BY DR.KHOOBSURAT NAJMA
You get your nutrients through your food. To assume that you have suddenly lost this ability does not make sense. Most people, if they are eating a generally healthy diet don’t need a multivitamin. If you’ve been taking vitamins instead of eating fruits and vegetables; it’s time to make changes in your lifestyle. Remember, there is no substitute for a healthy diet.
What are the possible risks of taking multivitamins?
– Fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E) are stored in our bodies and build up over time, making it a bit easier to reach toxicity
– A large surplus of supplemental folate may have an adverse effect on colon cancer
– Excessive intake of vitamin A, to levels of toxicity, can lead to accelerated bone loss
– Use of beta carotene by smokers may increase incidence of lung cancer
Who should take them?
There are people who can benefit from multivitamins or certain supplements. These include:
– People who have been diagnosed with specific nutritional deficiencies
– Adults over 50 can consider a vitamin B-12 supplement or adding foods fortified with vitamin B-12 to their diet. Read more on Vitamin B12 deficiency here
– Seniors and older adults, and people who get less than 15 minutes of sunlight daily should consider a vitamin D supplement or adding foods fortified with vitamin D to their diet. Click for quick Vitamin D deficiency facts and implications
– Women who are planning to have children soon, or who are currently pregnant, are advised to supplement their diet with folic acid, which helps prevent birth defects. Also, find our detailed post on tips for a healthy pregnancy here
– Women who are going through or have gone through menopause might need a boost in certain nutrients, and should consult the or doctor regarding the same
What should you do?
– Try to get your nutrients through diet. Include whole foods, fruits and vegetables in your diet
– Stay hydrated. Drink 3-4 liters of water daily
– Include calcium rich foods like milk, curd, nuts, cheese in your diet
– Spend 10-15 minutes in sun every day to help body produce Vitamin D
– Be sure to talk to your doctor if you are taking, or want to take, a particular supplement
– Always buy multivitamins from a registered brand