Do you take a multivitamin every day? When you think of the best ways to be as healthy as possible, chances are that a few different practices come to mind: eating a balanced diet, getting regular exercise, making sure to sleep at least eight hours per night, and having meaningful contact with the people that you love. All of those things are essential for maintaining wellness, according to the Mayo Clinic. And multivitamins could help, too!
Yes, if you’re interested in going the extra mile, you may also take a multivitamin to supplement the foods that you eat. It certainly seems like a rational way to give yourself an extra boost, whether it’s to amp up your immunity or increase your energy levels. And given that many vitamins are available in gummy form, it’s easier than ever to integrate a pill into your regimen.
So are you the kind of health nut who’s already been taking a multivitamin every day for years? Or perhaps you were wondering what happens to your body if you start? Read on to find out the details, both positive and negative.
Taking a multivitamin every day can promote healthy aging
While you might not enjoy eating kale salad or Brussels sprouts, for example, making sure that you get the nutrients your body needs can help you live a long and healthy life. In addition, taking a multivitamin every day might help you as you enter your golden years, says certified personal trainer Sergio Pedemonte. "Taking a multivitamin every day promotes healthy aging," he told The List. "As you get older, your body loses its ability to absorb nutrients." And because of that, Pedemonte said the extra nutritional supplement will protect your organs, nervous system, and skin, allowing you to not just function but also flourish.
There’s another factor at play here as well, according to Pedemonte. "Furthermore, older people on average also take more medication, which can interfere with nutrient absorption," he continued. So by making sure to take a multivitamin every day along with those meds, you’ll help steel yourself against any nutritional fallout.
Your eyes may thank you if you take a multivitamin every day
If the eyes are truly the windows to the soul, then surely they should be tended to with the greatest of care. Fortunately, if you take a multivitamin every day, you’re already taking steps to mind your ocular health. That’s because doing so can decrease your risk of eye disease and age-related degeneration, as noted by immunologist Dr. Lina Velikova. "The powerful antioxidants like vitamin C, E, and A; zinc; and beta-carotene that multivitamins contain benefit eye health," she explained to The List.
Specifically, these strong little fighters can protect and preserve your eyes in several different ways, said Velikova. "Vitamin A helps to keep the cornea clear and is a protein component that serves for low-light vision sensitivity," she continued. "Vitamins C and E are potent antioxidants that fight the free radicals from the environment." And fighting free radicals means you’re protecting yourself from the oxidative stress that they can wreak, which can cause a lot of damage to the body, according to Medical News Today.
Want to boost your intake of folic acid? Take a multivitamin every day
Our bodies require a variety of vitamins and minerals to function, as noted by Harvard Medical School. Of the plethora that are out there, there’s one that’s especially important for folks who plan to start a family, says registered dietitian Amanda A. Kostro Miller. "Folic acid is absolutely essential during pregnancy," she shared with The List. "And since it is so important in pregnancy, pregnant women and women with a chance to get pregnant should be taking a prenatal multivitamin." Even if you’re not actively trying to get pregnant but might someday in the future, you should still make sure you’re getting enough folic acid.
While experts often say that it’s preferable to get your vitamins and minerals from your diet as opposed to in pill form, there’s an advantage to taking a multivitamin in this case, says Kostro Miller. "In fact, folic acid is better absorbed in the supplement form than when consumed via food," she explained. All the more reason to take a multivitamin with folic acid in it every day.
If you take a multivitamin every day, you may be more nourished
People take multivitamins for a wide variety of reasons: They want to get healthier, they want to perform better at the gym, or perhaps they hope multivitamins will give them more energy. But there’s one thing that taking a multivitamin every day will do for you for sure, as noted by registered dietitian Trista Best. "You will be more nourished because you will be taking in nutrients through other sources than food," she told The List. "While a balanced diet is imperative, we may still be lacking some important nutrients." Hey, we can’t eat perfectly all the time, right?
So as long as your diet is checking most of the important boxes, your daily vitamin will work in tandem with it, said Best. "A supplement is doing its job effectively when it is relied upon to add to your balanced diet rather than support a bad diet," she continued. So don’t start throwing vitamins on top of pizza or baking them into cookies anytime soon.
However, to know if you could benefit from taking multivitamins every day, talk to your doctor.
If you’re vegan or vegetarian, you could fill in the gaps of your diet when you take a multivitamin every day
Plant-based diets are becoming increasingly popular, according to Forbes, but with that can come some nutrition issues. "Veganism and certain forms of vegetarianism put people at risk of nutrient deficiencies in protein, B12, vitamin D, EPA, DHA, iron, zinc, and calcium," registered dietitian Amanda A. Kostro Miller explained to The List.
For example, vitamin D is an essential nutrient that helps keep the body healthy, but it’s mostly found in animal products like eggs, fatty fish, liver, and fortified dairy products — and you won’t find those on the vegan menu, noted Kostro Miller. "Most of the foods mentioned are off limits in a plant-sourced diet," she continued. And while you can get some vitamin D from the sun, the risk of skin cancer that comes with UV exposure can hamper the benefits sunlight provides.
Fortunately, if you take a multivitamin every day, you can fill in the gaps, ensuring that you have all you need to be nourished.
Looking to boost your immunity? Take a multivitamin every day
Perhaps when you were younger getting sick had its perks, as you could stay home from school, eat ice cream, and watch bad daytime television with your parents. But that loses its luster when you’re all grown up, as, on top of feeling ill, you also may worry about missing work or juggling family obligations. So if you want to stay healthy, taking a multivitamin every day might help, says certified nutritionist Anju Mobin. "Vitamin C is an antioxidant known for empowering the immune system," she shared with The List. "Vitamins D and E help to boost immunity, too." Since those are commonly found in most multivitamins, as noted by Verywell Fit, you can knock out your dose in one pill.
That’s not all a multivitamin can do for your immune system either, according to Mobin. "They also help in reducing common allergies," she continued. That’s good news for folks who can’t stop sneezing in the springtime or who have allergies to cats and dogs. However, don’t think that you will cure your allergies if you take a multivitamin. And it’s worth noting that more research needs to be done on multivitamins’ influence on allergies (via Everyday Health). Should you need significant help managing your allergies, talk to your doctor and maybe see an allergist.
Will you live longer if you take a multivitamin every day?
Although plenty of people take a multivitamin every day, some medical experts have proclaimed that doing so is a waste of money, as is evidenced by a 2013 editorial in the Annals of Internal Medicine. The authors argued that there aren’t enough benefits to outweigh potential harms caused by certain vitamins and thereby deemed the practice to be ineffective.
But there’s also some evidence that taking a multivitamin every day can indeed have a positive impact on your longevity. For example, according to a study published in The Journal of Nutrition in 2015, women without a history of cardiovascular disease who took a multivitamin with minerals for a period of three years or longer were less likely to die from heart disease than women who didn’t. However, more research is needed.
Another study found that there’s "limited evidence" of taking multivitamins "for the prevention of cancer or [cardiovascular disease]," so your mileage may vary.
Will your heart be happier if you take a multivitamin every day?
While one study found that taking a multivitamin may decrease your risk of dying from cardiovascular disease, that doesn’t address whether or not taking one every day can help prevent heart disease in the first place. So what does the science say about the idea, especially since cardiovascular disease is the No. 1 cause of death in the world, according to the World Health Organization?
Not much, at least conclusively, as noted by health writer Hrefna Pálsdóttir. "Many people believe that taking multivitamins can help prevent heart disease, but the evidence is mixed," she penned in an article in Healthline. "Some studies suggest that multivitamins are correlated to a reduced risk of heart attacks and death, while others show no effects."
What has been shown conclusively to decrease your risk of heart disease is to eat a healthy diet and to get regular exercise, according to the CDC. So if you specifically take a multivitamin every day to protect your heart, your efforts may be in vain.
Can you reduce your cancer risk when you take a multivitamin every day?
While heart disease may be the No. 1 killer around the world, cancer clocks in just behind it in the United States as the second most common cause of death, according to the CDC. It should come as no surprise, then, that plenty of folks want to do all that they can to prevent developing the disease, as outlined by Harvard Medical School. Whether it’s smoking cessation, ditching red meat, limiting alcohol consumption, or avoiding radiation, there are plenty of ways to ward off various forms of cancer.
If you take a multivitamin every day, can that too decrease your cancer risk? It’s possible, according to an article in Healthline. "Some studies link multivitamin use to a reduced risk of cancer, while others find no benefit — and some even assert an increased risk," Healthline reported. So once again, the evidence is inconclusive.
One caveat is that plenty of health experts recommend taking a vitamin D supplement to prevent colon and prostate cancer, as well as other malignant diseases. So if you want to take a multivitamin every day, make sure it contains vitamin D.
What can taking a multivitamin every day do for brain health?
The human brain is an amazing organ. It is responsible for the function of bodily systems and regulates our breathing, heartbeat, and consciousness, as noted by Live Science. That’s not even close to all of the things your brain does, either!
Fortunately if you take a multivitamin every day, you could be doing some good for your noggin. "Several studies have found that multivitamins can improve memory in older adults," reported Healthline. That’s important, given the damage diseases like dementia can do to memory later in life.
Daily vitamin supplementation can also have an impact on how you feel as well. "These supplements may also improve mood," Healthline noted. "Research reveals links not only between poor mood and nutrient deficiencies but also between multivitamins and better mood or reduced depression symptoms." And while some studies came to a different conclusion, there appears to be enough evidence that supports the link between brain health and taking multivitamins.
You may upset your stomach if you take a multivitamin every day
While your stomach is a pretty strong organ, sometimes you can become nauseated when you take a multivitamin every day, says registered dietitian Amanda A. Kostro Miller. "Not everyone will be affected by taking a multivitamin on an empty stomach," she explained to The List. "However, if you do suffer from nausea when taking a multivitamin on an empty stomach, try taking it with a meal." She added that you can also take your multivitamin in the afternoon instead of the morning, after you’ve been up for a while and eaten several meals.
Additionally, if you have pre-existing stomach issues, you might find yourself struggling with heartburn thanks to your vitamin, cautions Kostro Miller. "If you have GERD and/or too much stomach acid, making your stomach work on a vitamin without any other food can give you heartburn and other GERD symptoms," she continued. So once again, take it after you’ve eaten.
If you notice any disturbance in your gut because of your multivitamin, Kostro Miller suggests taking gummies or powder instead of a pill.
You may get too many fat-soluble vitamins if you take a multivitamin every day
For as much as taking a multivitamin every day can benefit you, it’s important to be aware that there can be some drawbacks as well, as it helps to know what happens to your body when you take too many vitamins. Most notably, you should be aware of how much you’re ingesting, as noted by registered dietitian Trista Best. "You might get too much fat-soluble vitamins if you are taking them in individual supplement forms as well," she told The List. "Fat-soluble vitamins are unlike water-soluble vitamins in that they can be potentially toxic by being stored in the body rather than expelled through the urine." That’s unlike something like vitamin C, for example, which is usually flushed out if you take too much of it, according to Healthline. Though, it is worth noting that ingesting too much vitamin C could lead to other issues, such as kidney stones.
But don’t worry too much about vitamin overdoses if you’re only taking a multivitamin, says Best. "This is a rare occurrence, unless you are taking A, D, E, or K in a separate supplement form as well," she continued. So if you’re just taking a single multivitamin, you probably don’t have anything to worry about. Still, if you’re concerned, speak with your doctor.
If you take a multivitamin every day, it won’t magically make you healthy
Congratulations. If you already take a multivitamin every day, it’s clear that you’re doing so because you want to improve your health. That’s all well and good, says pharmacist Dr. Leslie Helou, as long as you’re putting in the rest of the work as well. "It’s important to understand that for a multivitamin to do its job, it can’t be the only healthy choice you make that day," she shared with The List. "You should consider how your diet, exercise, and lifestyle choices play a role in your overall health." Certainly slacking on any of those fronts can have some real consequences.
So in order to maximize the benefits, think of your multivitamin as just another tool in your arsenal against disease and distress, says Helou. "When you add in healthy behaviors such as reducing stress, sleeping for seven to nine hours a night, eating nutrient-rich foods and exercising, it can enhance the body’s response to the vitamins you’re taking," she continued.
Talk to your doctor before you take a multivitamin every day
One of the nice things about multivitamins is that manufacturers often state on the label who their product is for, allowing you to select the best possible pill for your needs. "You can find all sorts of multivitamins that cater to certain ages, life stages, and genders, and this can be helpful," registered dietitian Amanda A. Kostro Miller explained to The List. That way you’re likely to get the specific nutrients that you need for your body. Wondering if you should even take a supplement? Turns out there are some weird signs to watch out for that suggest you should take a multivitamin.
But before you decide to take a multivitamin every day, you may want to get clearance first, says Kostro Miller. "Above all, make sure you talk to your doctor before choosing a multivitamin," she continued. "Because there may be certain instances where taking a multivitamin can lead to toxicity in some people (dependent on other supplements/medications you take)." So check in with your doctor or healthcare professional to find out what’s best for you.