What kind of vitamins do you take?
February 18, 2010 8:53 PM   Subscribe

What kind of vitamins/supplements do you take and why? There is so much conflicting information out there that I am confused. Currently I take fish oil (brain function/memory), iron (slightly anemic), D (live in a place that lacks sun half the year), acidophilous (digestion), C (immune system), B complex (energy), and the occassional multi vitamin in case I am missing anything else. Wondering if there is anything else I should be taking...
posted by MsKim to Health & Fitness (44 answers total) 30 users marked this as a favorite
I take a daily multi, an non-fish oil omega supplement, and calcium if I'm lacking (usually I'm okay on the calcium front). I also occasionally take a fiber supplement per my doc's instructions, but would urge you to try to get enough fiber from your food.
posted by Aleen at 9:04 PM on February 18, 2010

I take prenatals because I'm trying to get pregnant, along with an extra B complex supplement because a March of Dimes study indicates that extra B vitamins + daily baby aspirin can be helpful for recurrent pregnancy loss. (I've had four early miscarriages, one live birth.) Along with those, I take vitamin D for the same reason you do, and fish oil because it was recommended by my optometrist of all people. I sometimes take probiotics when I have sass gut, but that's it. You sound pretty well covered to me; have you asked your doctor or nutritionist?
posted by KathrynT at 9:04 PM on February 18, 2010

None, because the information I've read suggests that it's unnecessary if you have a decently diverse diet, and the time and money I'd spend on vitamins can probably be put to better use.
posted by alexei at 9:14 PM on February 18, 2010 [7 favorites]

I've taken all kinds of vitamins and supplements, but I've slowly cut back to just these:

Daily, I take:
* a standard multivitamin (Centrum)
* fish oil (4 double strength capsules, throughout the day, I definitely noticed cognitive improvements after starting this)
* an Omega 6 supplement (1 capsule, for my dry/cracked skin, which cleared up soon after starting this)
* an extra 500mg vitamin C, twice a day, at a different times than my multivitamin (I feel better taking it throughout the day, and it's supposed to help prevent corneal haze after PRK surgery)
* 400 IU of vitamin D3 (a blood test showed me on the very low end of normal even with my multivitamin)
posted by cosmic.osmo at 9:18 PM on February 18, 2010 [1 favorite]

Pretty mainstream here. I take the following on a daily basis:
--D, because I never get any sun;
--fish oil, because there's a fair amount of research showing positive effects for various things;
--calcium, because I'm post-menopausal and wish to avoid osteoporosis;
--C, because what the hell, it might help the immune system and can't hurt;
--glucosamine/chondroitin, because they really seem to help my poor miserable arthritic old knees;
--and a medium-strength multivitamin, because my diet is frequently crappy.
posted by Kat Allison at 9:27 PM on February 18, 2010

The evidence for anything except vitamin D is sketchy at best. So far from there being anything else you should be taking, you're probably taking too much already.
posted by Justinian at 9:32 PM on February 18, 2010

The evidence for anything except vitamin D is sketchy at best. So far from there being anything else you should be taking, you're probably taking too much already.

The evidence for fish oils / omega-3 is actually pretty good in the appropriate context (e.g. heart disease), if I'm not mistaken.

That said, I personally eat well and don't take anything, but whether or not you should take supplements at least based on scientific evidence and not woo is a conversation you should have with your doctor following an assessment of your risk for various maladies potentially affected by such supplementation (again e.g. heart disease, osteoporosis, anemia, fetal problems, etc.).
posted by drpynchon at 9:55 PM on February 18, 2010 [1 favorite]

None except for flaxseed oil. I eat a lot of fresh food and am fully confident that eating a variety of different plants and some meat, eggs and dairy supplies everything. I live in New Zealand and vitamin D is totally not a worry. The flaxseed oil is because I have ethical issues with cold-water fish, and indeed fish oil, which might as well be made from cold-pressed pandas.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 10:01 PM on February 18, 2010 [1 favorite]

I take none on a daily basis because it is my belief that taking supplements is unhealthy and has more to do with psychological rather than physiological effects.
posted by whiskeyspider at 10:02 PM on February 18, 2010

C, because what the hell, it might help the immune system and can't hurt;

Unless you overdose.
posted by Jaltcoh at 10:03 PM on February 18, 2010

I take an ounce of a blueberry anti-oxidant multi-vitamin in the morning along along with a lysine pill. At night I take omega-3s from wild salmon with a special vitamin E. There's a third component that acts as a catalyst for the other two. It isn't cheap but I haven't been sick in almost a year and I work in elementary schools (i.e. I am exposed to more germs than the average monkey). Oh and I've got hip, knee and ankle problems that no longer give me trouble, that's a bonus.
posted by fenriq at 10:06 PM on February 18, 2010 [1 favorite]

The evidence for fish oils / omega-3 is actually pretty good in the appropriate context (e.g. heart disease), if I'm not mistaken.

I believe that's true but MsKim didn't say anything about heart disease and if she had I probably wouldn't have said anything at all since that would be above my pay grade. (i.e. 0)

For a general context I don't know of any supplements with good evidence behind them except, like I said, some evidence that vitamin D can help with certain things (lowering risk of developing MS, for example. Although if MsKim is above a certain age I'm not sure how relevant that is either).
posted by Justinian at 10:09 PM on February 18, 2010

I take iron, fish oil and Vitamin D, and focus on taking them in a way that maximizes their absorbency and potential. This is my way of balancing the convenience of taking supplements of vitamins for which I don't get enough of in my diet, with the holistic benefits of eating wholesome, nutritional food that has undergone a minimal amount of processing (if at all).

For example - I never eat yogurt when I take my iron supplement, since calcium inhibits iron absorption. But since Vitamin C enhances iron absorption, I'll often eat an orange or some strawberries when I take my iron.

I take my Vitamin D when I eat my yogurt, since calcium and Vitamin D go together. Since Vitamin D is fat-soluble, I also include some almonds or string cheese.
posted by invisible ink at 10:16 PM on February 18, 2010 [1 favorite]

D3 because I'm a nerdy shut-in living in the north of england and I dont eat fish (boyfriend is allergic and I spend probably less than 30 minutes a month outside)
B12 because the effect on my mood is indescribably great. I started taking them because I noticed that when I was eating B12 fortified porridge for breakfast I was more 'up' and motivated but I didn't really like the porridge - too much like warm wallpaper paste for that time in the morning, I originally thought it was just a breakfast thing since before that I never really ate breakfast but other breakfast foods didn't really have the same effect and a blood test after I stopped the porridge showed my B12 was low, I was a vegetarian at the time and on a diet so trying to cut way back on the dairy products. I now take 1000 µg (probably don't need that much but its just the size the tablets I like are) a day and it keeps me annoying perky and happy. Way more effective than any of the anti-depressants I've been prescribed over the years. When I stop taking it for a while I eventually start to feel very 'meh'.
posted by missmagenta at 10:23 PM on February 18, 2010 [3 favorites]

Fish oil and bonus prescription extended-release niacin. I bet you can guess what my GP complains about when I get bloodwork done.
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 10:25 PM on February 18, 2010

Prenatal multivitamin because I'm still nursing, plus omega-3 supplement (suggested by pediatrician). Calcium because osteoporosis occurs a lot in my family, and I took a lot of steroids when younger for asthma (and I'm paranoid), iron supplement because I'm anemic. My diet is not that great, so I figure that taking these supplements might help a little. Supplements and vitamins don't magically fix an unhealthy diet, but unless you stupidly overdose they can't hurt either. I figure it's worth the gamble that it might help. The iron certainly helps.
posted by Joh at 11:01 PM on February 18, 2010

About 4 months ago, I started vitamins. Definitely an improvement! I don't subscribe to the "vitamins don't work" because I know WAY too much about how our food is not as nourishing as it was even 50 years ago. I believe because of increased stress and factory farming, supplements are now necessary - at least for me. That said, I know that certain forms of certain vitamins work better than others. Not sure I can recommend this or that - just saying you should do your own research per efficacy whatever you choose to take.

Sometimes I do emergen-c. I take a folic+b12.

I take pycnogenol (marine pine bark) because it's supposed to be good for blood sugar regulation, circulation issues and menstrual cramps (I have/had endometriosis and lifelong issues with bruising easily.) I can definitely report far less bruising and pain-free periods since I started taking this.

I started taking homeopathic biochemic cell salts recently, and it miraculously helped this awful chronic back pain I've been suffering from for 4 years. Really. I take this formula, here. You can read user reviews, here.

I take vitamin D. I put a little vitamin c powder (trader joe's) in my water. I take a few different multi-vitamins, depending on my mood.

I sometimes take my vitamins w/ aloe vera juice (non-flavored/sweetened - but I add a small dash of (grapefruit) juice to cover the taste.) I wish I remembered to do the aloe more regularly.

As per another post on askme that I can't find, I started taking a calcium supplement recently because my sleep patterns sucked and someone who was a nurse suggested it in another thread... YEP. Success!

Ditto with why I take the Vitamin D. Someone on the green suggested mega-doses to combat rosacea. It works!

I add flax seed oil to salads, etc., when I remember. Sometimes I take vitamin E supplements, too. Unlike the vitamin D, C, and calcium... I can't report any noticeable short-term improvements with the E or Flax oil - but they can't hurt!

I also eat healthy, lots of veggies. I can't do fish oil because I hate fish oil burps - yuck.

I've gotten on these kicks before. This is the first time, though, that I've taken greater than (label) recommended dosages with the vitamins, and I have to say that it's been more effective and I do experience improvements beyond what I would consider a placebo effect.

I do the heavy dosing of vitamins when I feel run down or have had a big night. I read up on this stuff quite a bit in the beginning, so I don't feel I'm in a danger of overdosing on anything long-term. I recommend you do your own research, keeping in mind that there is a lot of misinformation out there.

Hopefully as you continue to read up, you'll start to be able to discern between quackery, advertising disguised as articles, and accurate information.
posted by jbenben at 11:11 PM on February 18, 2010 [6 favorites]

I take cod liver oil and a standard store-brand multivitamin, mainly for the vitamin D (it's easier to get a multi than just vit-D, and it's about the same price). Both have some evidence to support being helpful for those with depression, so I use them as a supplement to my prescription venlafaxine as I work very long hours, have a crappy diet and don't get to see much sunlight in winter.
posted by ArkhanJG at 11:15 PM on February 18, 2010

I recommend you do your own research, keeping in mind that there is a lot of misinformation out there.

Seconding this, irony notwithstanding.
posted by drpynchon at 11:31 PM on February 18, 2010 [3 favorites]

I'd say the research supporting fish oil's many benefits is pretty well established. Vitamin D seems to be the hot new supplement.

Now I'm a bit wary of looking like a shill, but for those in the anti Vitamin crowd, I think your opinions are well grounded. That being said, many people do not a perfect diet, and many industrial veggies/fruits lack the nutrition we'd expect.

So this product seems pretty intriguing to me. It takes the Michael Polan view that we don't know very much about nutrition and instead just tries to preserve the goodness of a lot of healthy foods.

The company has a fairly good, if somewhat polarizing reputation. And the Beefcake 3000 marketing can be a little off putting, but I'd look into something like this for rounding out your diet.
posted by Telf at 12:03 AM on February 19, 2010

Telf: why not take the $39 for a one month supply and add it to your monthly food budget instead? Tastier, and likely even healthier. You could get a wide array of extra fruit and veg for $10 a week. Michael Pollan would probably collapse in giggles, or maybe cry, to see his name used to advocate for something that doesn't look like food, was made in a factory, and would not be recognisable as food to anyone's peasant grandma.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 12:19 AM on February 19, 2010 [8 favorites]

I pop a magnesium-calcium-zinc supplement every day. I discovered a few years ago purely by coincidence that it really helps me keep my anxiety, OCD-ish and depressive symptoms at bay. And when I say it helps, I mean I was dumbfounded by the effect which I wasn't expecting at all. (I originally tried it for numbness and tingling of my hands and feet, which btw it did not alleviate.)

Being a vegetarian (and high strung to boot), I take a vitamin B compound, and wanting to avoid direct sunlight, vitamin D. I have dry, itchy skin, for which I sometimes take vegetarian Omega capsules, but I prefer just splashing hemp seed oil on my salad.

I take melatonin to help me fall asleep.

Over the years I've experimented with other supplements (such as chrome to see if it would curb my sugar cravings) but honestly, I haven't noticed much effect with most.
posted by sively at 1:01 AM on February 19, 2010 [1 favorite]

didn't we just do this?
posted by nadawi at 1:21 AM on February 19, 2010 [1 favorite]

to sum up : those who say no vitamins/supplements are useful are just as misinformed as those who say you need 100% of your intake through pills and oils and such.
posted by nadawi at 1:22 AM on February 19, 2010

I hope this is useful, although my answer is 'none'. Never saw the need to. I'm relatively young (28), relatively healthy (play a sport at Uni, walk a lot), and roughly ascribe to the Michael Pollan 'eat food, mostly veg' diet. I just started going back to the local farm market for the bulk of my food, and it's been magnificent. Just lots of really, really good food, and I'm good at sticking to a varied diet.

Not like everything's brilliant, but if I wasn't doing a soul-killingly stressful course, and probably if I drank less, I'd be doing great!
posted by kalimac at 2:50 AM on February 19, 2010

Telf: why not take the $39 for a one month supply and add it to your monthly food budget instead? Tastier, and likely even healthier.

I take that supplement with my daily protein shake. It's damn tasty and it's the closest I get to taking extra vitamins. The real reason I take it is that it's freeze dried fruits and veggies in powder form and I'm terrible at getting my daily dose. And if you actually read the literature it blatantly says why they sell it:

You might be surprised to hear this, but we're not aware of anyone in the Biotest family that takes a multivitamin. None of us believe in them. The science is too haphazard.
As such we've always preferred to get our vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and various phytochemicals from fruits and vegetables. Unfortunately, you know as well as we do that it's hard to ingest anywhere near the proper amounts of fruits and vegetables every day. Who's got time to eat 4 servings of fruits and 4 servings of vegetables every single day?

As a matter of fact I buy almost all my supplements from Biotest, I'm not trying to shill for them but they have the best quality of supplements I've seen out of the twenty years I've been buying them. Of course most all of their supplements are geared towards muscleheads, so ymmv as far as finding something for you.
I'm not going to list all the stuff I take because a lot of it revolves around working out, but the one's I would suggest for anyone and everyone are:
Bob's Red Mill Whole Ground Flax Seed
From Biotest
FA3™ - Lauric Acid / Oleic Acid / Gamma-Linolenic Acid (GLA) Super Complex
FLAMEOUT™ - Highest Potency DHA, EPA, CLA
Superfood - Freeze-Dried Super Concentrated Extracts - 5,000 ORAC

At this point if you are not aware of the benefits of taking supplemental essential fats, then you should try to a little harder to read up. The science has been well proven on that, even Pollan has talked quite a bit about it.
posted by P.o.B. at 2:52 AM on February 19, 2010

I recommend you do your own research, keeping in mind that there is a lot of misinformation out there.

nthing this. One of the best resources I've found for researching supplements is:

University of Maryland Medical Center Complementary and Alternative Medicine Index (CAM)
posted by cosmic.osmo at 6:31 AM on February 19, 2010

Don't take super supplements: eat real food. Super supplements are a scam to separate you from your money, not a way to improve your health.

Be careful about taking supplements. Some of them do more harm than good, and for most of them there's no evidence that taking more than you need is okay. For example, Vitamin C supplements are well known for causing kidney stones in those who are susceptible. Does that mean everyone not prone to kidney stones should take vitamin C pills? Probably not! Everybody knows that vitamin C is an antioxidant, but not many understand that vitamin C is also a pro-oxidant. Large doses are as likely to cause oxidation damage as to prevent it. Maybe this is why vitamin C supplements never turn out to do anything desirable for people who take them in well-conducted studies. In the lab I used to combine ascorbic acid with iron whenever I wanted a handy source of damaging hydroxyl radical; the combination is called "Fenton's reagent".

Vitamin D supplements are an excellent idea for most people who don't get a lot of sun, but they too can increase the risk of kidney stones in people who don't need to take them. Get your vitamin D levels tested next time you're seeing your doctor (the tests are trendy now), and take it if you need it.

Avoid anything that will end up giving you more than 100% of the RDA of vitamin A in your total diet. Vitamin A in mild excess is linked to bone loss, and taking more than more than 100% of the RDA of vitamin A during pregnancy increases the risk of birth defects, including cleft palate and heart defects. This could be a problem for anyone who likes to eat a big bowl-full of heavily fortified breakfast cereal, since the serving size is supposed to be quite small.

Most multivitamins contain 100% or more of the RDA of iodine, which would be great except that most people in developed countries already consume well over 100% of the RDA of iodine in the milk they drink and in the prepared foods they eat, not to mention the iodized salt they put on their food. It commonly adds up to several times the recommended intake. Consuming much over 100% of the RDA of iodine every day can trigger or exacerbate autoimmune thyroid disease in those who are susceptible to it, whether or not they know it yet, both hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism. It's surprisingly hard to find a multi that does not contain iodine.

I take potassium every day because I need to. The over-the-counter potassium supplements are so low in dosage as to be utterly useless, containing less than one-thirtieth the amount needed each day, so I take a prescription potassium supplement. The reason why it's prescription-only is that taking too much potassium in the form of supplements can kill you, by stopping your heart. In contrast, it's impossible to overdose on potassium by eating real foods that are high in potassium. As a benefit, eating foods that are rich in potassium gives you many other nutrients you need. Time after time, studies show that eating lots of vegetables and fruit increases lifespan, reduces the rate of cancer, and so on, but then the studies that give supplements in an attempt to duplicate these benefits never work. The isolated nutrients are never as good as the foods that contain them.

I also take B12 every day because my doctor says I have to. A number of people do not absorb B12 properly, and as a result can develop a deficiency on a normal daily dose. My doctor told me to take injections, but it turns out that taking a huge oral dose (1000 micrograms a day) works as well as injections for most people who have the deficiency, and is pretty much harmless. B12 deficiency is important enough to get a blood test if you have any symptoms of it.

A number of supplements can reduce your tendency to clot. Fish oil, ginger, and garlic all have this effect, as does aspirin. In many cases this is beneficial to health. Taking a fish oil supplement seems likely to be good for most people who don't eat enough fish. Be careful not to way overdo the ginger and garlic, though, especially before surgery.
posted by Ery at 6:42 AM on February 19, 2010 [7 favorites]

I take a Berocca B Complex drink when i have a hangover. does that count?
posted by mary8nne at 6:48 AM on February 19, 2010

I haven't for about two weeks while I track every morsel of food to figure out what I'm actually deficient in which thus far seems to be vitamin E, potassium and iron. I was taking a multivitamin, Omega 3-6-9 and, for three months, Iron because bloodwork said my iron stores were low.

The efficacy of vitamins is debatable.

Then why do governments demand that milk, cereal, salt, water &c be fortified with them as a matter of public health policy?
posted by squeak at 7:36 AM on February 19, 2010 [1 favorite]

Telf: why not take the $39 for a one month supply and add it to your monthly food budget instead? Tastier, and likely even healthier. You could get a wide array of extra fruit and veg for $10 a week. Michael Pollan would probably collapse in giggles, or maybe cry, to see his name used to advocate for something that doesn't look like food, was made in a factory, and would not be recognisable as food to anyone's peasant grandma.

Burned! Ok, you got me there.

I guess what I should have said is that many of the contributors to the above site have read Pollan's work and have referenced it in articles. As PoB noted above, none of the contributors to the site take multivitamins for the same reasons other people have chimed in with.

They created the product from the point of view that most people simply don't get enough vegetables. Rather than try to cherry pick a few chemicals that might or might not be beneficial, they tried their best to preserve the benefits of many different, often rare fruits/veggies. Also, I think they claim that each serving is the equivalent of something like 12 servings of fruits and veggies, at least according to the ORAC score. (Take that how ever you want to.)

That being said, you're totally right and I was off base by connecting Pollan to something that is basically the opposite of his core message.
posted by Telf at 8:22 AM on February 19, 2010

I take One-A-Day Women's health multi vitamins. I mostly do it because it's in powder form that dissolves in water, and I think it tastes pretty good. Helps me remember to drink lots of water too.

I take three Thera-Tears Omega 3 fish/flax seed oil capsules a day, due to my dry eye problem

I take three fiber pills a day.

Never cared for vitamins before, but I feel much better now so I can't personally refute it.
posted by egeanin at 9:36 AM on February 19, 2010

Who's got time to eat 4 servings of fruits and 4 servings of vegetables every single day?

Uh, I do? Spread over the normal meals of the day it's totally easy. This idea that you need pills because eating food is SO HARD is just a marketing ploy.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 11:09 AM on February 19, 2010 [1 favorite]

Those sorts of statements are often connected to some sort of hand waving about antioxidants, and it is probably best to take them with a grain of salt.

Sorry if I was being unclear, but that's EXACTLY what I meant when I wrote this:

Also, I think they claim that each serving is the equivalent of something like 12 servings of fruits and veggies, at least according to the ORAC score. (Take that how ever you want to.)

So I think we're in agreement.
posted by Telf at 2:13 PM on February 19, 2010

Uh, I do? Spread over the normal meals of the day it's totally easy. This idea that you need pills because eating food is SO HARD is just a marketing ploy.

Uh, I don't and no it's not. Look, everyone has different lives, not to mention different eating habits. Personally i love food, but I hate having to constantly shove it down my gullet. Which is something I have to do because I'm so active, not only physically like working out but also because my life is hectic and I'm on the move quite a bit. I don't eat fast food, so I make sure i can be as healthy as I can be by making protein shakes and taking extra essential fats to cover what I would miss normally. Don't sit there and assume everyone has the extra time to make four course meals, three times a day.
I'm not going to disagree and say they don't try to market them by saying it's easier to take pills, but guess what? IT IS EASIER. Do you eat fish three or more times a week? Do you eat only grass fed beef? Do you actually make sure to eat the 4 servings of fruits AND vegetables (and not just give lip service to how easy it is?) Do you stay away from fast food? I could make a list of sundries that I'm pretty positive that most everybody doesn't follow, and that's why it's easier to take supplements.
posted by P.o.B. at 2:13 PM on February 19, 2010

P.o.B: for the record, I have raw vegetables or salads as a big part of my lunch and daytime snack food, so by the time dinner rolls around I'm already at least halfway there. Steamed vegetables take 20 minutes, tops, and can all be done in one pot, then to be dressed with oil and lemon juice or what have you. It's not lip service -- it really is easy if you don't make a big drama out of preparing complex dishes. I can't make a four course meal every day any more than you can, but I certainly can easily make edible food in the time I have, which I admit might be more than the time you have.

I can see how this stuff makes sense if you're away from home a lot or work unusually long hours. Clearly you have the need, and the product fills the need. I still don't think it stacks up for the average punter though.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 3:55 PM on February 19, 2010

On mature thought: what I am really trying to say is, I prefer to achieve the same aims the traditional way, and I enjoy mocking the hype. I apologise for spreading the mockery too far -- you have obviously thought about this and made a rational decision otherwise.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 4:04 PM on February 19, 2010

Calcium everyday - medical advice because of orthopedic issues from an accident. I'm was told that calcium from supplements (and many other sources) is not easily absorbed and the doctor recommended a specific chewable. The basic drug/grocery store calcium supplements may have improved since then.

Iron - medical advice because I've been anemic a couple of times and my gynecologist said it would be easier to take iron every day. (And I've finally found one that can be taken without having to also eat an entire loaf of bread to pad your stomach - Bifera. I've actually taken one and forgotten to eat and not gotten sick!)

There's a lot of advice around about taking iron only with this or that and not having calcium with this or that. However, my doctors have always advised me to be sure to take iron with plenty of food.
posted by Lesser Shrew at 5:52 PM on February 19, 2010

D3 and iron because my doctor told me to, based on a blood test.
posted by The corpse in the library at 9:06 PM on February 19, 2010

My daily list:
- Multivitamin
- Ginko biloba (circulation / mental clarity)
- Ginseng (immunity, energy, mental clarity)
- Vitamin D (lack of Vancouver sun)
- 5-HTP (mood balance)
- L-Tyrosine (stress / mood balance)

I've done a lot of reading and played with the combinations over the years,
and the above has made a noticeable difference in my energy levels, mood,
and immune function (or lack of colds, if you will).
posted by pickingoutathermos at 10:03 PM on February 19, 2010

Late, but I'll chime in. I'm mostly vegan, so I take B12 whenever I remember. Recently I've been pretty good about it, but I've definitely slacked in the past. My diet is pretty heavy on fruits and veggies, so the B12 is all I take.
posted by HighTechUnderpants at 2:07 AM on February 20, 2010

Based on my research about the only ones you need are:

Vitamin D3 (the oil based one)
and Fish Oil

Everything else may or may not hurt.
Do not take any multivitamins if you are a smoker, since that has been clinically shown to increase the rate at which lung cancers form.
posted by Arthur Dent at 4:01 PM on February 22, 2010

Omega-3s - perhaps the best evidence for this, and while it might be placebo effect, because I usually rail that one person's anecdote is meaningless, this does have an effect on my mood and enough people who take them that I do believe that there is more there.

Folic Acid as advised by my doctor. Heart disease in family, and while I have a relatively good bill of health I am a male pushing 50.

Baby aspirin too for same reason. (not a vitamin, but it is a prophylactic pill & I take them at the same time.)

Since one *should* get all vitamins and nutrients but one either doesn't or can't make sure one does, I've come up with the idea of taking them occasionally, similar to how humans must have evolved naturally. That is, I don't take daily multivitamins except above, but I do take them twice a week or so. Kind of like hunter gatherers who might happen on a cache of Mongongo nuts or açai berries in season or whatever.

Harder to overdose on fat-soluble ones, and while the water soluble ones might be all gone, humans *must* have evolved enough endurance that you won't die if you don't get any vitamin C today.

Just because it *says* daily doesn't mean you are required to take them daily.
posted by xetere at 9:59 AM on February 23, 2010

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