Should You Take a MultiVitamin?
The Source of the Confusion
You open your web browser and conduct a search on multivitamins... You will probably come across an article such as this, but then one like this totally contradicting the previous one, then another in favor of the first one, and so on. So, how do you know what to believe and what not to believe? Who is right? Are multivitamins safe to consume on a daily basis? If so, which ones should you be taking and which ones should you avoid?
It is estimated that 50% of the adult population in the United States take a daily multivitamin.
Do you take a daily multivitamin?
Safe or not?
Doctors go back and forth over this issue. The general consensus tends to be that those who lead a healthy lifestyle and consume a balanced, well-rounded diet do not have a need for multivitamins. Nonetheless, how many people consume a balanced and well-rounded diet? For those who do not, a multivitamin could be a great idea.
Wait right there! Do not jump to conclusions too fast! Before you decide whether or not to jump on board the multivitamin bandwagon, it is important to first conduct a personal assessment of your needs.
Conduct a Personal Assessment
- The first step to take is to consult your physician. You should always talk to your personal physician first before you change anything health-related; your physician can provide you with the latest professional advice, as well as a customized plan for your specific health needs, as he/she knows your health record (and possibly your family health record as well).
- After consulting your physician, you must then conduct a personal assessment. To start, assess your diet. Are you typically a healthy eater? Do you consume the right amounts of vitamins and minerals on a daily basis? Many argue that in this scenario the supplementation of a multivitamin is not necessary. However, another thing to keep in mind is physical activity. Those who are physically active may require higher daily doses of certain vitamins and minerals. For example, many bodybuilders include the supplementation of multivitamins in their daily diets as a way to ensure the right building blocks are there to promote optimum muscle growth and get the most out of their hard work in the gym.
- Make sure that you do not take a multivitamin that would interact with a medicine you are already taking. One example of such a medication would be Accutane. This is a powerful acne medication that includes very high levels of a certain strand of vitamin A. It is crucial that Accutane users do not consume high amounts of vitamin A in their diets as it could cause/worsen the side effects of the drug (hair thinning/loss, excessively dry skin, etc.). This would be a case in which a multivitamin containing vitamin A would not be a good idea.
- Lastly, if you do not find a need for all of the vitamins the multivitamin contains, that does not mean you cannot buy individual vitamins to tailor to your specific needs. For example, many people who live in colder climates or who wear a lot of sunscreen do not get enough vitamin D. In this case, it would be wise to supplement a diet with vitamin D tablets.
So you have decided that a multivitamin is for you. The next step is to decide which one to take. You may think that spending a lot of money and purchasing an expensive multivitamin is the best way to get a quality supplement. However, this is not necessarily the case. Do your research and make sure that the brand you are buying is worth it for the money you are paying! Furthermore, look for a multivitamin that is customized for your specific age. Different levels of vitamins and minerals are crucial at different ages.
Should you be supplementing with a fish oil pill as well? Click here to find out everything you need to know with regards to this popular health topic!
A Few Tips
Now that you have purchased the multivitamin of your choice, it is important that you keep a few things in mind. First off, you may want to consider cutting your multivitamin in half. By doing so, you can take one half in the morning when you wake up and one half at night before you go to sleep. By doing so you will be giving your body the right doses of vitamins and minerals at the most efficient times for absorption. Also, make sure to take your multivitamin with food, preferably something that contains a bit of fat, such as milk, for the most efficient absorption.
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