are multivitamins the way to go?

We all have times when we don’t eat exactly as we should. So supplementing with a multivitamin makes sense, right? Or does it?

As doctors and research scientists look into the value of multivitamins, the picture has become increasingly muddled. Many studies find multis don’t offer any discernable benefit. You may have heard that some brands pass into and out of your body without being digested at all — much less absorbed into the blood stream so nutrients can get to your cells.

But just last week a large study using the most rigorous kind of science (randomized, double-blind, placebo control) found that regular use of a multivitamin makes a modest but significant reduction in cancer risk.

So what gives?

In my practice I rarely prescribe multivitamins. That’s not because they’re bad — I carry some great brands that are both potent and absorbable — but mostly because I target supplementation to each patient’s specific, individual needs.

One-size-fits-all, kitchen-sink multivitamins are designed for a hypothetical person. I want you to get the specific nutrients you need in the dose and balance that’s right for you.

That doesn’t mean multivitamins aren’t appropriate for many people. If you’re getting plenty of water and sleep, eating right, exercising, and experiencing few bothersome health concerns, multis might be just the ticket. They’re handy when traveling — which is stressful on the system, but not conducive to carrying lots of supplement bottles. And I believe the daily ritual of taking something — anything — itself has value. The desire to have good health is the first step toward actually having good health.

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Photo by Jellybee on Unsplash