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Do You Really Need a Multivitamin Supplement?

We're all getting older, but that doesn't mean we have to age prematurely or "feel" older. Who wouldn't like to be healthier, feel better or look younger? The rapid growth of this free e-newsletter is one answer to that question, as we provide expert insights in all six practical areas of true whole health:

  • Physical Health, which includes the common areas that many people currently think of when they think of "getting healthy:" nutrition, exercise and emotional health

  • Personal Safety, which is key to preventive health ... you don't want to invest your time and efforts in eating right and exercising only to get injured or worse by some accident or crime that could have been avoided

  • Financial Health: Stress is a leading cause of disease, and financial distress is the leading cause of stress. Though many people don't think of it as such yet, smart money management is key to health.

  • Relationship Health: We are social beings, and quite simply the relationships we have with loved ones, friends and peers are absolutely crucial to the length and quality of our lives.

  • Career Health: Most people spend a significant part of each day - and their lives - invested in their careers. The level of fulfillment, stress, etc. in your career is obviously going to have a direct impact on your health, your immunity to disease, etc.

  • Home/Environmental Health: What goes into your body has the most immediate impact on your health, and NO "food" goes into your body more than the air you breathe (and second to that, the water you drink.) Pollution - especially inside homes and buildings - is one of the fastest growing and most threatening health issues facing all of us ... especially because it doesn't get the mass media spotlight that diet does!

Pervading all of these practical areas is the necessity of spiritual health, which you'll also find articles on in the e-newletter. But while we have experienced strong growth providing insights and proven tools and solutions in all of these areas, one area in the "healthcare" continues to experience far stronger growth ... people's desire to take the easy road and "pop pills" in the hope of overcoming disease and achieving health.

This is certainly true with pharmaceuticals, which as readers of this newsletter are well aware are mostly mere treatments that far too many have been conned (via over $3 billion in consumer advertising, for example) into perceiving as "cures."


Dietary supplements bring in $6.6 billion every year in the United States. Take the quiz below to see if a multivitamin supplement could benefit you.

But it is also the case with most supplements, which many people have dangerously made the "heart" of their preventive healthcare regime while ignoring the more key measures in the areas noted above (and covered in this newsletter).

In short, many people seem to be forgetting the definition of "supplement," and are using them as their "core" instead. Even worse, they are doing so blindly, without knowing which brands truly live up to their claims and which are worthless -- and sadly, many brands are worthless, or close to it, as unscrupulous manufacturers know the supplement industry is a cash windfall right now.

(It is one of our primary missions to, via analysis through our wide range of expert contacts in business, government and academia, offer you only the best in all products/services that can truly help your safety and wellness bottom line, including supplements ... more on that below).

Right now, dietary supplements in the United States alone are a $6.6 billion industry, and it continues to grow rapidly. The number one supplement? By a long-shot, multivitamins. Which of course begs the question ...

Are Multivitamins Worth It?

Are multivitamins, those supplements that claim to include most every nutrient in a convenient, easy-to-swallow pill, really necessary? Says Lynn Laboranti, a registered dietitian and continuing education specialist, the answer is likely YES. But as you'll read the quality of the multivitamin makes all the difference.

"Our bodies cannot absorb all the nutrients found in the foods we eat, so a daily multivitamin is much like a nutritional insurance policy; it ensures the recommended daily allowance (RDA) for specific vitamins and minerals are obtained. This is important because according to the most recent Healthy Eating Index survey conducted by the USDA, most Americans do not eat a healthy balanced diet on a daily basis," she says.

And according to the National Institutes of Health, "Multivitamins are prescribed for patients who need extra vitamins, who cannot eat enough food to obtain the required vitamins, or who cannot receive the full benefit of the vitamins contained in the food they eat."

So Who Needs These "Extra" Vitamins?


Even if you eat plenty of calories, if you're not eating fruits and vegetables then your body may be lacking crucial nutrients

Millions of Americans who eat the Standard American Diet (SAD) are not getting the vitamins and minerals they need to stay healthy. They're certainly taking in enough calories-that's evidenced by the obesity epidemic facing the nation-but it's the quality of those calories that are important. You can eat all day long and still be vitamin-deficient if you haven't chosen your foods wisely. For instance, do you:

  • Eat fast food often?

  • Rarely eat fresh vegetables and fruit?

  • Rely on quick, processed foods and snacks?

  • Fill up on soda or other sweet beverages?

  • Feel you're not eating a nutritious diet?

If so, you're likely in need of some "extra" vitamins (though they're not really "extra" in the event your body is deficient in them, they're what's required to keep you healthy!).

Poor nutrition is nothing to scoff at. It's associated with a host of diseases like cancer, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, liver and kidney disease and osteoporosis. Those who eat poorly, nutritiously speaking, either by choice or because circumstances demand it, should consider adding a multivitamin to their diets.

The following groups of people could also benefit from adding vitamins and minerals to their diets, says Joan Pleuss, RD, MS, CDE, CD, bionutrition research manager at the Medical College of Wisconsin's General Clinical Research Center:

  • Women of childbearing age

  • People aged 50 and over

  • People on special diets

  • Those with a poor appetite

  • People on extreme weight-loss regimens

  • Smokers

  • Anyone who drinks alcohol excessively

Which Type of Multivitamin is Best?

Just walking down the supplement aisle in a grocery store is overwhelming, but if you venture into health food or specialty stores, the vitamin choices are enough to make anyone's head spin.

There are literally thousands of multivitamin brands making every claim under the sun. This includes all the "unknowns" as well as well-known brands. General Mills, for example, just released Wheaties Multivitamins and Total Multivitamins, made by Leiner Health Products, which feature the brand names of two of their well-known cereals. Most people have heard of (and maybe even fondly remember the taste of) the popular children's multivitamins, Bugs Bunny or The Flinstones. But are any brands really better than others?

"There is a tendency for the supplement industry to sell what people will buy," says Kelly Brownell, director of the Yale Center for Eating and Weight Disorders. "They base sales decisions more on market potential than health benefits."

So when it comes to choosing a multivitamin for yourself and your family, you must be on the lookout for a quality product. As noted above, is committed to researching and, via our extensive access to leading experts, finding and offering only products of the highest quality that really do what they claim they do.

Right now, we are in the process of reviewing a range of multivitamins (and other supplements), so we encourage you to stay tuned to the free e-newsletter for those findings and recommendations.

Think You Might Need a Multivitamin? Take This Test to Find Out Now!

The following quiz, adapted from the American Dietetic Association, will help you determine if a multivitamin supplement is right for you.

On most days do you:

1. Eat 6 to 11 servings of whole grains (bread, cereal, pasta, and rice)? One serving equals 1 slice of bread, 1/2 c. rice or pasta, 1 oz. dry cereal, 1/2 bagel or english muffin.

If your answer is yes, give yourself 3 points. If your answer is no, give yourself 0 points.

2. Eat at least 2 servings of fruit? One serving equals 1/2 c. chopped or canned fruit,1/2 c. fruit juice, 1 med. piece of fresh fruit.

Yes= 3 points
No= 0 points

3. Eat at least 3 servings of vegetables a day? One serving equals 1/2 c. cooked, 1 c. raw, leafy vegetables, 1/2 c. vegetable juice.

Yes= 3 points
No= 0 points

4. Generally eat the same foods every day?

Yes= 0 points
No= 3 points

5. Eat 2 or more servings of dairy foods a day? One serving equals 1 c. milk or yogurt, 1 1/2 oz. natural cheese, 2 oz. processed cheese.

Yes= 3 points
No= 0 points

6. Eat 2 to 3 servings of lean meat, poultry, fish, dry beans, eggs, or nuts each day? One serving equals 3 oz. cooked meat, poultry, or fish, one egg, 1/2 c. cooked beans, 2 T. peanut butter.

Yes= 3 points
No= 0 points

7. Frequently skip meals or miss out on one or more food groups for the entire day?

Yes= 0 points
No= 3 points

Now add up all of your points. If you scored:

15 points or more: You know how to make wise food choices and get the variety of foods important for a healthy eating plan.

9-12 points: You could be getting more nutrients by fine-tuning your food choices. Try to add the servings of foods that you are missing.

0-6 points: By making changes you will be able to gradually improve your eating pattern. While food is the best way to obtain vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients, you may benefit from a multivitamin/mineral supplement.

Similar to our list earlier in the article, the American Dietetic Association says other people who may benefit from a multivitamin/mineral supplement are:

  • People who lead a hectic lifestyle and cannot eat according to the food guide pyramid.

  • People on a very low-calorie, weight-loss diet.

  • Those who are elderly and not eating as well as they used to.

  • Strict vegetarians.

  • Those who can't drink milk or eat other dairy foods.

  • Women of childbearing age who don't get enough folate in their diets.


U.S. National Library of Medicine: Multivitamins

Medical College of Wisconsin HealthLink

USA Today March 2, 2005

Making Sense of Multivitamins

Vitamin and Mineral Supplements: Who Needs Them?

To get more information about this and other highly important topics, sign up for your free subscription to our weekly "Be Safe, Live Long & Prosper" e-newsletter.

With every issue of the free newsletter, you’ll get access to the insights, products, services, and more that can truly improve your well-being, peace of mind, and therefore your life!

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