Do Vitamins Really Help?

A while ago I had a doctor’s appointment and during the course of the visit they asked me if I was taking a multivitamin. I was not. I left that appointment with the recommendation that I start taking a multivitamin every day.

Fast forward a couple of months and I’m at an appointment with a different doctor. They ask if I am taking any medications, vitamins, or supplements to which I reply, ‘Why yes, I am taking a multivitamin.” This doctor then tells me that studies show multivitamins are not beneficial and that after I use up the supply I have, I should just stop.

So, which is it? Do multivitamins help or not?

Looks like the answer is – depends. It depends upon your reasons for taking a multivitamin.

If you’re looking for a magic pill that will prevent the big diseases, cancer, heart disease, and stroke – then you’re out of luck. Findings from several long term studies show that vitamin takers are no healthier than those who do not take vitamins when it comes to the big diseases.

If you’re looking to transform your crappy diet into a healthy one, again out of luck. It is always better to get your nutrients from food – power on the plate – than from a pill. If, however, you’re looking to plug in some nutritional gaps in your diet, then a vitamin may be the way to go.

When choosing a multivitamin:

  • Read the label carefully. Note which nutrients are included and their amounts.
  • Get the basic vitamins and minerals.
  • Check the percentages. Choose one that provides 100% of the Daily Value(DV) for most of the vitamins and minerals included.
  • Choose one designed for your age and gender.
  • Don’t overdo it.
  • AND – it’s always a good idea to check with your doctor before taking any vitamin or supplement.

Submitted by Tina Comston, M.Ed.

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