Studies show multivitamin benefits include lowering men’s cancer risk by approximately 8%, especially if they are high-risk, and lowering an individual’s risk of developing cataracts
Persona, a Nestlé Health Science company that creates personalized vitamin programs, in October released the results of a national online survey regarding multivitamin knowledge and use. Its findings suggest that a large number of Americans don’t fully understand multivitamin benefits, creating an opportunity for chiropractic professionals to help fill this gap.
Survey findings on multivitamin benefits and use
In Persona’s press release, this company revealed that it had surveyed 1,000 adult Americans 35 years of age and older. They found that approximately 70% of the respondents take a vitamin or supplement, with 47% indicating that they felt that a daily multivitamin is more important today than just one year ago.
Some of the most common reasons provided for taking a multivitamin include:
- increased energy (44%)
- healthy weight maintenance (26%)
- better sleep (24%)
- healthier level of stress (24%)
- hormone level maintenance (12%)
While this high level of use sounds good on the outset, helping to potentially relieve any deficiencies that may exist, this survey also revealed that a large number of consumers don’t necessarily understand multivitamin benefits.
Specifically, 94% of those under the age of 54 had trouble identifying all of the myths and facts associated with multivitamins. Roughly 67% of the respondents also didn’t realize that some vitamins can potentially interfere with their prescription medications.
In addition to these individuals having some level of misunderstanding about the vitamins and minerals there are taking, they also don’t appear to be asking questions about multivitamin benefits. Only 7% of the respondents asked a health professional (nutritionist or dietitian) for supplemental guidance. The remaining 93% bypassed this option, which is where chiropractors can potentially make a huge difference.
Helping patients better understand multivitamins
Admittedly, patients generally aren’t seeking the service of chiropractors to obtain multivitamin advice unless the respective DC specializes in wellness and nutrition. This doesn’t mean that you can’t still help patients better understand how taking a multivitamin can potentially enhance their health, and point to the best products or resources.
For instance, if their diet lacks a certain vitamin or mineral, they can make up the difference by taking a pill or powder-based supplement.
Educating patients about the potential benefits of taking a multivitamin can help them decide if this supplement is right for them. While Harvard Medical School shares that research-based evidence is largely lacking in this area, particularly when it comes to the actual benefits of taking a multivitamin, it does appear that some advantages do exist.
One is providing a protective effect for men, lowering their cancer risk by approximately 8%, especially if they are high-risk. Another is lowering an individual’s risk of developing cataracts, thus offering improved vision.
Other health agencies are finding more promising multivitamin benefits. Oregon State University in August revealed a study that found that individuals ranging in age from 55-75 had sicknesses in shorter durations and with less severe symptoms if they took a multivitamin combined with zinc and vitamin C.
When talking with patients about the potential benefits of taking a multivitamin, it’s important to also ensure that they understand the risks.
Promoting safe multivitamin consumption
Not all multivitamins are safe to consume in all circustances. The Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS) indicates that a multivitamin “approaching or exceeding” the daily recommended amount of vitamins or minerals falls into this category. This type of multivitamin can increase the risk of adverse effects.
For example, too much vitamin D can lead to nausea, vomiting, weakness, and frequent urination according to the Mayo Clinic. Though vitamin D toxicity is rare, this health agency warns that, if it occurs and is allowed to progress, it could lead to more severe issues such as bone pain or kidney problems.
The ODS adds that consuming some vitamins and minerals can increase health risks for certain individuals. An example of this is how beta-carotene and vitamin A have both been identified as increasing a smoker’s risk of lung cancer. Increased vitamin A consumption while pregnant can also potentially lead to an increased risk of the baby being born with a birth defect and individuals taking blood clotting medicines should consult with their doctor before starting a multivitamin containing vitamin K as it could reduce the medicine’s effectiveness.
Talking with patients about multivitamin benefits opens the door to educating them about this supplement’s potential benefits and risks. It also provides an opportunity to encourage them to better understand what they are taking so they can make a more informed decision about whether it is right for them. Reaching out to a health professional to ask questions is a good place to start.