Do I Need to Take Dietary Supplements Every Day?

By: Gloria Tsang, RD

Last Updated on:

Do you need to take dietary supplements every day? “That depends,” according to a panel of scientists.

New Report on Multivitamin Use

A panel of 13 experts met in Bethesda, Maryland, to assess the evidence available on multivitamin / mineral use and outcomes for disease prevention. They focused on review of randomized controlled trials (RCT). RCTs are often considered the gold standard for evidence-based public policy formulation. Convened by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the panel released a draft statement on May 17, 2006.

Dietary supplements: Insufficient Evidence

Despite the widespread use of multivitamins, the panel found insufficient evidence to support a recommendation either for or against the use of multivitamins to prevent chronic diseases among healthy adults. However, the experts found evidence of use for specific single vitamin and/or mineral supplements and their combinations. Their findings are as follows:

The Bottom Line

As fortified foods are widely available nowadays, the panel cautioned that there is a risk of surpassing the upper tolerable level (UL) if people are taking a multivitamin or a single dietary supplement every day in addition to eating fortified foods. It is best to speak to your doctor or have a dietitian review your diet before taking dietary supplements.

Note: The NIH panel only reviewed evidence pertaining to the healthy adult population. Issues related to pregnant and lactating women, children or adults with chronic disease were not explored.

Health

minerals, multivitamins, supplements, vitamins

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