Thursday, May 15, 2014

A Look at Multivitamins

Multivitamins have been in the news recently. Some reports claim they don’t work and are a waste of money; other reports indicate they can actually be dangerous. So, what do you really need to know about multivitamins?

Do multivitamins offer any benefits?

Many scientists, in general, believe multivitamins are unnecessary, and stress the importance of eating a healthy diet instead.

How do multivitamins fall short?
According to a report published December 17, 2013, in the Annals of Internal Medicine:

Won’t ward off heart disease.
Multivitamins aren’t useful in delaying memory loss.
Not tied to a longer life span.

How can multivitamins be useful?
According to the Council for Responsible Nutrition:

Assisting with overall wellness.
May increase energy level in those taking them.
To fill nutrient gaps.

Who can benefit from taking multivitamins?

Despite the recent controversy over multivitamins, there are some individuals who benefit from taking supplements, according to this site:

1. Women who are pregnant.
2. Children.
3. Individuals who have certain illnesses where the body has an inability to get or use the vitamins it needs.
4. Individuals who are found to be deficient in particular vitamins, despite eating a well-balanced diet.

Are there any risks of taking multivitamins?

When taken properly, multivitamins should not present a risk to most individuals, according to most experts. However, when individuals take higher dosages than called for, serious injury can result. Here are some samples of certain vitamins that may be dangerous in excessive amounts:

Vitamin A:  This vitamin may cause a number of harmful side effects, both short-term and long-term, if consumed in high amounts. For a complete list, of side effects, visit this site (
Vitamin C:  Taking 2,000 mg. or more may increase your risk of kidney stones.
Vitamin B6:  Taken at high levels, this vitamin may cause nerve damage.

What side effects might vitamins cause?

An upset stomach. This can usually be avoided by taking vitamins with food.
An unpleasant taste. There are a variety of capsules, chewable tablets, and liquid forms available as well as flavors, to help avoid this side effect.

Can you get your vitamins directly from food?

1. Many experts believe you can if you consume a well-rounded, healthy diet that includes plenty of fresh greens, vegetables, and fruits.
2. Yet, others argue that foods you’re consuming may not contain the same nutrients they once did. This is based on the nutrient content of the soil foods are grown in. Also, experts point out that a proper planting rotation schedule may or may not been observed by farmers.
3. Certain individuals may not be able to get the proper nutrients directly from foods, regardless of their diet and/or the nutrient content of foods (see above).

How to take multivitamins effectively:

Always consult with your physician or health provider.
Be aware of and follow the maximum daily limits for vitamins and supplements.
Stay informed of new updates and information regarding vitamin consumption.

Multivitamins may or may not be advised for you and your family members, based on how and why they’re being consumed. Be an informed and educated consumer, and always consult with your physician about what’s best for your family.

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