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  • Writer's pictureKathy Ozakovic

Will Taking a Multivitamin Make Me Healthier?



Sadly, no. Although Australians spend an estimated $3.1 billion a year on dietary and vitamin supplements (1), there is now a lot of high-quality evidence that multivitamins do not work for people who do not have a vitamin deficiency. Keep reading to learn why...


Research shows that our body better absorbs vitamins and minerals from the food we eat. The exact reasons why are unknown. However, researchers have suggested it may be due to the complexity of the human metabolism. When we consume food, we do not consume a vitamin or mineral in isolation. We consume a variety of nutrients together, including polyphenols, antioxidants, carotenoids, lycopene, isothiocyanates... Which all have a role to play in metabolism. Therefore, simply popping a multi will leave you deprived of the magic that happens when we eat a varied diet. The more varied the foods we eat, the more varied the nutrients we consume will be! Particularly important are plant based foods because they contain the most of these miraculous 'other' nutrients.


Eating certain foods really does promote good health! I often talk about getting the foundation or fundamentals to good nutrition strong and right. Get the basics right first. The Australian Guide To Healthy Eating and Australian Dietary Guidelines are actually based on a solid level of evidence. Following these guidelines means you are actively promoting health and preventing disease (if you are living with a chronic disease such as diabetes, liver disease, high cholesterol there might be additional individualised guidelines to aid in management of the disease, consult your dietitian).



More is Not Better, Just Enough is Key. When we consume more vitamins and minerals than we need, toxicity may occur! Especially in fat soluble vitamins which get stored. Some signs and symptoms of toxicity may include: blurry vision, bone pain, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, dry skin, poor appetite. Water soluble vitamins will be filtered by the kidneys and excreted in urine! So, if you are not deficient, you are just wasting your money.


Simply popping a multi will leave you deprived of the magic that happens when we eat a varied diet

So when is a multivitamin or supplement actually recommended? Firstly, I will always recommend a routine yearly blood test to check for deficiencies. If deficiencies are present, I ask my clients to consider supplementation whilst improving their nutrition and food knowledge and habits. For example, an individual might not know that iron and calcium compete for absorption. If an individual is having their milk/yoghurt as supper after a high iron meal they are decreasing the absorption of iron!


If deficiencies are not present, I may ask my clients to consider supplements on a case by case basis, depending on an individuals presentations and life stage. In particular, individuals who are under a lot of stress may need additional supplemental support to better cope with stressors. Stress may be from work demands, relationship, life-events (happy or sad), increased exercise.


Some presentations that an individual could benefit from additional supplements include fatigue, sleeplessness, frequent feelings of anxiety/depression, sporadic mood swings, skin issues, hair thinning, gut pains, change in bathroom habits. Furthermore, it is known women in their childbearing years have higher requirements of particular nutrients. Requirements increase with pregnancy and lactation. Individuals who have gut-issues such as IBS and IBD may require additional supplementation as these affect nutrient absorption.


Get the basics right first

You see, being a Holistic Health Practitioner, Specialising in Dietetics (and gut health) is sort of like being a food and wellbeing detective. I listen to my clients' stories. I get to know their food habits. I detect what is missing on their plates or what might be getting in the way of their nutrient absorption. Then, I help them understand how to eat to nourish their body in different life circumstances and according to their goals, which may include individualised supplementation recommendations. So that they can live their best life.


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Did you find this blog helpful and informative? Tag & Share with your friends who would love it too! Sign up for my Free NuFit Wellness Newsletter to stay in the loop. Attend my Wellness Workshops. I help clients Achieve & Maintain Wellness through Nutrition for Gut Health so that they can thrive in life. Nutrition & Wellness Specialist, Dietitian, Health Coach, Holistic Gut Health Expert - Kathy Ozakovic.

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