Do you take a multi-vitamin?

June 1, 2011 at 10:30 pm 2 comments

“Do you take a daily multi-vitamin?” This is a question that the doctor I am shadowing asks every one of his patients. It is also something my dad asks me on a daily basis, and my friends are forever curious about. There is a lot of controversy over this little supplement. Sure, it doesn’t do any harm to take vitamins since most of the excess is water-soluble and you’ll pee it out. (The caveats to this are the fat soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K). However, is it really worth the money? If you aren’t getting it from your diet, then yes! Here is what my research has turned up:

  • Most people get the appropriate amounts of vitamins and minerals from eating a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, lean protein and whole grains. However, a lot of Americans do not fall into this category, and therefore should consider supplements. You veggie haters probably already know who you are…
  • Children, teenagers and the elderly are most likely to be vitamin deficient due to poor diet, and therefore supplements are usually recommended.
  • Women with heavy menstrual periods should consider taking vitamins to regulate their iron levels.
  • Women who are pregnant, trying to get pregnant, or are breastfeeding definitely need vitamin and mineral supplements, regardless of diet balance.
  • People with gastrointestinal absorption issues may need to take vitamins due to excessive mineral loss.
  • Vegans need to take vitamin B12, since this necessary cofactor can only be found in animal products (poultry, meat, fish, milk, eggs).

nutrition-vitamins

If you want to read more for yourself, read what the American Academy of Family Physicians says here, or read more here or here. Do more of your own research in order to make an informed decision, but always make sure that you consult your doctor before stopping or starting any dietary supplements, since some supplements do have interactions with medications. If you do decide to take a standard multivitamin, you don’t need anything with more than 100% of the recommended daily value, again unless you are deficient and instructed to do so by your doctor.
Question: Do you take a daily multivitamin? Why or why not? Since I get a pretty well-balanced diet, I tend not to worry about taking a daily multivitamin. While living at home, my dad puts out a vitamin for me each morning. Since it does no harm, I willingly take it to avoid the debate over its efficacy. However, I don’t feel compelled to do so when on my own. Again, this is my own opinion, based on my personal preferences (I hate the vitamin aftertaste!) and research. Like I said before, though, it is always a good idea to discuss anything you are taking (this means all supplements!) with your doctor, since many things have interactions.
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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. EmandM  |  June 1, 2011 at 10:56 pm

    uhhh multivitamins are my nemesis. =( they’re way too gross. I’ve tried the gummy vitamins, but they definitely don’t do very much good. Although the endo lectures have motivated me to get my vitamin D and calcium…

    Reply
  • 2. Scavenging the Interweb  |  June 4, 2011 at 9:01 am

    I take a multivitamin! I’m kind of in the ‘why not if it it does no harm’ category. I’m reliving my childhood and going through a Flinstone’s Complete Multivitamin phase. ;)

    Reply

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