Half of American adults take a multivitamin. Half!!
When my clients respond to my question of why they are taking a multivitamin, it usually includes something along the lines of:
“I figure since my diet isn’t great I will just fill in the gaps”
“I want to live longer and I heard that a multivitamin gives you everything you need in a day”
Now, what’s the science behind this and is taking a multivitamin going to improve your health or allow you to get away with a less than optimal diet?
Simply put, you cannot supplement yourself out of a poor diet.
Most of the research on multivitamin supplements concludes that taking a multivitamin does not have the same effect as adequate intake of nutrients from foods.
When you eat whole foods, you are also taking in the other components of that food such as phytochemicals, fiber, protein, etc. Isolated nutrients are very different from eating whole unprocessed food.
Some multivitamins contain high levels of certain nutrients far beyond the humans nutritional needs. This could conceivably pose risk for healthy people, especially if they are taken in combination with additional specific supplements. What else?
A recent study showed that forty-nine multivitamins studied, twenty-five (or 51 percent) did not disintegrate (see picture below).
Many supplements contain excipients, binders, fillers, and flow agents, that can be used to either make the ingredients stick together, bulk products up to a convenient size, or allow formulas to run smoothly through manufacturers’ machines.
Gummies tend to be the worst when it comes to accuracy because it is difficult to control the manufacturing process.
Picture above is from the Consumer Labs testing that was done on two common multivitamins to show how poorly they absorb. These brands did not pass.
Now, there are people that should consider taking a multivitamin, if three conditions are fulfilled:
You are at risk for several nutritional deficiencies (special diets like vegans, elderly, pregnant women, etc.) and cannot adapt your diet.
The multivitamin provides dosages sufficient to negate the deficiency risks.
Purchasing the multivitamin is a better option than purchasing individual micronutrients. Some supplements are helpful, some are neutral, and some are harmful.
Here are Consumer Labs tested and approved brands that won’t break the bank:
Garden of Life mykind Organics Prenatal Once Daily
Up & Up Womens Daily Multivitamin
Bayer One A Day Womens Formula
Country Life Core Daily-1 Women 50+
Berkley & Jensens Men’s Daily Multivitamin
Equate Complete Multivitamin 50+
CVS Health Spectravite Adults 50+
Do you take a multivitamin? Shoot me a message back and let me know!
Please Note: Information presented on this site is intended as a personal and professional representation of my views on food and nutrition. This site is designed for educational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for informed and personalized medical advice or care. Please consult your physician or health care provider before beginning a weight loss program or other dietary regimen.
I only engage in business with companies and brands whose products align with my philosophy, as well as personal and ethical standards. I strongly believe in honesty of relationship, personal integrity, and trust with readers. I don’t recommend products, whether given to me as gifts or that I’ve purchased, if they’re not something that I would personally purchase and use myself.