A multivitamin and mineral supplement won't make up for a diet that's high in fat and salt and lacking in fruit, vegetables and fibre. But it can be challenging to meet your daily nutrient needs from food alone. Clients tell me that stress, workplace demands, and lack of time and energy are barriers to eating healthy. A one-a-day formula offers some nutritional insurance for time-crunched people who don't always eat a balanced diet.
When it comes to iron, it's very difficult for menstruating women to meet their daily needs from diet. This is especially true for vegetarian women and women who follow a low calorie diet. And then there's the age factor. As we get older our bodies absorb certain nutrients less efficiently. That's why adults over 50 are advised to get vitamin B12 from a supplement or fortified foods.
Folate is another good reason to take a multivitamin. This B vitamin is found naturally in spinach, lentils, asparagus and artichokes, but only about 50 percent of the vitamin is available for absorption. The synthetic version, folic acid, is found in supplements and fortified foods and is almost 100 percent available. Women of childbearing age must ensure they're getting 400 micrograms of folic acid each day to help prevent birth defects.
I certainly do not contend that a multivitamin and mineral supplement will reduce your risk of heart disease or cancer. Rather, a vitamin supplement is meant to support and reinforce your healthy diet.
All research on this web site is the property of Leslie Beck Nutrition Consulting Inc. and is protected by copyright. Keep in mind that research on these matters continues daily and is subject to change. The information presented is not intended as a substitute for medical treatment. It is intended to provide ongoing support of your healthy lifestyle practices.