This is a common question. Let’s look at 3 key factors in deciding.
1. What are your health goals?
most people take multivitamins so they can cover their bases, and protect themselves from a deficiency of important vitamins and minerals. The food we eat tends to be less saturated with these, as the higher turnover of crops gives the soil less time to re-establish balance, and our food choices may be questionable – fast food, processed food, and food prep techniques can rob food of what’s left. Or, you have a health concern – fatigue, iron deficiency, hypothyroidism including subclinical hypothyroidism, immune support, any chronic disease requiring higher anti-oxidant support – and you may want to help these conditions, with a multivitamin.
Is the multi-vitamin you are taking designed with certain factors in mind, such as how much Iodine is needed, iron, B vitamins, magnesium etc. Why have the manufacturers selected the potency they have selected? It is important to know why you DO want iodine, or why you DON’T want iodine, for example. Same idea with iron. People with different health concerns, such as the ones listed above require different amounts of various nutrients.
If your multi is of low quality, you are doing more harm than good. There actually are petroleum based multivitamins on the market. Also, it is important to read about what ingredients the company is using to stabilize the vitamin.
In my opinion, most multivitamins are neither here nor there. There are many more direct ways of helping your health concern, than just taking something which may not be potentized or specialized enough to serve its purpose. Most people are deficient in trace minerals, such as selenium, iodione, zinc, and copper, which multi’s are usually deficient in too. Vitamin D and B amounts are nearly negligable; not enough to correct deficiency in the winter, or under periods of stress.
What to do? Know your goals, then know your potency and specificity needs. Quality becomes harder for a consumer to know – Your Naturopathic Doctor will have more info on the professional products that they use, and be able to recommend ways to supplement, without using 10 different pills to get all the required nutrients.