Thinking about taking vitamins?

A University nutritionist sheds light on the vitamin supplement debate.

Erin Lengas

The lifestyle of a college student is fast-paced and hectic. As hard as we may try, eating healthy is not always convenient. I try to compensate for any bad food habits by taking a multivitamin, which I had always thought of as a healthy addition to my daily routine.
After hearing a news report that questioned vitamin effectiveness, I asked Lisa Buck, a health service nutritionist at Boynton Health Service, to explain their benefits and risks.
Common knowledge about vitamin C is a prime example of misinformation. Contrary to popular belief, it has not been proven as a remedy for the common cold.
âÄúTaking too much vitamin C is not dangerous,âÄù explained Buck. âÄúBut why take more than you need and waste money?âÄù
This is BuckâÄôs advice for almost all vitamins, and it is good news for students on a tight budget. She strongly advises obtaining vitamins from the food we eat, not supplements. I was surprised to learn that for most people, it is not even necessary to take a daily multivitamin.
âÄúI recommend a supplement if someone has a really poor diet,âÄù Buck said. Even then, she only suggests taking it a few times a week to balance unhealthy eating habits.
Buck does advise taking one supplement: vitamin D. âÄúIt is almost impossible to get the amount of vitamin D you need in a Minnesota winter.âÄù
We need up to an hour of sunlight a week to fulfill our vitamin D requirements, according to the National Institutes of HealthâÄôs Office of Dietary Supplements.
Although I am not ready to give up my daily multivitamin, Buck did change my views about taking supplements to improve my health. I plan to cut out the costly, unnecessary supplements and substitute them with healthy, vitamin-rich foods.
Buck warns against taking multiple supplements to make up for unhealthy eating. âÄúTake them for the right reasons, and be careful of how much you take.âÄù