Should I take a daily vitamin?

In an ideal world, everyone would get all the vitamins and minerals they need through the food they eat. Unfortunately, not everyone eats a truly healthy diet and may be missing out on some important vitamins, which is why many turn to a daily vitamin to fill in the gaps. As we age, our bodies may have different vitamin needs and some might become deficient in certain nutrients. Seniors often take supplemental vitamins to stay healthy and reduce the risk of developing chronic conditions and illnesses.

Senior nutrition
Deciding whether or not to take a daily vitamin or multivitamin will depend on your current diet. If you eat a healthy diet that is rich in fruits, vegetables and omega-3s, there might not be any need for you to take additional vitamins, since you are getting enough from the food you consume. If you get regular exercise and eat a healthy diet, you should not start taking a daily vitamin unless directed by your doctor.


Health benefits of vitamins
Studies have gone back and forth over the health benefits of taking a daily vitamin. However, the decision to take vitamins depends on what is right for the individual. For example, some seniors may need to take calcium supplements to support their bones, but others may never need to. Experts have measured the impact that vitamins have on reducing the risk of developing certain conditions, including heart disease, diabetes and other chronic illnesses. According to Harvard Medical School, taking supplemental folic acid can reduce the risks of developing heart disease, colon cancer and breast cancer.

As with most things, too many vitamins can be harmful and have an adverse effect on health. If you consume too much vitamin D, you could be doing more harm than good. If you decide to take a daily vitamin, be sure to follow the recommended dosage.

There can also be some potential dangers if you are taking a daily vitamin and prescription medications, as these could have an adverse effect when combined. Drug and vitamin interactions could be very harmful if you don’t know how they will affect each other. To avoid any negative reactions, be sure to ask a doctor about medications you are taking and what actions you should take to avoid harm.

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Pete Blasi