bowl of colorful vitamins

Ever wonder if taking a multivitamin is worth it?

Before you pop a pill, take a closer look at your diet.

Eating fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish, lean meats, nuts, seeds, and legumes is the best way to get all the vitamins and nutrients your body needs for best health.

But what if your diet isn’t perfect?

The truth: Most people could use a little help eating healthier foods, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: (1)

  • Fruits. Only 12.3 percent of adults eat the recommended amount of fruits per day (1.5 to 2 cups per day)
  • Vegetables. Only 10 percent eat enough vegetables (2 to 3 cups per day).

And that means most adults come up short when it comes to vitamins and nutrients the body needs to promote health and prevent disease.

If you struggle to eat healthy, you’re not alone. So what can you do to get the vitamins and nutrients you need?

Taking a multivitamin can help, according to a recent study published the Journal of Functional Foods.2

In the study, researchers found taking a multivitamin for 30 days helped people (both men and women), improve:

  1. Vitamin B6: Your body uses vitamin B6 to break down proteins, fats and carbs from the food you eat. It’s also helps prevent heart disease, strengthens the immune system, and supports brain health
  2. Vitamin B12: Your body needs vitamin B12 to produce red blood cells. It also helps support brain function and nerves. Some research suggests higher levels of B12 can also help prevent bone fractures.
  3. Vitamin K: Your body uses vitamin K to form blood clots and strengthen bone tissue. It may also help prevent hardening of the arteries.
  4. Vitamin D: Vitamin D helps strengthen bones, reduces inflammation, and helps prevent and control infections. Vitamin D may also help prevent heart disease, certain types of cancer, type 2 diabetes, and early death.
  5. HDL cholesterol: Also known as good cholesterol. Higher levels of HDL cholesterol help lower the risk for heart attack and stroke by preventing plaque build-up that can damage arteries.

Do you need to take a multivitamin? It depends on a wide variety of factors.

  • Nutritional needs are different based on age and gender.
  • Your diet makes a difference.
  • If you’re taking medications or have health issues, your ability to absorb nutrients from food may be compromised.

Not sure? Talk to your doctor. A simple blood test can identify any nutrient deficiencies you may have.3 Then you can make a plan to improve your diet and lifestyle habits. And that could include taking a daily multivitamin.

Sources:

  1. L.H., S., et al. (2022). Adults meeting fruit and vegetable intake recommendations — United States, 2019. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 71(1): 1-9. From: https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/71/wr/mm7101a1.htm
  2. Levy, M., et al. (2019). Consumption of a multivitamin/multimineral supplement for 4 weeks improves nutritional status and markers of cardiovascular health. Journal of Functional Foods, 62:103511. From: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1756464619304359
  3. Harvard University. (2023). Should I take a daily multivitamin? The Nutrition Source. From: https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/multivitamin/

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