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MarcoNJ's avatar

Vitamins and other daily supplements. Do you take them and if so, do you see any benefit or harm from doing so?

Asked by MarcoNJ (946points) April 7th, 2010

OK, so I take a men’s multi-vitamin, Vitamin C, and Fish Oil capsules….pretty much on a daily basis. I can’t prove they’re entirely beneficial to my overall health but rarely do I get sick. Actually, I can’t remember the last time I was.

Anyways, I was just curious…do you think Vitamins, and other daily supplements benefit you? Or are they over-rated?

Also, do you think there any negative side effects from taking them on a long-term basis?

The reason for this question was a recent news report claiming that women who take multi-vitamins are more prone to Breast Cancer than those who don’t. I seriously doubt it….in fact, I smell Pharmaceutical company propaganda all over that report. But anyways…...

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38 Answers

CMaz's avatar

I go with the liquid vitamins. Fast absorption. I take every day.

Don’t know about future benefits. But they sure make me feel better.

JLeslie's avatar

Multivitamin, B12, extra iron, and prescription vitamin D.

I see a tremendous difference when I take iron, because my iron is low otherwise. I have more strength, less tired.

I do think I have less numbness now that I got my B12 up into normal ranges. My arms and legs used to fall asleep more easily and I see a relationship between the B12 and that.

The D I am waiting to see. I was severly difficient, and last month finally got up into the normal range, although still low. I know three people who fel much better now thattheir D levels are up around 60. Mine is about 40 right now.

netgrrl's avatar

I take prescrption iron daily & b12 shots monthly bc they tell
me I’m chronically deficient. My digestion doesn’t absorb properly. I asked about other supplements & was told a good daily multivitamin was sufficient.

jaytkay's avatar

I take a multi-vitamin, it’s cheap and I’ve never seen any evidence it can do harm. I drink orange juice for vitamins C, D and calcium. More importantly, I eat plenty of fruit and vegetables.

The harm I have seen is when people take vitamins, thinking that sufficiently balances drugs, alcohol and a bacon-cheese diet.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

I do and yes,they made a huge difference.

marinelife's avatar

I take a number of supplements. Only those that I actually do see benefit from.

It is very important when taking supplements to treat them just as you would a drug. To check for drug interactions with your other medications or contraindications for other conditions that you may have.

hug_of_war's avatar

My little sister was prescribed a multivitamin by her neurologist to potentially reduce the frequency and severity of her headaches

casheroo's avatar

I take the Trader Joe’s gummy vitamins, and give my son one as well. It’s a multivitamin, but I don’t think it has iron in it. I only take it because it’s a gummy bear and I like it. I’m also breastfeeding and hopefully it helps the baby.

rebbel's avatar

I don’t take any (extra, other then those in the foodproducts that i buy) vitamins or supplements, and i’m (almost) never sick.
Not sure if there is a corolation there, but i’m also not sure if it is provable (is that a word?) that when you do take those things you will stay healthy/healthier.

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

I take the same supplements that @MarcoNJ does, also folic acid (supposed to be good for preventing stroke). I had a stent put in a coronary artery 13 years ago and have had no recurrence of angina since, I don’t know how much good the suppliments are doing because I started them in conjunction with dietary changes and cholesteral-lowering drugs. They certainly don’t hurt anything. Now if I could only quit smoking…

filmfann's avatar

I take the multivitamin, fish oil, ginko biloba, asprin, and gloucosamine, condrodroitin, and msm.
When I run out, I will sometimes delay getting more till they are on sale, and I always feel the effects of not having it, especially the Gloucosamine mix. My joints all ache after 3 or 4 days without it.

gailcalled's avatar


4000IU vitamin D3
1250 mg. Omega 3
50 mg.sublingual B12
I multi-vitamin Centrum Silver (Low A and no iron)
Chinese Red Yeast Rice 1200 mg ( natural statin)
Co-Q-10 50 mg
1000 mg. Calcium – magnesium

malevolentbutticklish's avatar

I take the following: Multivitamin Calcium Fish Oil and Niacin

BUT… unlike others here I feel that they do little if anything for me. Fortunately the cost is zero (fish oil costs less per calorie than the food it replaces). They do provide some insurance in case I am not getting enough of something in my diet without my knowledge.

DominicX's avatar

I take a one-a-day vitamin sometimes. I haven’t in a while, but for a while, I was pretty consistent with it. I’m getting back on track with taking it, though. I haven’t really noticed anything, but I figure it can’t hurt, so why not?

JLeslie's avatar

I implied in my answer, but did not specifically state that I think it is important to get some testing done, before you megadose. A basic multivitamin I would say everyone can probably take, but the large doses of B12, D, and iron I take are because on or more of my doctors suspected dificiencies or sees certain dificiencies in the majority of her patients. If a doctor tells you, “don’t worry about it, the american diet is fortified enough that vitamins and minerals are not a problem,” they are idiots. Vitamin D, especially if you protect your exposed skin from the sun with SPF, is most likely going to be low. It is basically impossibe to get enough just through food.

Also, about iron, too much is very dangerous. Young women usually are low in iron, and so it is frequently added to multivitamin suplements for women. But, a lot of iron can be deadly for very young children and actually bad for men and postmenapausal women, if their iron gets too high. High iron causes heart problems. Again, get a blood test first, so you know what to take.

ShiningToast's avatar

One benefit for sure: expensive urine.

Not hating on all you folks that do take vitamins :).

netgrrl's avatar

@ShiningToast LOL My mother the nurse used to say American has the most expensive piss around.

DominicX's avatar

So I have a question for those of you vitamin experts out there: I heard from some people that some vitamin supplements just go right through you and don’t really do anything. If that’s true, how do I know which ones are effective?

ShiningToast's avatar

@Anyone who can answer this question for me:

My old high school physics teacher, one of the most level headed and logical men I know (and also a health buff, rode his bike 15 miles to school daily, a bit of a hippie, but incredibly intelligent), once told us that he does not take vitamins because in nature there are dozens of variations of each vitamin (C, D, the B’s, etc…) , and by taking vitamins you only get one of the variants, the one they figured out how to synthesize in the lab. Since it is only one variety, it does basically nothing by taking it in a vitamin. He told us that you’re better off eating the largest variety of foods that you can, and that is what he does.

Any validity to this remark? I don’t expect him to tell us this unless he knew firsthand.

mass_pike4's avatar

@ShiningToast: That is definitely true. I have heard the same.

I only take a cinnamon, green tea extract, and an l-arginine supplement. Other than that I get vitamins from a variety of foods in fruits, vegetables, milk, and meat, specifically bison.

slick44's avatar

Fish oil, for the omega 3, vitamin d, we all need, low dose aspirin. I feel GREAT!

filmfann's avatar

@netgrrl and @ShiningToast A friend of my sisters had their septic tank pumped, and found at the bottom a lot of undigested vitamins and such.

MarcoNJ's avatar

@malevolentbutticklish I mostly agree with you. I don’t feel any healthier, but it’s a nice reassuring feeling that I get from taking them just in case I’m not getting all I need from my regular diet.

I still drink Heineken on the weekends and party it up but I’m guessing I offset everything by walking back and forth to and from work 5 days a week. That, and drinking water consistently. Who knows? But, knowing I’m taking vitamins makes me feel good.

JLeslie's avatar


Vitamins A, D, E and K are fat soluble vitamins and they don’t go thrugh you, they get stored up in your fat cells, and you can overdose, but it takes a lot to overdose.

B, C, and others are water soluble and get peed out. BUT, you can have high B for instance. I guess maybe it takes time for your body to rid itself of it. My neighbor was taking B12 shots because she thought it was a good idea, and when she was checked by her doctor her B12 was high. My folic acid was very high, another one you supposedly pee out when tested. I had been taking a large dose of folic acid or months.

Minerals like iron and calcium can be overdosed also. Big doses of D and calcium can cause high levels of calcium in the blood which is very bad, it settles in tissues, hardens, very bad. But, again, you would have to be taking a lot of the stuff. A typical OTC supplement is not going to be a problem. I do know two people while on prescription D who wound up with high calcium and had to reduce their dose of vitamin D. You cannot overdose on D from the sun, The body stops producing D after about 20 minutes of exposure from what I understand, but of course you can have too much sun for your skin and get burnt or risk skin cancer.

Some people have genetic factors that affect how they absorb certain vitamins and minerals causing specific anemias, typically B12 and iron.

I think everyone should be tested at their regular doc check up for B12 and vit D. Women should add iron to the list.

john65pennington's avatar

Short answer. i have been taking a mans multivitamin for the past 20 years. my last physical stated i was in good health for a man of 66 years. i owe it to my vitamins and a blessing from above.

thriftymaid's avatar

I take two supplements, both of which have well documented benefits. I think some people are off the charts with this.

davidbetterman's avatar

Nope. Nothing from the laboratory, thank you. If I can’t get my nutrition from my food I am living on the wrong planet.

JLeslie's avatar

@davidbetterman I am beginning to really believe it is tough to get all of the vitamins and minerals we need from food. I don’t have access to a good selection of produce, and I am getting the feeling that the fruits and veggies I eat lack nutritional value, either from the actual farming process, or how long it takes for them to get from having been picked to my table. I agree with you ideally we should be able to get what we need from food (unless of course a person has a specific genetic problem as I mentioned above like an intrensic factor problem) but what I am finding is my friends who actually get blood tests run are dificient in a variety of vitamins and minerals.

davidbetterman's avatar

@JLeslie That is truly a shame. You know, they don’t even teach about crop rotation any more and rather teach about Monsanto fertilizers…

faye's avatar

I especially take B vitamins, us old women don’t make B12, I’ve read and Vit D. There’s very little outside in my world 6 mos of the year except a mad dash to the car. I just read reports that calcium supplements don’t do much for osteoporosis so now what?? I do feel an energy improvement with steady use of B-complex.

JLeslie's avatar

@faye Weight bearing exercise is good for the bones from what I understand. I think the prescription drugs for osteoporosis are supposed to work? I don’t know much about it.

faye's avatar

There’s a large flap going on about bisphosphonates- the osteoporosis drugs. There are 50 different theories!

mattbrowne's avatar

Usually no harm is done if you don’t stop eating fruit, vegetables and salads.

meagan's avatar

I take multivitamins every day. I don’t particularly see any benefits.. but I’m sure it might help in the long run.
I’m not the healthiest person, so me not noticing anything odd is probably a product of the vitamins working ;P

JLeslie's avatar

@faye Interesting, I might google it.

gailcalled's avatar

@faye: I am about to take myself (and my mother) off the bisphosphonates (Fosomax and Actonel). The latest studies show that they lose their efficacy after five years, which I hit several days ago.

I also noticed I had bad esophageal and heart-burn trouble (common side effects). I’d rather eat my Kale, take D3 and exercise instead of inviting the risk of esophageal cancer.

mattbrowne's avatar

If you overdose the supplements in most cases this just produces very expensive urine. But a few vitamins can’t be flushed out like this. In this case the overdose becomes an issue.

MarcoNJ's avatar

@mattbrowne It’s brighter that’s for sure.

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