Discussion: Are Daily Vitamin Supplements Recommended? May 2015
I googled the phrase 'are daily vitamin supplements recommended' and looked at the top results. Only found one article that supported her position and it was from an individual blog posting rather than from a larger health related organization. The dissenting article was found at greatist.com: http://greatist.com/grow/why-you-dont-need-a-multivitamin: and even it concluded with “vitamins can and should be prescribed for special cases. If you’re pregnant, your obstetrician/gynecologist will likely advise you to supplement with folic acid. If your doctor suspects you have a vitamin deficiency due to poor diet or a particular physiological problem, he or she might also advise you to use a specific supplement. But for the rest of us, [the author] simply couldn't find any real benefits to taking vitamins [in other words, in the author's humble opinion].”
On the other hand ..
WebMD: “With many vitamins and minerals, you can safely take a dose much higher than the RDA or DV without coming close to the UL. [..] Experts recommend eating a well-balanced, healthy diet and taking supplements to fill in any nutritional gaps. Or you can take a once-daily multivitamin with minerals for nutritional insurance.”
Heart.org: “While diet is the key to getting the best vitamins and minerals, supplements can help. For instance, if you’re doing your best to eat healthy foods but still are deficient in some areas, supplements can help. The key is to ensure they’re taken in addition to healthy diet choices and nutrient-dense foods. They’re supplements, not replacements. Only use supplements if your healthcare professional has recommended them.”
Dr Oz: “Multivitamins fulfill your nutritional needs for the day. Take half in the morning and half at night. Multivitamins contain: Vitamin A – critical for healthy vision and skin Vitamin B – a metabolism booster Vitamin C – keeps your immune system strong, especially important during cold and flu season. Vitamin D – promotes healthy bones (and your immune system) Vitamin E – for healthy development of muscles and brain function”
BestHealthMag.ca: “Some say that, at best, supplements are an unnecessary 'nutritional insurance policy' and, at worst, harmful. [..] 'For many food groups, our population is not eating what they’re supposed to,' says Stephanie Atkinson, who helped develop the nutrient-based dietary recommendations for Canada and the United States and who serves as director of the Nutrition and Metabolism Research Laboratory at McMaster University [.. her conclusion:] A well-chosen multivitamin can benefit your health if you’re not eating the recommended servings of foods or avoiding specific food groups ..”
Labdoor.com: “Vitamin and mineral supplementation is expected to be most effective when nutrient deficiencies are present. In developed countries, the majority of adults consume adequate quantities of these nutrients in their everyday diets. [..] Multivitamins are frequently recommended to specific populations, such as women who may be nursing or pregnant (due to the increased need for vitamins and minerals), people with restrictive diets (who may have gaps in their nutrient consumption), and the elderly (who tend to be at higher risk for nutrient deficiencies).”
NYTimes article 'Curbing the Enthusiasm on Daily Multivitamins': “Last week, Boston researchers announced that one of the largest long-term clinical trials of multivitamins in the United States — encompassing 14,000 male physicians 50 and older, and lasting over a decade — found that taking a common combination of essential vitamins and minerals every day decreased the incidence of cancer by 8 percent, compared with a placebo pill. [.. and despite the title and tone of the article, it concludes with:] One of the important observations of the new study is that a daily multivitamin appears to be fairly safe.”
My take? Commercially prepared multivitamins are safe to take (as directed) and I like the concept of 'nutritional insurance' .. since it is hard to know just what you might be lacking in your diet. Why not! What do you think?
Roger Davies .. not a pharmacist .. not a doctor .. just a consumer with access to a large internet database.