A recent study shows that the side-effect of a popular multi-vitamin increases blood glucose in some people. This is a significant concern for people with diabetes. This begs to ask the question: are multi-vitamins needed after all? It depends what you eat and who you ask.
The Standard American Diet (nicknamed SAD) is severely poor in multiple nutrients. The truth is, nutrients are abondant in whole food, legumes, fruits and vegetables, yet most people don’t consume enough (if any) of them and instead rely on processed food, and for a variety of reasons. Those people could benefit the most from a multi-vitamin to cover some basic nutritional requirements, and many doctors will recommend that approach.
If you walk in a “health” store that makes a living by selling vitamins and supplements, you need a lot of them, plus a scoop of this powder and a cup of that drink. Or open just about any health magazine and you will be bombarded with ads promoting the health benefits of taking them. But since dietary supplements are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the supposed benefits of some products are highly questionable. There’s an obvious bias for profit that can be misleading.
There’s no question that changing to a nutrient-rich diet takes time, efforts and commitment. But it’s never too late to start, it’s definitely achievable for most, and many books are available on the subject, whether it’s the popular DASH diet or a whole food, plant-based diet. Achieving a nutrient-rich diet eliminates the need for a multi-vitamin.
In doubt, a comprehensive blood analysis will clearly indicate whether you are deficient in some nutrients, and will help your doctor recommend you any dietary supplement you may need, such as vitamin D (that is chronically lacking in most people). Other dietary supplements should be left aside, especially if you take other medication such as cholesterol-lowering or blood-pressure-lowering drugs, given the very complex way drugs and supplements interact with one another.
If you choose to take a multi-vitamin, you can perform the following test: 40 minutes prior to eating, measure your blood glucose, consume the multi-vitamin, and re-test your blood glucose 30 minutes after, which is 10 minutes before your meal (i.e. your pre-meal reading). Repeat the readings at the same time the day after without taking the multi-vitamin, and compare the results. You should repeat this two-day test a few times to identify any change pattern on days you take the multi-vitamin. That way you will know for sure whether that multi-vitamin has a impact or not on you.