Considering Whether a Daily Multivitamin is EnoughOct 31, 2023 09:31AM ● By Dr. Gary Kracoff
Multivitamin/minerals can be a convenient way to both supplement and fill potential nutrient gaps in our diets. They help to ensure we are obtaining essential vitamins and minerals. Whether this is enough for most people depends on various factors including an individuals’ health, diet and lifestyle.
The Pros and Cons
A daily multi, generally taken as a once-a-day capsule, usually contains a broad spectrum of vitamins and minerals, but this may not provide all the nutrients our bodies need, or be in a form that we can absorb. Plus, there are many other nutrients like phytonutrients, antioxidants, fiber and fatty acids that are found in a balanced diet that are not included in most multivitamin formulations.
Because nutrient needs can vary based on age, sex, activity levels and underlying health conditions, a one-size-fits-all multivitamin may not meet unique needs. Some people may have specific dietary restrictions or medical conditions that may require specific nutrient supplementation not found in the multivitamin.
Additionally, many multivitamins may not dissolve, be absorbed or utilized well by our bodies, so taking a quality supplement is essential.
Identifying Needs and Deficiencies
Ultimately, the best way to obtain nutrients is through a balanced diet rich in organic fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean free-range proteins. But, even with a good, clean, balanced diet, our health status and lifestyle may require additional supplementation.
There are tests available, such as Nutreval by Genova Diagnostics, that help health professionals determine if a client’s intake is adequate and, in many cases, see if they are absorbing and utilizing these nutrients.
Athletes, vegetarian or vegan individuals with a restrictive diet and people with digestive or elimination issues will need to pay specific attention to their nutrient intake and will benefit from specific supplementation. Working with health professionals can help determine what additional supplementation would be beneficial and the best form of nutrients to be taken. An example is vegetarians are generally lacking vitamin B12 in their diet. This is a highly important nutrient for energy, methylation, detoxification and needed for staying healthy.
Take Caution and Seek Guidance
Consuming an excessive amount of certain vitamins and minerals can be harmful and can lead to imbalances in the body. It’s critical to avoid mega doses of vitamins and minerals unless a certain health status or qualified professional determines such a need.
It is also important to understand that not all multivitamin supplements are created equal. Quality, bioavailability and dosage of nutrients can vary widely. So it’s vital to choose a reliable brand and consult with a healthcare professional to help determine which one is best and if it will provide what our body needs.
While multivitamin/minerals can be a helpful way to fill potential nutrient gaps in our diets; it shouldn’t be relied on as a sole source of nutritional balancing for everyone. The best way to meet nutritional needs is to eat a clean, balanced diet, consider health status and lifestyle, and if necessary, work with a healthcare professional to determine specific nutrients that may be needed based on individual circumstances and guided by reviewing a thorough health history, labs and current issues and complaints. A registered dietitian or healthcare provider can offer personalized advice based on specific health and dietary requirements.
Dr. Gary Kracoff is a registered pharmacist with a doctorate in naturopathic medicine at the Johnson Compounding and WellnessCenter, located at 577 Main St., Waltham, MA. Genova Diagnostic labs are available onsite as well as consultations with their professional pharmacists and dieticians. For more information, call 781-893-3870 ext. 2 or visit NaturalCompounder.com.