If you’ve neared or passed the dreaded age of 40 like me, you probably have friends or family members that insist you take a multivitamin. After all, according to the commercials on TV, everyone over 40 absolutely NEEDS a multivitamin to be healthy, right? Are multivitamins really as important as we’re told? Today, I decided to slap on my investigative reporter hat and share the shocking truth about multivitamins.
To tell you the truth, even I was surprised by the answer. It turns out that recent studies show that taking multivitamins is a complete waste of time for most people. Those huge pills don’t magically protect you against heart problems at all. Why not?
Are Most Multivitamins Effective?
Professional nutritionists have known these pills are a waste of money for a long time. That’s why you’ll rarely see a nutrition expert recommending mega-humongous multivitamins with 20+ different vitamins and minerals. I found three reasons why those pills don’t work:
The good news is that, for the most part, multivitamins seem safe. Getting too much of healthy vitamins (except for vitamin E and beta carotene) won’t hurt you. It just won’t help much either.
Are Multivitamins and Nutritional Supplements the Same?
I should explain that when I talk about multivitamins, I mean those all-in-one pills packed with every vitamin known to man. I’m NOT referring to nutritional supplements, which are very different. Many studies show that taking supplements CAN provide health benefits, and really big ones.
Why are supplements different from multivitamins? Because they target specific vitamins, minerals, nutrients and healthy compounds that you personally are missing. Nutritional supplements combine natural ingredients that alleviate certain health problems, including pain, poor mental focus, low energy, depression, elevated blood sugar and high cholesterol.
Are Nutritional Supplements Beneficial?
If you have a health problem you want to deal with naturally, I absolutely recommend trying a high-quality supplement designed for it. For example, turmeric, ginger, garlic, Omega-3 fatty acids and black pepper can be very effective at fighting inflammation.
Most people don’t need multivitamins. But almost everyone needs to get more of certain nutrients. Older adults usually need extra vitamin B12, calcium and vitamin D. People following a vegan or vegetarian diet have to get B12 and Omega-3 fatty acids from supplements, too.
If you’re having trouble sleeping at night, try adding some magnesium, melatonin, Valerian root and tryptophan to your diet with a supplement. Just from personal experience I can tell you it works wonders. Valerian root helped me sleep like a baby when I had problems with stress headaches a few years ago.
Are Natural Foods a Great Source of Most Vitamins?
You can get many wonderful benefits from planning healthy meals. If you want to enjoy natural stress relief, munch on lots of green leafy veggies (folate), salmon (Omega-3 fatty acids), berries (antioxidants), Greek yogurt (probiotics) and dark chocolate (tryptophan). However, if you know you’re missing certain nutrients due to a busy schedule, there’s nothing wrong with taking a natural supplement containing those nutrients.