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Should you take a multivitamin?


Should you take a multivitamin?

Multivitamins have a reputation for being part of a regular, healthy routine. You’re supposed to drink plenty of water, exercise regularly and take your daily multivitamin, right?

An estimated one-third of U.S. adults take multivitamins, according to the National Institutes of Health. But the truth is, most people probably don’t need to.

“With a robust diet, we get most of what we need through what we eat,” says Dr. Elizabeth Dixon, a family medicine physician at Tidelands Health Family Medicine at Murrells Inlet.

Multivitamins usually contain a variety of supplements: calcium, iron, vitamin B-12, magnesium, vitamin D and zinc.

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But you should be able to get enough of these supplements by eating a well-rounded diet containing plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, beans and legumes and dairy.

There are no federal regulations about what nutrients a supplement must contain, which is one reason for caution if you’re considering a multivitamin. Additionally, some supplements may contain more than what doctors consider a tolerable daily upper limit.

As such, if you’re interested in taking a supplement, speak with your physician first.

Your doctor can help determine if and which supplements are necessary for your health. Always be sure to mention any specific concerns, such as fatigue, hair loss or other symptoms at your appointment.

“Unless your doctor has recommended something specific, you probably don’t need to be concerned with taking multivitamins or other supplements,” Dr. Dixon says. “Focus instead on a good diet and regular exercise — it’ll go a lot further than a daily supplement.”

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