Read the labels of multi vitamin bottles and it makes you wonder how you have managed to live so long without them!
Multi vitamins come with the claims that they can boost energy and resistance to disease, combat aging, improve skin and help you lose weight and they look like a tempting prospect. But do multi vitamins actually make people healthier? Dieticians and health experts are not so sure they do.
The key factor is that they should only be used as a supplement to a healthy diet and not as a replacement to prop up an unhealthy lifestyle.
As registered dietician Karen Ansel said in an interview with Webmd:
Food contains thousands of phytochemicals, fiber, and more that work together to promote good health that cannot be duplicated with a pill or a cocktail of supplements.
Multi vitamin supplements can provide a back up to vital minerals and vitamins that you may be short of in your diet but taking vitamin supplements is not as good as obtaining your nutrition from your food.
There are instances when vitamins are necessary for health
During pregnancy for example , you may be prescribed pre natal vitamins to help the growing foetus. Some experts believe that you should take these before you are even pregnant to give your unborn baby the best chances of being healthy. Folic acid is important at preventing birth defects.
In some cases your physician will prescribe supplements such as iron tablets to help combat anaemia for example.
Dangers of vitamin pills
Some vitamins and minerals are dangerous in high doses.
Taking over 1000mg of folic acid a day for example may cause vitamin B12 deficiency and increase the risk of nerve damage. Excessive vitamin A can cause birth defects so you should not take high quantities of this vitamin while pregnant.
Self administering high quantities of vitamins and minerals yourself can be dangerous if you do it without the supervision of a qualified doctor, nutritionist or dietician.
So are multi vitamins any good for the rest of us?
Multi vitamins are safe for most people and if you use them as a support to your diet, it can plug nutritional holes.
Many of us lack vitamin D for example which is only obtainable from sun light. Magnesium and zinc are also deficient in a large percentage of the US population.
Multi vitamins are safer than choosing specific supplements that can deliver high doses of one vitamin or mineral so if you are looking to support general health, this is the way to go.
However you will not fix a bad diet and an unhealthy life style just by taking vitamin pills.
Disclaimer: Our reviews and investigations are based on extensive research from the information publicly available to us and consumers at the time of first publishing the post. Information is based on our personal opinion and whilst we endeavour to ensure information is up-to-date, manufacturers do from time to time change their products and future research may disagree with our findings. If you feel any of the information is inaccurate, please contact us and we will review the information provided.