You’d think it’d be an easy question to answer. Many of us are so used to hearing about “daily multivitamins” that we take the one pill per day rate as a given. And while that often isn’t a bad place to start, it still is a simple answer to a complex problem.
Multivitamins have taken a bit of a bashing in the media of late. And it’s no wonder – a recent burst of papers have painted a somewhat questionable picture of our multivitamin pill-popping habits. While scientists at Harvard Medical School generally agree that you are not doing any harm by taking a multivitamin, they warn that taking a multivitamin may not do as much for disease prevention down the line as you would hope.
Pills with a Point
We’ll start by laying out what exactly vitamins are. In a nutshell, they’re nutrients that we all require to remain healthy, but have to eat to obtain. Take vitamin C, for example. Most animals are able to manufacture vitamin C in their own bodies and don’t have to worry about finding it in food. Humans, however – and some species of birds – cannot. We and our feathered friends have to seek it out in our diets or face the consequences.
Humans need a few vitamins to remain healthy because deficiencies can cause issues. Vitamin A deficiency can cause reduced night-vision and other eye disorders; vitamin C deficiency can cause scurvy; lack of biotin can cause painful intestinal inflammation. You get the idea – we need our vitamins.
The Best Way to Take Your Vitamins
Now, how do we get them? The best answer for most people is a healthy diet. Fruits, veggies, meats, eggs, pasta, and other layers of the standard food pyramid all play their part. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that eating well keeps you well, but you really do need some variety to make sure you get what you need. Ever wonder why fad diets can be so bad for you? Many of them rely on simplistic removal or excess of certain kinds of food when what we really need is diversity.
Vitamin supplements, then, play a special role in the human diet. At best, they’re used in specific situations to address a particular person’s needs. A great example is folic acid. One of the B vitamins, folic acid is often recommended to those trying to conceive, or who are in the early stages of pregnancy. According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, if taken responsibly, folic acid can do a wonderful job of reducing the risk of a couple serious birth defects.
However, there’s a flip side to those benefits. As any physician can tell you, most substances aren’t inherently good or bad for you. They simply affect your body in a dose-dependent manner. Too much medicine can poison you (Tylenol is a notorious example), and sometimes, the right amount of poison can cure you. Vitamins are no different. They can be beneficial in some cases, in others, well…
Maybe Take It Easy on the Multivitamins
Some of you probably already know where we’re going with this. While vitamin supplements do a great job in specific cases, they only really help when they’re addressing a specific need. And there’s the problem with multivitamins – unless you actually need all of the many, many things those little pills contain, you’re ingesting an awful lot of stuff you don’t need. At best, they may patch a few holes in your diet that you weren’t really aware of, but realistically, they’re far more likely to oversupply you with nutrients your body is already receiving.
Too much of a good thing really can go wrong. Large vitamin overdoses can cause everything from diarrhea to nerve damage. Even if you’re not dumping an extraordinary amount of vitamins down your throat, you can still cause small amounts of damage with a consistent excess. If you are worried that you might be overdosing on vitamins, the U.S. National Library of Medicine’s Medline says to watch out for cloudy urine, chapped lips, and joint pain. If you take a multivitamin every day and are noticing these symptoms, try cutting back on your multivitamin use.
For this reason, multivitamins aren’t exactly a free gamble on health. On one hand are some hazy benefits, but on the other are some possible health problems, and the scale seems to be tipping more and more toward the latter the more we research it.
Many people turn to multivitamins earlier in life, hoping to prevent issues like heart disease, cancer, and memory loss. Unfortunately, according to Harvard’s health department, multivitamins don’t have the desired effect of reducing the risk of these diseases. However, they did find that vitamins can be good for preventing eye disease down the line…
But Wait, Rebuild Your Vision Sells Vitamin Supplements!
We absolutely do, and even with all of the above in mind, we still recommend them. Unlike broad-spectrum multivitamins, our Ocu-Plus Formula is specifically aimed at people doing their level best to improve their deficient vision, and won’t put you at the same risks as more comprehensive options.
The researchers at Harvard Medical School found that vision supplements are actually effective in reducing your risk of eye diseases like AMD and cataracts. Of course, you should still consult with a physician before taking a course – some drugs don’t play well with vitamins, and it’s always best to make sure that your doctor knows exactly what’s going into your body.
But for many, many people, Ocu-Plus vitamins have helped supplement diets lacking in eye-essential nutrients. There’s no way around it – there are specific nutrients, vitamins and herbs that are just downright good for the eyes. Ginkgo Biloba improves visual acuity. Lutein can lower your risk of macular degeneration and cataracts. Vitamin A is just magic for the eyes, as it helps improve eye health and vision is so many ways.
Vitamin supplements can be very beneficial if you’re using them correctly. Just do some research first, talk to your doctor, and make smart choices. If you don’t have the time, or the inclination, to eat the recommended portions of fruits and vegetables every day, then a vitamin supplement might be the right choice for you.