Do you know your favorite ready to pop multivitamin tablets were primarily invented to cure nutritional deficiencies occurring in special conditions like trauma, surgery, chronic illness impairing oral intake or other digestion related issues?
But, your doctor, your gym trainer, your friend working for a nutraceutical MNC, fitness freak neighbour or NRI relatives, often sell the idea of popping tablets as a healthier bet. Time for a reality check, chemicals cannot be a substitute for food, real natural food. Don't believe me, but try listening to JoAnn E Mansion and Shari S Basuk of Harvard Medical School, USA, clearly indicating how pharma companies making billions of dollars by promoting indiscriminate usage of multivitamin pills and putting people at risk of many dreadful diseases.
However, the positive impacts of these artificial nutrients in special needs is doubtless, it is the daily usage which is worrisome, especially people with relatively better purchasing power see multivitamins, as their status symbol. My clients seeking nutritional advice are always asked to bring all their previous prescriptions (medical and diet), medicines etc. to get an idea about their medical history.
Surprisingly, most of their prescription charts are filled with multivitamin recommendations, and, if the client is visiting two to three experts simultaneously like one for diabetes another for bone issues, more often than not, all the prescriptions would have same supplement recommendation like Calcium, which is blindly prescribed, especially to women over 40 years of age.
A lot of scientific reviews suggest "overprescription" of these tablets posing a risk for diseases like cancer and stroke in general population, a Canadian study conducted on a large number of women found that women consuming multivitamins had a higher risk for various diseases.
Another study revealed that people taking multivitamin tablets tend to have a lower BMI (Body Mass Index) as they skip eating fresh fruits but is chemically induced weight loss healthy in the long run? Another point to ponder is people with regular intake of fresh fruits and vegetables are generally healthy, have a higher lifespan and low disease risk, a fact proven by science time and again, across the globe.
I have come across many partially trained and insufficiently educated fitness experts advising pills over real food as pills come with negligible calories and plenty of nutrients (claimed) helping quick weight loss.
What they fail to understand is a fundamental fact that human gut works best with natural foods, and chemicals eventually reduce the efficiency of our intestines. Which is why even for the hospitalized patients nutritionists and doctors prefer oral intake and encourage natural food.
Alternatives To Adulterated Food
Those of you who believe our food is already adulterated with excessive pesticides or incapable of providing a sufficient amount of nutrients, tablets, therefore, a necessity now, think again.
Finding a genuine organic food vendor or a small farmer as they generally prefer natural farming and sell their produce in the nearby mandi, having a kitchen garden, practising pot farming can be tedious than taking pills, but the amount of peace and extent of health you will achieve would be priceless, remember that real health is only possible through real food.
Yes, if you have a medical condition and regular food intake is hampered, multivitamins, of course by an educated prescription, can be helpful, but stop using it as a food substitute. And even in conditions where artificial nutrients become a necessity, do ask your health expert about the time limit for the recommendation, do not presume it as a lifetime prescription, as these tablets are supposed to be taken for a stipulated period of time.
Putting simply, if you are healthy then prefer eating local healthy foods, schedule your meals properly, fill your plate with vegetables, eat fresh fruits daily, use local grains and pulses in your daily diet and lastly, buy food for nutrients, not tablets.