R5 Do You Really Need a Daily Multivitamin?

Healthy folks get plenty of sleep. They eat lots of fruits and vegetables. And they take a multivitamin every day.

Hold it on that last step. With nutritional supplements being added to everything from our Minute Maid OJ to our Barilla pasta—not to mention the oxymoron that is vitamin water—do we really need to be adding more vitamins to our diet?

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The answer, according to the National Institutes of Health, is…no. “Most of the studies we examined do not provide strong evidence for beneficial health-related effects of supplements,” the NIH says. “Several studies provide disturbing evidence of risk.” Sonia Velez, MD, of St. Joseph’s Medical Center in Yonkers can vouch for that. “If a patient is on blood thinners, multivitamins will decrease the efficacy of Coumadin—especially those multivitamins that contain Vitamin K, which can cause blood clots,” she says. “Calcium is also another multivitamin which patients have to be careful using. It can cause constipation, atherosclerosis, plaque formation, and kidney stones. I honestly would rather patients eat correctly so they don’t have to take the vitamins in the first place.”

So next time you reach for a Centrum and try to wash it down with juice fortified with vitamin D, calcium, and Omega-3s—you might just want to put everything down and just grab a regular old orange instead.

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