Trends in vitamins seem to fade in and out. In the 90s, vitamin E was all
over the place. A few years later, B12 was all the rage. Then, Vitamin
D was the hot new thing. These days, a lot of patients ask me about magnesium
Does any of it matter? And should you be taking a little of everything
just to be sure?
The answer isn’t as simple as yes or no. Realistically, most people
who eat a balanced diet don’t need to take any supplements or even
a multivitamin every day. However, there are a few groups who might benefit
from taking a regular vitamin:
- Women who are pregnant or trying to get pregnant have an increased need
for several nutrients, including iron and folic acid.
- Vegans and vegetarians can have trouble getting enough B12 from their diets
and may benefit from a supplement.
- People who don’t spend much time outdoors sometimes have low levels
for Vitamin D and could benefit from an extra vitamin.
- Those who have undergone weight loss surgery may be deficient in some vitamins,
and should consult their physician.
Taking a multi-vitamin without a true need isn’t likely to be harmful,
though it may be a waste of money. But taking several different vitamins
with multiple nutrients could actually create problems. Some vitamins
can be harmful if you take too much, including iron, Vitamin A, and calcium.
Overall, my advice is to be conservative with your vitamin intake and
if you think you may be deficient in certain nutrients, ask your doctor
to run a quick blood test to find out if you really need the extra support.
Lauren Gillis Moore, MD
Baton Rouge General Physicians - Family Medicine (Livingston)
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