On Multivitamins

My diet is largely composed of junk food. I eat out four times out of five, probably more. And while I try to keep an eye on just how much of what I eat is crap, it’s clear to me that I don’t eat nearly enough of some important things.

So for years now, I’ve taken a daily multitamin, with the vague hope that it’ll bridge the gap between the redneck diet I’m on and the healthy ideal.

I read a bit this morning about multivitamins and how to effectively meet your needs for a healthy diet, and I’d like to share a few things:

1. A healthy diet is better than an unhealthy diet supplemented by multivitamins.
Although nothing I can find is very clear on why this is true, it appears to be the empirical consensus. Lots of people out there are very skeptical about the benefits of vitamin supplements, especially for those with already-healthy diets.

2. Don’t take more than one multivitamin tablet per day.
There’s a reason they say “100% Daily Value.” High doses of certain vitamins and minerals can interfere with the absorption of others, and very high doses of certain elements of a multivitamin can be toxic.

3. Take a separate calcium supplement.
Because calcium is bulky, multivitamins tend not to include more than a small amount of it. As such, an additional calcium supplement is recommended, to boost intake to 1,000 milligrams a day.

4. Side effects include…
…an upset stomach or an icky taste in your mouth. I haven’t noticed much of this, myself.