Posted by Eric Hofmann on Saturday, November 9, 2013 Under: Health and Fitness blog

Often more times than none, I am bombarded with questions about health supplements from pre-workout supplements to obscure herbal roots. I want to focus on Multivitamins. What they really are. What they really do - oppose to what they say they do. What’s in them? And, is it necessary for you to take one. And if so, which one?

As you can see there are several questions and information you need to arm yourself with before you make your multivitamin purchase. I hope throughout this blog post you can gain some education to help you along your way when looking to purchase a multivitamin.

“Heart health,” “immune health,” “energy support,” “breast health,” “prostate health,” “cancer fighter,” “age slower,” “live longer,” “joint health” these are all common lines found on multivitamin bottles. Quite a claim in my opinion in fact, few studies have found that multivitamins can lower or raise the risk of disease. Philadelphia physician Paul Offit cautioned that high doses of antioxidants like vitamin E and beta-carotene could raise the risk of cancer and heart disease. “I think multivitamins don’t hurt you,” Offit told CNN, though he added he didn’t believe people needed a multi. In a Iowa women’s health study, those reported taking a multivitamin were 6 percent more likely to die over a 19-year period than those who said that they didn’t take a multivitamin.  Having said that, you should caution results when looking at observational studies such as the one just mentioned. In an observational study you cannot tell if anyone taking a multivitamin actually caused their disease or illness or death. Or, the opposite can happen. “Multivitamin users tend to have healthier lifestyles – so if they have a lower risk of disease, that may be the reason, not their multivitamin use.” Says Eric Jacobs, an epidemiologist at the American Cancer society in Atlanta.

To get a cause and effect and a little bit better picture of the success or shortcomings of a multivitamin. Researchers randomly assigned people to either a multivitamin or a placebo. In the largest and longest randomized controlled trial of multivitamins, the Physician health study II, more than 14,000 men took Centrum Silver (multivitamin for people 50 and older) or a placebo every day for 11 years. “The risk of dying was not significantly different between men taking multivitamins’ versus men taking the placebo,” says Harvard epidemiologist Howard Sesso, who led the study. Will multivitamins cut your risk of disease? For heart disease and stroke, the answer appears to be no. “In the Physicians’ health study II, we found no evidence overall that taking a multi for more than a decade prevented heart attacks or strokes any more than taking a placebo,” says Sesso. “But it didn’t increase risk, either.”

So what does this mean? Is it worth it to take a multivitamin? Diane McKay, an assistant professor at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University in Boston says, “Taking a multivitamin formulated at about 100 percent of the daily value for vitamins and minerals can be a pretty convenient and cost effective way of filling gaps that may exist between what you need and what you’re actually consuming.”

In 2010, the U.S. Dietary guidelines committee identified seven shortfall nutrients of public health concern: vitamin B-12, vitamin D, folic acid, iron, calcium, potassium, and fiber. Multivitamins are not a good source of fiber, potassium, or calcium which are too bulky to fit into a simple pill. But a multivitamin can provide close to a day’s worth of the other four.

At the end of the day I believe if you think it works for you, that is taking multivitamin. Then keep on keeping on! If you do not take a multivitamin and you’re on the fence of taking one. I wouldn’t worry about it too much. According to latest research it doesn’t really help you nor does it hurt you. I would say it is worth taking to help supplement your diet of vitamins and minerals you are not getting through your diet, such as Vitamins D and B-12. I wouldn’t bet the farm that a multivitamin is going to cure cancer or strengthen your prostate, or anything else for that matter. Finally, I wouldn’t spend more than $8 a month on multivitamins. There are plenty of high quality multivitamins out there for under $8.

I hope this educated you at least a little bit on multivitamins and what they can and cannot do for you. If you have any questions, like reading a multivitamin label or would like suggestions on multivitamin brands/products. Please feel free to comment on this post. Interested in training programs, we have a free weight-loss/strength program posted on our webpage visit it here.

Have a great day!

In : Health and Fitness blog 

Tags: multivitamins  multivitamin 
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