BLOGS Ask the Pharmacist Ask the Pharmacist: August 2016

Q: Is it necessary to take a daily multiple vitamin supplement?

Healthy food choices are by far the best way to receive nutrients and would be my go to choice for complete vitamins and minerals if that was possible. However, with today’s depleted soil, nutritional demands from toxins in our environment and increased need due to poor lifestyle choices, supplements become more than just an insurance policy.

If you follow the experts, you will be confused as some will be adamant about including a general multiple vitamin as an everyday supplement and others will declare it unnecessary. Following the research will lead you to the same conclusion. Your body needs all the nutrients for your chemical pathways to function optimally, but you may not get enough in your diet to power you if you are generally malnourished or have specific chronic diseases. It is very doubtful that one compressed one-per- day tablet will provide you with adequate nutrients. Some manufacturers may have very small amounts of the expensive minerals included in the formula to impress you with their label, but there is no way there is enough real estate in a tiny tablet to provide an amount to be beneficial.

If you choose to partake in processed, sugary, empty caloric foods, you may need more than the recommended daily allowance to metabolize that junk. Obesity, pre-diabetes and your chronically stressful living conditions, which often add prescription drugs to the mix, certainly exert an added burden to your metabolic pathways. Choose a multiple vitamin and mineral combination that offers 2 to 8 capsules daily. Consider food form vitamins or supplements from reputable companies as they may be formulated to be more like nature and contain many co-factors and enzymes. Studies of inexpensive products have proven that you may not get what the label claims. Look for companies that follow the FDA regulation called Current Good Manufacturing Practice (CGMP) In Manufacturing, Packaging, Labeling. Is states “The Dietary Supplement (DS) CGMP rule in 21 CFR part 111 (“the DS CGMP rule”) requires persons who manufacture, package, label, or hold a dietary supplement to establish and follow current good manufacturing practice to ensure the quality of the dietary supplement and to ensure that the dietary supplement is packaged and labeled as specified in the master manufacturing record.”

Concerns after choosing the corrected supplement manufacturer then lean toward how the package was stored and shipped. Ferret out reputable internet businesses and avoid buying from stores that may not ensure that your product has been handled safely. The companies that have been vetted by experts often ship directly from the manufacturer to the seller to ensure potency of their products and will not allow them to be sold by online retailers like Amazon.

Dietary supplements in the form of multiple vitamins and minerals can compensate for the unavailability of nutritious foods, for the increased need due to depletions caused by properly prescribed prescriptions medications and for the increased need due to chronic illness or extreme exercise. Whether you determine your needs based on an examination of your lifestyle or a health care practitioners has recommended a combination, know the quality and work on the creating health so that the reason for the requirement can be corrected.

As always, eat real food, get good sleep, move your body out in the sunshine and adopt a spiritually centering practice to guide you on your path to wellness.

Deidre (Dee) Kohley, Rph, works at Watkins Pharmacy, is a graduate of Ferris University and has lived all her life in Muskegon. She continues to find ways to reach women who genuinely want to get well or live an optimal life. Dee loves digging into research to find new ways to help people. She is married and has seven children and nine grandchildren who keep her busy. She loves the beach and spending time outside enjoying the seasons. You can contact her by going to her website or

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