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I prescribe a lot of supplements to my patients, but it's pretty rare that I suggest a multi. Most of them have inferior forms of B vitamins (e.g. folic acid, cyanocobalamin, choline bitartrate, pyridoxine hydrochloride), maybe some alpha-tocopherol (an incomplete/unbalanced form of Vitamin E that's thought to be unhealthy in the absence of gamma tocopherol) and only tiny amounts of more useful things to supplement like magnesium and Vitamin D that people are commonly deficient in. I've never heard of any studies that have ever shown them to do much of anything useful. About the most I can say for some of them is that sometimes they do contain a few useful trace minerals (iodine, zinc, etc.) but even there you'd probably be better off taking a dedicated "multi-mineral" supplement rather than a multivitamin if for some reason you don't have a reasonably diverse diet.
I appreciate the well thought out response. What do you think about multivitamin supplementation in children who may not have a well balanced diet?
Honestly? "Good luck with that." I've got a kid who is an incredibly picky eater. I really worry about her nutrition- she eats virtually NO vegetables and only minimal fruits. Her diet mostly consists of milk, cereal, bread, rice, chicken nuggets, apple slices, applesauce, corn chips, hummus, and the occasional popsicle or scoop of ice cream. Sometimes (infrequently) she'll eat some fish sticks. We've worked with a food therapist in the past to try to expand her dietary repertoire but with only very limited success. If I could get her to take a magnesium supplement I certainly would; I'm thinking that maybe it would help calm her ADHD a bit. But a multi? Not sure it would do her much good even if she was willing to take supplements - which she isn't.
Great comprehensive work surrounding this, documented here
There are some kernels of truth in there, but many of this guy's claims seem perilously close to anti-scientific vitalistic woo. We are perfectly capable of transporting ionized minerals (i.e. what's found in mineral salts) as our cells have a variety of dedicated mineral transporters for exactly that purpose- and no, we don't need roots or hyphae to do it. Sorry, but... BIG eyeroll here.
What are your thoughts on food-based multi's? For example, the majority of vitamins/minerals from mine come from nutrient dense plants that they have concentrated. I think the quality is very high and I get an actual benefit from it.
Ah, one other thing - if you feel you get actual benefits from it, then let that be your guide, not some random doctor on the Internet.
I don't know what specific product you're referring to, but in my experience there's only been one or two times that I've seen a "multivitamin product" that I thought was useful (although not necessarily cost effective). By contrast I've seen several others that I maybe think of as "better than average - but still not that great". Telling me that your multi is food-based just makes me think that (at best) they're using quality ingredients. It doesn't tell me a darn thing about how much of which things they're actually supplementing with. (And oh by the way- I put "multivitamin product" in quotes up there because it was a product that consisted of several different pills of potentially useful things. It wasn't particularly comprehensive and it was certainly overpriced, but I had to concede that they used decent quality ingredients for a variety of supplements of the type that I sometimes recommend to some people. That said - that's not what most people think of when they think of multivitamins.)
I'm currently taking one a day natural fruit bites, is there a brand you prefer?
To add to akohhh's comment, if you have a decent diet, the insane levels of water-soluble vitamins in some multis won't do much, even if they don't harm you. You will literally be pissing away your money.
Always found that to be the case when taking a multi vitamin, pissing away my money.
I take methyl folate and a supplement to boost immunity, but not on a daily basis. Not even weekly sometimes.
What I’ve read basically says there’s no real evidence there’s any benefit and there’s a possibility that they could do harm when taken daily. Probably makes sense to skip the daily multivitamin.
Thinking Nutrition is a pretty good blog and podcast from an Australian scientist. I think the general consensus from what I’ve heard him talk about is that they’re a waste of money if you’ve got a decent diet, and that a few things can accumulate to toxic levels if you’re supplementing unnecessarily.
Great question, I workout nearly everyday and I have a multivitamin that I take thinking it will help, but now from the answers I think I'm going to stop taking it since it seems it have no benefits
[Consensus is ](https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/MVMS-Consumer/) eat real food.
Women of childbearing age may need folate; pregnant women, iron; breastfed infants and elderly, vitD; elderly and vegans, vitB12.
Save for these specific cases, or any diagnosed inadequacy or deficiency in general, eat real food.
Same for children. Somehow humanity survived well before modern science, and it wasn't all rickets, scurvy, beriberi, and neural tube defects either. It doesn't take much to get enough.
Thanks for the link. Although It seems to be common knowledge that a well balanced diet provides everything you need to avoid those diseases, my question was more aimed at whether it’s beneficial to supplement with a multivitamin in addition to eating a balanced meal. However, it seems most of the reliable info comes across seems to be that it’s unnecessary, not usually beneficial, and potentially harmful.
Indeed. A well-balanced meal, by definition, should obviate the need for a multivitamin.
Thanks for your input!
I speak in laymans terms so basically, you get most of your daily vitamins from your food, better to use supplements to actually 'supplement' your diet, break down whats in your foods and if there's something you aren't getting enough of in your diet, consider finding a reputable supplement to get your intake.
Taking a multivitamin isnt going to do you any harm they just arent really needed if you have a varied balanced diet. Save your money for something you dont already eat.
What are your thoughts on multivitamin supplementation in children who are picky eaters?
You can get breakfast cereals fortified with vitamins, or the good old gummies ! If the kid absolutely won't eat vegetables or whatever its going to be better than nothing. I'd try encouraging a healthy diet first though, better to build a good relationship with food and nutrition at a young age.
I agree that the diet should be the first choice. But it’s also a long process of growth getting kids to reason and understand and try new things. My thought is maybe supplementing with a multivitamin wouldn’t be too harmful… at least until the child is old enough to have a decently balanced diet.
For sure use the supplement if you are concerned! It won't do any harm, just in general better to teach kids to get nutrients from what they eat rather than getting into the habit of lots of daily tablets.
Most people are going to need cut d since you don’t get that from your diet.
Rhonda Patric goes over studies here showing the benefits of supplements.
AFAIK there's no general consensus. However, there are many studies that have shown positive effects of D3 supplements on various viral infections.
There are also some positive studies related to Vitamin C and cancer/infection prevention/reduction of mortality but it's all very disputed.
So what I'm doing for my personal diet is 500mg of Vitamin C (on the might help / can't hurt basis) and 2000IU of D3 (I honestly believe this helps with viral infections).
You should also take into consideration your dietary habits. For example, if you are a vegan, taking B12 daily is also a good idea, as many vegans and some vegetarians suffer from B12 deficiency + it's very well tolerated and relatively cheap.
Short answer : for most people, eating healthy food is enough for your needs, and you just urinate what your body don't need. As an example, a single orange got enough vitamin c for a week !
I won't take any multivitamin supplementation without a real deficiency, due to the fact that you are on a very specific diet.
As I said : for most people. Just my two cents based on facts :D
What led you to believe that a single orange has enough vitamin C for a week? At best a large orange would probably have a day's worth.
You're right of course, it's a day's worth, not a week worth ;)
The only ones I’ve seen having any meaningful effect on me is magnesium, vitamin C and vitamin D
Plant based minerals are most imperative, in my opinion and also in the opinion of this naturopath who has done extensive work surrounding it
I wonder if he has better publications. I’d love to see some peer reviewed journal articles from him to support these claims.