Over the years, many experts have gone back and forth about the true benefits of multivitamins. While some espouse a quality multi as a much-needed nutritional back-up plan, others suggest a daily pill or gummy can’t make that much of a difference in the state of our health.
If this mixed conversation about multivitamins has kept you from taking one (or made you skeptical of your daily routine), a recent study confirms that multis do, in fact, deserve a permanent spot in your cupboard.
The Study: Multivitamins And Nutritional Adequacy
The researchers behind this study, published in the Journal of Dietary Supplements in August of 2019, set out to identify the impact of a daily multivitamin on the nutritional status of middle-aged and older adults. (‘Nutritional status’ refers to levels of various nutrients in the body, which are typically measured through blood tests.)
Why study older adults? Because our susceptibility to a few different nutritional deficiencies increases as we age, says Dr. Taylor Wallace, PhD, CFS, FACN, study co-author and adjunct professor at George Mason University’s Department of Nutrition and Food Studies.
The researchers measured middle-aged adults’ levels of a number of nutrients. Some participants took a daily multivitamin while others did not. The goal: to determine whether multivitamins really made a difference in nutrient status.
Why Nutritional Inadequacy Matters
What’s the big deal about a few nutritional deficiencies? “Vitamin D deficiency, for example, has been associated with osteoporosis,” says Wallace. In this condition, weakened bones increase your risk of falls and fractures, especially later in life.
Related: 7 Signs You’re Vitamin D Deficient
“B12, meanwhile, is important for cognition and neurological functioning (think nerves and muscles),” he adds.
And B6? Deficiency can lead to dermatitis (a condition involving irritated skin) and dry, cracked lips.
The Takeaway: Take Your Multi
“To me, this shows that a multivitamin truly is your nutritional insurance plan,” says Wallace. “From this data, we see that multivitamins improve biomarkers of certain nutrients.” These nutrients, then, help your body function optimally throughout every stage of life.
The bottom line: Yes, that multivitamin you take every day is actually doing something. If you already take a multi, keep it up. If not, it’s time to get on the bandwagon.
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