You try to eat well to feel good and stay healthy. While it’s optimal to get your daily nutritional needs from the foods you eat, it’s just plain difficult. There is conflicting information out there on the benefits of supplements, but the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015-2020 say that supplements may be useful for providing the nutrients you may be lacking from diet alone.
Still on the fence? Consider these top five reasons to add a multivitamin to your daily regimen.
1. Healthy aging. As we get older, our bodies have a harder time absorbing nutrients from food. The National Institute on Aging notes that starting around age 50, people begin to require increased amounts of certain vitamins and minerals.1,2 In fact, according to a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, researchers found that taking a daily multivitamin & mineral supplement may help improve micronutrient deficiencies associated with aging.3
2. Making up for eliminated food groups. While some people have to cut certain foods like nuts or gluten out of their diets due to allergies, many eliminate particular foods or food groups from their diet voluntarily. This can cause vitamin insufficiencies and deficiencies that would be helped with a multivitamin. Trying a paleo diet? You might risk a shortage of calcium or vitamin D by eliminating dairy or grains. Cutting back on red meat? A multivitamin will replace the iron and B12 you would normally get from diet.
3. Getting the RDAs you’re not getting from food. You’ve probably heard that the typical Western diet doesn’t include nearly enough fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, or lean protein. Because of that, you don’t always reap the vitamin and mineral benefits that those foods naturally supply. Consequently, nationally US adults are routinely failing to meet their daily requirements for vitamin A, C, D, E, and K, as well as for calcium, magnesium and potassium from diet alone, and this is including fortified sources! 4 Supplementing with a multivitamin is therefore a prudent way to strategically fill those gaps on a daily basis. After all, the goal should not simply be to avoid blatant vitamin deficiencies, like scurvy with vitamin C deficiency. Borderline vitamin and mineral insufficiencies are just as important to avoid and address. Even the most health-conscious eater will benefit from multivitamin support to achieve micronutrient sufficiency across the board.
4. Getting that extra energy to get through the day. In today’s “go-go-go” society, one of the top complaints is a general lack of energy. Instead of reaching for that third cup of coffee, remember that your cells require certain vitamins and minerals to power your busy life; especially if you’re not getting a full eight hours of sleep or eating a balanced diet, a multivitamin can help provide the nutrients you need to feel energetic throughout the day.5
5. Managing stress. Daily life stressing you out? You’re not alone. But vitamins and minerals play significant biochemical roles in supporting and preserving your brain’s cognitive processes, and studies have shown that a daily multivitamin—particularly one with high doses of B vitamins—can help to reduce stress and support a healthy mood.6
Ready to add a daily multivitamin to your diet? Be sure to check with your healthcare practitioner to see if he or she has personalized recommendations for you and to ensure that any medications you’re currently on won’t interfere with their effectiveness or the effectiveness of the multivitamin ingredients.
- Department of Health and Human Services and U.S. Department of Agriculture. 2015–2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. 8th Edition. December 2015. Available at http://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015/guidelines/
- National Institute on Aging. Dietary Supplements. Available at https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/dietary-supplements
- Xu Q, Parks CG. Multivitamin use and telomere length in women. Am J Clin Nutr. 2009; 89(6):1857–1863.
- Fulgoni VL, Keast DR. Foods, fortificants, and supplements: where do Americans get their nutrients? J Nutr. 2011;141(10):1847-1854.
- Bailey RL, Gahche JJ. Why US adults use dietary supplements. JAMA Intern Med. 2013; 173(5):355-361.
- Stough C, Simpson T, Lomas J, et al. Reducing occupational stress with a B-vitamin focused intervention: a randomized clinical trial: study protocol. Nutrition J. 2014;13(1):122.