Skip to content

The #1 Worst Reason to Take a Vitamin

Not everyone should take vitamins, according to experts. Here's why. 
FACT CHECKED BY Emilia Paluszek

Food is more than something that fills you up and tastes good. It's packed with vitamins our body needs to develop and perform normally. Without the essentials like  A, C, D, E, K, and the B vitamins, we can't function properly. Most of the time we get what we need from a balanced diet, but certain health issues like Crohn's disease can make it difficult to absorb vitamins and deficiencies can also happen to anyone with a nutrient poor diet. Taking vitamins to supplement can be beneficial. That said, there's wrong reasons to take vitamins and Eat This, Not That! Health spoke with experts who explained. As always, please consult with a physician for medical advice. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.


Speak to a Medical Expert Before Taking Vitamins, Especially If You"re Taking Medication

doctor patient consult insomnia

Bonnie Taub-Dix, RDN, creator of Better Than Dieting and author of Read It Before You Eat It – Taking You from Label to Table says, "If you're on certain medications, like blood thinners, it's essential that you talk to someone since supplements can interact detrimentally with your meds. Consulting with your physician or dietitian-nutritionist could also help you figure out your need for supplements."


Don't Take Vitamins to Replace a Proper Balanced Diet


Sure, it's great to eat our favorite junk food every now and then, but not on a regular basis. We would never get the vitamins and minerals we need. The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health states, "Multivitamins/multiminerals (MVMs) are the most frequently used dietary supplements, with close to half of American adults taking them. MVMs cannot take the place of eating a variety of foods that are important to a healthy diet. Foods provide more than vitamins and minerals. Many foods also have fiber and other substances that can provide health benefits. However, some people who don't get enough vitamins and minerals from food alone, or who have certain medical conditions, might benefit from taking one or more of these nutrients found in single-nutrient supplements or in MVMs. However, evidence to support their use for overall health or disease prevention in the general population remains limited."


Because Vitamins Can't Hurt, Right?

Woman is holding a mobile phone and a bottle of pills

Dr. Jacob Hascalovici MD, PhD, the Clearing Chief Medical Officer says, "Unfortunately, some vitamins can hurt. Depending on your specific situation, it's possible for a vitamin like vitamin A to build up in your body and cause toxic damage over time. Vitamins C, D, E, and K, among others, can also harm you when they're taken in high doses or in combination with certain other supplements or medications." 


I'd Rather Be Safe Than Sorry

Young Asian woman sitting on bed and feeling sick, taking medicines in hand with a glass of water.

Dr. Hascalovici states, "Doctors report that their patients often take a multivitamin "just in case," as a kind of stop-gap measure. While regular vitamins are marketed to consumers as a good health habit, a healthy diet generally gives you all the vitamins you need on a daily basis. When you get your vitamins from natural foods, your body can often absorb and process them more effectively. It's also unlikely that vitamins will completely offset poor eating habits. Rather, it may be a better strategy to research exactly what vitamins could benefit you, given your unique situation, and take only those (after consulting with your doctor or nutritionist)."


They'll Make Me Feel Better

Female doctor talking while explaining medical treatment to patient through a video call with laptop in the consultation.

Dr. Hascalovici explains, "It makes sense: you want to do everything you can to feel your best, and it seems as though vitamins could be part of that. Even if you're just experiencing a placebo effect, it can still feel good to know you're investing in your health. However, vitamins aren't magic, and some studies show that over time, certain vitamins may actually hurt more than they help. Some studies show slight benefits from regularly taking vitamins, while others demonstrate slightly worse outcomes."

Heather Newgen
Heather Newgen has two decades of experience reporting and writing about health, fitness, entertainment and travel. Heather currently freelances for several publications. Read more about Heather