Can multivitamins make up for an unhealthy diet?

Although some people take multivitamins as "insurance" to compensate for an unhealthy or poor diet, experts aren't sure this strategy works. A few years ago, a comprehensive review of studies done on supplements found that multivitamins did not reduce the risks of any chronic condition. The experts who reviewed the report concluded that they could not recommend either for or against taking multivitamins to prevent chronic disease.

Nutritionists have long emphasized that, if possible, you should get all the nutrients you need by eating a well-balanced diet that includes fruits, vegetables, dairy products, meat, fish and whole grains. If you can't consume a variety of foods, if you're a vegetarian or vegan, if you have a medical condition that makes you unable to absorb nutrients from food efficiently or if you have a higher-than-usual need for certain nutrients (you're pregnant or breast-feeding, say), talk to your doctor about whether taking multivitamins can "make up" for the nutrients you may not be getting from food.
Although multivitamins have potential benefits, nothing replaces the synergistic qualities of a healthy whole food diet. More and more evidence is becoming available that components of whole food (macro & micronutrient breakdown) can help enhance physical health and wellness.
Multivitamins still provide benefits even with a balanced diet. A balanced diet is, however, the best way to ensure you are getting the nutrients that you need. The nutrients are absorbed into the body best if taken around the same time every day with the same type of food or snack. Unless you have a medical condition that would cause your body not to absorb the medications properly.

Continue Learning about Vitamins



In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates vitamin supplements and provides recommended daily amount information. The FDA says that we should pay attention when considering vitamin supplements, because ...

frequently many different vitamins and minerals are combined into one product.

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.