7 Scientifically Backed Reasons You Should Take a Multivitamin
The lead researcher of one breakthrough study of multivitamins, Dr. J.M. Gaziano, MD, made the vital importance of taking multivitamins crystal clear:
“Multivitamins are the cheapest health insurance a person will ever buy. This study should finally answer all the doubters out there who still think multivitamin supplements have no value.”
Unfortunately, multivitamins have gotten a bad rap in recent months, despite more and more research in support of their value. In a country where our foods are becoming increasingly processed and unhealthy, there’s simply no reason why most everyone shouldn’t be taking them on a regular basis. With that in mind, consider these seven reasons to start taking a multivitamin today.
1. Slow Aging
That’s right, you can actually live longer by regularly taking multivitamins, according to studies. Because multivitamins reduce the shortening of DNA when cells replicate (essentially causing people to age over time), people can expect to live longer, healthier lives. Multivitamins may also help to prevent chronic diseases, too, by preventing oxidative damage to cells and curbing inflammation. A high quality vitamin and mineral supplement will also deliver nutrients that support the mitochondria, our cellular powerhouses. All of these benefits combined could significantly prolong your life, and make for a healthier one too.
2. Ward Off Cancer
In addition to boosting your body’s energy levels and immunity, multivitamins may be particularly useful in the quest to ward off the “Big C.” According to a study published in The Journal of the American Medical Association, taking a daily multivitamin may be a powerful method to reduce your cancer risk. One study even concluded that a diet enhanced with multivitamin supplementation stands to reduce the risk of colon cancer by up to 84 percent. Although, it should be noted that the form of a vitamin plays an important role. For example, studies on synthetic vitamin E would leave one to believe that this critical vitamin confers few health benefits, while a study on vitamin E in its natural form found the nutrient may help prevent cancer development.
With so much at stake, taking a multivitamin is a must.
3. Keep Bones Strong
Think you’re keeping your bones healthy with a daily calcium supplement? Think again. Calcium helps build strong bones, but it certainly can’t do it alone. Nutrients such as calcium, vitamin D, vitamin K and magnesium all work in concert to support bone health, and it’s best when they’re taken together.
4. Reduce Heart Attack Risk
You may remember the reports last year indicating that mulitvitamins didn’t improve heart health, but looking deeper into the study that provided the sensational headlines exposed a poorly designed study that used low-quality synthetic vitamins. (You can read our response to the study here.)
While supplements such as omega-3 fish oil and CoQ10 will always rank higher on the heart-healthy spectrum, nutrients such as vitamin D, vitamin E, B-vitamins, chromium and magnesium have proved to be critical to heart health, while antioxidants have been shown to shield your heart from inflammation.
5. Lift Mood and Reduce Anxiety
It’s been well established that vitamin D plays a role in healthy and happy mood, but did you know that other nutrients play a critical role as well? Stress, anxiety, and other mental disorders may be reduced with regular multivitamin use, according to a study that found B-vitamins help alleviate stress induced by unpleasant situations. Another study found that general multivitamin use lifted symptoms of depression such as lack of sleep, fatigue and feelings of worthlessness.
Reducing these conditions can have a twofold effect, as not only do people benefit from a better, healthier mental disposition, but they may also experience both short- and long-term physical health benefits. Thus, this benefit of multivitamins not only leads to a longer life, but a happier, richer life.
6. Improve Skin, Hair and Nails
Skin, hair and nails are often thought to mirror nutritional status. Not only do multivitamins have the ability to improve and strengthen your body’s biological processes in a variety of ways, the nutrients obtained through multivitamins provide your body with the building blocks it needs to keep you healthy from the inside out. In particular, B-vitamins such as biotin promote healthier hair, while nutrients such as vitamin A, vitamin C and vitamin E work wonders for your skin.
7. Boost Your Immune System
The extra nutrients in multivitamins may be just what your body needs to fight off an illness. In particular, vitamins A, C and D have all been linked with stronger immunity, while the mineral zinc has been shown to help fight against infections. Multivitamins may be just the extra boost your immune system needs to ward off disease and keep you healthy.
Should You Start Taking a Multivitamin Today?
Despite the availability of healthy foods, many Americans continue to make questionable choices and eat foods that are deprived of nutrients. When bad eating habits are combined with foods that may be genetically modified, sprayed with pesticides, grown in poor soil, processed and packaged, or all of the above, the results can be severe over time. Likewise, it may be hard for some people to achieve the recommended dosages of fruits and vegetables at times. While everyone should strive to make healthy, natural dietary choices, and multivitamins are not a substitute for doing so, they remain a good way to at least ensure that you are getting some much-needed nutrients.
With all of the positive effects of taking multivitamins, and practically nothing to lose, it is time to start taking a multivitamin daily. If you have not done so, consider speaking with your doctor about the best multivitamin for you, and be conscious of any health concerns or potential complications you may possess. Remember that taking a multivitamin should be viewed as a supplement to a healthy, balanced diet, not as a substitute for one. Finally, take some time to learn the essentials of multivitamins, and discover all the ways in which you may benefit.
Derek is a technical writer and editor with 10 years of experience in the health care field, having first earned a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Delaware. He is a contributing author on a number of textbooks in the medical field, ran a nuclear cardiology licensing course, and has written a variety of other pieces from online training courses to medical software manuals. Derek pursues his personal interest in health and wellness by playing multiple sports and running marathons. An insatiable traveler, he spent 16 months working and living abroad while traveling through South America, Europe, and Southeast Asia.