| Erin Stokes, N.D. | March 9, 2016 |
Do I need a multivitamin?
Food is always first for vitamin and mineral intake, but we need a little help covering the gaps.
As a Naturopathic Doctor who talks with people every day about health and wellness, a misconception I commonly encounter is that people think they can get all of the nutrients they need from their diet.
The question posed to me often is: “I eat really well, so I can skip the multivitamin right?”
My answer is: "No, don’t skip the multivitamin!"
In our modern world, I don’t believe that we can get all of the nutrients we need, even from a well-rounded, healthy diet. Food is always first for vitamin and mineral intake, but we need a little help covering the gaps. The reality is that gaps in the American diet are widespread. We eat very differently than our grandparents did, with most of us now consuming far more sugar and processed foods than our grandparents would have ever dreamed possible. Even if we did eat “perfectly” (and who’s perfect?), there is clear evidence for declining nutrient composition of food. A study published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition looked at changes in food composition for 43 garden crops from 1950 to 1999. As a group, the 43 foods that were studied showed declines in 6 areas: protein, calcium, potassium, iron, riboflavin and ascorbic acid.¹ A rather important group of 6!
So, once you decided to start taking a daily multivitamin, here’s what to look for:
- Convenience - that might sound like a funny thing to have at the top of my list, but if it’s not easy to take your multi, you just won’t end up taking it.* In my experience, people who choose multis with vitamins and minerals delivered with whole foods take their multis most regularly, because of the convenience of being able to take them any time of day even on an empty stomach.*
- Updated formulas to reflect the latest findings in science - MegaFood’s new Doctor-Formulated line of Multivitamins was developed in conjunction with Dr. Tieraona Low Dog, M.D., an internationally recognized expert in dietary supplements, herbal medicine, women’s health and integrative medicine. The entire line of multivitamins provides up-to-date potencies and nutrient forms of vitamins and minerals recommended for men and women during varying phases of life.* For example, these multis contain methylated forms of B12 and Folate, and active forms of B2 and B6. Having these forms present in the body is important for the B vitamins to be able to function efficiently in energy production, metabolism and more.*
- Gender Specific- Women and men have different nutritional needs. For example, women are generally recommended to supplement with additional iron, up until menopause, while iron is not generally recommended for men in supplemental form.* These multis were formulated specifically to address those differing needs.
- Age Specific - Nutritional needs also change as we age. MegaFood Multi for Men 55+ includes FoodState Zinc, Pumpkin Seed and Green Tea Extract to support healthy prostate function.*
All in all, nutritional needs differ from person to person; we are all unique. Recommended Daily Values (%RDV) are just that - Recommendations. To take your supplemental nutrition a step further, you might consider an individual nutrition plan, designed to pinpoint areas where your daily individual needs may differ from that of the RDV. Tieraona Low Dog’s newly released book, Fortify Your Life: Your Guide to Vitamins, Minerals and More is an excellent resource for those who seek more information.
* This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
1 Changes in USDA Food Composition Data for 43 Garden Crops, 1950 to 1999. Davis et al. Journal of the American College of Nutrition. Vol. 23, No. 6, 669–682 (2004)