Shedding Light on the Mystery of Multivitamins

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They are commonly referenced as a “cure-all” to prevent diseases, boost moods, and improve bodily functions, but are they really necessary?

What is a Multivitamin?

A multivitamin is a dietary supplement, usually in tablet form, that consists of more than one vitamin. It is usually combined with other minerals and herbal extracts. Multivitamins enhance one’s diet and optimize health and are to be taken as supplements in addition to a healthy diet of fruits, veggies, whole grains, and lean protein.

When Multivitamins Are NOT the best choice…

  • For those who are currently being treated for or have previously had cancer (multivitamins could actually stimulate cancer cell growth)
  • If individual vitamin supplements are already being taken
  • If certain medications are being taken, such as: Prilosec, Prevacid,
  • Pepsid (for peptic ulcers), Metformin (diabetes), antibiotics, diuretics, or laxatives – these many interfere with the absorption of nutrients.

Before taking a multivitamin, it is safe practice to first see a health care professional and get one approved.

The Results Are In…

Although no definite evidence is available, research points to multivitamins possibly preventing cancer in persons with poor nutritional status as well as preventing macular degeneration for those who are at high risk. However, no clear research has shown direct benefits in preventing cardiovascular disease. Even though multivitamins are not a reliable means for preventing illnesses, they are a noteworthy component of good health.

Here’s the Bottom Line:

  • First and foremost, eat a well-balanced diet full of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fiber, and lean protein
  • Multivitamins are to be SUPPLEMENTS, not SUBSTITUTES for a healthy diet
  • Before taking a multivitamin, ask a healthcare professional to provide a health screening and to check your medications to see if a multivitamin would make a healthy addition to your diet
  • If taking a multivitamin, double check its contents to ensure that it has at least 100% of Vitamin B12 and Vitamin D, and it should NOT contain Iron
  • Take the multivitamin at the same time each day on a full stomach and with a glass of water
  • Remember: Knowledge is Power! Know your own individual needs before purchasing a multivitamin,,, References Seniors and Food Safety at seniors.html. Nutrition Education for OCTOBER 2009. Produced by Meals On Wheels, Inc. of Tarrant County by Laura Barry, a nutrition intern for Sherry Simon, R.D./L.D. For question regarding nutritional infor- mation, please contact Sherry Simon, R.D./L.D., Director of Nutrition Services for Meals on Wheels, Inc. Tarrant Country at (817) 336-0912 or email: Website: 

Posted in Nutritional Education.

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