Is it Worth Taking a Multivitamin?

We're constantly being told that one of the best ways to good health is to 'take our vitamins'. I've personally gone through phases where I take a multivitamin daily followed by times when I don't touch them, because I've always wondered whether they actually offer any benefit and are worth the hefty price tag. So I decided it was time for me to do a little research on this topic. Here's what I discovered.

Many studies have shown that multivitamins don't actually offer any substantial health benefits. In fact, scientists are increasingly realising that most vitamin and mineral supplements are pointless. An editioral that was published in the Annals of Internal Medicine entitled Enough is Enough; Stop Wasting Money On Vitamin and Mineral Supplements concluded that multivitamins don't reduce the likelihood of developing cancer or cardiovascular disease and do nothing to slow down cognitive decline.

It's not a case of our bodies not needing vitamins and minerals – of course, we require them to survive and to perform at our best. However, most people living in the West who eat a varied diet will acquire the majority of them from their food. Taking high amounts in a synthetic form isn't natural and could actually be harmful by increasing the risk of cancer, other diseases and mortality.

If you've been considering taking a vitamin supplement because you feel you may be deficient, instead try incorporating more nutrient rich foods (especially fruit and vegetables) into your diet. Educate yourself as to which foods contain certain vitamins and minerals, then eat them. Plenty of them. It's hard to overdose on vitamins from vegetables because there's only so much we can eat before feeling full. On the other hand, a pill doesn't offer the satiety factor so it's a lot easier to consume a potentially dangerous dosage without realising.

There has never been any substitute for healthy eating...and guess what? There never will be! Taking a multivitamin is not your ticket to eat an unhealthy diet and think it's ok because you're still getting your vitamins in. It just doesn't work that way!

What are your thoughts on multivitamins? Do you take them?

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