Multivitamins: Do You Really Need Them?

multivitamin tablets on two handsEating a balanced diet, according to experts, is often enough to get the vitamins and minerals your body needs. So why is it that many people still rely on popping a daily multivitamin to feel better and combat health problems?

Should You Take One?

Multivitamin supplements, as research suggests, will not actually improve your health if you are already consuming a balanced diet. The sad part is, not everyone eats the right food daily. In fact, the U.S. Dietary Guidelines suggest that most American adults are deficient in certain vitamins and minerals such as:

  • Vitamins A, C, and E
  • Calcium
  • Magnesium
  • Fiber
  • Potassium

Family medicine centers in Lehi note that these supplements can fill in the gaps if you’re not getting enough vitamins. You should know, however, that they’re not the key to better health. Multivitamins also don’t reduce the risk for cancer, heart disease, cognitive decline, and other diseases. They can bridge some nutrient gaps, but you should still eat right and engage in regular physical activity.

Who Might Benefit?

While not extremely beneficial to healthy individuals, multivitamins can still benefit some people. Pregnant women, for instance, require more vitamins like folic acid to prevent birth defects. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) encourages women to take 400 micrograms of folic acid daily. Iron supplements may also be recommended to prevent anemia.

The Best Thing to Do

Instead of relying on supplements, it is best to eat three healthy meals daily to get the vitamins and minerals you need. A few tips can help include:

  • Eating two to more servings of fruits and veggies daily
  • Choosing whole grains and low-fat dairy products
  • Including protein in your diet (chicken and fish, especially those rich in Omega-3)

You can also check out this article from the Harvard Medical School to know the best foods or top food sources for vitamin and minerals.

If you want to take multivitamins, it is best to talk with a family doctor before doing so. This is especially true if you have a chronic disease or being treated for other health conditions. The same is also true if you are taking prescribed medications and other supplements. You also need to make sure that your healthcare providers know what supplements and vitamins you are taking.