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Do I need a multivitamin? 

If you eat a variety of foods, you probably get the vitamins and minerals you need. Vitamins and minerals found in food are more fully absorbed and utilized than those in supplements. The Departments of Agriculture (USDA) and Health and Human Services (HHS) Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend choosing whole grains, fruit, vegetables, dairy, and meat or meat alternative every day. Nutrient needs vary depending on age, weight, height, gender, and health condition, so contacting a registered dietitian is the best way to ensure you are eating to meet your nutrient needs.

Many studies have had inconclusive evidence in the benefits of taking a daily multivitamin/mineral. Also, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not regulate many multivitamins and supplements. Supplements may interact with medications, so talking to your doctor or dietitian about what supplements you are thinking about taking is important.

Some groups of people, even though they eat a healthy diet, may benefit from a multivitamin, for example, women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, menopausal women, vegetarians or vegans, the elderly, or picky eaters. Certain health conditions may require additional nutrients such as lactose intolerance, celiac disease, non-healing wounds, chronic dieting, and gastric bypass surgery.

If you would like to get more information about vitamins and your diet or to schedule and appointment with a registered dietitian, contact HealthFinder at (504) 456-5000 to or visit us online at www.ejgh.org.

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