Is a multivitamin worth it? The short answer is yes.
But the one you're using right now may not really be benefiting you as much as you think and can actually be quite dangerous.
"Multivitamins just make really expensive pee."
Have you ever experienced bright yellow urine shortly after taking your daily multivitamin? This bright color indicates unabsorbed nutrients that are being excreted by the kidneys. It results from taking in more vitamins than your body can naturally absorb.
So this begs the question: are multivitamins just a waste of money?
let's cut through the noise and break it down into easy to absorb chunks:
- Why are multivitamins important?
- How do multivitamins reduce common nutrient deficiencies in men and women?
- Are all multivitamins beneficial? Can some be dangerous?
- Choosing the right multivitamin.
Why Vitamins Are Important
Okay, so let’s test your nutritional adequacy…
- Do you eat at least 6 servings of vegetables and fruits daily? (½ cup of raw veggies, 1 cup of leafy greens or 1 cup cooked is the equivalent of 1 serving, while 1 serving of fruit is equivalent to one medium fruit, such as an apple, or ½ cup chopped)
- Do you eat a variety of colors every week? To promote optimum health, your body requires a variety of fruits and vegetables that contain multiple phyto (plant) nutrients. Think about eating the rainbow - red peppers, green spinach, yellow squash, sweet potato).
- What about essential vitamins and minerals? Calcium, potassium and iron are nutrients that are often deficient in many populations and require adequate intake from foods such as dairy, almonds, seafood, bananas, leafy greens, beans, meats and poultry.
Of course it’s not always easy eating this way. Daily stressors such as travel, work and social commitments, coupled with environmental pollution and foods that are grown in nutrient-deficient soil, can lead to imperfect diets and poor nutrient absorption. When we consider all of these factors, we begin to see how nutrient deficiencies occur. This becomes even more important when you’re eating a certain diet (vegan, vegetarian, keto), which can be short of key vitamins and minerals and can ultimately impact your health and performance.
It’s no wonder why people are grabbing their nearest multivitamin for a little bit of nutritional insurance.
How Do Multivitamins Reduce Common Nutrient Deficiencies?
Dietitians, nutritionists and naturopaths often look to discover potential nutrient deficiencies found in their client’s diets, blood tests or symptoms.
As a dietitian, I am often asked “will a general multivitamin cover my bases?”
Before I answer this question, I like to nail down the following specifics:
- What is the clients desired outcome?
- What time of day might they benefit from a supplement?
- What symptoms is the client experiencing?
As men age, they may experience general fatigue, poor immune function, low sex drive, poor workout recovery and increased risk of cancers such as prostate. Choosing the best multivitamin for men means incorporating one with high quality sources of zinc, selenium, vitamin D, vitamin A, B12, calcium and magnesium.
For women, it is important to focus on nutrients that assist with hormone balance, maintaining strong bones, reducing symptoms of anemia such as fatigue, promoting fat loss, and supporting pregnancy and lactation.
That’s a lot to digest, and we haven’t even spoken about the impact vitamins, minerals and proper supplementation have on overall performance…
Are All Multivitamins Beneficial? Can Some Be Dangerous?
It may be easy to understand why a vitamin supplement is beneficial. But what’s not easy is cutting through the noise, confusion, and sub-par competition.
Here are a things to consider:
- The tablet form of your mutlivitamin may be hard for your body to fully break down, leaving some nutrients unabsorbed.
- Synthetic nutrition has been shown to be less effective at being utilized by the body, because the body does not recognize them as a natural substance that it can utilize.
- And finally, some sub-par vitamins may maintain fillers that are not only useless to your goals, but can be toxic to your gut health..
As well as flushing money down the toilet, vitamin supplements can actually be dangerous to your body. To reduce the cost, companies often use these synthetic versions of the vitamins and minerals, and compensate with lower quality ingredients by increasing the dosage, which means an increased risk of toxicity.
By now you are likely asking yourself who you can trust, and what to look for. To find that answer, let’s look beyond a multivitamin.
Choosing the Right Product
It’s time to look beyond the days of the multivitamin.
It’s time to find a product that delivers more benefits, higher quality ingredients and are sourced from whole foods.
If a dietitian developed the ultimate product, it wouldn’t just be a multivitamin. It would contain green superfoods, digestive enzymes, prebiotics, probiotics and more to balance any diet and lifestyle.
Let’s start with having more than the basic. Let’s incorporate those hard to find superfoods and ingredients that aren’t always in season or readily available at the grocery store. We’re talking about superfoods such as wheat grass, spirulina, chlorella, ashwagandha, milk thistle, that make a high performing product.
Now let’s cover a product that’s outside of the pill form, making it a source of hydration. And let’s be honest, swallowing pills just feels uncomfortable – particularly when you’re choking down a huge horse pill, or worse, some “mega-vitamin” regimen that consists of 10-15 different sized and shaped pills, just to get all the nutrients you need.
All-in-one greens powders are gaining in popularity an becoming the product of choice for many health and nutrition experts as well as people simply looking to improve their overall wellness and performance. An all-in-one green powders offer a powerful alternative to multivitamins as they tend to approach health from a complete perspective. Instead of just providing the nutrients, the best all-in-ones also focus on absorption of nutrients, high quality ingredients, and gut health. The fact that it is taken in liquid form is a bonus in two ways. First, more hydration (and who doesn’t need that?), and second, the liquid form is more readily absorbed by your digestive tract. .
Consider this: Joe De Sena (founder of Spartan) not only grew up drinking greens drinks, drinks them religiously to this day, and considers it a non-negotiable to not get them into his kids.
You’re probably thinking, “ I know green powders taste like the trails on the spartan course.” That may be true for most and is often why companies try to improve the taste by adding in unnecessary sugar (just to make it bearable). Spartan’s know what’s up. They want a product without funny additives, high sugar content and that lack true superfoods from plant-based sources.
Spartan philosophy promotes eating real foods from whole sources, and keeping it simple. Spartans also push their body’s to optimize every day. Optimizing your nutrition happens with nutritional insurance, like that found in an all-in-one superfood powder bursting with lean green nutrition.
If the above sounds better than your current multivitamin or lack thereof, and your looking for optimal whole food sourced supplementation, you may want to try our new favorite greens drink.
It’s my (and Spartan’s) version of the ultimate multivitamin (except it is so much more). I take Athletic Greens everyday and don’t hesitate in recommending it to all my spartan and non-spartan clients…also, they’ve nailed the taste!
Spartan level training requires Spartan level nutrition. Joe De Sena says you need this to optimize performance.