With all the different types of vitamin and mineral supplements available on the local pharmacy shelf, it can be confusing to determine what you really need. Sometimes a doctor or registered dietitian will make the decision easier by recommending what supplement to take, how much and how often. Often, you hear through friends or read about the benefits of certain vitamins or minerals and wonder if you could benefit from one, two, or possibly more types of supplements.
However, choosing supplements is not as simple or as safe as choosing other pharmacy products, such as toothpaste or deodorant. Consuming large amounts of any supplement, without medical advice, may be harmful.
If you are considering purchasing individual supplements, you should be aware that high doses of vitamins and minerals can interfere with both the action of medication and the absorption of other nutrients. In fact, fat-soluble vitamins (such as vitamins A, D and E) are stored in the body and have the potential to accumulate to harmful levels if consumed in excessive doses. It is important to read supplement labels carefully and only take them as directed on the label. In addition, you should be aware of your total nutrient intake if you are taking more than one supplement product a day. But tracking nutrient intake can become difficult when taking a number of single supplements.
Taking a daily multivitamin is a sensible and convenient choice if you are concerned about supplement safety issues. Multivitamins offer a balance of nutrients which maximizes the effectiveness of each ingredient. They provide responsible levels of all vitamins and minerals, which fall below recognized upper limits. Multivitamins are formulated to complement diet and maintain a consistent level of nutrients required by the body. Their careful combination of ingredients provides optimal absorption and maximum benefits. A well-balanced, daily multivitamin such as Centrum® that doesn’t contain too much of any single nutrient is a safe and convenient choice.