The quest for staying healthy or getting healthier makes us try various things. And despite your healthy fitness goal, chances are you’ve thought about the those ‘magical’ multivitamin tablets that promise to make you all better and a better version of yourself. According to the National Institutes of Health, a third of adults in America consume multivitamins.
With multi-level marketing business devoted to promoting them and lack of monitoring of the consumption of over the counter multivitamins, it isn’t surprising. But with potential cure-all claims that may be fabrications, it is possible that you may be consuming multivitamins without actually needing them.
So how do you know you need to take multivitamins? Do you need them? The answer to this question is usually no: unless you’re pregnant or trying to get pregnant, nobody needs to take multivitamins. “I wish I could say that they’re useful,” says Beth Kitchin, an assistant professor of nutrition sciences at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Pregnant women need a higher dosage of folic acid, iron, and other nutrients than the general people, which is why they come in the recommendation list of prenatal vitamins.
A study published this month in the Annals of Internal Medicine used data from more than 27,000 people and found that taking multivitamins weren’t associated with living longer, but getting enough nutrients from food sources was linked to a lower risk of dying early. Other studies have suggested a link between multivitamin use with a lower risk of prostate cancer recurrence, and with a lower risk of having a child with an autism spectrum disorder. But nothing has conclusively demonstrated the link between multivitamins and any of these things.
But in case you still want to consume multivitamins, you gotta be aware. “Dietary supplements, they get away with a lot,” Kitchin says. The FDA has some jurisdiction but “it’s pretty light,” she says. Given the lack of oversight, she has a few suggestions for anyone who still wants to take a daily multivitamin. The two big ones: don’t spend too much, and don’t take something that’s going to actively harm you.