Multivitamin Story: Expectations vs. Reality

A glance into any medicine storage unit will remind you of just how popular multivitamins are. There are B-complex tablets, iron syrups, zinc, and folic acid tablets, and many more. The supplement industry is doing exceptionally well and is a billion dollar industry. And everyone feels so strongly about these magical pills that claim to clear your skin, give you nutrients you lack and keep you in good health. But is all of this true? Knowing the truth about multivitamins is essential. These pills dwell in controversy, and we’re ill-informed about how they should be consumed and if they are necessary to our well-being at all. That’s a tough pill to consume when it comes to the health of your loved ones. It’s best to be well-informed about what you’re consuming. So, here are a few myths about multivitamins that you should know.

1. They are safe and natural

Although being associated with nature is a good thing, it doesn’t mean that everything associated with nature is right for your body. Anything good for you has the potential to harm you too. The ingredients that go into multivitamins, though natural, are made in factories and are then converted to pills, for example, Vitamin C. Though it’s great to be used for its anti-ageing properties, an excess of it can burn your skin. Ensure you do a detailed study and consult a doctor before you consume anything.

2. If you miss taking a multivitamin one day, you take a double dose the next day

This is untrue. Your body is not known to store Vitamins B and C, or even zinc. But it still needs doses of this every day. If you consume a double dose of vitamins, your body will not absorb the extra dosage. Instead, it will push it out of the body. Minerals and vitamins can be stored in the body, but it’s better when consumed daily.

3. Taking a multivitamin can make up for a poor diet and prevent diseases

In reality, we’re yet to discover if multivitamins are effective. A study run by the National Centre for Biotechnology Information tried to prove that multivitamin users had a lower risk of cardiovascular disease mortality. They found it to be true in some cases, but at large, it was found to be untrue. Food should always be your first source of nutrients. Our body benefits best from the vitamins and minerals received from natural sources. Supplements are made so they can add to your dietary needs, not be the diet itself.

4. Multivitamins can be taken on an empty stomach

There are two types of capsules: water-soluble and fat-soluble. Vitamin B and Vitamin C are usually water-soluble, and zinc, Vitamin K, A, D, and E are generally fat-soluble. In most cases, we’re always advised to take in some food before consuming multivitamins or any other medicines. In this case, there should be some kind of food and fat intake if you’re consuming any of the above supplements. This will ensure that the supplement dissolves well and is absorbed throughout the body. Moreover, supplements that are taken on an empty stomach can lead to digestive problems.

5. Multivitamins don’t clash with other medicines

This is untrue. Mixing multivitamins and medicines can have a fatal result. The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health came to the conclusion that multivitamins that contain no more than 100% of the daily value of vitamins and minerals don’t usually have any side effects. But, for example, if you were to consume a blood thinner with Vitamin K, then the effects of the blood thinner are decreased substantially. This holds true for antibiotics or any other kind of medicine. The supplements can hinder or enhance the results of the medication. It’s best to consult with your doctor before you mix any type of supplements with medicines.

6. Multivitamins can change your metabolism for the better

This is an outright lie, according to a personal trainer and weight loss coach, Pat Barone. “No product can do this, and it can’t even be measured.” What multivitamin supplements do is reduce the water in your body, which makes it look like your body is losing weight.

7. If a multivitamin has a good and positive review, it must be legit

This is a big mistake when it comes to medicines. Most people buy multivitamins by reading reviews online or listening to somebody else’s experience of usage. This is simply the wrong approach to consume multivitamins. Dr. Scott Schreiber, a double board-certified in rehabilitation and nutrition, says it’s important to take supplements prescribed by a doctor or health professional as most pharmaceutical companies hype their marketing. Medicines that come from companies that only distribute high-quality products to health care experts must be consumed after a doctor’s consultation. The supplements should be tested by a third-party to ensure that they are safe and consumable.

Having said so, there is a possibility that the healthcare expert has a personal agenda when prescribing a particular brand of supplements to you. “Healthcare providers often have financial incentives to prescribe supplements, as they get a portion of the cost,” says Dr. Drew Ramsey, assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at Columbia University. “That’s standard practice with supplements.” So be cautious of what you consume and get a second opinion if need be.

8. Multivitamins don’t have an expiry period. It’s okay if they’re old

This is definitely untrue. All products have an expiry date for a reason. Their effects start to diminish after a specific time period. This holds good for multivitamins as well. Always check the expiry date before you consume a multivitamin. It’s best to store capsules away from heat. Find a cool, dry place to store them. Don’t forget about them and horde jar-after-jar of a capsule. Make a conscious effort to take them once they have been prescribed to you.

9. All multivitamins are the same

Untrue again, there are a variety of nutrients that make up a multivitamin. Few ingredients in a multivitamin although beneficial, don’t provide the needed insurance of having provided anyone with nutrients. Some multivitamins are different for women and men and are made for different stages of their lives. So consuming a multivitamin that hasn’t been prescribed for you can lead to high toxic levels in your body. For example, iron capsules are prescribed to women of different ages, but premenopausal women and women who have attained menopause have different iron requirements. So, consuming one type of multivitamin won’t work.

10. All multivitamins go hand-in-hand

Some multivitamins work hand-in-glove with each other, but this isn’t always the case. For example, the absorption of iron in your body is aided by Vitamin C, but this isn’t the case with zinc and copper, where the absorption of copper is blocked by zinc. Inform your physician of your multivitamin history, so they can prescribe something that works for your body. Sometimes, consuming high amounts of one nutrient can lead to a deficiency in another. Many multivitamins, even herbal ones, can have nasty effects like eczema and indigestion.

11. Pregnant women shouldn’t take multivitamin tablets

False, you don’t have to wait to be pregnant. Iron and folic acid are needed for a woman’s body anyway. Women who are able to reproduce must take in folic acid and multivitamins daily to ensure there are no defects when she does conceive. Lack of folic acid in the first few months of pregnancy can lead to neural tube damage in the brain and spine regions of the child. Consult your doctor and check out the best multivitamin for women.

It’s important to keep these points in mind before you make your multivitamin purchase. Don’t buy outdated products and definitely keep your doctor in the loop before you make a purchase. Try to ensure that the products you buy are from reputed companies. GMP certified companies assure that only the best ingredients are used and the manufacturing of these multivitamins are done with utmost care, keeping in mind the general masses.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here