Have you ever wondered whether multivitamins are enough to supplement your diet?  

These days, our lifestyle and eating habits inhibit the right amount of nutrients in our bodies.  Many of us are eating on the go, hurrying, and on our way to the next activity.  Vitamins are a good option to help get the much-needed nutrients into our diets.  The best way to get micronutrients is by eating a balanced diet of healthy foods. Below is a guideline for healthy eating. 

But, if this isn’t what you are consuming, consider adding in micronutrients in the form of vitamins.  Micronutrients are often considered the oil that keeps our engines running.  But, realizing our diets typically fail us in providing the proper amount of micronutrients, adding vitamin supplements can help.  How do you decide which to take?  

While there are advantages and disadvantages to supplementing your diet with individual nutrients as a supplement when compared to a multivitamin as a general population, we don’t really understand if we should take a handful of supplements or one multivitamin.  Maybe this will help.  Using single nutrients allows us to target a specific deficiency quicker and often more effectively than the dosages found in a multivitamin.  For example, an individual can correct a vitamin D deficiency much faster by supplementing with higher doses of vitamin D (e.g., 1000 IU per day) than if they were consuming vitamin D at lower doses (e.g., 100 IU per day) as part of a multivitamin. Did you know that people living further away from the equator require higher doses of Vitamin D?  Controlling the exact type, source, and dosage is easier when using individual nutrient supplements.

Overcome Nutrient Deficiency

However, there are some advantages to using multivitamins. Micronutrients often work synergistically, and the doses found in multivitamins make it more difficult to develop micronutrient toxicities, especially from fat-soluble vitamins.

Micronutrient deficiencies are observed in many popular diets. For example, one study that examined micronutrient status in people following the Atkins Diet, the South Beach Diet, the Best Life Diet, and the DASH Diet found that all four diets led to nutrient deficiencies in one or more micronutrients (Calton, 2010). The deficiencies were quite large in each diet.

The Atkins Diet was only 44% sufficient, meeting only 12 out of 27 essential micronutrients, while the Best Life Diet was 56% (15 out of 27), the DASH Diet was 52% (14 out of 27), and the South Beach Diet was 22% sufficient (6 out of 27). Similar findings were observed in a study examining a commercial vegan diet (Eat to Live-Vegan, Aggressive Weight Loss) as well as a commercial high-animal protein, low-carbohydrate diet (Engel, Kern, Brenna, & Mitmesser, 2018).

Micronutrients are essential for health and longevity.  If you aren’t sure about the Recommended Daily Allowance of the micronutrients your body needs, click on the link below for a printout from the National Academy of Sports Medicine to use as a guide based on age and gender.

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