As we get older and start to pay a little more attention to our health, it’s easy to get lost in the sea of information that becomes available to us. We see this in the grocery store, in magazines, the Internet and in our doctors’ offices. Our health is a big theme on TV, in commercials and all throughout our daily lives. Weight, nutrition, exercise, sleep…just name it. But what about multivitamins?
Everyone seems to be recommending or buying them. In fact, nearly half of American consumers take multivitamins to either maintain or improve their health.
As these “power supplements” become increasingly popular, it’s important for you to know all that you can about them. After all, it’s YOUR body! Do we need multivitamins as much as we think we do?
- Research is Conflicted. Studies on the use of multivitamins vary greatly. On one hand, they do a great deal of good for our bodies. Their use is linked to lower risks for cancer, greater energy and improved performance. Other studies, however, claim that using multivitamins is linked to higher risks for cancer or does not link to cancer at all.
- Research isn’t all Conclusive. There are many things we must consider when looking at research on multivitamins. For one, not all studies are done the same. Some tests might consider similar connections between our bodies and multivitamins, while others look for an obvious cause-and-effect. Additionally, research may not consider how our bodies only need certain amounts of each nutrient. If we’re taking supplements in dosages our body doesn’t need, a multivitamin might not be effective.
- Eating Whole Foods is KEY! If we want to give our body the nutrients it needs, there is no better way than to eat whole foods on a regular basis. Fruits, vegetables, whole grains and certain dairy products are all food choices that are packed with the nutrients our bodies crave. These foods also possess the vitamins, minerals and antioxidants we need in the perfect proportions. No multivitamin can do what whole foods do! For tips on adding more whole foods to your diet, click here.
- Labels Don’t Tell Everything. Because the FDA does not regulate supplements as strictly as they do medication, it is possible for multivitamin labels to be inaccurate. Make sure the amounts of vitamins listed on the label are present in safe amounts. Your body may not need (or reject) the excess nutrients.
- Not Everyone Needs Them. If you eat plenty of whole foods, keep a balanced diet and exercise regularly, you may not get much from taking multivitamins. However, some people who could benefit from multivitamins are: adults over the age of 50, people who eat limited diets, pregnant or breastfeeding women, people who have had surgery on their digestive tract and people with medical conditions affecting the way they absorb nutrients.
How do I Select Multivitamins if I Need Them?
If you do decide to take a multivitamin, keep these tips in mine:
- Ask your doctor what you need
- Consider the amount you need to take
- Shop for brands you trust
- Be as specific with the nutrient(s) as possible
Still Have Questions?
If there’s more you want to learn about multivitamins, please click here to read the full article from Your Weight Matters Magazine!