Do you need a multivitamin?
Although getting lots of vitamins may seem like a healthy idea, it turns out it’s possible to have too much of a good thing. Your body needs vitamins in relatively small amounts. But if you choose to take supplemental vitamins, consider these tips:
- Stay reasonably close to the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) — unless told otherwise by your doctor. The RDA is the average daily level of intake that’s sufficient to meet the nutritional needs of most healthy people.
- Avoid taking too much of any individual vitamin, especially the fat soluble vitamins A, D, E and K. With vitamins that are fat soluble, your body stores excess amounts, primarily in the liver.
- Before you take any supplements talk to your doctor or a dietitian. There may be ways to modify your diet to get the vitamins you need without taking a supplement. But if a supplement is necessary for good health, choose supplements that don’t exceed your doctor or dietitian’s recommendations.
In general, the best way to get vitamins is through food. Foods offer a complexity of nutrients that can't be reproduced in a vitamin supplement. In addition, unlike vitamin supplements, no concerns have been raised about the safety of vitamins consumed in foods. There's overwhelming evidence that a diet rich in plant-based foods — fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes, seeds and whole grains — is a rock-solid foundation for optimal health.
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