Does taking multivitamins every day help your body maintain fitness, especially when you are in your 20s?
March 28, 2005 7:17 PM   Subscribe

Does taking multivitamins every day help your body maintain fitness, especially when you are in your 20s? How about if you excersize every other day? What else are multivitamin supplements good for?

(I take centrum complete)

Do you feel any psychological effects from multivitamin consumption other than the placebo effect? Do multivitamins help increase physical stamina or sexual ability?
posted by Dean Keaton to Health & Fitness (11 answers total)
I feel like my PMS is better when I'm taking a multivitamin regularly (less severe cramps), but that could be all in my mind.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 7:19 PM on March 28, 2005 [1 favorite]

I take 2 one-a-day every day. I don't feel any different, but know it's replacing or filling in gaps in my diet, and lost from smoking--so i guess it's placebo for me. (40 tho, and not 20s)
posted by amberglow at 7:24 PM on March 28, 2005

It's really hard to eat a perfectly balanced diet that includes the ideal amounts of vitamins and minerals your body needs. You may not feel the effects like taking a drug, but it can really help some health problems in the future from developing after years of not getting enough of a certain thing. This is especialy true if you're just genetically prone to an ailment made worse by a nutrient deficiency.
I take a regular dose (2 pills) of a "mega multi" every day. It has at least the RDA of nutrients, and many things it has many times that of; plus some nutrients that are not part of the RDA. They also have "super greenfood concentrates", which can help somewhat when you don't get enough green vegetables in your diet (which honestly, I probably don't.)
The one I take happens to be "Now" brand Special Two. I like them because they come in capsules, and the regular super tablets can be a bit big to swallow.
posted by sixdifferentways at 7:40 PM on March 28, 2005

How do you figure out which ones have the best bioavailability?
posted by mecran01 at 8:37 PM on March 28, 2005

on the point of mega vitamins, it's also worth bearing in mind that whilst it is generally accepted that it's worthwhile taking a daily vitamin tab to cover diet deficiencies, excessive amounts of vitamins can have inhibitive effects. So whilst it sounds great that you're getting 5000% of the RDA or whatever, it can actually do more harm than good.
posted by forallmankind at 9:57 PM on March 28, 2005

I think this has always been a contentious subject. I looked around a few websites here and the bottom line recommendation remains: eat a balanced healthy diet rich in fruit and vegetables and the supplements are a waste of money (and can be rarely harmful as stated above). Natural plant foods contain many phytochemicals that can be for instance more protective against Oxygen radicals than Vitamin C on its own. One site said to save your money and splurge on a healthy gourmet meal at a restaurant periodically.

Those who may obtain benefit from vitamin supplements are said include:

"*Women who are planning to get pregnant or have just become pregnant should take folic acid to help prevent spina bifida.
*Asian women who cover up in black robes and have only a limited exposure to sunlight. They may lack vitamin D and they could take that in supplementary form. This could also apply to housebound people.
*People who are malnourished for any reason. They may have come out of hospital after an illness or haven’t been eating well. This group could include people who have been on a restricted diet to lose weight or have difficulty swallowing or eating for medical reasons. Slimmers should think of eating more low calorie fruit and vegetables to avoid possible vitamin deficiencies.
*People who are doing intense training for sport."

That said, most sites agreed that it's better to discuss it with your Doctor. Otherwise perhaps search around on 'exercise + vitamins' to see what's recommended (by the non-shilling sites). But I think there's a big placebo effect (to which I have in the past bought into) and an equal amount of rationalization for continuing to eat an unhealthy/unbalanced diet. IANAD
posted by peacay at 1:54 AM on March 29, 2005

My GP urges me to get it all from food. He says supplements do nothing but "give you expensive urine." I take them anyway.
posted by scratch at 6:42 AM on March 29, 2005

I look at it this way:

Possible downside of taking vitamins: cost.

Possible downside of not taking vitamins: going to the doctor and having him tell you you have scurvy, rickets, the gout, etc, and what the hell is wrong with you, getting that in this day and age, ridicule of your peers, etc.
posted by Capn at 7:49 AM on March 29, 2005

Are you a woman? If so, you really should take a multivitamin regardless of whether you are "planning" to get pregnant or not, including a calcium supplement.
posted by LittleMissCranky at 8:02 AM on March 29, 2005

I take a number of supplements and regularly try new ones. A lot of them don't seem to have any noticeable effect, but a decent multivitamin is cheap insurance. Just go to your nearest drugstore and buy the biggest bottle they have of whatever they call their Centrum clone -- it'll be sitting right next to the Centrum and probably called something like "Centra-Vite" and it'll cost half what the same-size bottle of Centrum costs.

I find that some of the more unusual supplements do have very real and noticeable effects. 5-HTP, for example, really does nearly eliminate my sweet tooth, and a good dose of fatty acids (from flax and fish) really does help my energy levels. The acetyl-l carnitine/alpha lipoic acid combo also seems to help my alertness. Multivitamins are cheap insurance.
posted by kindall at 9:14 AM on March 29, 2005

scratch - I agree with your GP. It should be that way. But who eats "correctly" every day? My own opinion is, "it couldn't hurt". The "expensive urine" comes to maybe $20/year. Definitely worth it.
posted by ObscureReferenceMan at 10:49 AM on March 29, 2005

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