Multi-vitamin supplements: Do you really need it?

One of the questions that we are all constantly asked by people is – are multi-vitamin supplements really good for us or are they just overrated?

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There is no right or wrong answer to this question, to be honest, so I decided to list out these common lifestyle reasons that shows us missing out on valuable nutrients:

  1. Many of us tend to overcook food, either by using too much oil or by reducing vegetables to a pulp, which is then over-seasoned
  2. Increased consumption of processed and packaged foods
  3. Erratic eating patterns or skipping of meals; or eating meals while stressed or multi-tasking, which means you are not chewing the food enough to break it down.
Carlyne Remedios, Group Manager – Clinical Practices, Nutrition & Product Development
Carlyne Remedios, Group Manager – Clinical Practices, Nutrition & Product Development

Other reasons that necessitate the use of multi-vitamins are:

  1. Prolonged use of certain medications which interfere with absorption of vitamins and minerals
  2. Puberty, pregnancy, lactation and menopause
  3. Certain health conditions such as arthritis, cholesterol
  4. Increased environmental pollution that increases our body’s need for antioxidants
  5. Increased exercise and physical activity that require additional supplementation to prevent muscle loss
  6. Certain procedures and surgeries that involve the digestive tract

If you fall into the first category, the best thing to do would be to make healthy adjustments in your daily life before you pop a supplement:

  1. Switch to healthier fats such as cold-pressed oils and fresh ghee.
  2. Steam vegetables and start roasting/grilling meat and fish, rather than frying.
  3. Cut down on your seasonings, and keep them to a bare minimum.
  4. Make mealtimes sacred – no phones, no multi-tasking.
  5. Take lunch from home, along with a small snack to cut down on eating greasy take-out.
  6. Add fresh raw salads and vegetable juices to your diet. Every Indian city now has several options for you to order healthy salads and juices from. Keep them on speed dial.

As you make these changes, consult your doctor before you start multi-vitamins. Do not self-medicate.