You may take a multivitamin every day but do you know what taking a multivitamin every day does to your body? "One third of adults and half of the population aging more than 55 years report taking at least one supplement per day," according to a study published in the Advanced Pharmaceutical Bulletin. Find out more about what taking multivitamin every day could do to your body before you continue with your supplement regimen. As always, consult with your doctor about multivitamins, supplements, and medications. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You Had COVID and Didn't Know It.
Multivitamins Could Prevent Vitamin Deficiencies
"Taking a multivitamin may increase daily quality of life through increased energy, often from the B vitamin combinations, along with other protective measures," says Dr. Danielle Plummer, PharmD. However, "It's important to choose a vitamin that has the nutrients in which you are deficient and meets your nutritional needs," she warns.
Multivitamins May Counteract Prescription Medication
"Some dietary supplements may increase the effect of your medication, and other dietary supplements may decrease it," says Robert Mozersky from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)."You may be getting either too much or too little of a medication you need," he warns.
Overdosing on Multivitamins Can Lead to Strokes
"Most vitamins are water soluble with Vitamins A, D, E and K being fat soluble. Taking too much of a fat soluble vitamin can be dangerous. Vitamin A and E are known to be dangerous at high levels," says Dr. Plummer.
Getting too much Vitamin E or beta carotene in particular may be extremely dangerous. "Vitamin E (dl-alpha tocopherol) supplementation increased the incidence and mortality due to subarachnoid hemorrhage…whereas beta carotene supplementation increased the incidence of intracerebral hemorrhage," according to a study from JAMA Neurology.
Multivitamins Can Cause You to Eat an Unhealthy Diet
When you take a multivitamin every day, you may get the false sense of security that you're healthy and don't need to focus on your diet.
"The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, the leading nutritional and dietary information for the general public, does not have a recommendation for taking a daily multivitamin. Why? Because the guidelines focus on healthy eating patterns," says Michelle Zive, RD, Ph.D., and co-author of the NASM-CNC.
Overdosing on Multivitamins May Affect Your Blood Sugar Levels
Gummy and chewable vitamins have become all the rage, even with adults. However, it's important to "use caution taking chewables if you are diabetic," according to Dr. Plummer. These vitamins usually contain added sugar or other unhealthy fillers.
"Look at filler ingredients if you have food sensitivities, allergies or other dietary requirements. For example, if you are gluten free, vegan or Kosher, make sure it says this on the label," she warns.
Overdosing on Multivitamins Can Lead to Nerve Damage
Too much Vitamin B6 can lead to toxicity, which may cause nerve damage. Supplementation is usually to blame for an overdose of B6.
"All cases of vitamin B6 toxicity are from supratherapeutic dosing, either iatrogenic or laypersons self-treating with over-the-counter supplements. Daily dietary intake will not provide enough pyridoxine to cause toxicity," according to a study from StatPearls.
"Take a look at other supplements you're taking and what nutrients they contain. This is to ensure that you're not overdosing on any vitamin or mineral," says Amy Gorin, MS, RDN, "If you are taking another supplement that contains vitamins or minerals, it may be best to hand pick your supplements and forgo the multivitamin in that case."
Overdosing on Multivitamins Can Lead to Kidney Stones
Before choosing a supplement, it's crucial to check the dose, especially if it's calcium or vitamin D. "Vitamin D, and especially its active metabolite calcitriol, increases digestive calcium absorption—as urinary calcium excretion is directly correlated with digestive calcium absorption, vitamin D metabolites could theoretically increase calciuria and promote urinary stone formation," according to a study published in Nutrients.
"Since our bodies can only absorb about 500 mg of calcium in a dose, if a vitamin offers more than this, you will not get the added benefit. In this case, choose a vitamin with 500 mg per tablet that is taken twice daily," says Dr. Plummer.
Multivitamins Could Make You Feel Healthier Than You Are
"Supplements are never a substitute for a balanced, healthful diet," says Dr. JoAnn Manson in an interview with Harvard Health. "And they can be a distraction from healthy lifestyle practices that confer much greater benefits." As for yourself, protect yourself during this COVID-19 outbreak: Wear a face mask, practice social distancing, and to get through life at your healthiest, don't miss: This Supplement Can Raise Your Cancer Risk, Experts Say.