Latest posts by Helen Sanders (see all)
- Getting Ready for the Beach – Can Fad Diets Really Work? - April 20, 2017
- Are Multivitamins Really Worth the Money? - March 17, 2017
Are Multivitamins Really Worth the Money? Multivitamins are well known worldwide as the small one-a-day pill that ensures you get all the essential vitamins and minerals you need for optimum health. But in recent years, there has been controversy among experts as to whether multivitamins are even necessary. Since most people take multivitamin supplements long term, adding to their monthly outgoings, considering experts aren’t even sure you really need them, are multivitamins really worth the money? Read on to find out.
What are Multivitamins?
Multivitamins are food supplements that despite being available in several forms (tablets, powders, softgels, gummies, etc) all have one goal and that is to give your body all the vitamins and minerals your body needs to avoid deficiency.
Most high quality multivitamin supplements will include the following vitamins and minerals:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin B12
- Vitamin B6
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin E
- Vitamin K
- Pantothenic acid
Vitamins also come in two varieties:
- Water-soluble vitamins are easily absorbed by the body and the kidneys remove those vitamins that are not needed.
- Fat-soluble vitamins are absorbed into the body with the use of bile acids and the body stores these for use as needed.
What Vitamins and Minerals do we Need?
Of course, the best way to obtain these are through whole-food sources in our daily diet such as fruit and vegetables. Unfortunately though, in America this is proving not to be the case.
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans set out by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), tells us that most Americans consume more calories than they need, however, they are still not taking in enough nutrients including vitamins.
This is most prominently shown in a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This shows us that a huge 10% of the entire US population are deficient in at least one essential nutrient. With vitamins B6, B12, D, C and E being among the highest number of deficiencies (source).
Research has shown that being deficient in certain nutrients, especially vitamin D, is a major problem in the US and leads to a number of chronic diseases and is an “important risk factor of leading causes of death in the United States” (source).
One chronic disease that vitamin deficiency is believed to be a precursor for is cardiovascular disease (heart disease and stroke) which the World Health Organization (WHO) lists as the number 1 cause of death globally; estimating that over 17 million people die from the disease representing over 30% of all global deaths (source).
Therefore, from these statistics it is clear to see that getting the right nutrition into our diets is a significantly important factor in maintaining a healthy, long life.
What About Multivitamin Supplements?
Due to the astounding number of vitamin deficiencies across the United States, it is not surprising that many people turn to multivitamins in order to fill the nutritional gaps in their diet. However, there have been some controversial studies which have left experts wondering whether multivitamins are actually the answer to the vitamin deficiency crisis.
Of course, the supplement market is a huge money maker, 150 million Americans spending over $21 billion on multivitamins each year, it is no surprise that manufacturers and retailers are quick to tell you the benefits of taking multivitamins for the rest of your days.
However, most people are not severely deficient in all vitamins and minerals and some taken in large doses can lead to significant health issues. For example, studies have shown that although vitamin C is generally safe, megadoses can increase your risk of kidney stones (source).
So Are Multivitamins Really Worth The Money?
According to the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), for people with dietary restrictions such as vegans or those with food allergies, pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers, taking multivitamins are a must and are worth spending your hard earned money on each month.
For everyone else however, putting those extra dollars towards fresh, organic, whole-food produce in order to pack your diet with nutrients naturally, is a much more worthwhile way of getting all the vitamins and minerals you need daily.