Many people incorporate a multivitamin into their daily diets. In fact, half of all American adults currently take a multivitamin or another sort of vitamin or mineral supplement.1 While over half of American adults are taking a multivitamin or another supplement, that doesn’t mean that everyone should be taking a specific supplement. In fact, too much of certain vitamins or minerals might actually be harmful to you. This is why it is so important to discuss taking any sort of supplement with your doctor. They will be able to tell you whether or not you would benefit from adding a supplement to your diet.
Look Closely At Your Diet and Lifestyle
The most important factor that you are going to want to consider is your diet. Your diet will dictate whether or not you would benefit from taking a multivitamin. While it’s true that following a healthy diet should allow you to get all of the vitamins and minerals you need from food, most people do not get an optimal diet. Because the average person generally does not consume enough fruits and vegetables, it is necessary to supplement to get the required essential vitamins and minerals in your diet. Research shows that around ¾ of the entire population has an eating pattern that is low in vegetables, fruits, dairy, and oil. Along with this, a majority of Americans also exceed the daily recommendations for added sugars, sodium, and saturated fats.2 As a result, a majority of people simply do not adhere to an optimal diet that would supply you with all of the vitamins and minerals that you might need. Because of this, it is necessary to supplement with a high-quality multivitamin.
Do You Have A Vitamin Deficiency?
In order to figure out whether you would benefit from adding a multivitamin to your diet, you will want to figure out whether you might be dealing with any sort of vitamin or mineral deficiency. Even healthy people might be suffering from various vitamin or mineral differences that might not show any symptoms. The only way to really tell if you are dealing with this sort of deficiency is by getting blood tests completed. That is why you want to approach your doctor about figuring out whether or not you would benefit from taking a multivitamin.
Understand More Isn’t Always Better
When you are considering taking a multivitamin, it’s important to understand that more isn’t always better with vitamin and mineral intake. This is especially true for fat-soluble vitamins and iron. Because of this, you should be looking closely at your diet, lifestyle, and situation in order to determine whether or not you need added vitamin and mineral intake through supplementation.
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Research shows that consuming too much vitamin A can negatively impact your bone health. This is because excessive amounts of vitamin A has shown the ability to trigger an increase in osteoclasts which are the cells that break down your bone. Along with this, it has been shown that excess amounts of vitamin A can prevent vitamin D production which plays a crucial role in keeping your bones healthy. This is why it is so important to understand what you are taking. With that being said, a majority of multivitamin supplements on the market do not contain large amounts of the fat-soluble form of vitamin A. Rather they incorporate more of beta-carotene which is water-soluble and not nearly as damaging.
Research also shows that while calcium is essential in building strong and healthy bones in our bodies, too much of it can increase your risk of suffering a heart attack and/or stroke.3 Along with this, without proper vitamin D intake alongside calcium, things can get even worse. This is primarily because vitamin D helps to absorb the excess calcium and without it present, it could cause the excess calcium to settle in the arteries and harden which can result in plaque.4
They Aren’t Meal Replacements
Another big thing that you are going to want to keep in mind is that supplements do not meal replacements. Just because you are taking a multivitamin doesn’t mean that you should stop consuming vitamins and minerals through your food. Even if you take a high-quality multivitamin, that doesn’t mean you can fill your diet full of empty calorie foods. The best way to limit the number of vitamins and minerals you need to supplement with is by correcting your diet. Your diet should consist primarily of whole foods that are nutrient dense. With a proper diet in place, you shouldn’t need to take vitamins or minerals in the form of supplements.
Are You Getting Older?
The fact is, our bodies operate much less effective as we age. This can result in a decrease in nutrient absorption and a decrease in the efficiency of various bodily processes. Thus, as you age, you generally will require additional supplementation. For instance, any adult over the age of 50 is likely going to require vitamin B12 supplementation due to 30% of adults over 51 years of age having low stomach acid excretion, which can lead to deficiencies in vitamin B12 absorption.5 Along with this, they will likely require additional vitamin D supplementation due to their bodies inability to synthesize enough. Therefore, vitamin D supplementation is going to be beneficial and, at times, essential for older people that are at increased risk for osteoporosis. Studies show that supplementation of 800 IU or more daily can effectively reduce the risk of bone loss over time.6
To figure out whether or not a multivitamin or any other sort of supplement is going to be beneficial for your personal use, you will want to discuss it with your doctor. It’s important to discuss any supplement with your doctor prior to taking it because it might cause harm and/or interfere with certain medications that you are already taking. They should be able to guide you along the way when it comes to figuring out whether or not you should be adding any supplement to your diet.
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