Nearly half of adults in the U.S. and 70 percent of those 65 and older take vitamins regularly, but is this truly a necessity?[*] We’ll be answering that question in this article, but first, let’s cover some basics.
What Is a Vitamin Supplement?
The foods you eat contain an array of vitamins and minerals that your body uses for various metabolic processes. The vitamins and minerals in supplements are synthesized to the exact chemical composition of naturally-occurring vitamins and minerals.
There are several different types of vitamin supplements:
- Supplements that contain individual nutrients, such as vitamin B12 or vitamin D.
- Multivitamins, which contain 100% of the Daily Value (DV) of at least two-thirds of the required vitamins and minerals for a given life stage.
- Supplements that contain a mix of vitamins and minerals tailored to specific health conditions or goals. For example, MaculaSight is a supplement that contains a mix of vitamins and minerals that supports vision and may reduce the risk of macular degeneration.
Should You Take Vitamins?
Just because vitamins contain the exact chemical composition as foods doesn’t mean you should forgo food and only take vitamins. Food provides calories and complex packages of nutrients that synergistically support your body.
That being said, taking vitamins on top of your regular diet is beneficial for many people. Research shows that consistent vitamin use is a safe, cost-effective way to protect against hidden micronutrient deficiencies that can sap your immunity, health, and long-term vitality.[*]
Who Might Benefit from Taking Vitamins?
Even if you eat a balanced diet and are perfectly healthy, taking vitamins is a safe way to ensure you get all the nutrients you need to help ward off health issues.
Taking vitamins becomes even more important if you’re struggling with a health issue or finding it difficult to eat a healthy diet.
Vitamins will not let you off the hook when it comes to eating a healthy diet and they’re not magic pills, but they do help fill in nutritional gaps, allowing your body to function optimally.