Do You Really Need a Multivitamin Supplement?
We're all getting older, but that doesn't mean we have to
age prematurely or "feel" older. Who wouldn't like
to be healthier, feel better or look younger? The rapid growth
of this free SixWise.com e-newsletter is one answer to that
question, as we provide expert insights in all six practical
areas of true whole health:
Physical Health, which includes the common areas
that many people currently think of when they think of
"getting healthy:" nutrition, exercise and emotional
Personal Safety, which is key to preventive health ...
you don't want to invest your time and efforts in eating
right and exercising only to get injured or worse by some
accident or crime that could have been avoided
Financial Health: Stress is a leading cause of
disease, and financial distress is the leading cause of
stress. Though many people don't think of it as such yet,
smart money management is key to health.
Relationship Health: We are social beings, and
quite simply the relationships we have with loved ones,
friends and peers are absolutely crucial to the length
and quality of our lives.
Career Health: Most people spend a significant
part of each day - and their lives - invested in their
careers. The level of fulfillment, stress, etc. in your
career is obviously going to have a direct impact on your
health, your immunity to disease, etc.
Home/Environmental Health: What goes into your
body has the most immediate impact on your health, and
NO "food" goes into your body more than the
air you breathe (and second to that, the water you drink.)
Pollution - especially inside homes and buildings - is
one of the fastest growing and most threatening health
issues facing all of us ... especially because it doesn't
get the mass media spotlight that diet does!
Pervading all of these practical areas is the necessity of
spiritual health, which you'll also find articles on
in the SixWise.com e-newletter. But while
we have experienced strong growth providing insights and proven
tools and solutions in all of these areas, one area in the
"healthcare" continues to experience far stronger
growth ... people's desire to take the easy road and "pop
pills" in the hope of overcoming disease and achieving
This is certainly true with pharmaceuticals, which as readers
of this newsletter are well aware are mostly mere treatments
that far too many have been conned (via over $3 billion in
consumer advertising, for example) into perceiving as "cures."
Dietary supplements bring in $6.6 billion every year
in the United States. Take the quiz below to see if
a multivitamin supplement could benefit you.
But it is also the case with most supplements, which many
people have dangerously made the "heart" of their
preventive healthcare regime while ignoring the more key measures
in the areas noted above (and covered in this newsletter).
In short, many people seem to be forgetting the definition
of "supplement," and are using them as their "core"
instead. Even worse, they are doing so blindly, without knowing
which brands truly live up to their claims and which are worthless
-- and sadly, many brands are worthless, or close to it, as
unscrupulous manufacturers know the supplement industry is
a cash windfall right now.
(It is one of our primary missions to, via analysis through
our wide range of expert contacts in business, government
and academia, offer you only the best in all products/services
that can truly help your safety and wellness bottom line,
including supplements ... more on that below).
Right now, dietary supplements in the United States alone
are a $6.6 billion industry, and it continues to grow rapidly.
The number one supplement? By a long-shot, multivitamins.
Which of course begs the question ...
Are Multivitamins Worth It?
Are multivitamins, those supplements that claim to include
most every nutrient in a convenient, easy-to-swallow pill,
really necessary? Says Lynn Laboranti, a registered dietitian
and continuing education specialist, the answer is likely
YES. But as you'll read the quality of the multivitamin makes
all the difference.
"Our bodies cannot absorb all
the nutrients found in the foods we eat, so a daily multivitamin
is much like a nutritional insurance policy; it ensures
the recommended daily allowance (RDA) for specific vitamins
and minerals are obtained. This is important because according
to the most recent Healthy Eating Index survey conducted by
the USDA, most Americans do not eat a healthy balanced diet
on a daily basis," she says.
And according to the National Institutes of Health, "Multivitamins
are prescribed for patients who need extra vitamins, who cannot
eat enough food to obtain the required vitamins, or who cannot
receive the full benefit of the vitamins contained in the
food they eat."
So Who Needs These "Extra" Vitamins?
Even if you eat plenty of calories, if you're not eating
fruits and vegetables then your body may be lacking
Millions of Americans who eat the Standard American Diet
(SAD) are not getting the vitamins and minerals they need
to stay healthy. They're certainly taking in enough calories-that's
evidenced by the obesity epidemic facing the nation-but it's
the quality of those calories that are important. You can
eat all day long and still be vitamin-deficient if you haven't
chosen your foods wisely. For instance, do you:
Eat fast food often?
Rarely eat fresh vegetables and fruit?
Rely on quick, processed foods and snacks?
Fill up on soda or other sweet beverages?
Feel you're not eating a nutritious diet?
If so, you're likely in need of some "extra" vitamins
(though they're not really "extra" in the event
your body is deficient in them, they're what's required to
keep you healthy!).
Poor nutrition is nothing to scoff at. It's associated with
a host of diseases like cancer, heart disease, stroke, diabetes,
liver and kidney disease and osteoporosis. Those who eat poorly,
nutritiously speaking, either by choice or because circumstances
demand it, should consider adding a multivitamin to their
The following groups of people could also benefit from adding
vitamins and minerals to their diets, says Joan Pleuss, RD,
MS, CDE, CD, bionutrition research manager at the Medical
College of Wisconsin's General Clinical Research Center:
Women of childbearing age
People aged 50 and over
People on special diets
Those with a poor appetite
People on extreme weight-loss regimens
Anyone who drinks alcohol excessively
Which Type of Multivitamin is Best?
Just walking down the supplement aisle in a grocery store
is overwhelming, but if you venture into health food or specialty
stores, the vitamin choices are enough to make anyone's head
There are literally thousands of multivitamin brands making
every claim under the sun. This includes all the "unknowns"
as well as well-known brands. General Mills, for example,
just released Wheaties Multivitamins and Total Multivitamins,
made by Leiner Health Products, which feature the brand names
of two of their well-known cereals. Most people have heard
of (and maybe even fondly remember the taste of) the popular
children's multivitamins, Bugs Bunny or The Flinstones. But
are any brands really better than others?
"There is a tendency for the supplement industry to
sell what people will buy," says Kelly Brownell, director
of the Yale Center for Eating and Weight Disorders. "They
base sales decisions more on market potential than health
So when it comes to choosing a multivitamin for yourself
and your family, you must be on the lookout for a quality
product. As noted above, SixWise.com is committed to researching
and, via our extensive access to leading experts, finding
and offering only products of the highest quality that really
do what they claim they do.
Right now, we are in the process of reviewing a range of
multivitamins (and other supplements), so we encourage you
to stay tuned to the free e-newsletter for those findings
Think You Might Need a Multivitamin?
Take This Test to Find Out Now!
The following quiz, adapted from the American
Dietetic Association, will help you determine if
a multivitamin supplement is right for you.
On most days do you:
1. Eat 6 to 11 servings of whole grains (bread,
cereal, pasta, and rice)? One serving equals
1 slice of bread, 1/2 c. rice or pasta, 1 oz. dry cereal,
1/2 bagel or english muffin.
If your answer is yes, give yourself 3 points. If
your answer is no, give yourself 0 points.
2. Eat at least 2 servings of fruit? One serving
equals 1/2 c. chopped or canned fruit,1/2 c. fruit juice,
1 med. piece of fresh fruit.
Yes= 3 points
No= 0 points
3. Eat at least 3 servings of vegetables a day?
One serving equals 1/2 c. cooked, 1 c. raw, leafy vegetables,
1/2 c. vegetable juice.
Yes= 3 points
No= 0 points
4. Generally eat the same foods every day?
Yes= 0 points
No= 3 points
5. Eat 2 or more servings of dairy foods a day?
One serving equals 1 c. milk or yogurt, 1 1/2 oz. natural
cheese, 2 oz. processed cheese.
Yes= 3 points
No= 0 points
6. Eat 2 to 3 servings of lean meat, poultry, fish,
dry beans, eggs, or nuts each day? One serving equals
3 oz. cooked meat, poultry, or fish, one egg, 1/2 c.
cooked beans, 2 T. peanut butter.
Yes= 3 points
No= 0 points
7. Frequently skip meals or miss out on one or more
food groups for the entire day?
Yes= 0 points
No= 3 points
Now add up all of your points. If you scored:
15 points or more: You know how to make wise
food choices and get the variety of foods important
for a healthy eating plan.
9-12 points: You could be getting more nutrients
by fine-tuning your food choices. Try to add the servings
of foods that you are missing.
0-6 points: By making changes you will be
able to gradually improve your eating pattern. While
food is the best way to obtain vitamins, minerals,
and other nutrients, you may benefit from a multivitamin/mineral
Similar to our list earlier in the article, the American
Dietetic Association says other people who may benefit
from a multivitamin/mineral supplement are:
People who lead a hectic lifestyle and cannot eat
according to the food guide pyramid.
People on a very low-calorie, weight-loss diet.
Those who are elderly and not eating as well as
they used to.
Those who can't drink milk or eat other dairy foods.
- Women of childbearing age who don't get enough folate
in their diets.
National Library of Medicine: Multivitamins
College of Wisconsin HealthLink
Today March 2, 2005
Sense of Multivitamins
and Mineral Supplements: Who Needs Them?