By Michael Castleman for Live Right Live Well
“No,” says Keri Gans, a registered dietitian in New York City and a spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association. While vitamin aisles offer a wide array of special formulas -- just for men, just for women, stress relief, immune boosting and so on -- “a plain old multivitamin supplement is as good as any of the fancy formulas you see on supplement shelves,” says Gans.
However, there are two exceptions to this rule:
1. “Women who are menstruating should take a supplement with iron,” says Gans. “Postmenopausal women and men don’t need iron in their multivitamins -- it can be constipating.”
2. “Vegans should make sure their multi contains vitamin B12,” says Amy Lanou, who holds a doctorate in nutrition and is an assistant professor of health and wellness at the University of North Carolina. “This vitamin is missing from plant foods.”
Finally, Gans insists that supplements should be supplemental: “Food first,” she says. “Vitamins don’t replace food or compensate for a poor diet. Eat five to nine servings of fruits and vegetables a day. And then, if you like, take a plain old multivitamin. Fancy formulas don’t cause harm, but they’re over-hyped and not worth the price. You’re better off spending the money on fruits and vegetables.”
To feature this article: