There’s a lot of variety of multivitamins on the shelves of pharmacies, so you might think they’re the most useful health benefit available. That isn’t exactly true. If you’re in the grocery pharmacy, the produce section is actually more beneficial for your health. Madison Avenue has done a good job convincing America that they need to take vitamins daily, but so did the covid-19 scare. In 2020, the multivitamin market in America grew dramatically with children’s vitamin’s increasing 37.2% for $306 million in sales, men’s up 33.7% for $229 million in sales and women’s vitamins up 19.6% for $474 million.
Recent studies have changed old beliefs.
A widespread recent study of 450,000 people showed that multivitamins didn’t reduce the risk of cancer or heart disease. Another study of almost 6,000 men that lasted 12 years showed it didn’t reduce the risk of mental decline in seniors, contrary to an earlier study that said it did. While there are some benefits for taking specific supplements, that’s not necessarily true for multivitamins. One study, however, did find that multivitamins may reduce the risk of macular degeneration and cataracts.
More isn’t necessarily better.
More recent studies also found that taking high doses of vitamin E and beta-carotene at high doses may be harmful. If you’re taking water-soluble vitamins, your body flushes excess out in the urine and feces. The biggest problem from consuming too much of a water-soluble vitamin is digestive issues. However, fat-soluble vitamins, such as vitamin A, D and E, are stored in the body, which can lead to overdoses.
There’s a better way to get your vitamins than taking a multivitamin.
Taking a specific vitamin and mineral supplements is quite different from taking a multivitamin. For instance, women that are considering pregnancy or who are in early pregnancy should supplement with 400 micrograms of folic acid daily. People in northern areas in the winter would do well to supplement with vitamin D if their diet doesn’t contain enough. Also, supplemental iron can be beneficial. If a person is deficient in a specific vitamin or has problems with absorption, it also is a good idea to take it. Most of all, eating a healthy diet is the best way to ensure adequate dietary needs are met.
- Too much vitamin A can cause liver damage, interrupt calcium storage and cause calcium to build in the kidneys, damaging them. It also can contribute to lung cancer in smokers, but ironically may help those with COPD.
- In order to get the benefits of multivitamins, they need to be absorbed and the right form of the nutrient. The binders used and type of nutrient needs to be natural and not in tablet form, which normally means they’re very expensive.
- The most common problem, even for the far more expensive multivitamins, is an insufficient dose to make a difference or an excess dose that can cause problems. Most problems come from an insufficient dose.
- Many multivitamins contain filler or are made from non-organic materials, such as ascorbic acid—vitamin C—which is made from GM corn. There are artificial flavors and colors added, plus heavy metals and chemicals.
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