Have you ever wondered if vitamin supplements really work? Taking supplements continues to grow in popularity. People take them hoping to improve their health or to compensate for a poor diet. Vitamins are found in various forms, from high-quality products to quality that’s not so good. Supplements are not required to meet the same FDA standards that drugs do, so it’s important to look for companies that do third party testing to verify the integrity of the ingredients you’re putting into your body. Even if you know you’re getting the highest quality supplements, you still might have one common question—are vitamins really beneficial? For those of us wanting to pursue a healthier lifestyle, here’s what you need to know about vitamins.
What We Know About Vitamins
Supplements can’t take the place of a well-balanced diet. The nutrients that come from whole foods have more benefits than taking them in supplement form. These include fiber, protective antioxidants, and many micronutrients that are in a complex plant.
That said, research shows that vitamins can decrease risk of chronic disease (1). Studies show a link between multivitamins and decreased risk of cancer and heart disease (2).
Nutrient deficiencies can lead to a variety of health problems. If you suspect a deficiency or if you’re experiencing fatigue or weakness, please consult your physician and get blood tests to confirm. Your doctor can then determine the dosage of supplementation.
Risks to Consider When Taking Vitamins
More isn’t always better. Some vitamin supplements can be harmful in high doses, causing mild to severe side effects. Taking many different supplements for no good reason isn’t always good either. It’s best to take them only for appropriate health concerns and nutrient deficiencies. Check your labels for dosage instructions. Make sure to buy supplements from a reputable company and check with your doctor or nutritionist for additional advice.
Keep in mind that supplements can interact with medications, with other supplements, or may not be recommended to take with certain medical conditions. Please check for interactions with your health care provider or nutritionist before starting supplements.
Should you take vitamins?
- Those with a diet that is unbalanced or lacking in certain nutrients. For example, restrictive diets or limited vegetable intake.
- Increased need due to a medical condition that might affect absorption of nutrients.
- Those with food allergies and intolerances.
- Pregnant, breastfeeding women, and women who plan to become pregnant should take a prenatal that contains folic acid and iron.
- Vegans and vegetarians often lack certain nutrients, such as B-12, iron, and vitamin D.
- Older adults are at higher risk of nutrient deficiencies.
Do vitamins work?
Yes, if you take vitamins and supplements that are right for you. Most Americans are nutrient deficient in some way. Supplementing with the high-quality vitamins could help. You just need to find out what unique combination of supplements your body really needs.
Eating a healthy diet is essential, but you could still have nutrient gaps. That’s where a personalized supplement regimen could help. We’ve got you covered. Take the free Persona online assessment to get your personalized vitamin recommendations based on your health, goals, lifestyle, and prescription medications. Ready to have the right vitamins for you delivered right to your door? Get your personalized recommendations.
- Fletcher RH, Fairfield KM. Vitamins for chronic disease prevention in adults: clinical applications. JAMA. 2002;287(23):3127-9.
- Watkins ML, Erickson JD, Thun MJ, Mulinare J, Heath CW. Multivitamin use and mortality in a large prospective study. Am J Epidemiol. 2000;152(2):149-62.