Did you know, “Americans spend 12 billion dollars a year on multivitamins?” However, there is a continual debate surrounding whether or not it’s worth it to take multivitamins – but this doesn’t stop 1 out of every 2 Americans from taking multivitamins daily. While many physicians believe it does not help or prevent anything, there are others that would disagree. So here is our quick rundown on what multivitamins do and why we think it doesn’t hurt anything to supplement with it.
In order to survive, your body needs macronutrients (macros) and micronutrients (micros). Macros, which are needed in larger portions in your nutrition include: carbohydrates; protein; fat; and water – think of these as fuel for performance and recovery. You get these from foods like chicken, avocados, rice and obviously drinking water. Moreover, it’s also important to remember water is also found in food, primarily fruits and vegetables. Then there are micronutrients, which are needed in quite smaller quantities and include: vitamins; minerals; and trace elements that aren’t always found in food, but needed by the human body – you can think of micros as the small stuff that keeps your cells healthy, in addition to warding off sickness and disease.
Physicians do agree that while there is no single significant benefit from taking multivitamins, there are many reasons to continue supplementing, but why? When taken in conjunction with proper nutrition and exercise, benefits can include improved energy (from vitamin-c and b-complex vitamins), improved cognitive functions – especially in the elderly over 65, and an increase in prenatal health and a decrease in fetus abnormalities.
However, taking a multivitamin is not the entire answer. You should treat these as a small booster to your heath which helps to fill the small gaps of your daily micronutrient needs. After all, multivitamins are called supplements for a reason and it’s because it supplements your food/nutrition plan, much like extra credit on a test. When you take your multivitamins with a well balanced nutrition plan and regular exercise, it can mean the difference between getting a B (85%) or an A (90%) in your health goals.
In summary, does it hurt to take a multivitamin? No, but remember it’s not the entire answer. If your nutrition plan is only 50% of the way there (lacks the micronutrients you need), it probably means you’re taking it from failing to barely failing, and the money is better spent on buying some veggies and fruit.