Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Good Health Guideline: Multivitamin

After reading nic's post about the vitamins she takes, I thought I'd go ahead and cover this Good Health Guideline.

Weight Watchers recommends that all members take a multivitamin containing no more than 100% of the RDA of vitamins and minerals. Presumably, this is because dieters may miss certain nutrients because they are cutting back on their food intake.

No specific brand is recommended, though the One-A-Day Weight Smart vitamin used to be advertised in Weight Watchers Magazine and ads in program materials. (Weight Watchers' members seem to be a huge market force, and I wouldn't be surprised if the organization made more from ads in program materials like the Complete Food Guide and the coupon books they hand out in meetings than from membership dues.) It looks like that vitamin is now called Women's Active Metabolism, and the metabolism activators are both variants on caffeine. If you take your multivitamin while you are drinking your morning coffee, you're probably getting about the same effect. I tend to be a little skeptical of anything that claims to affect weight loss or metabolism, because there are so many scammers out there. (I am, in fact, concerned that this post will attract spam comments from snake oil salespeople.)

I take Country Life's Maxine for Women, which Jillian Michaels recommended on her much-missed podcast. I take the version with iron because I have had troubles with anemia in the past. Weight Watchers' guidelines would make this vitamin a no-no because it contains more than 100% of the RDA of certain nutrients. I also take 2 capsules of fish oil, a flaxseed oil capsule (it helps my eczema, read about it on the internets), and some extra selenium and vitamin D. I used to also take a because everyone said it would help save my knees, but to be honest, I quit taking it weeks ago and have noticed no difference at all. I started taking some of the extra supplements after reading When Your Body Gets the Blues and started taking the fish oil after hearing about the benefits of Omega 3 fatty acids.

I am assuming that this guideline is all about nutrition and less about supporting weight loss, but the Body Blues research suggested that there could be some weight-loss benefit from supplementation, light, and exercise, as well as a mood-lifting effect.

There is still some controversy over whether vitamins provide real health benefits. I think that most vitamin consumers, like me, think that because vitamins may help and probably won't hurt, that we are safer taking them than not. It's really anyone's guess whether we're helping ourselves or just wasting the money we spend on supplements. I feel better when I'm taking my vitamins regularly, but I also tend to take them at times when I'm really focusing on other healthy habits, like exercise and diet.

Do you take any supplements? Do you notice any difference from when you weren't taking them?


  1. 5:35 PM

    I've taken daily multivitamin's for years, I just buy something addressed for Women 50+. I have no idea if they help me or not but I'm not the sickly type (not high-energy either though). I never eat much junk food at all, my problem has always been portion control.

  2. altopower7:48 PM

    I've been taking multivitamins and calcium daily for 7 years. Varied the variety, especially when I hit the 50+ category. Now I'm taking Tums twice a day for calcium (because it's chewable) and a Flintstone's chewable vitamin twice a day. First WW and now the lapband people are quite insistent on taking these regularly, so I'm going to.

  3. 9:52 PM

    Wow. I genuinely had no idea this guideline was for "NO MORE" than 100% of RDA recommendations.

    I fail.

    I love my vitamins, they contail 98349058903485% of everything I need, and I can tell when I forget to take them. I don't care if WW doesn't like that. I want my energy.

  4. 8:25 PM

    I take a one a day multi, fish oil, a probiotic pill, a separate calcium/ vit D, and a super B complex.

    Although while reading my personal training study materials this week they say that supplementation is not necessary if you are eating right.

    I know for me personally I can feel when I forget to take them...but maybe that's a mental thing. I'm going to keep taking them since they seem to benefit me even if it is all in my head.


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"Count your calories, work out when you can, and try to be good to yourself. All the rest is bulls**t." -- Jillian Michaels at BlogHer '07