Are multivitamins right for you?

March 9, 2011 3:02:38 PM PST
Decision making is never easy and the large variety of vitamins available on the market can make the process even more difficult when trying to make healthy choices.

People have the option of taking a cocktail of individual vitamins to suit their needs or a multivitamin. According to Dr. Donald Hensrud of Mayo Clinic, the latter may be the most sensible choice.

"If you are going to take a vitamin, the multi is usually the best," Dr. Hensrud said.

A multivitamin is supposed to include an accurate dose of all of the nutrients that the human body needs on a daily basis.

However, there is still concern as to whether or not a multivitamin causes more harm than good or if it does any good at all.

Tabitha Banker started taking a multivitamin a year ago and has had such a positive experience that she now gives them to her family as well. "I've noticed a difference in my nails. They are harder, they don't peel or chip as much," she says.

On the other hand, there is the potential of consuming too much of specific vitamins such as A & D. Experts say to follow the instructions on the bottle to avoid any harmful affects on the body.

The good news is that many doctors, including Dr. David Seres of Columbia University Medical Center, agree that the tricky vitamin route can be avoided by following a varied diet including fruits, vegetables, fish, meat, and chicken. If you have trouble following a healthy diet, a multivitamin may be your best bet.

"As far as we know, there's no harm in most people taking a multivitamin," Dr. Seres said.

"People need to realize that we've evolved for thousands of years on real food. Food probably contains vitamins in the correct concentrations and combinations for our bodies to best utilize them," Dr. Hensrud said.