Deciding if you need to take a daily multivitamin can be confusing because there isn’t a rule that states everyone should take them ‐ it really depends on the individual, their diet and lifestyle, and any health concerns they may have. Here are some things to think about when making the decision for you and your family.
It’s important to realise that nutritional supplements are never meant to replace a well‐balanced, whole food diet. This is because they can’t replicate all the nutritional benefits found in whole foods. If you’re eating a good diet that includes a wide variety of fresh foods including fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean meats and fish, low‐fat dairy and legumes, you may not need to take nutritional supplements on a daily basis.
In certain cases however, extra supplementation is recommended:
. Women who are pregnant - During pregnancy a woman’s nutritional needs are increased and it’s recommended that all expectant mothers take folic acid, iodine and iron supplements during this time, as well as paying careful attention to their diet.
. People who are following a restrictive diet – People who consume fewer calories as part of a weight loss program are more likely to be missing out on important nutrients. In such cases, supplementation with key vitamins and minerals is usually recommended unless an individual is willing to undertake very careful planning.3
. Modern lifestyles - Takeaways and processed foods may be easy options to grab on the way home from work, but they are usually also high in salt, saturated fat and provide little nutrition. People who fall into this group would benefit from a nutritional boost with a daily vitamin and mineral supplement until life settles down again.
. Modern farming and harvesting practices - The fresh food we are getting may not be as nutrient dense as it should be. This is because fruit and vegetables are often picked unripe for better transportation and there is a big reliance on chemical fertilizers and pesticides which may affect the quality of the soil.
. Storage and cooking methods - Some cooking methods may affect the nutrient value of foods, such as boiling or frying. A multivitamin is a way to top up the nutrients your diet is supplying to help support your overall health and wellbeing.