Multivitamins Vs Whole Foods
When it comes to the essential nutrients our bodies need to thrive, its hard to beat what nature provides. Thats because most of the vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals that you get from whole foods are superior to the same nutrients delivered in a pill, notes Taylor.
Studies offer proof that a multivitamin will not give you the same health benefits as food:
- Eat your broccoli. Broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables contain components that provide wonderful health benefits, such as helping prevent certain cancers and decreasing inflammation. A 2011 study in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry found that those key components were poorly absorbed and lacked value in pill form.
- Careful with calcium pills. One study found that calcium supplements can increase the risk of a heart attack. Many doctors recommend that people with a high risk of heart disease get their calcium through diet rather than supplements.
- Beware of the multivitamin danger. Another study in the Archives of Internal Medicine found that certain dietary supplements, including multivitamins, folic acid, iron and copper, appeared to be associated with an increased risk of death in older women.
But not all vitamins come with health risks especially if you use them after consulting your doctor first. Some essential vitamins and nutrients are best absorbed in pill form. These include:
Do Multivitamins Really Work
Multivitamins can play a positive role in your health if you’re deficient in vitamins, but there is a risk of toxicity if you consume too much. It’s best to meet with your doctor to test your vitamin and mineral levels and to ask if you need a multivitamin or individual vitamin or mineral supplements to prevent or treat specific deficiencies. In 2010, the U.S. Department of Agriculture labeled potassium, calcium and vitamin D “nutrients of concern” for Americans because their daily intake of them from foods is lower than recommended 4. Iron, folate and vitamin B12 are nutrients of concern for pregnant women.
Gummy Vitamins And Kids
Children are likely to be drawn to the sweet taste and candy-like consistency of gummy vitamins, but as with adults, its best to steer clear.
If your child cant take traditional pills, try chewable vitamins before turning to gummies. Theres a little more consistency in chewables, Dr. Vyas says. The slightly chalky taste might not be as appealing as popping a gummy, but the vitamin trade-off is worth it.
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Sometimes Supplements Are Needed
Supplements do have a role to play for some groups of people. For instance, people on long-term restrictive weight loss diets or people with malabsorption problems, such as diarrhoea, coeliac disease, cystic fibrosis or pancreatitis, can benefit from supplements.
Folic acid supplements are strongly recommended for women planning a pregnancy to reduce the risk having a baby with neural tube defects, like spina bifida. Also, people who follow vegan diets, especially if pregnant, may benefit from vitamin B12 supplements.
People who are advised by their doctor that they need to take vitamin supplements are encouraged to consult an accredited dietitian, who can work with their doctor to provide dietary advice related to the persons situation.
If you need to take a supplement, it is best to take multivitamins at the recommended dietary level, rather than single nutrient supplements or high-dose multivitamins.
Individual Vitamins Vs Multivitamins
Which is better? Generally speaking, unless youre trying to combat a specific deficiency, a multivitamin is your best bet.
Taking several different supplements singularly in pill format can cause nausea and other adverse side effects, says Lenherr. A multivitamin blended into granules will release active ingredients into the blood stream during a sustained period to enhance absorption in the body, she says.
While you may not necessarily need all the vitamins within, it shouldnt cause any major issues as the majority of excess supplementation will be excreted, says Dr Pratsides.
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Deficiencies Affecting Heart Health
Many nutrient deficiencies have been linked to poor heart health. According to a 2018 article in the Journal of the American Heart Association vitamin A, calcium, magnesium, selenium and vitamin D are cofactors for cardiac metabolism, and deficiencies in these nutrients may increase the risk of heart failure.
Several minerals are responsible for regulating blood pressure, including potassium, magnesium and calcium. Potassium and magnesium help relax blood vessel walls, and calcium helps relax and tighten blood vessel walls, which is crucial for normal blood pressure, according to Harvard Health Publishing.
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Are Gummy Vitamins Good For You
Gummy vitamins are designed to be a more palatable alternative to regular vitamins in the hopes that people will be more inclined to take them. But when it comes to health benefits, theyre nowhere near a 1:1 swap.
Gummy vitamins actually have fewer vitamins and minerals than regular vitamins, Dr. Vyas says.
But it can actually be difficult to determine exactly how much nutritional value youre getting in a gummy vitamin.
This is due in part to the fact that gummy vitamins have limited shelf stability and become less potent in time. To ensure that they have at least as many nutrients as their labels claim, manufacturers pack them with more vitamins than the label says, which allows for their strength to wear off with time.
Even if the label says it has a certain amount of vitamins, in reality youre probably not getting whats on the label, Dr. Vyas warns.
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Here Is Why Most One A Day Vitamins Dont Work
One a Day vitamins are a gimmick that play on our hectic lifestyles. Of course its appealing to believe that one pill a day is all we need to be healthier. It lets you enjoy that Big Mac meal guilt free. The real reason why one a day vitamins dont work though, is because they just cant pack all the vitamins, minerals and special nutrients you need into one pill. Unless, of course, that pill was the size of an egg!
Almost all one a day vitamins have some form of coloring in them too. They have to make it look pretty and appeal to the masses, after all. These colors, often in the form of Titanium Dioxide on the label, do nothing to benefit your health and many people are actually allergic to them without even knowing it. They really are not necessary for the product, yet the color tends to help them sell better. We are visually stimulated creatures, after all!
Other ingredients you will find in one-a-days include sugars, artificial flavoring and preservatives to extend the shelf life and mean less stock wastage. Less stock wastage leads to increased profits.
Is There Really Any Benefit To Multivitamins
Half of all American adultsincluding 70 percent of those age 65 and oldertake a multivitamin or another vitamin or mineral supplement regularly. The total price tag exceeds $12 billion per yearmoney that Johns Hopkins nutrition experts say might be better spent on nutrient-packed foods like fruit, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy products.
In an editorial in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine titled Enough Is Enough: Stop Wasting Money on Vitamin and Mineral Supplements, Johns Hopkins researchers reviewed evidence about supplements, including three very recent studies:
- An analysis of research involving 450,000 people, which found that multivitamins did not reduce risk for heart disease or cancer.
- A study that tracked the mental functioning and multivitamin use of 5,947 men for 12 years found that multivitamins did not reduce risk for mental declines such as memory loss or slowed-down thinking.
- A study of 1,708 heart attack survivors who took a high-dose multivitamin or placebo for up to 55 months. Rates of later heart attacks, heart surgeries and deaths were similar in the two groups.
Will a Daily Vitamin Help Keep Your Heart Healthy?
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Its Best To Get Nutrients From Food
Thats why most health experts, nutritionists, and dietitians recommend getting your vitamins and minerals from the food you eat. I follow a food-first philosophy, meaning it is ideal to get the nutrients you need through whole foods, Linsenmeyer says. This is because the nutrients in whole foods are often better absorbed than in supplement form, whole foods contain other beneficial compounds beyond just vitamins and mineralssuch as phytochemicals and fiber, and there is low risk for consuming micronutrients in excess from whole foods.
To satisfy your bodys nutritional needs with food, try incorporating this list, recommended byHarvard Health, into your diet:
- Leafy vegetables like chard, collard greens, kale, mustard greens, spinach
- Bell peppers
- Dairy products, such as low-fat yogurt
- Dried beans
- Lentils, peas
- Whole grains such as barley, oats, quinoa, brown rice
- Salmon, halibut, cod, scallops, shrimp, tuna, sardines
- Lean beef, lamb, venison
Though the amount needed varies by age, health, and diet.
The Vitamin Alone Is Not The Answer
Proper balance and adequate levels of essential nutrients is important for a range of complex processes in our body. When vitamins are taken as supplements, they are introduced into the body at levels that could never be achieved by eating even the healthiest of diets.
Supplementation can also result in large doses of a single vitamin being eaten alone. When vitamins are consumed from foods, they have many companions to help them along the way. For instance, provitamin A in food is accompanied by hundreds of its carotenoid relatives.
Simply taking a vitamin pill is not an instant fix for feeling run down or lacking in energy. It is the combination of a whole range of compounds in foods that gives us the protection . When you artificially remove one of them and provide it completely out of context, it may not be as effective and, in the case of some vitamins, can have negative effects.
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Vitamin A And Carotenoids
Vitamin A is crucial for our bodies, and it does a lot more than help our peepers. Vitamin A supports a healthy immune system, reproductive system, cell health, and vision. Because vitamin A helps produce healthy cells, it also affects our vital organs like the heart and lungs. Some research has even linked taking vitamin A with improving measles and some types of cancer.
Vitamin A comes in two forms, and we need to get them both from our diets. First there is provitamin A, which is found in darkly-colored fruits and vegetables like carrots, broccoli, cantaloupe, and squash. Once we eat those fruits and vegetables, our bodies convert the provitamin A into vitamin A that our tissues can use. The most important type of provitamin A carotenoid is beta-carotene. The second type is preformed vitamin A, which is found in animal sources like dairy, fish, and meat. We can also get carotenoids from supplements, liver and fish oils, as well as palm oil, algae, and fungi. Mmm one order of algae and fungi to go please!
Most multivitamins contain vitamin A, and women should aim for about 770 micrograms of vitamin A per day.
If Youre A Pregnant Woman
Its not just newborn babies that require a little vitamin boost. Expecting moms need more folic acid, omega-3 fatty acids, iron and other nutrients than other women do to aid the healthy development of their little one.
For that reason, many doctors recommend that pregnant women take a prenatal vitamin.
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How To Choose The Best Personalized Vitamins
A person should consider their budget when looking for the best personalized vitamin service. Some companies may offer premium products at an extra cost, but this does not necessarily mean they are better than other products.
People should also explore the company website before signing up for a subscription. They could search for disclosures regarding the safety and testing of the products. A person should also reconsider if they see ingredients such as food coloring or dyes, as these can outweigh the benefits of the vitamins.
New customers may also want to consider any trial periods, customer service, and the ease of canceling or changing a subscription.
Who Should Take Multivitamins
Anyone who is malnourished or has a nutritional deficiency should talk to their doctor about taking a multivitamin, says Dr. Seballos.
For everyone else, Ask yourself, Am I doing everything possible to optimize my overall health before taking a multivitamin and/or supplement? he says. Smart lifestyle choices are your best guarantee of future health.
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The Common Cold And Vitamin C
Many people think that vitamin C helps prevent the common cold. Despite exhaustive research across the world, there is still no strong evidence to prove this. Some studies have shown that taking large doses of vitamin C continuously or when you first develop cold symptoms, may ease some of the symptoms and the duration on average, making it about half a day shorter. It does not prevent you catching a cold.
You also need to consider the health risks associated with taking large doses of vitamin C. Large doses may cause nausea, abdominal cramps, headaches, fatigue, kidney stones and diarrhoea. It may also interfere with your bodys ability to process other nutrients, for example, it could lead to dangerously raised levels of iron.
Excessive amounts of vitamin C in the body can also interfere with medical tests, such as diabetes tests, giving a false result.
Adults need about 45 mg of vitamin C per day and any excess amount is excreted.
Vitamins Could Be Harmful
Surprisingly enough, some research is finding that not only are multivitamins a waste of money, they are also a hazard to your health. The quantity of vitamins and minerals in any supplement is important, especially when considering the risk of exceeding the upper limit intake of a given nutrientas this may pose a risk for toxicity, which can have significant adverse health effects, Linsenmeyer says. Consumers are encouraged to not exceed the recommended dosage, and to work with their physician and/or registered dietitian to ensure they are not at risk for toxicity or any adverse interactions with other foods or medications.
Certain vitamins and minerals can impact that absorption of medications, either inhibiting the absorption or increasing it, says Willow Jarosh, MS, RD, and owner of Willow Jarosh Nutrition in New York City. In addition, some supplemental nutrients can have similar effects to medicationsso if youre taking a medication that, say, thins the blood and also taking a multivitamin that has a mild blood thinning effect, that could compound the effects.
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Nutrient Amounts Men Need
Men’s One A Day vitamins provide varying amounts of 21 vitamins, minerals and antioxidant nutrients. The amounts of each nutrient are based on the recommended daily allowance for men for each nutrient and are expressed on the label as a percentage of the daily value .
The DV is based on a typical 2,000-calorie diet the average American consumes however, a man who eats more or less than this should take into account that they may require more or less of a specific nutrient.
The Idea That Antioxidant Supplements Are A Miracle Cure Is Completely Redundant Antonio Enriquez
The idea that antioxidant is a miracle cure is completely redundant, says Enriquez. Linus Pauling was largely unaware of the fact that his own ideas could be fatal. In 1994, before the publication of many of the large-scale clinical trials, he died of prostate cancer. Vitamin C certainly wasnt the cure-all that he cantankerously claimed it was up until his last breath. But did it contribute to a heightened risk?
Dosing up on vitamin C does not even help us fight the common cold
Well never know for sure. But given that multiple studies have linked excess antioxidants to cancer, it certainly isnt out of the question. A study published in 2007 from the US National Cancer Institute, for instance, found that men that took multivitamins were twice as likely to die from prostate cancer compared to those who didnt. And in 2011, a similar study on 35,533 healthy men found that vitamin E and selenium supplementation increased prostate cancer by 17%.
Ever since Harman proposed his great theory of free radicals and ageing, the neat separation of antioxidants and free radicals has been deteriorating. It has aged.
Antioxidant is only a name, not a fixed definition of nature. Take vitamin C, Paulings preferred supplement. At the correct dose, vitamin C neutralises highly charged free radicals by accepting their free electron. Its a molecular martyr, taking the hit upon itself to protect the cellular neighbourhood.
Divide and conquer
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People who take them self-report that their health is excellent or very good 30% more often than those who dont. But the data doesnt back up their claims. The researchers compared the people who took these supplements with those who didnt. It turned out, there were no differences in whether they:
- Needed help with routine activities
- Had a history of 10 chronic diseases and 19 acute conditions
- Experienced psychological distress in the past month
Paranjpes research seems to suggest that we might be better off taking other steps to improve our health. There are more evidence-based things people can do , such as eating a healthy diet or exercising, Paranjpe said.
Its hard to evaluate whether multivitamin and mineral supplements make a difference, though. So many factors play into our diets that its hard to study the effects of individual micronutrients. Its challenging because:
- Its difficult to monitor what someone is eating
- Different studies examine different products and formulations, so its hard to compare results
- Manufacturers change their compositions, so its challenging to connect a specific nutrient to a specific health claim
- Its hard to study supplements for long periods to track effects