Q: I want to start taking a multivitamin to help pick up where my nutrition leaves off. How do I know what kind to get?
A: The first question I have to ask is why you are not getting all the nutrients you need in your diet? Obtaining nutrients through food is better than taking a supplement BY FAR. Nutrition is about the complex interaction of the components of the food we eat, and there is little evidence that taking individual micronutrients in the form of vitamin pills has any added benefit.
In fact, a recent study in the Archives of Internal Medicine followed over 60,000 women for eight years and concluded that supplements had no effect on the risk for breast cancer, colorectal cancer, lung cancer, ovarian cancer, heart attack, stroke, blood clots, or overall mortality.
Unless you have a documented deficiency (calcium, Vitamin D, iron and Vitamin B are the most common), you are likely wasting your money on supplements.
Dr. Brent Ridge is the health expert for Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia. You can call and ask him a question live every Tuesday at 2 p.m. Eastern on Sirius Satellite Radio, Channel 112 (1.866.675.6675). You can also follow along as he learns to grow his own food and raise goats on his farm in upstate New York by visiting www.beekman1802.com.
Got a health question for Dr. Brent? E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.