Should I take a daily multivitamin and if so, which one?

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All persons of all ages should use a daily MVM to complement one’s best efforts to define and consume a proper diet. At a minimum, MVM supplementation is insurance against common and unavoidable shortcomings driven by typical daily diets and local food supply or availability. At best, the daily increased level of all known vital nutrients supplied by the MVM may indeed allow optimal cellular performance. Levels of nutrition delivered by diet combined with a MVM (significantly higher but well within a safe range) has more potential than diet alone (especially within a range of acceptable calories) to supply all cellular entities/enzymes with enough materials to operate at full capacity, thus avoiding a potential triage effect that may be at the root of many chronic and age-related diseases. Calcium & vitamin D: supplement if daily needs of calcium (1000-1200mgs/day) and vitamin D (400-1000 IUs/day) are not met by food, sunlight and multivitamin & mineral formula. dotFIT makes a properly designed MVM formula that meets the needs of those with active lifestyles. The doses, forms and delivery are designed to maximize the formula’s effectiveness.
A balanced diet usually provides all the vitamins, minerals and other nutrients that your body needs to stay well. If you do not or cannot consume the recommended amounts of foods, such as whole grains, vegetables, fruit and meat, a multivitamin can be a fairly cheap investment in your health. However, remember that taking a daily multivitamin can never provide all of the benefits of a healthy diet. Keep these tips in mind when selecting a multivitamin supplement:
  • Select a product that provides no more than 100% of the daily value for all vitamins and minerals. Avoid supplements containing mega-doses.
  • Men and postmenopausal women may not need iron in a multivitamin. Check with your doctor about your specific situation.
  • Consider selecting a multivitamin designed for your age and gender, such as one formulated for men, women, teens or seniors over 50 years of age.
  • Always talk to your doctor before choosing a multivitamin if a medical condition exists, especially pregnancy or severe deficiency in vitamins or minerals.
  • Keep vitamins out of the reach of children. Overdose on some ingredients, such as iron, could be fatal.
If your diet is less than perfect or if you have a chronic illness, ask the pharmacist for advice in selecting a multivitamin supplement that is effective without being toxic.

Dr. Michael Roizen, MD
Internal Medicine
In general, if you eat a balanced and healthy diet, with four servings of fruits, five servings of vegetables, and plenty of grains, you should get most of the nutrients you need through your food.

However, most of us have busy lives and hectic schedules, which means that it's not always easy to eat a balanced and nutrient-rich diet. In fact, of the more than 15 million people who have reported their diets on our website, fewer than 80,000 -- less than 1% -- get the right amounts of vitamins D, B6, B12, and folate and the minerals calcium and magnesium from food alone.

Taking a daily multivitamin can help pick up the slack. We'd choose a multivitamin without added iron and one that has less than 2,500 IU of vitamin A and beta-carotene, combined.

If the only time you get close to fruits is when your in-laws visit, you'd even be wise to take a multivitamin twice a day; several vitamins dissolve in water and you urinate them out before your body has a chance to benefit fully from them. Other good candidates for a two-a-day regimen are calcium (because your body can't absorb more than 600 mg at a time) and vitamin C (because doses larger 500 mg at once can be toxic).
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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.