Do Dietitians Recommend Multivitamins?

by | Feb 27, 2023

Do dietitians recommend multivitamins?

When walking down the vitamin aisles do you find yourself getting overwhelmed by all the options available? Do you get confused thinking about which ones to take? Or do you even know if you need to be taking multivitamins? Let’s discuss these questions and more!

 

What are multivitamins?

Multivitamins are supplements that contain a combination of different vitamins and minerals. They have no standards or regulatory definition, meaning there are no rules as to what nutrients they must contain or in what amounts. Multivitamins can be easily found online or in stores with many options to choose from. 

 

Types of multivitamins.

Basic multivitamins offer a wide range of vitamins like vitamin B12, vitamin E, folate, magnesium, boron and so much more. Generally, these multivitamins do not exceed the Daily Values (DVs), Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs), or Adequate Intakes (AIs) for these nutrients. These are typically taken once a day to help support your nutrient intake. 

High-potency multivitamins are vitamins that exceed the Daily Values (DVs), Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs), or Adequate Intakes (AIs). These are usually recommended to those who have a deficiency in a certain vitamin, a certain illness or are pregnant. These are generally taken once or twice a day to help reduce the deficiency their body may have. 

Specialized multivitamins are a little less common but are usually for energy and enhanced athletic performance. These also exceed the Daily Values (DVs), Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs), or Adequate Intakes (AIs). 

 

Do I need a multivitamin?

Food is going to be the best way to get all those vitamins your body needs. With a well-balanced diet, your body will be receiving all the vitamins it requires to keep you moving throughout the day. However, most Americans are not consuming a well-balanced diet. If that is the case for you, then taking a daily multivitamin may be a good way to make sure you are receiving proper nutrition.

Your doctor can diagnose nutrient deficiencies through blood testing. Similarly, a physical assessment and history of symptoms can also help diagnose a deficiency.

If you find yourself deficient in a vitamin, first look towards eating more fruits and vegetables. This is a great place to start getting more vitamins and minerals plus, you’ll also be getting fiber from them which is imperative to our gut health. 

Multivitamins are also recommended to use when you have certain dietary restrictions such as being vegetarian or vegan, lactose intolerant, eating unbalanced meals, or if you are diagnosed with certain medical conditions. 

Multivitamins are also encouraged if you are planning on getting pregnant, are pregnant, or are breastfeeding. 

There is not much research that backs up that taking a daily vitamin can help cure or prevent diseases. Similarly, studies demonstrate that multivitamin supplementation does not improve cardiovascular outcomes in the general population.  1

 

What multivitamins should I get?

If your doctor or dietitian has established that you should take a multivitamin, some key factors should be considered. If you’re shopping in a grocery store, pharmacy, or online, the first thing you should look for are vitamins with a USP approval seal. 

The USP seal means that the product has been third-party tested to ensure the product contains what is listed on the bottle and nothing else. Vitamins with this seal assure you that the listed ingredients and indicated amounts are accurate and safe. 

The other thing to look for is the daily value (DV). Look for a product that offers vitamins closest to 100% of the daily value. I don’t recommend picking those with more than 100% of the DV since too much can also be harmful. 

Make sure to look for the appropriate ones for your age and gender. These multivitamins have different ingredients based on age and gender so choosing the one based on who you are will give you a better outcome. 

Finally, talk to your doctor or provider to see if taking a multivitamin is right for you. 

 

References:

 

  1. Kim, J., Choi, J., Kwon, S. Y., McEvoy, J. W., Blaha, M. J., Blumenthal, R. S., Guallar, E., Zhao, D., & Michos, E. D. (2018). Association of Multivitamin and Mineral Supplementation and Risk of Cardiovascular Disease: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Circulation. Cardiovascular quality and outcomes, 11(7), e004224. https://doi.org/10.1161/CIRCOUTCOMES.117.004224

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