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As a Naturopathic Doctor, patients often ask me whether or not they should be taking a multivitamin. Since a recent report published in Annals of Internal Medicine discredited the use of multivitamin supplements, I decided that it’s time to revisit this topic.

My opinion is that multivitamins are beneficial in situations of nutrient deficiency or inadequacy. Pregnancy, vegetarian diets and a diet low in fruits and vegetables are the most common situations. A minimum of five servings of fruits and vegetables per day should cover your basic nutritional needs.

Vegetarians are in a unique situation. Even if they consume more than five servings of fruits and vegetables per day, they are likely low in iron and B12 as the best sources of these nutrients are found in animal products. In this case, taking a good quality iron and B12 supplement would be recommended. (Always test your levels before supplementing as too much iron can be harmful to the body.)

Another point to keep in mind is that the quality of the multivitamin plays an important role in its overall efficacy. Consult with a Naturopathic doctor to discuss your multivitamin options.

While there are situations where multivitamins have their place, they shouldn’t be relied upon to compensate for a poor diet and lifestyle. The best formula to enjoy a lifetime of health and abundant energy is:

  • 5/day (minimum) fruits and vegetables (8-10 is best)
  • 30 minutes of physical activity three times a week
  • 7-8 hours of sleep
  • strong support network

There’s no pill out there that can do more for your body than that!