About 1 out of 3 people take multivitamins as it is the popular dietary supplement available out there today. There are different types of multivitamins available, but their usages are rarely recommended by medical professionals. Also, like all other medicines, unnecessary intake of multivitamins can pose various health risks. So, is taking multivitamin worth the risks?
According to medical professionals, multivitamins are the general health supplements made out of diverse micro-nutrients and compounds. These are ideally best taken when prescribed or advised by the physician for a specific purpose. It is not always a good idea to take multivitamin supplements without a valid reason to do so. People suffering from nutrient deficiency and who cannot absorb the nutrients from their daily diet may benefit from these multivitamin supplements. But again this depends on the type of multivitamin you are using. Let us find out, is taking multivitamin worth the risks or there are other ways too?
Multivitamins: Is it Worth the Risks?
The vitamins that are included in the multivitamin supplements can be categorized into two different groups – fat soluble and water soluble. The vitamin B and C are the water soluble vitamins that get easily absorbed by human body. Since there are water soluble vitamins, the body tends to absorb only what the body needs from the vitamin and the rest is excreted via urine. So, the risk of forming toxins in body is lower with such vitamins.
On the other hand, vitamin A, D, E and K are fat soluble vitamins that are naturally broken down by the bile acids in body and are not excreted easily by the body. The body tends to use what it required from these vitamins and the rest is stored in the body for future use. Since the fat soluble vitamins are stored in the tissues of your body, the larger doses of these multivitamins can become toxin and may lead to health complications. To avoid health complications and toxicities in body, you are required to take multivitamins supplement that comprise only the minerals and vitamins you are lacking.
You might be wondering, is taking multivitamins worth the risks or unhealthy for your health? Well, the answer to this question is not that simple. People who consume healthy and complete diet are not recommended to take such multivitamin supplements. But, not all are consuming healthy diet today and the food they are consuming does not provide the essential nutrients. Therefore, taking multivitamins may be worth the risks for people who are deficient in certain vitamins or minerals. Taking multivitamins would prove to be a healthier option for such people, as it ensures that their body gets constant supply of essential nutrients required for survival.
However, according to several studies it has been proved that taking multivitamin supplements regularly does not actually do much for overall health. In fact, multivitamin supplements have no direct effects on all-cause mortality in people. In general words, people who take multivitamin supplement regularly have similar risk of fatality as those who don't take multivitamins. Such supplement does very little to prevent two major health conditions in people like heart diseases and cancer.
Risks of Taking Multivitamins
While there is minimal risk involved with taking multivitamins, it also depends on the type of vitamins you are taking. If you are consuming the multivitamin supplements in combination of fortified foods and other supplements regularly, then you are at risk of overdose of some nutrients. Building up toxins in body leads to toxic effects when fat soluble vitamins are taken in excess. Vitamin A, D and minerals like iron, calcium, fluoride, etc. in excess are known to cause serious problems. Hence, the intake of such multivitamins must be closely monitored and only the recommended doses must be considered safe. Taking multivitamin is worth the risk only when the doses are based on the level of deficiency and the increasing levels of the deficient nutrients after treatment are monitored, to adjust or lower the multivitamin doses.
People who smoke must prevent consuming multivitamin supplement that comprises vitamin K as it may increase their risk of developing lung cancer.
Benefits of Taking Multivitamins
In general, there are not actually any real benefits observed with multivitamin consumption. There are many people who take multivitamin supplement for the alleged insurance value or just because they are popularly advertised. Some people are medically prescribed to take multivitamin supplement when they are on restricted diet regime or clinically deficient in nutrients and vitamins.
Multivitamin is worth the risks only for specific people that either:
- Have the needs for specific nutrients
- Clinically declared for being nutrient deficient
For instance, adults who are not usually exposed to sunlight are recommended to take multivitamin supplement comprising vitamin D to get extra vitamin D from the supplement.
Multivitamins: Is it Worth the Risks or is Diet a Better Choice?
According to medical experts, it is always a better choice to supply the body with essential nutrients from natural and fortified foods instead of multivitamin supplements. There are many foods and diets, which are rich in minerals and vitamins and these foods are good for use and absorption. Consider eating a diet that comprise large amount of fresh vegetables and fruits. This will help your body to get the recommended daily intake of minerals and vitamins. Instead of risking your body with multivitamin supplements you can prefer eating vegetables and fruits as they fulfill the vitamin and mineral deficiency in your body naturally. The salt that you consume contains iodine, milk contains vitamin D, and the flour you eat is rich and fortified with folic acid, iron, vitamin B-12, zinc and vitamin A. All these foods supply the required amount of nutrients to your body and reduce your dependency on multivitamin supplements.
If you want to know which vitamin or mineral your body is lacking, you can find it with a blood test. You may undergo a blood test to track the levels of nutrients in your body and decide your diet accordingly to restore the level of those nutrients your body deficient. Simply using multivitamin supplements may put your health at risk of side effects.
The answer to your question, is taking multivitamin worth the risks is to stick to your daily dietary requirements and follow medical advice as regards the taking multivitamins. With lifestyle changes, healthy diet and fortified foods you can restore your health and help your body meet the daily intake of nutrients even without multivitamins. But when taking multivitamins is absolutely required, do it only as advised.