If you’ve read our guide to the best multivitamin for men, then you probably know that we recommend taking a high-quality multivitamin on a daily basis. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that it is optimal for you to take multivitamins every single day. Nor does it mean that every single multivitamin is meant to be taken every day.
Is it good to take a multivitamin supplement every single day?
Which vitamin and mineral supplements are ideal for daily use, and which should be avoided?
Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of using multivitamins every day.
Multivitamin benefits and risks
Before you decide whether or not it is a good idea to take a multivitamin supplement every day, you need to carefully go over the benefits and rissk o multivitamins to see if they’re right for you at all.
In one oft-cited meta-analysis, researchers looked at the effects of daily multivitamin supplementation against the health risks. The researchers concluded that multivitamins don’t reduce the risk for heart disease, cancer, cognitive decline (such as memory loss and slowed-down thinking) or an early death. They also noted that in prior studies, vitamin E and beta-carotene supplements appear to be harmful at high doses.
But nobody is expecting a clinically significant effect on heart disease or dementia from multivitamins! Multivitamin supplements are designed to fill in the gaps of an imcomplete, less than perfect diet, thereby supporting good overall health and performance over the long-term.
Of course at very high doses, some vitamin and mineral supplements are going to be harmful; this is the same risk you run when consuming very large doses of any natural substance.
It is our opinion that, for most people, the benefits of taking a multivitamin everyday far outweight the risks.
The main benefits of taking a multivitamin every day include:
- Improved skin, eye and hair health
- Enhanced immune system function
- Improved cognitive function and more mental energy
- Higher phyical energy levels and reduced fatigue
- Healthier testosterone levels
The risks of taking a daily multivitamin include:
- Stomach cramps
- Abdominal pain
It is not thought that taking a multivitamin everyday poses notable side effect risks over the long-term. The side effects of taking multivitamins on a daily basis are typically very short-lived and most often very mild.
Taking a multivitamin every day
Should you be taking a men’s multivitamin every day?
The answer to that question depends on numerous factors, including the multivitamin in question, why you are taking it, your diet, and your activity levels.
Some examples might illustrate our point better than just explaining it.
If, for example, you are an older man looking to support good health, energy levels, and vitality as you get older, then you do not necessarily need to be taking a multivitamin every day. Avoiding deficiencies usually doesn’t mean you have to be taking a vitamin stack every day; a high-quality, powerful multivitamin two or three times per week should be plenty to supplement your diet (which should be high in vitamins and minerals anyway).
On the other hand, if you’re an athlete who is training three or four times per week, or you are chronically stressed from work, then a daily multivitamin is probably a good idea for you.
A lot of guys feel extremely healthy; they think their diets are optimal and they assume they’re in better shape than most because they are lean and strong. But a lot of guys – especially younger guys who work long hours and then pound the gym after work – are slowly becoming chronically deficient in key nutrients. You quickly deplete key minerals if you are pushing your body to the limit, but the typical Western diet (even one full of lean meat and broccoli) isn’t enough to completely avoid becoming deficient in those minerals. Few young men regularly eat oysters and liver!
You also need to consider your diet when deciding whether or not you need to be taking a multivitamin every day.
If your diet is generally well balanced and healthful, you probably do not need to take a daily men’s multivitamin.
But if you have a restricted diet, you often fast or skip meals, or you know you aren’t great at eating for performance, then ensuring you never become deficient in any vitamins or minerals might be a good idea.
So do you need to take a multivitamin every day?
The aim of the game here is avoiding deficiencies. You don’t want to be suffering from sub-optimal performance for years because your body doesn’t have everything it needs to function properly. You also don’t want to be in a position where you have to fix a deficiency, as it can sometimes take time to build stores back up, and by the time you do your health or performance could have suffered a lot.
So work out how at risk of dietary deficiencies you are and decide whether you need a daily men’s multivitamin, or just a top up now and again.
How long should you take multivitamin supplements?
You should take multivitamins for at least 6 weeks, and idealy for longer than 3 months. This is how long it takes for vitamin supplements to correct most nutritional deficiencies. A good example is iron – it takes 3 months for the human body to make new red blood cells. So as a general rule we usually aim for 3 months of supplementation with iron supplements.
However, this is not to say that taking vitamins and minerals for less than 6 weeks is useless. If you take a high quality multivitamin, you will benefit from the influx of essential nutrients you get from the supplement. This will enhance performance, raise energy levels, and support immune systm function in the short term. It is just that short-term use of multivitamins is not going to fix chronic vitamin and mineral deficiencies.