Posted On: May 29, 2019
Multivitamins are often referred to as a nutritional “health insurance policy” among healthcare practitioners. But is it really necessary for everyone to take a multivitamin?
Sadly, even with a nutrient dense diet, we can become deficient or low in essential vitamins and minerals. This can be attributed to soil depletion from modern day agricultural practices. Then our fruit and vegetables are being produced with less essential vitamins and minerals such as magnesium, calcium and potassium.
Although it makes sense that we can all benefit from adding extra nutrition to our diet, multivitamins may only be necessary in certain cases.
A multivitamin is most helpful under circumstances where your body requires additional nutrition. For example, when your body needs to “build” or when you are recovering from an illness. This includes preparing for pregnancy, becoming pregnant or training as an athlete. Certain health conditions, such as digestive disorders may also require supplementation of a multivitamin.
Children are also in a state of “building” as they grow, and can benefit from the increased nutrition a multivitamin provides. This is true, especially if they’re picky eaters or have a diet high in processed foods. The same goes for teenagers or adults who don’t consume plant based nutrient dense foods on a regular basis. Those who drink or smoke in excess and are under intense periods of stress will also benefit from a multivitamin. They are more likely to have nutrient deficiencies and become susceptible to illness.
For the average adult who sticks to a diet rich in unrefined, whole foods, a multivitamin may not be 100% mandatory. Despite our soil becoming depleted, our food still contains essential nutrients that we have the ability to absorb. In addition, several health foods are now fortified with nutrients we’re more likely to be deficient in, such as Vitamin D. This is not a guarantee that your body’s nutrients are at optimal levels, you may still need an extra nutritional boost. This may require the supplementation of specific vitamins and minerals which can be determined through testing by your healthcare professional. It’s worth mentioning that too much of any one vitamin, such as iron, can actually be toxic to the blood.
So, it depends on the individual and their unique nutritional requirements to determine whether or not a multivitamin is necessary. As an average healthy adult, taking a multivitamin isn’t likely to be harmful to your health. But, it’s worth checking in with a qualified healthcare practitioner to determine your exact needs.
If you’re considering supplementing with a multivitamin, it’s important to consider:
The multivitamin should not exceed the DRI (daily recommended intake) for each vitamin and mineral. (Note: the DRI fluctuates with different variables, such as gender, age group, pregnancy and menstruation.)
*Vitamin D is an exception to this rule in cooler climates, which can be taken in higher amounts than the recommended dosage.