It’s a billion dollar industry in the United States and around the world. Multivitamins are one of the most popular choices when it comes to supplementing your diet. Some insiders refer to them as “health insurance,” but are they really worth the cost? What do they actually do for you? Can they cause you harm?
The answers may surprise you. While experts agree that a varied diet and proper nutrition help us to stay healthy, most experts suggest that multivitamins are a waste of money. The average person who eats a balanced diet has no need to supplement their diet. If you are vitamin-deficient, you probably come from a portion of the population that is malnourished. Generally speaking, there is no medical need to take multivitamins.
Do you read the labels?
What claims do your vitamins make? Be careful and read your labels. What risk could there be with taking vitamins and supplements? Well, too much vitamin A and E is harmful to our bodies, as they are associated with an increased risk of cancer. Be careful about some of the other nutrients that are listed. There may be chemicals that react to your body or vitamins and supplements that make you feel sick. Some vitamins are fat-soluble, whereas others are water-soluble.
What does this mean? Well, read your labels carefully. If you are instructed to take the vitamin after a meal, there is a good reason for this. Generally speaking, your meal contains some type of fat, and this is important for the absorption of some vitamins. On an empty stomach, you might feel ill or will effectively be making very expensive waste water that will be flushed away.
How much vitamin C do you really need? How much can your body absorb? Increased vitamin C via supplement has not been shown to have major health benefits. What other ingredients are listed? What brand are you buying and what are the doses? Read carefully and critically. There are many experimental vitamins on the market that contain numerous other ingredients. There is krill oil, omega oils, salmon and turmeric tablets, ginseng and a host of other nutrients that might be listed.
What’s the best choice?
Between superfoods, nutrients, supplements and multivitamins, the modern consumer is always trying to be healthier. But is there a real benefit to taking multivitamins? Look carefully at the listed ingredients. There could be any number of herbs and nutrients tacked on to increase that impressive A-to-Z list. A doctor will prescribe iron tablets, for example, if you are deficient in iron. These are targeted at specific deficiencies.
Do you need a multivitamin? You probably don’t. Should you feel the need to take one, be sure to read the labels first. Be mindful of all the ingredients listed and take into account the vitamin levels already in your diet. Too much of anything is not good for you — even vitamins.
There is a risk associated with too much vitamin A and E: cancer. In modern society, there is so much pressure to be healthy and live life to the fullest. However, despite what the multi-billion dollar industry might tell you, there is generally no need to take a multivitamin. Your diet should provide you with adequate nutrition.