JOPLIN, MO-- Nearly 50% of Americans take a daily multivitamin. But just popping a pill doesn't ensure great health.
"Most of us can't eat perfectly all the time. So if we don't have medical conditions like hypertension, diabetes or kidney disease, then taking a multivitamin can help fill in the gaps that our diet misses." Freeman Clinical Dietician Kristen Woodruff says what a patient needs in a vitamin depends on their age and sex. Younger women should look for a supplement with extra iron. "For post menopausal women, we tend to have higher requirements for calcium and vitamin D because we have bone loss."
Supplements designed for men focus on other vitamins and minerals. "Might give them a little extra B12. Or a little extra magnesium wouldn't hurt. A lot of the multi vitamins marketed towards men have anti-oxidants in the minerals, specifically lycopene and selenium." Woodruff adds that it's always a good idea to consult your doctor before starting a new supplement. "A lot of us have other medical conditions so an over the counter generic multi vitamin might not be a good idea for some of us because of the medical condition that we have. Or might not be adequate. Or might give us too much of something and not enough of another nutrient."