Think Twice Before Taking That Daily Vitamin

Before you take that daily vitamin, you should ask your doctor if it’s necessary.

Joe Bilyeu, MD, a family medicine physician with North Dirksen Medical Associates, part of Memorial Physician Services, says the practice of taking daily vitamins has been engrained into our psyche since we were children, “but it’s something we should take a second look at.”

“For my patients, I’ve told them for years that if you partake in a healthy diet, eat fresh fruits, vegetables, lean meat (and) get exercise, there’s absolutely no reason why you should be taking a multivitamin daily,” Dr. Bilyeu said during a recent radio interview with Bob Murray on WTAX.

Many people feel they need a vitamin to deal with fatigue. Unfortunately, we live in a society where people believe “taking a pill should solve all of our problems,” Dr. Bilyeu says.

Instead, to overcome that fatigue, people need to get back to the basics that they learned from their grandparents:

  1. Get a good night’s rest.
  2. Maintain a healthy daily diet.
  3. Get regular exercise.

Some people do benefit from taking vitamins, Dr. Bilyeu says, including pregnant women, for whom an increase in folic acid can help promote their babies’ growth. And osteoporosis patients could benefit from increased calcium in their diets as well as vitamin D to bolster their calcium intake.

But vitamins can also be too much of a good thing.

“Vitamin A is notorious for building up in your system,” Dr. Bilyeu says. It can cause side effects, such as dizziness and nausea and can create significant neurological problems.

That’s why it’s important to talk to your doctor before you start taking any vitamin or mineral supplements, Dr. Bilyeu says. It’s even more crucial if you’re on medication.