Multi Vitamins - Needed or Not?

I often get asked, "Should I be taking multivitamins"?

Many think that multivitamins can help supplement what our daily meals may lack.  Others believe they are simply flushing money down the toilet.  Dietary supplements are a hugely profitable industry.  The fact is that Americans spend a lot on supplements - about $11.8 billion dollars each year.  This is more than any other country in the world. 

The Question is: "Are Multivitamins Needed or Not"?

While there are a variety of studies, the general consensus of multivitamins is that there is no significant benefits to taking a daily multivitamins.  Some show modest benefits while others demonstrate potential harm (supplement industry regulations). In my opinion, our bodies are much more complex than simply isolating nutrients in the form of multivitamins.  We get more than just vitamins from whole foods.  For instance phytochemicals are found in fresh fruits and vegetables and are known to protect against many types of disease.  With over 10,000 different phytonutrients found in whole foods, it's tough for a synthetic supplement to match the power of food in its natural state - at least not yet. Scientists still do not know what many or even most of the phytochemicals are protective against - we do know that they are extremely beneficial.  

Photo by brozova/iStock / Getty Images
Photo by brozova/iStock / Getty Images

My professional advice? Spend that extra money on obtaining nutrients through food sources. Colorful fruits and veggies are packed with nutrients that protect our body from diseases and cancer.  If you're pregnant, or have other nutrient-specific needs, consult your physician or dietitian.

Could you imagine how much healthier our country would be if we spent an extra 11.8 billion in the produce aisle? 

Check out this free, printable, and beautiful fruit and vegetable color guide provided by PCRM (Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine).  

Thanks and as always - if you have any questions or comments - toss a comment below.