T Nation

How Important Are Multis?


#1

I eat a pretty healthy diet, HEAPS of veggies with every meal, flaxseed, avocado, sweet potato, broccoli, greens, yogurt, blueberries blah blah blah the works.

So... I'm wondering if I'm so eating so much of all these nutrient packed stuff, do I really need to waste money on Multivitamins? I've heard as well that too much vitamin A can be bad and I eat heaps of sweet potato, plus I'm sure I get enough vitamin C from oranges. As for the rest, I'm pretty sure my diet covers them all.


#2

Im no expert but Ive heard/read that due to over-farming and various other reasons the soil used today has much less nutrients than even 20-30 years ago. This means crops that have less vits and minerals.

What I do is buy a good strong multi but only take half a day.


#3

I work as a personal trainer at 24 hour fitness and I know they have a line of multivitamins (APEX is the company) engineered precisely for people with your dilemma. They have different categories of multi's based on an individual's diet. They have multi's for vegetarians, people who consume alot of protein, as well as a multi for balanced diet individuals.

In any case, you should still take a multi as some nutrients are lost in the digestive process as well as when you cook the foods. I know the stigma attached to corporate gyms such as 24 hour fitness (sometimes it sucks being a peon in such a big corp!), but I know for a fact that APEX is totally legit when it comes to research and effectiveness. They are one of a very few number of PHARMACEUTICAL companies that ALSO produces supplements and in doing so are regulated by the FDA. So whatever it says on the label is what you get and at pharmaceutical grade quality. I personally love APEX supplements although I am a huge fan of Biotest. Why doesn't Biotest make a multivitamin?


#4

I figure a multi is like insurance- most of the time you don't need it, but it is still a good thing to have just in case.
If you have a balanced diet, taking or not taking them is not going to have a dramatic, or even noticable effect. It takes a long time to develope a vitamin defeciency. If you have the right levels, you really won't notice it, you'll just feel normal.
As far as overdosing, well I figure that is something you have to work for, not a concern for the average person. Unless you have a sensitivity to a certain vit/mineral, or if you sit around eating oranges and flintstone vitamins all day, it probally won't affect you.
One last thing to keep in mind; Last time I checked, the USDA is designed along the guidelines of a non-active person with a 2000 calorie diet. Those numbers are way off for somebody who trains. A decent vitamin will may cost less than $20 USD a month, so my biggest question is why not take one?


#5

Thanks guys for the advice, I guess I'll keep up the multi supplementation. I just recently saw a docommentary where some people got screwed up from taking too much vitamins, so it just got me thinking.


#6

"people got screwed up from taking too much vitamins,"

Possible but overall about as likely as being harmed by too much protein. Ya ya you can take too much preformed vit A. Vit D--they now think optimal is more like 800-1000 IU, but toxicity is possible with much larger amouts. Anyway a few specific harmful possibilities, but much more likely to be helpful.


#7

I take them, but I wonder how much of them I'm just pissing away.

I'd like to think that I'm at least absorbing some, but who knows?


#8

Too much vitamins/minerals are just as bad as too little. Contrary to current dogma people don't just piss out the excess. Multi's aren't an insurance policy, it's gambling. Not everyone has the same deficiencies/excesses, therefore everyone shouldn't be taking a generic multi.


#9

Dude, "the dogma" is as simple as whether the specific vitamin is water or fat solable. If it's water solable (like Vitamin C), it's not likely to be toxic. Moreover, you'd have to take more than a few in order for it to be a gamble (Vitamin A is one of the more toxic, but most multivitamins contain it in its Beta Carotene form). A generic multi is probably fine unless you have a really strange diet.