Do you really need supplements?

Let’s assume you’re the ideal patient. You eat your vegetables, you don’t smoke, you drink in moderation, you avoid junk food, and you exercise every day. Do you, the role model of healthy living, really need to take vitamins?


Nutritional supplements help make up for some of the foods we don’t eat – and they help compensate for some of the foods we do eat that aren’t so good for us. 

When I look at the latest medical research on this, I find that people who take a daily multivitamin supplement have stronger immune systems and suffer fewer infections than people who don’t take supplements.1

One study I found in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition was more evidence of what I’ve discovered in my own practice: that multivitamins can keep you younger, longer. People in the clinical trial who took a daily multivitamin had 5.1 percent longer telomeres than people who didn’t take a multivitamin.2

That means the biological age of their DNA is almost 10 years younger than people who don’t take vitamins.

So even your standard multivitamin helps protect your telomeres. And if you’re a regular reader you know how I feel about protecting and preserving your telomeres.

When these bits of DNA at the end of your chromosomes burn down, the cells your body makes are older, more feeble and more decrepit. And when they burn down all the way, your life is over.

So it’s critical to get the right nutrients that keep your telomeres long… for as long as you possibly can.

But that’s getting harder and harder.

Consider what we’re up against:

A 1992 U.S. Department of Agriculture study concluded that only 4 percent of the 22,000 Americans studied were getting even the minimum recommended daily allowance (RDA) of their essential vitamins.

A more recent US government survey found that none of the 21,000 people surveyed managed to eat the recommended daily allowanced of all the ten basic nutrients studied.3

On any given day, 91 percent of Americans do NOT consume the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables, with 70 percent not consuming any vitamin-C-rich fruits and 80 percent not consuming any carotene-containing vegetables.

Americans often eat the same small number of foods every day, without much variety.
Unless you are the rare exception, you probably don’t get even the most basic, life-preserving requirement of all your important vitamins and minerals. 

Because remember, the RDA is only the minimum, not the amount of a nutrient you need for your best health.

Nobel laureate Linus Pauling said, “Recommended daily allowances only give levels of vitamins and minerals that will prevent death or serious illness from vitamin deficiency. To get real health benefits from vitamins, you need to get more than just the minimal recommended amounts.”

I have taken a multivitamin nearly every day for 30 years and you should too. Many multivitamin manufacturers now have formulas that include a wide range of anti-oxidants, which can simplify your routine.

I would recommend you take at least these four extra nutrients every day:

CoQ10: In the reduced ubiquinol form: 50 to 100 mg a day.

Cod Liver Oil: In its natural triglyceride form, gives you 3 to 5 grams of omega-3s a day.

Vitamin D3: 2,000 to 4,000 I.U. a day.

Vitamin C: 3,000 to 5,000 mg in divided doses a day.

And choose a quality multivitamin: I say this because there are a lot of bad multivitamins out there. The most popular one in the world – I won’t mention the name – is the worst one I’ve ever found. It’s pure junk. It’s just chemicals and minimal doses.

Also, unless you have iron deficiency, choose a multivitamin without iron. You probably don’t need the additional iron. Extra iron can interfere with the absorption of other minerals, give you constipation, and leave a foul taste in your mouth.

1. Bendich A. Micronutrients in women’s health and immune function. Nutrition. 2001 Oct; 17(10):858-867.
2. Xu et al. “Multivitamin use and telomere length in women,” Am J Clin Nutr. March 11, 2009.
3. Supplemental Data Tables, USDA Survey, 1994-1996.