If you are like most people, you pop vitamins in the morning with breakfast. On the surface, swallowing a multivitamin every day makes sense. We all want to stay healthy and we're concerned that our meals do not provide enough nutrition. Unfortunately, the more you learn about multivitamins, the less likely you are to swear by them. The truth is, you could be wasting both your time and your money. It depends on a few things...
Multivitamin or Placebo?
Studies show that some vitamins may be no better than a placebo when it comes to preventing diseases. This is not to say that all multivitamins are placebos or a complete scam. Certain types of multivitamins provide some health benefits, such as folic acid for expecting mothers. Data shows that a daily "one pill does all" multivitamin doesn't prevent heart issues, guard against memory loss, or boost longevity. In fact, study results published in Annals of Internal Medicine show that multivitamins aren't any better than empty capsules. Some studies even suggest that high doses of vitamins can actually harm the body.
False Sense of Security
Taking inferior nutritional supplements could give you a false sense of security, which could actually lead to vitamin deficiency issues. You might think you are giving your body what it needs with the supplements you take. However, if you are taking supplements that have little or no nutritional value (unbeknownst to you) it makes you think you’re healthier. As a result, you are less likely to make healthy eating choices because you feel like you’ve gotten your daily nutritients in a few pills. You might grab a piece of carrot cake instead of a few carrots, thinking to yourself, “I already got my 100% of Vitamin A today from my morning multivitamin.” Make sure the supplements you use are high quality; it pays to do the research on different manufacturers.
Reduced Potency Over Time
Many people aren't aware of this, but multivitamins lose their potency as time progresses. If you buy multivitamins in bulk when taking advantage of sales, they will likely sit in your cabinet for months or years. As each day passes, multivitamins become less effective. When multivitamins reach a certain age it makes more sense to trash them than to pass them through your system with no nutritional benefit.
Consider Your Nutritional Intake
There are a few studies that conflict with these findings. Keep in mind that if you are taking a vitamin on your doctor’s advice for a nutritional deficiency or medical condition, you shouldn’t just stop. However, if you are otherwise healthy and have a good diet, you may not need to supplement.
Do you eat diversely colored foods that are rich in vitamins and nutrients? If so, you might not obtain much or any benefit from a daily multivitamin. Though nutritionists agree it is best to obtain vitamins from food sources, a multivitamin can provide missing nutrients in the event that your dietary intake is lacking. Make a concerted effort to consume healthy food and you will get your vitamins and nutrients the way that nature intended!
If you need to take supplements, or you just feel better doing so, do some research to find the more trusted manufacturers of nutritional supplements.
Do you take supplements? If so, which ones do you like or dislike, and why? Please post your comments and experience below.