If you’re reading this blog, you’re probably someone who is pretty invested in their own health. We live in an age of information, so it makes sense that we want to do everything possible to be proactive about our health. The downside to having so much access to information, though, is that it can be difficult to know what exactly to look for. Beyond that, though, it’s difficult to know what is worth spending money on, especially as companies create so new products marketed as necessary for our health.
Such is the case with vitamins. Taking multivitamins has been a popular idea for awhile: the idea is that we don’t get enough of the vitamins we need in our daily diets, so we should supplement our diets with a single multivitamin, or an assortment of vitamins tailored to our individual needs. It seems intuitive that, if we aren’t getting a certain vitamin from our meals, we should try to get them from elsewhere.
But—and here’s the zinger—those multivitamins you’ve been taking might not be doing much. Or anything at all.
According to this article from Harvard Health, there isn’t conclusive evidence that multivitamins have much effect on your health. While there isn’t much evidence that taking multivitamins can actively harm you, there is similarly a lack of evidence that multivitamins perform in the way they are advertised.
The article recommends that you take these steps until we know how beneficial or damaging taking multivitamins can be:
- Ask your doctor if you really need to take a multivitamin. Could you have a vitamin deficiency?
- Assess your diet. Do you eat as healthy as you could? Is anything lacking?
- Do you want expert nutritional advice? See a dietician. Also, Medicare beneficiaries get an annual “wellness: visit with their primary care providers.
- Do not take high doses of specific vitamins, especially A and E. These may actually be harmful. Some research suggests that generous daily doses of vitamin D could be helpful.
It seems like the takeaway is that the best way of getting the vitamins that you need is through your diet. And if you think you need other vitamin supplements, talk to your doctor!