Everyone around you is sick. Should you take a multi?

You may have already noticed all the people around you sneezing, coughing and sniffling. Well, it’s that time of year again, and many people have already started suffering from seasonal allergies, and even worse – colds and the flu. 

So what can you do to raise an invisible shield to all of these germs you encounter throughout the day? Many people think just taking a multi is all they need to do. But yet they still get sick anyways, so obviously that isn’t working. And the cheap vitamins put in those powdered products you stir in water aren’t easily assimilated by the body either. They are made of the cheapest vitamins on the planet. If you want a fizzy drink, fine, but otherwise, save your money.

Many people don’t realize that most of the cheap multis on the shelves these days are synthetic, man-made vitamins that our bodies don’t even assimilate well, if at all. Some of these cheap vitamins actually block the absorption of other vitamins (like calcium blocking iron absorption); and even worse some, like Folic Acid, can do real damage and mask other deficiencies like B12. And trust me, this one you don’t want a deficiency in. (See my other post on B12 for more).

So what can you do? You want to be a smart consumer and you want to do what’s right for your body, but how do you know what you’re getting? Well for me personally I take a probiotic with 15 strains and oil of oregano every day to prevent a cold. But here are some tips from WebMD found here as well: http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-and-supplements/lifestyle-guide-11/making-the-most-out-of-multivitamins?page=2

From WebMD:

When picking a multivitamin, pay particular attention to the following to maximize benefit and minimize risk.

Vitamin A: Choose a supplement with beta-carotene and mixed carotenoids, the raw material your body converts to vitamin A on an as-needed basis. Excessive vitamin A as retinol (the preformed variety called acetate or palmitate on labels) is detrimental to bone and liver health.

Iron: Men and post-menopausal women should take an iron-free multivitamin/multimineral preparation unless their diet is very low in iron-rich foods, including meat and fortified grains. Iron may accumulate in the body and cause organ damage.

Folic Acid: Women in their childbearing years need 400 micrograms of folic acid (100% of the DV) every day to help prevent neural tube defects in the first month of pregnancy.

Vitamin D: Most multivitamins supply 400 International Units (100% DV) for vitamin D, which is necessary for calcium absorption and may play a role in cancer prevention. Stampfer says while this is a step in the right direction, you may need more vitamin D than a multivitamin and your diet provides, especially if you have dark skin, are overweight, or spend little time outdoors in the summer months. 

The United States Pharmacopeia (USP) Insignia: Dietary supplements, including multivitamins, are not regulated for quality or safety by the Food and Drug Administration. Still, there’s probably little cause for concern about multivitamins, since they are the most mainstream supplement. For extra assurance, seek brands with the United States Pharmacopeia (USP) symbol on the label. It guarantees safety and quality.

Vitamin E: Recently, some studies have shown safety concerns with “high doses” of vitamin E, or doses over 600-800 IU daily.

Vitamin C: The DV/RDA is low for vitamin C, so picking a multivitamin with approximately 250mg of C per day makes sense for this important and safe vitamin. 

In conclusion, ideally you would eat a balanced diet full of different colored fruits and vegetables every day, and would feel and look amazing. But we both know that’s not what most people do, now do they? No, most people in the U.S. eat a diet full of processed meats, carbs, sugar, and man-made ingredients they don’t even know how to pronounce, much less predict what they’ll do to their body.

But if you’re interested in how to get your nutrition from food and not pills, try eating a diet rich in whole grains, organic fruits and veggies and beans. If you do this on most days, you shouldn’t need a multi, but if you simply must, don’t take more than a multi with 100% or less of the daily value (DV) for a wide variety of nutrients.  Getting excess vitamins is taxing on your liver, kidneys and other organs and isn’t necessary. Some studies have actually shown that excess Vitamin A can increase lung cancer risks in former and current smokers, and excess Folic Acid can increase breast cancer risks. “No-one knows which genetic variant of this enzyme they have. This is why I think people should only take dietary supplements if there is a particular reason to do so, not just because ‘it’s probably a good idea’,” says Ulrika Ericson. (See breast cancer study link)

She says that there are two groups who could have a particular reason to take a folic acid supplement. These are people with a certain type of anemia and low folate levels and women who are trying to become pregnant (folate reduces the risk of neural tube defects in babies). To be on the safe side, others should avoid vitamin tablets containing folic acid while it is still unclear what the link is between folate and different types of cancer. Mandatory folic acid fortification in foods, which has been discussed in many countries including Sweden, is not appropriate in the current situation, according to Ulrika Ericson.

By the way, do you know all you’d need to eat in order to get over 100% of your daily value of folic acid? Just 2 cups of spinach! That’s all!

Lung cancer study – Here

Breast cancer studyHere


These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any diseases. As with everything, check with your doctor first. All content is provided for general information only and should not be treated as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or any other health care professional. Shauna Carpenter is not responsible or liable for any diagnosis made by a user based on the content of her personal WordPress blog. Shauna Carpenter does not endorse any commercial product(s) or service(s) mentioned, and is not paid by any of the sites or people mentioned.