Multivitamin supplements…have you ever wondered if you should take them?
I know I have. That’s why I did an investigation and this is what I found:
Multivitamin Supplements Facts
1. Many Americans take mutivitamin supplements.
35 percent of adults use multivitamin supplements according to the 1999–2000 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.
2. Multivatimins rank 2nd in dietary supplement popularity.
These are the most common nutritional supplements in order of use according to a 2011 ConsumerLab.com survey:
- Fish oil
- Vitamin D
3. Studies suggest favorable effects of several vitamins contained in multivitamin supplements.
Multivitamin use has no overall association with breast cancer risk but might reduce risk for women consuming alcohol or decrease risk of estrogen receptor negative-progesterone receptor negative breast cancer, reports a study published in the 2008 American Journal of Epidemiology.
A review study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology found beneficial effects on these key concerns from vitamins found in multivitamins:
DNA synthesis and repair
DNA methylation (one of several mechanisms that cells use to control expression)
Angiogenesis (blood vessel growth)
Cell differentiation, cell proliferation, and apoptosis (the process of cell death)
4. Combating stress and fatique and imporving mental function are the most common reasons for taking multivitamins.
A 2010 study published in Psychopharmacology supported this reasoning.
It found that people taking daily multivitamin and minerals supplements showed improved ratings in adapting to stress, mental health, vigor, and mental functioning.
5. Inadequate intake of several vitamins and minerals has been linked to chronic diseases.
Chronic diseases like heart disease, cancer, and osteoporosis are linked to vitamin deficiencies reported a 2002 study in The Journal of The American Medical Association.
The elderly, alcohol-dependent, vegans, and others who have trouble absorbing nutrients are at higher risk of deficiency.
Vitamins included in the study:
B complex vitamins: folic acid, vitamin B6, and B12
6. Excessive doses of fat-soluble vitamins, especially vitamin A, may be harmful.
Unlike water-soluble vitamins that need regular replacement in the body, fat-soluble vitamins are stored in the liver and fatty tissues. They can buildup in your body as their elimination is much slower than water-soluble vitamins.
Look for lower levels of vitamin A, no more that 3,000 IU, the rest should come form beta carotene says Jon Edward Swartzberg, MD in the Berkley Wellness Reports.
7. Choose iron intake based on personal needs.
Premenopausal women should look for 100% of the Daily Intake, while men and postmenopausal women need only 45% of the daily value of iron and may be better off with no iron, reports Swartzberg.
8. Taking B vitamins has multiple benefits.
- Helps prevent neural tube defects. Women of child bearing age need at least 400 micrograms of folate (folic acid) reports Schwartberg.
- Important for nervous system and brain development.
- Higher vitamins B2 and B6 levels may reduce the risk of colorectal cancer reported a study in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention.
- May protect against depressive symptoms in older adults according to a study published in a 2010 American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
9. Choose a multivatmin with a balanced mix of antioxidants, minerals and other key nutrients.
To counteract the damaging effects of oxidative stress and assure that you have optimal cellular nutrition take a balanced mix of antioxidants, minerals and other key nutrients like vitamin D and the B vitamins, says Ray D. Strand, MD, in Bionutrition.
This is just a sampling of studies and surveys on the need for nutritional supplements.
Use these facts and the resources below to be informed on the use of multivitamins in enhancing your health. Personally, I’m convinced I need multivitamin supplements.
Sources and Resources
ConsumerLab.com at http://www.consumerlab.com.
Fairfield, KM, and Fletcher, RH, “Vitamins for Chronic Disease Prevention in Adults: Scientific Review,” The Journal of The American Medical Association, 19, no. 23 (2002).
Ishitani K, et al., “A Prospective Study of Multivitamin Supplement Use and Risk of Breast Cancer,” American Journal of Epidemiology, 167, No.10 (2008).
Kennedy DO et al., “Effects of High-Dose B Vitamin Complex with Vitamin C and Minerals on Subjective Mood and Performance in Healthy Males,” Psychopharmacology, 211, no. 1 (2010).
Lyle MacWilliam, NutriSearch Comparative Guide to Nutritional Supplements Consumer Edition (Canada: Northern Dimensions, 2008).
Schwartzberg, John, “The Wellness Reports: Dietary Supplements,” UC Berkeley Wellness Letter, 2011.
Showell MG, et al., “Antioxidants for Male Subfertility,” Cochrane Database Syst Rev 1:CD007411 (2011).
Simone J.P.M. Eussen et al., “Vitamins B2, B6, and B12, and Related Genetic Variants as Predictors of Colorectal Cancer Risk,” Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers Prevention, 19, no.10 (2010).
Skarupski KA, et al., “Longitudinal Association of Vitamin B6, Folate, and Vitamin B12 with Depressive Symptoms Among Older Adults Over Time,” American Journal of Clinical Nutrition ePub ahead of print, doi:10.3945/ajcn.2010.29413. Retrieved online June 2, 2010.
Strand, Ray, Bionutrition (Rapid City, SD: Health Concepts, 2009).