If you’re a health-conscious person, you might be curious if you should be taking a multivitamin. After all, they’re hard to miss as you walk down any supplement aisle. Here, Dr. Rawls explains why you might not need a multivitamin, plus how a healthy diet and herbs may actually work better for you to achieve your health goals. Read more about the differences between multivitamins and herbs here.
Question: Are multivitamins good for healthy aging?
Tim Yarborough: Next one is from Patty, wondering about a good multivitamin for aging and your thoughts on multivitamins for aging.
Dr. Rawls: I would suggest a really good diet. You know, there’s really no evidence at all that your standard over-the-counter multivitamin does anything. And the deal is, you know, our bodies need certain vitamins. But if you’re eating a good diet, if you’re even eating a fair diet, you’re getting most of those things in your diet.
So if you’re loading up your system with more than your body actually needs, it doesn’t really do anything. In fact, because synthetic multivitamins are not the natural forms that the body uses of the vitamins, you can actually disrupt vitamins in your body. So, like vitamin E isn’t a single chemical. Vitamin E is a family of chemicals. And if you do the synthetic d-alpha-tocopherol, it’s actually displacing the gamma-tocopherol in your heart, and you can actually harm yourself with that.
I don’t personally take a multivitamin. I think there are cases where a well-done multivitamin that gives the full spectrum of the vitamins can be important, especially in chronic illness or recovering from an illness. And certainly occasions like vitamin C, you know, if I get a cold or flu, I take a lot of vitamin C because my body is using a whole lot more of it. But on a day-to-day basis, I don’t typically take a multivitamin.
You know, if you want to do that, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with it. But again, there’s never been any evidence to prove that multivitamins really do very much. When you compare multivitamins to herbs, the herbs win hands down every single time because they do so much more.