10 Multivitamin Myths Busted
Better Nutrition|May 2019

We cut through the misinformation surrounding this dietary supplement staple

Vera Tweed

The multivitamin is the most popular type of supplement, most often taken for overall health and wellness. Nevertheless, myths about multivitamins persist and can reduce the effectiveness of these foundational supplements—or even discourage you from taking them. Here are the facts:

1. A healthy diet will provide all the essential nutrients.

While a perfect diet could theoretically provide adequate nutrients, it rarely exists in the real world. In fact, large U.S. government surveys show that deficiencies are much more common among people who take no supplements.

A study of more than 10,000 American adults, published in The Journal of Family Practice, compared nutritional shortfalls s among people who took no supplements s and those who took a multivitamin on most days. Among the differences, those who took no supplements were:

- 24 times more likely to lack vitamin D

- 8 times more likely to lack vitamin E

- At least twice as likely to lack vitamins A, C, and K, and magnesium

Vitamin D is essential for bone health. Vitamin E protects against DNA damage. Vitamins A, C, and K are necessary for healthy vision, immunity, and heart health. And magnesium is a key component of more than 300 internal functions in the human body.

Another large study of American adults found that those who took multivitamins at least 21 days per month had virtually no deficiencies in 14 of 17 essential nutrients examined. The three e exceptions were vitamin D, calcium, and magnesium—multivitamins aren’t designed to provide the full daily requirements of these nutrients. In contrast, there were significant deficiencies in about a dozen of the nutrients tested among people who took no supplements.

2. You only need to take a multivitamin if your energy sags or you feel under the weather.

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