Do I Need to Take Dietary Supplements Every Day?

Written By: Gloria Tsang, RD

Title: Founding Registered Dietitian

Alumni: University of British Columbia

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.


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