Multivitamins may be beneficial for those struggling with a vitamin deficiency. Otherwise, they don't do much and can cause many unwanted side effects when overconsumed.
Most of us grew up with chewable vitamins and continued the daily routine into adulthood. Many bodybuilders also use them as a supplement. In fact, surveys show that half of Americans currently use a multivitamin. While the routine has been ingrained in each of us, there is little evidence to support that multivitamins are actually improving our immune systems.
Instead of taking a daily multivitamin, take a closer look at your diet. The vitamins and nutrients found in daily supplements can be found in the elements of a normal, healthy diet. A diet that includes fresh fruit, fresh vegetables, lean meats, and whole grains most likely provides the recommended amount (or more) of nutrients. A healthy diet also offers far more benefits than a multivitamin. Now that we know that multivitamins are, in most cases, unnecessary, the next question is whether they might actually be causing harm. There are certainly some individuals who suffer from a vitamin deficiency and benefit from adding a vitamin to their diet. However, many others take a vitamin as a way to excuse an unhealthy diet. There is no miracle pill that can take the place of a good food.
For those that do already maintain a healthy lifestyle, vitamins could be causing harm. Taking vitamins in addition to receiving the nutrients from healthy foods and fortified foods can put you well over the daily recommended levels. This can cause serious health problems. For example, an excess of vitamin A has been shown to increase the likelihood of lung cancer in smokers. Calcium helps to build stronger bones, but an excess can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. More common and not as serious side effects of multivitamins include rashes, nausea, itchiness, chest tightness, numbness, and swelling. If you experience any of these side effects, stop taking your multivitamin immediately and consult a physician.
Possible short-term side effects
- chest tightness
Possible long-term side effects
- increased risk of disease when overconsumed
Ingredients to be aware of
- sodium selenite
- excess minerals
- excess vitamins
- magnesium stearate
- titanium dioxide
- fight vitamin deficiency
- a well-balanced diet
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Written by Brendan Quigley | 12-28-2015
Written by Brendan Quigley
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