of factors can affect nutrition in elderly people. Common ones are lack
of teeth, lack of access to food due to disability or isolation, unpleasant taste changes
from medications, etc.
- Certain malabsorption disorders such as celiac disease, bypass surgery for weight loss
Which multivitamin should I choose?
Supplements are a multi-billion-dollar industry with endless brands in the market. Supplements
including multivitamins, are not reviewed or approved by FDA and may contain harmful or
incorrect ingredients. So, do not take a multivitamin unless it is recommended by your doctor.
How can I make sure I am getting essential multivitamins and minerals from my diet?
Eat a balanced diet that is rich in whole grains, fruits and vegetables, lean protein and low-fat
dairy. I suggest incorporating various colored foods in your daily diet – for example; celery sticks,
mandarin oranges, kale, carrots and yellow bell peppers will give you different vitamins and
Calcium from food is easily digested than calcium supplements (commonly causes
constipation). The major source of Vitamin D is the sun (not food) so if you live in an area that
does not get enough sunlight, then taking a daily supplement may be necessary.
Bottomline - Invest in good food and not in multivitamin!