The answer to this question is surely yes. They must be beneficial. Surely, topping yourself up with a variety of different vitamins and minerals can only be a good thing? However it’s not quite as simple as this.
Multivitamins can be very beneficial if you are taking the right one for you.
They can also be a waste of money if you’re not taking one that is suitable for you. With any supplement, whether it’s a multi, fish oil, probiotic, herb or other, the most important thing is quality. We’ll go into what I mean by this more in a moment.
Here’s another question: How many people will benefit from a good multivitamin? Answer: Probably the overwhelming majority of people. Why? Because there are many nutrients that are deficient from almost every diet and this because the soil is depleted and the fertilizers used on produce disrupt mineral balance. There are also many lifestyle factors that put your body under stress and increase your nutrient needs.
Why Are Some Multivits Less Beneficial Than Others?
The body recognises nutrients in their natural form. Unfortunately, the process of extracting nutrients from food is expensive so many manufacturers opt for creating the chemical version instead. These chemical versions are less bio-available. This means that the body is unable to utilise them and we end up getting rid of them via the urine.
Another way of keeping the cost down is to press the ingredients into a tablet along with some binding agents. The problem with this is that these can be difficult to digest and the body can struggle to release the nutrients. I’ve worked with clients who have seen the tablets in the toilet the next day! That’s how indigestible tablets are! Also, the binding agents have no nutritional benefits but can actually be absorbed into circulation. Traces of these binding agents have been found deposited in the body and this is concerning.
Many multivits are very low dose and this seems to defy the point of taking a multivit. For a multivit to have a therapeutic effect it needs to be 20-50 times stronger than your typical chemist multi.
How To Choose a Great Multi
- Choose one that boasts about being ‘food-state’ or ‘natural-extract’. They don’t always say this so a good reference point is the folic acid. Folic acid is the man-made form so if the label lists this instead of folate or methyl-folate then you know that the other nutrients will probably be artificial too.
- It should be in capsule, liquid or powder form. Do not buy tablets.
- Look at the strength. A good reference point is the B vitamins. If they are less than 20mg then look for something else.
- Think about what you need from a multi. For example, do you need iron? If you’re male then probably not and it could actually be detrimental. If you’re a female of child baring age and you eat red meat less than once weekly, you’ll probably benefit from a low dose of iron. If you’re unsure have your iron levels checked with your GP. Multivits without iron are readily available.
Do You Actually Need a Multi?
Choosing a multi that has all of the above attributes cost between £10-50+ monthly so it’s worth establishing your need for a multi. Take the assessment below to find out whether you need a multi or not:
My favourite brands for Multivitamins are Terra Nova, Cytoplan and Designs For Health. Here’s a hint, you won’t find then in your local supermarket or chemist. Try an independent health food shop or look online. I send my clients to The Natural Dispensary– simply register and put my name down in the practitioner box.