Your mother may have drilled it into your head: Don’t forget to take your multivitamins. The claims highlighting the super powers of vitamins gave her good reason—boosting brain power, preventing heart disease, and reducing your cancer risk, among others.
But does science back up these claims? Unfortunately, no. Although a multivitamin probably won’t do your body harm, it doesn’t possess the super power qualities you may have believed to be true.
Multiple studies funded by the National Institutes of Health examined the effects of long-term multivitamin use on cognitive function, heart disease risk, and prevalence of cancer. Study participants were given either a multivitamin or placebo for a specified period of time between three years and eight years. Each of the studies examined the multivitamin’s effect on heart disease, cancer, or cognitive function. In the three separate studies, no significant improvements were found between the multivitamin and placebo groups.
The bottom line: You’re better off getting your vitamins from food sources like fruits and vegetables as opposed to popping a multivitamin long term. If you’re following a healthy diet, it should be easy for you to get the recommended daily amounts of essential vitamins. Give your diet a healthy boost with the following vitamins:
Vitamin C: Vitamin C is essential for proper functioning of the immune system and aids in the growth and repair of tissues. It also helps prevent aging, inflammation, and chronic disease. Get your healthy dose from citrus fruits, tomatoes, peppers, broccoli, and leafy green vegetables.
Beta Carotene: Beta carotene is converted to vitamin A, which aids your vision, bone health and immune system. Multiple studies show beta carotene may help prevent certain cancers. Orange vegetables like carrots, sweet potatoes and green leafy vegetables pack in the most beta carotene.
Vitamin B: Low-fat and non-fat milk and milk products, lean poultry, and fish and seafood are all good sources. of vitamin B12, which gives your body energy by helping your blood cells function.
Vitamin D: Your daily dose of vitamin D, which builds health bones, will be easier to get from the sun come spring. But you can get a healthy amount from food too! Low-fat milk and cheese, liver, egg yolks, and saltwater fish are excellent sources. Don’t skimp on this vitamin. Vitamin D deficiency is linked to diabetes, certain kinds of cancer, autoimmune diseases, cardiovascular diseases, and joint pain.