Everyone wants to look good naked. The foundation for any physical improvement — bigger muscles, chiseled abs, more strength, power, or speed — is good health. It’s that simple. A quality multivitamin is an easy, cheap, and effective way to support this foundation through all of the sets, reps, and laps you might be putting in to build that dream body. In fact, these days a multivitamin might be more important than ever
Almost all of the most common modern diets utilize some form of food elimination. Keto, veganism, Paleo, gluten-free, FODMAPS, and many others restrict large swaths of foods, potentially limiting micronutrient intake and opening the door for vitamin deficiencies. This is where a multivitamin comes in. If these diets can help you repair your metabolism, regain your health, or express your passionate ethical and political beliefs, adding a multivitamin to your diet seems a small price to pay.
Even if you’re not on a diet, there’s still plenty of good reasons to take a daily multivitamin.
1. Vitamins Are Safe
Some vitamins can be potentially harmful if ingested in very large quantities. But as the saying goes, “Even water can kill you if you take too much of it at one time.” While the potential for harm is there, in reality multivitamins rarely harm consumers. Research published in the journal Nutrition describes how scientists conducted a literature search for vitamin supplementation among healthy adults. In all the research surveyed, only minor incidents of gastrointestinal distress were reported. Even when combined with fortified foods, vitamin levels never came close to reaching the threshold for toxicity, leading researchers to deem them safe for long-term use.
2. Your Body Likes Vitamins
Supplement ‘haters love to say that vitamins are only good for giving you expensive urine. One, they should stop thinking about urine. It’s weird. Two, that statement is just untrue. The National Institutes of Health have published a position paper on multivitamins and unequivocally state that a vitamin supplement “increases nutrient intakes and helps people obtain recommended intakes of vitamins and minerals when they cannot meet these needs from food alone.” In other words, your body is absolutely capable of up taking the vitamins and minerals found in a supplement.
3. Food is Getting Weaker
One clinical researcher put it best: You’d have to eat eight modern-day oranges to get the same amount of Vitamin A that your grandparents got from eating one orange. Scientists from the University of Texas at Austin’s Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry studied nutritional data of 43 different vegetables and fruits provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. They found that levels of vitamin C, riboflavin, iron, calcium, and phosphorus significantly declined over the previous 50 years. Scientists believe this is from a combination of depleted soil and an over-reliance on crops that are bred for size, appearance, and disease-resistance rather than nutrient density.
4. Decrease Risk of Heart Disease
Long-term use of vitamin supplements has been shown to reduce your risk of suffering a heart heart attack or stroke. Research published in The Journal of Nutrition, examined data of more than 18,000 men. Those who took vitamin supplements over a 20-year span experienced fewer incidents of cardiovascular disease, defined as a heart attack, stroke, or death, as well as cardiac revascularization (angioplasty and vascular bypass surgery.)
5. Sharpen the Mind
It’s hard to believe that a simple multivitamin can help you remember where you left your car keys, but it’s true. A study published in the journal Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience tested the cognitive effects of a multivitamin on a group of healthy men over an eight-week nutrition experiment. Subjects who took a daily multivitamin showed improvements in motor planning, learning, and working memory.
6. Lower Cancer Risk
In a massively important experiment that lasted for more than 14 years, researchers followed 14,641 men over 50 who took either a basic daily multivitamin or a placebo. The men who took the multivitamin experienced a modest but significant reduction of cancer diagnosis compared to those taking the placebo.
7. Look Younger
Everyone knows that lifestyle vices eventually show on your skin. Drinking, smoking, poor nutrition, and sleep deprivation can all make you look years older. So it’s no surprise that various vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants have been shown to protect the skin from sun damage and inhibit wrinkle formation caused by UVB radiation.
8. Make Dieting Easier
A study published in the British Journal of Nutrition showed that a daily multivitamin can take some of the misery out of a reduced calorie diet. Men and women undergoing a 15-week diet were given either a daily multivitamin or a placebo. While both groups lost a similar amount of weight, those taking the multivitamin reported significantly reduced hunger pangs and appetite compared to the placebo group.
9. The Cost-Benefit Analysis
It’s sad we have to put a price on good health but it’s a fact of life for most of us. Could a $100-an-hour personal trainer get you in better shape than if you hit the gym by yourself? Probably. Would that difference be worth $15,000 a year? Probably not. Is it worth a $1.50 a day — the price of a high-quality multivitamin — to lower your risk of disease and guard against nutritional deficiencies? Absolutely.