For many people, taking a multi-vitamin feels like we’re treating our body to something healthy. The problem is study after study shows there is no clear benefit to popping that pill. Emory Healthcare internist Dr. Sharon Horesh gets asked about multivitamins a lot.
Usually from two groups of patients:
"One group are just looking for an insurance policy. They're not sure if they're getting the right amount of nutrients because they don't always eat the perfect foods," says Dr. Horesh.
The other group eats well, often really well,
And they're thinking that, "Maybe if a little bit is good, more would be better." And, in neither of those scenarios has it actually been shown they're getting a health benefit out of taking a multivitamin."
Dr. Horesh suggests supplements can help, but only if you have a deficiency.
"For example, pregnant women who need increased amount of of folic acid are going to benefit. Post-menopausal women are going top need more calcium with vitamin d are going to benefit. People with medical conditions that can't absorb nutrients, for example after gastric bypass surgery or celiac disease,".
But for the average person, may be better off skipping that morning supplement.
"Really the best investment for your money is to invest in food, good nutritious food. Because the nutrients through food offer a very different health benefit than nutrients through a supplement," says Horesh.
So, what should you look for? Dr. Horesh says go to the grocery store load up on fruits and vegetables.
She also recommends lean proteins, seafood and nuts.
"Those have been shown to decrease your risk of heart disease and cancer, and to help you live longer. It's just that we can't capture that same benefit in a pill," says Horesh.
She says while it is possible to take too much of a certain vitamin, it is unlikely. Dr. Horesh recommends you talk to your physician about what supplements you need and don’t need.?