Getting nutrients from food vs. supplements is generally best; however, studies suggest that over 94% of Americans don’t get all their essential daily nutrients from diet alone, particularly picky eaters, busy people, pregnant women, vegetarians, vegans, seniors, or people with certain health conditions or food allergies.
Dr. Tieraona Low Dog, MD, said that a wholesome diet rich in fruits, vegetables, seeds, nuts, beans, eggs, dairy, grass-fed meat, seafood, and some iodized salt, can supply all the nutrients our bodies need (except vitamin D of course as it naturally comes from the sun). But she also pointed out that she's cared for many people over the years and can honestly say that it's not how most Americans eat. Needless to say that it's one of the obvious reasons why we should consider taking multivitamins on top of our usual diet.
Are Multivitamin Supplements Necessary?
At some point, you may have even asked and wondered: Are multivitamin supplements necessary? While it is true that multivitamins aren't intended to replace food, they play an essential role in filling in nutritional gaps to prevent potential nutrient deficiency. *
Articles on the internet mostly point out that it's better and more practical to fill your cart with nutritious foods like fruits and vegetables when you do your grocery instead of spending your money on supplements. But more and more studies are unfortunately discovering that fruits and veggies are now lower in nutrients than the past years due to differences in plant breeding and soil depletion (just think of the chemicals used to fertilize those crops).
Nutrients From Food vs Supplements
In many instances, the minerals and vitamins found in food sources are easier to absorb than those in supplement form. While this statement is true, its context isn’t always applicable to everyone. Why? We may have all the nutritious fruits, vegetables, and meat stored in the fridge, but not everyone would always have enough time to prepare and cook.
Another thing to consider is that nearly every food preparation reduces the amount of nutrients in food. Also, due to the extremely high demand for taste over nutrition, many manufacturers will add food enhancers, such as MSG or sugar, which is obviously not good for our health either.
It shouldn't actually be "supplements vs. food," but rather "food + supplements." Just like in an article by New Hope Network — Diets first, but supplements are necessary. After all, buying supplements like multivitamins is not a waste but rather an investment.* Cliche as it may sound, we all can agree that health is wealth.
Benefits of Taking Multivitamins Daily
1. Boosts energy and immunity*
Nutrient deficiencies are common in our modern, busy lives. We're often too busy to eat properly, and our diets aren't always as balanced as we'd like them to be, especially considering our bodies need most vitamins EVERY DAY.* When we don’t get enough nutrients, our body works harder to perform even the simplest tasks which can lead to fatigue or other complex health issues.* Taking multivitamins daily and maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle help to keep us fit and energetic.*
2. Improves Mood and Reduces Stress and Anxiety*
A study demonstrated an association between nutrient deficiency and poor mood.* When we lack essential nutrients, our ability to focus and think properly is compromised, affecting our performance and productivity.* Nutrient deficiency can lead to irritability, poor concentration, or trigger anxiety, which may cause us to react negatively in social situations.*
So, if we want to always be at the top of our game, giving ourselves extra love and care by taking multivitamins can make all the difference in how we feel and think especially in stressful situations.
3. Slows Down Cognitive Aging*
According to the COSMOS-Mind study, taking multivitamins appeared to have slowed cognitive aging by about 2 years.* Dr. Andrea Wong said that this three-year study that was published in Alzheimer & Dementia Journal provided evidence that daily consumption of multivitamin supplements may benefit cognitive function.*
4. Promotes Heart Health*
Taking vitamins and minerals in the right amounts may help minimize the risk of heart disease. * According to a study, consistent intake of multivitamins may lower the risk of cardiovascular disease. * One callout is to ensure any multivitamin you’re taking doesn’t contain sugar (looking at you, gummy vitamins), as, according to a study by Harvard University, sugar is known to increase the risk of heart disease.*
5. Supports and Maintains Muscle Strength*
Multis typically contain Niacin (Vitamin B3) which has muscle-boosting powers.* B3 aids muscle growth, repair, and recovery, which is why it is popular among bodybuilders. *
Vitamins A, C, D, and E also help in providing structural strength and increasing muscle mass. *These vitamins act on a cellular level and contribute to body functions such as collagen formation, oxidative stress reduction, and membrane repair.*
There should be no such distinction or competition between a healthy diet and multivitamins—they complement each other and should both be viewed as key elements of a healthy lifestyle.
While finding the best multivitamins may be subjective as men and women have different lifestyles and nutritional needs, you may want to consider various factors such as the form of supplement and the best time to take it to achieve maximum absorption. Consulting a doctor is also important to ensure that you get professional advice and avoid taking unnecessary vitamins and minerals.