If you’re eating healthy, do you need a multivitamin?
Vitamin supplements can be an important part of a healthy regimen, but the decision to take vitamin supplements can be influenced by many things. Because vitamin supplements can constitute a substantial monetary investment, you want to make sure what you are getting is high quality, and of course, that it is useful and/or necessary.
For years, most mainstream medical practitioners have derided the use of supplements, saying all they do is create expensive urine. Yet, there is evidence emerging that many people are deficient in certain nutrients, and that supplementing with certain nutrients can have very positive health benefits. One example is vitamin D, which many people are deficient in; conversely, getting enough vitamin D––through supplementation, if necessary––is associated with cancer prevention.
It is important to remember that the recommended daily allowance, or RDA, was designed around vitamin levels that merely prevented diseases that were the result of vitamin deficiencies, like scurvy, rickets, etc. The amounts set have nothing to do with the potential therapeutic benefits of vitamins and minerals, nor do they even speak to amounts that might facilitate great health as opposed to marginal health.
That leads us to the question: If you are eating a healthy diet, full of healthy produce, lean meats, eggs, nuts, and seeds––generally, a whole food diet like the Kaufmann Diet––are vitamin supplements necessary? Surely, you will be meeting––even going above and beyond––the recommended daily allowance, right?
Certainly, the best way to get the bulk of your vitamins and minerals is still through diet. Getting nutrients through food is the best way to ensure the bioavailability of the broad spectrum of nutrition in food.
However, there is evidence that even if you are are eating healthy, much of the produce––the source of so many vitamins, minerals, and (importantly) phytonutrients)––does not contain the level of nutrition it did last century. This is due to poor soil management and over-farming.
So, three facts:
1) We know that we are deficient in some nutrients, and many of these have therapeutic benefit.
2) Even if we meet the RDA standards, this is merely to prevent vitamin deficiency diseases.
3) Our produce may not be providing the volume of nutrients we would have enjoyed a generation ago.
Doesn’t it seem a like a high-quality vitamin supplement might be a good idea? No supplement replaces a healthy diet. But it is beneficial to think of a high quality multivitamin like you would an insurance policy. Multivitamins simply are a good way to ensure that your body has everything it needs to operate at its potential.