Vitamins – To Supplement or Not To Supplement?
Over half of Americans today take a multivitamin of some kind, believing that it will help them to stave off chronic disease and health deficiencies – but health experts are in disagreement over the necessity of these supplements. Some doctors and nutritionists feel that a multivitamin a day is absolutely critical to a healthy body, while others point out that with a proper diet and exercise vitamin supplementation may be simply redundant. Some people even take multivitamins or other supplements as a way of replacing the need for a healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables, or before engaging in damaging behavior such as binge drinking or recreational drug use. Health experts are largely in disagreement on the subject of vitamin supplements, but on this area they agree – a multivitamin does not obviate the human requirement for a healthy diet. In contrast, many health experts believe that a healthy diet renders vitamin supplements unnecessary, but none suggest that vitamins alone reduce the need for healthy eating. Some individuals claim that a proper vitamin supplementation regimen can resolve problems ranging from digestive issues to irregular heartbeats, but there are still insufficient clinical studies to conclusively indicate whether a multivitamin is beneficial to most healthy adults.
Ironically, those who use multivitamins the most are generally healthier, more active, and more conscious about their diets than those who choose not to use vitamin supplementation at all. As such, those who would likely see the greatest benefit generally avoid using a vitamin supplement at all. The major issue that most health professionals have with readily available mass produced multivitamin supplements is their “one size fits all” approach – without individualized testing and custom design for a vitamin supplement program to suit the individual, even when taking a multivitamin there may be a serious surplus of one element despite a significant deficiency of another. Since people of different age groups, body types, and activity levels all require different types of supplements, it is advisable to get full testing done in order to determine what vitamins really are necessary rather than simply purchasing an over the counter multivitamin tablet.