MAY 18, 2016 7:55 AM PDT

The Vitamin Verdict: More May Not Be Better

WRITTEN BY: Xuan Pham

Nearly half of American adults take some form of multivitamin supplement daily. The market for these supplements is saturated with a dizzying selection of brands and formats, all competing for the estimated $12 billion that consumers spend every year on multivitamins. But are these little pills really that beneficial, or could they actually hurt our health?

The brief answer is: It depends. Our bodies can't make many of the compounds it needs to efficiently carry out its daily tasks. This is why we have to rely on other sources, like food and the sun, for the vitamins. And if we're already consuming a well-balanced diet, our vitamin needs should, theoretically, be met. However, when we consume vitamins in excess, some vitamins can accumulate and may actually cause adverse effects for the body.

Vitamins supplements are wonderful, especially to those people whose bodies are deficient in those certain compounds. However, when it comes to vitamins, too much of a good thing may indeed be bad for us. Thus, experts say, rather than multivitamins, some people may benefit more from just eating regular fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat dairy products.
About the Author
  • I am a human geneticist, passionate about telling stories to make science more engaging and approachable. Find more of my writing at the Hopkins BioMedical Odyssey blog and at TheGeneTwist.com.
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