Multi vitamins: Beneficial or expensive wee?

This is a hotly debated topic amongst health professionals. The best way to answer this is to look at what a multivitamin contains and its relevance to our health in today’s society.

Firstly, let’s turn the clock back 50 odd years: Families grew their own fruit and vegetables, housed their own chickens, shopped for produce and fresh meat daily as refrigeration and freezing were minimal, kids played outside, walking and cycling was a common form of transport and technology was in its infancy. It was rare to see food packaged, soil quality was prime and food was sourced locally.

Compare this to today: the majority of people buy their fruit and vegetables where produce has been exposed to pesticides, meat and poultry is bought packaged, the bulk of the trolley items are in boxes, tins and packets where they can stay “fresh” for months and months thanks to a myriad of preservatives, technology is fast replacing tasks once performed by people requiring energy and supply and demand is such that farming and agricultural practices have become more aggressive resulting in poor soil quality and the complete loss of many essential trace minerals. The term essential with regard to vitamins and minerals means simply that your body cannot produce its own, and must rely on food or supplementation as a source.

The issue of air pollution, use of plastics, industrial waste and petrol fumes are commonplace and a serious health risk. In addition to this, people are stressed, busy and working longer hours. These factors all place stress on our body, cause free radical damage and cause nutrient loss.

Multi vitamins fill the gaps that our modern lifestyle leaves. It is a fact that our food is not as nutrient rich as it once was. Think of your mulit vitamin as an insurance policy, covering you in times of loss or need.

While multi vitamins are especially important for the immuno-compromised or those who have increased demand such as pregnant and breastfeeding women, the ill, elderly, children and athletes, they are important for everyone.

I recommend a multivitamin to all of my patients and strongly believe they have a huge role to play in terms of maintaining your health and taking a preventative and proavtive approach to your health. However, as always, please seek professional advice before taking any new supplement.

Why would you wait until you get sick to fix something, when you can prevent it from happening in the first place?