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Ever wonder whether or not it’s worth taking multivitamins? Are these supplements really necessary? Opinions are divided in the medical community. Some experts claim that taking multivitamins is a must. Others say that these products are nothing but a waste of money. The choice is up to you.
Multivitamins at a Glance
Statistics show that half of Americans take vitamins regularly. Each year, this industry generates over $12 billion. What most people don’t know is that supplements may cause harm. Some have been linked with a higher mortality risk. These include zinc, magnesium, folic acid, copper, and vitamin B6.
The problem is that most supplements contain too much or too little of certain nutrients. It’s not uncommon to see multivitamins providing over 300 percent of the RDA of vitamin C or 250 percent of the RDA of vitamin A. For instance, hypervitaminosis A may lead to chronic toxicity, nausea, vomiting, blurred vision, bone pain, jaundice, and even coma.
Additionally, many people mistakenly believe that supplements can compensate for bad eating. These products have their role, but can not substitute real food nor offset the harmful effects of poor nutrition. Actually, they’re not even necessary for most customers.
Do You Need a Multivitamin?
Pregnant women, children, seniors, and people recovering from surgery or injuries can benefit from taking vitamins as they have special nutrient requirements. For example, biotin and folic acid help prevent birth defects and miscarriage. Children require more vitamin C in their diet to develop a strong immune system and ward off diseases. Seniors have lower levels of calcium in their bloodstream, so they need to obtain this mineral from food and supplements.
Be aware that multivitamins are unlikely to prevent or treat chronic diseases. Research shows that multivitamins don’t reduce the risk of heart attack, stroke, cancer, diabetes, cognitive decline, or premature death. They can actually be dangerous when taken in large doses.
Stay on the safe side and choose a multivitamin that doesn’t exceed the daily recommended dosages. If you have cardiovascular problems, diabetes, or blood disorders, consult your doctor before taking supplements. A well-balanced diet should provide you with all of the nutrients needed for optimum health.