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To B, or not to B?

Is it necessary to take a daily multivitamin?

For many people, the simple answer is: yes, probably.

Ideally, a varied diet will provide sufficient nutrition for you to be healthy and well. This should incorporate plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, wholegrains, nut and vegetable oils, fresh fish and organic meats. Nutritional intake goes hand-in-hand with digestive capacity – the body’s ability to absorb and utilise all the nutrients in the food you consume.

If, however, your diet is lacking in some or all of the above; or you have less-than-excellent digestion – with symptoms of reflux, bloating, gas, etc – then it’s likely you aren’t getting what you need out of the food you eat. In which case, a multivitamin supplement can help to fill the gaps while you get back on track.

A general multivitamin will usually contain significant doses of  B-vitamins and low (but synergistic) amounts of other important vitamins and minerals such as C, zinc, calcium and magnesium. The B-vitamins are necessary for energy metabolism and act as fundamental co-factors in a number of biochemical processes. Not having enough can result in fatigue, anaemia, depression, low immune function… the list goes on.

It is important to choose a good quality supplement, so that your body can effectively absorb the pills you’re popping. Otherwise, why would you bother!? For that reason, rather than grabbing something off the shelf, talk to your naturopath / nutritionist / pharmacist and/or doctor about what they would recommend for you.

Depending on your situation, other supplements might be particularly useful in boosting health and vitality. Again, this is something you’re best off talking to a professional about; that way you can avoid spending unnecessarily on supplements you may not need, and take just what is suited to you.

When it comes down to it, eating well every day is the basis for optimal health. Unfortunately, most of us fall off the wagon on occasion (some more regularly than others!) so we need to know what we can do to minimise the damage.

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About Kathleen Murphy

Australian naturopath and freelance writer, based in Sydney. I love working with people from all walks of life, helping them institute changes that can become life-long health habits. I can be found at Uclinic | 421 Bourke Street, Surry Hills | Ph: 02 9332 0400 |

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