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Are multivitamins useful for preventing disease?

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Recently released studies have been promoted to suggest that supplementing with multivitamins offers no significant health benefits for key measures of health and well-being. This fuels ongoing debate about how these supplements affect your health. Critics of the research have pointed out that people are often using synthetic vitamins that the body may not assimilate the same way natural food-based vitamins are. Additionally, people who already engage in other health-supporting practices, may not exhibit statistically significant benefits from the supplements. There are many factors that can skew the outcome of a study one way or another. Instead of relying solely on the latest publicized studies, it is helpful to look at a fuller picture of the topic being studied.

Multivitamins come in a wide variety of formulations, containing various amounts of vitamins and minerals derived from different sources. Many nutrition experts have advised the public to use a daily multivitamin due to the lack of nutrient content in typical diets and the increased nutrient needs of those dealing with the stresses of modern living. However, everyone's body is unique, and we don't all have deficiencies in the same nutrients. It is also possible to overload on some vitamins and minerals, so consumers may wish to be cautious about taking very high doses of nutrients if they don't know that they need those amounts - especially when using synthetic sources rather than natural food derived nutrients. Taking multivitamins is likely to help prevent nutrient deficiencies and associated symptoms, yet it is important to also maintain a healthy lifestyle and obtain nutrients from food, where the synergistic benefits of all the compounds consumed are superior to just getting isolated vitamins and minerals.

One other issue with supplements is that they may contain other additives and fillers that can foster problems. Artificial coloring and sweeteners, binding agents, preservatives, and other chemicals in the pills and tablets people consume may be counteracting the desired benefits of taking nutritional supplements. Consumers are encouraged to read labels and seek high quality supplements that provide the most natural ingredients and don't include anything that could be harmful. With so many products to choose from and so much conflicting information being presented, selecting what is best for us can be confusing. It is important to educate ourselves about nutrition and learn about our own unique needs rather than just jumping on a bandwagon or blindly following a presumed expert.



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