Taking daily vitamins has become a thing of the past. As a kid it seemed more important to get our daily dose of the Flinstones vitamins, but now, we’ve stopped growing, and vitamins for grown ups are no longer fruity and colorful.
Ronda Bokram, a nutritionist at Olin Health Center, says that’s okay, because other factors, such as diet and exercise, are more likely to keep us healthy than taking a vitamin every morning. “A multi-vitamin is not a requirement of staying healthy,” Bokram said. “Eating a variety of food, eating enough, and being active are more critical than vitamins.”
Senior Becky Woolever, who takes a multi-vitamin almost every day, agrees with Bokram. She said she found little difference in the way she felt before taking vitamins and how she feels now after having taken them consistently for some time. “I feel pretty normal after taking vitamins for about one year now,” Woolever said. “I don’t feel any different.”
Mark Conradi, an economics junior, has vitamins but does not take them finding that he feels the same whether he takes them or not. “I have a bottle [of vitamins] next to my sink,” Conradi said. “But when I take them I don’t feel any different, so I usually don’t.”
Woolever found as Bokram predicts, that when she exercises 3-4 times a week, she feels significantly better than when she is taking vitamins. “I feel healthy and not just because of vitamins,” Woolever said. “I work out three times a week, so I think it has more to do with that.”
Colleen Farrow, an English senior at MSU does not take vitamins but rarely gets sick or run-down which she, like Bokram, attributes to a healthy diet and plenty of exercise.
“Overall I view myself as healthy,” Farrow said. “I’m a runner and I know that regular exercise helps immensely. I am sure it wouldn’t hurt to take some vitamins, but at the same time, I think as long as you’re eating a variety of healthy foods you’re giving your body most of the nutrients it needs.”
However, there are advocates who feel that everyone does indeed need a daily multi-vitamin to stay healthy and energetic. Dr. Obikoya writes in her online article, “Why Take Supplemental Vitamins,” that everyone critically needs vitamins daily to keep several of the body functions running regularly.
“Everybody critically needs vitamins to work, grow, and develop properly, which makes them extremely important on a daily basis,” Obikoya said. “The human body also requires vitamins to do many things, such as ward off disease, boost immune system response, and even improve overall moods.”
However, Bokram said that unless there is an actual deficiency of vitamins within your body, you generally will not feel a difference. “People often feel better due to the placebo effect (in which one feels better because they think they should feel better), when taking vitamins,” Bokram said. “But unless there is an actual deficiency, there is not any real improvement.”
But, taking a vitamin everyday whether your body is deficient or not, will not harm you.
“Too much of a supplement will not get stored in your body,” Bokram said. “They will just go down the toilet and you will end up with expensive urine.”
If you still feel as if vitamins are for you, Bokram recommends to find a vitamin with 100 percent of recommended dietary intakes (RDI) and to take it only a few times per week. This will keep costs down and will make one bottle last longer. Most over the counter multi-vitamins are fairly inexpensive, ranging everywhere from $4-$12 and contain enough pills to last for 1-2 months.
For more information on vitamin intake or vitamin supplements, contact Ronda Bokram at the Olin Health Center: (517) 355-7593.

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