The Pros and Cons of Taking a Multivitamin – Advice from the Doctors at South Tampa Immediate Care

tampa_doctor_clinicMany people take a daily multivitamin to ensure that they are getting the proper amount of vitamins and minerals. After all, it can be difficult to consistently eat a balanced diet that contains everything the body needs to function. Some people may also be on restricted diets due to certain health conditions, in which case a multivitamin can help them get some of the nutritional essentials they may be missing. Vegetarians, vegans, infants, pregnant women, and elderly people may also have different dietary requirements that can lead to deficiencies in certain nutrients.

Most multivitamins contain Vitamins A, C, D, E, K, and a range of B-complex vitamins like thiamin, riboflavin, folate, and niacin, in addition to biotin, iron, zinc, chromium, and calcium, among other minerals. These dietary supplements are generally safe and effective, but should not be used as substitutes for a healthy diet. Getting nutrients directly from the foods you eat is almost always a more effective way for your body to get the vitamins and minerals it needs.

Below are a few things to be aware of if you do decide to take a daily multivitamin:

  • Be sure to eat a balanced diet. The most common dietary deficiencies among Americans are calcium and Vitamins A, C, and E. Drinking skim milk and eating foods like fortified cereals, spinach, broccoli, and almonds can help you get your daily dose of these nutrients.
  • Split your multivitamin in half. The body can only absorb a certain amount of vitamins and minerals at one time. Taking half your vitamin in the morning and half in the afternoon or evening can help maximize absorption.
  • Avoid multivitamins with certain fillers or binders. Check the label to make sure your vitamins do not contain hydrogenated oils, artificial colors, or other synthetic ingredients.
  • Beware of multivitamins that contain more than 100 percent of your daily value for any one vitamin or mineral. “Megadoses” are generally not necessary, may be harmful to the body, and are difficult for the body to absorb properly.

Always check with a doctor before adding a multivitamin or dietary supplement to your daily routine to ensure that it does not interfere with any pre-existing health conditions or medications you may be taking.