Today we’re going to bust open 4 myths about taking multivitamins…

Everyone needs to take a multivitamin supplement.
If you are eating a well-balanced diet there’s little to be gained by taking a multivitamin supplement.  However there are some cases where a supplement can be beneficial – for example in a frail older person with a poor appetite or someone who has a limited diet due to food allergies.  There are also situations where taking specific vitamins or minerals is warranted, such as vitamin D for someone who doesn’t get much sun exposure, vitamin B12 for those following a vegan diet and folate for women who are planning a pregnancy.

Multivitamin supplements are safe so there’s no harm in taking them.
While getting adequate amounts of essential vitamins and minerals is important to health, more isn’t always better.  Some vitamins and minerals can be harmful when we have too much, and in people with certain health conditions or those taking certain medications, any amount of supplemental vitamins and minerals can be a problem. So if you are taking prescription medications or have any health issues, always speak with your doctor before starting a dietary supplement.

I don’t eat enough fruit and vegetables so I need to take a multivitamin supplement.
While we can replace some of the nutrients found in fruit and vegetables by taking a multivitamin supplement, there are many other components of fruit and vegetables, including phytochemicals (beneficial plant chemicals) and fibre, that contribute to their benefits and which aren’t found in a supplement.

Multivitamin supplements can help to prevent chronic disease.
A recent review of the research concluded that there is insufficient evidence for the use of dietary supplements for reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer and all-cause mortality.  While supplementing some nutrients may have a small benefit, others may cause harm, particularly in certain people such as smokers. Your best chance of reducing chronic disease risk comes from eating a healthy diet incorporating a wide range of plant foods.