Many corporations push and spend big bucks on advertising and marketing of multi-vitamins, mineral (or combo) supplements. Besides the companies telling you to buy these products because your body needs them, how do you truly know if it’s something you should buy and start taking?
Do I need one?
Deciding to take a multi-vitamin and mineral really should be determined based off of your current diet. Do you eat a well balanced diet (including plenty of fruits and vegetables)? If so, you’re honestly wasting your money on these supplements.
However, if you eat poorly (i.e. Eating out a lot, not having a lot of variety, eating little to no fresh fruits and vegetables) then you would probably benefit from taking a daily multi-vitamin and mineral supplement.
I really wouldn’t recommend taking one as a fall back plan. Taking one as a precautionary approach is tricky because it is possible to get too much of something, which can lead to a toxicity and serious health problems. It‘s also important to remember that these supplements and their label are not strictly regulated so you may not be getting everything that the label is promising.
What does the research show?
Research on supplementation is still on the fence. As mentioned above if you know you eat poorly then taking one would be good for you.
Research is really strong for supplementation of folic acid (folate), which is one component of a multi-vitamin/mineral. Supplementation of folic acid prior to and during pregnancy helps with the prevention of neural tube defects in a developing fetus. Also, people suffering with or that have a prior history of alcoholism would benefit from supplementation.
What kind do I need?
The kind you want to buy doesn’t have to be the most expensive from some health food store. Generic brands are equivalent to the name brand kinds.