The Only Vitamins You Actually Need On A Daily Basis
Do You Actually Need To Take A Multivitamin?
If you were taught that taking your vitamins every day was a vital part of staying healthy—right up there with brushing your teeth and eating your veggies—you’re not alone. For decades, doctors recommended multivitamins as an easy way to fill in any nutritional gaps in your diet. But recent research suggests the benefits of multivitamins might be highly overrated. Is it time to toss your multis? Here’s what you need to know.
(Find relief from allergies, joint pain, and more common conditions with the affordable, effective health hacks in!)
Multivitamins are no match for healthy eating.
If your diet is loaded with processed foods and added sugars, popping a multivitamin won’t make up for it. “Taking a multivitamin is not a substitute for healthy eating,” says Alana Biggers, MD, MPH, assistant professor of clinical medicine at University of Illinois-Chicago College of Medicine. The best way to get the vitamins and minerals you need—along with fiber and phytonutrients—is by eating a well-balanced diet of fruits, veggies, whole grains, and protein.
MORE: The Beginner’s Guide to Ditching Processed Foods
You can overdo it.
Vitamin A, vitamin E, and iron have all been associated with health risks in high doses, so if your diet is already nutrient-rich, a multivitamin could be overkill. “If you’re eating a well-balanced diet and you’re also taking a multivitamin, you run the risk of having too much of certain vitamins and minerals,” Biggers says. (Psst! These are the top Googled health questions in every state—answered.)
9 sneaky signs your thyroid is out of whack:
Individual supplements might be safer.
Some people do need higher doses of a certain vitamins or minerals than what their diet provides. For example, seniors typically need more calcium to maintain healthy bones, pregnant women are encouraged to increase their intake of folic acid to prevent certain birth defects, and vegans may be low in B12, since meat and dairy products are key sources. But even if you fall into one of these categories, you might be getting plenty of other vitamins and nutrients. In that case, Biggers suggests taking specific supplements to make up for exactly what you're lacking, rather than reaching for a multi that provides extra of everything.
MORE: 9 Signs You’re Not Getting Enough B12
You probably do need more vitamin D.
While you can get most vitamins and minerals from a healthy diet, vitamin D is one notable exception. Other than fortified milk, cod liver oil, and a few types of fish, there aren’t many ways to get enough D from food alone.
MORE: These 10 Groups of People Are More Prone to Vitamin D Deficiency
The good news is, our bodies can produce vitamin D naturally when exposed to sunlight—but that carries its own risks. “Since sunshine can cause skin cancer, premature aging, and other skin damage, it’s probably safer to get your vitamin D in a pill than from the sun,” says David Cutler, MD, family medicine physician at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, CA. But again, a vitamin D supplement may be a better choice than a multivitamin.
Multivitamins won’t prevent serious illnesses.
Multivitamins aren’t miracle pills. “Vitamin supplements have never been shown to provide the cancer and heart disease preventing effects of a healthy diet,” says Cutler. In fact, the medical journal Annals of Internal Medicine published an article (bluntly titled “Enough is Enough: Stop Wasting Money on Vitamin and Mineral Supplements”) noting there was no evidence that multivitamins had any effect on cognitive decline, heart disease, cancer, or overall mortality.
So while supplements can help fill in specific gaps in your diet, a multivitamin likely won’t make a big impact on your health. Bottom line: Feel free to skip it, and focus instead on building healthy eating habits.
Video: How Much Sleep Do You Actually Need?
Colostrum Is the Powerful—and Kind of Gross—Antiaging Secret Experts SwearBy
How to Write a Letter to a Girl Outlining Your Respect for Her
Prince William Opens Up About The Pain of Losing His Mother In Touching Tribute to Princess Diana
8 Post-Divorce Dating Rules You Should Follow
The Complete Guide To Yellowstone National Park
Everything Goes Wrong In David Beckham Kevin Harts Road Trip
How to Prevent Noise Pollution
How to Serve Boudin
How to Become Popular by Using Good Communication Skills
What 7 Personal Trainers Do to Drop Fat Fast
21 Vegan Desserts Anyone Can Enjoy
13 Celebrities Who Have Successfully Pulled Off the Pantsless OutfitLook
How to Choose Treats for Pet Reptiles