How many people do you know that take some sort of vitamin everyday? I would be willing to bet that most people would say almost everyone they know takes a vitamin. Unfortunately, all "vitamins" today are not created equal and the vitamins that are in so many household cabinets might not be as good for us as we think. Natural, organic vitamins in nature are found in a complex, which includes minerals, trace minerals, enzymes and co-enzymes, that no scientist or laboratory can duplicate. Mostly all vitamins people buy today are synthetic vitamins, where the one vitamin is isolated from the complex making it an incomplete product. So, what does it matter if the vitamin is separated from the rest of the complex? For example, if B1 is removed from a B Vitamin Complex supplement, can't we just take a B1 vitamin to "complete" the complex? No, you cant. I know some of you were hoping I would say yes, but sorry, nature doesn't work that way. There are so many other things (minerals, enzymes) that the body needs to properly process the vitamin. Another example of isolated supplements not being effective is beta-carotene.
In an article from one of the worlds greatest nutritionists, Dr. Royal Lee, he says, "Beta carotene is a precursor the body can convert to vitamin A. Unfortunately, as a supplement, synthetic beta carotene is usually 'stabilized' in refined vegetable oils. In this trans fatty acid form, oxidation occurs and the chemically 'pure' beta carotene can no longer act as a nutrient, because it was changed. Almost all synthetic beta carotene is produced by the Swiss drug giant Hoffman-LaRoche. This form can no longer be converted to vitamin A. The best it can be is worthless, and the worst is toxic".
To give you some evidence of a real life situation, the book Food and Nutrition by E.W.H. Cruickshank, MD shows an experiment using Vitamin D. The experiment took a group of three chicks (no, not women) that were fed on the same diet. The first group received no vitamin D at all, the second group was given a synthetic vitamin D supplement and the third group was given natural vitamin D preparation made from cod-liver oil. In the no-vitamin chicks, sixty percent died. In the synthetic-D group, fifty percent died. However, in the natural vitamin D group, there was not one death!
The major issue with taking vitamin isolates is that it can create other vitamin deficiencies. Reason being is that the body uses its vitamin stores to try and complete the complex because it just got an overdose of a certain vitamin and doesn't know what to do with it all. If you think about it, it's a great way to keep the vitamin companies in business. For example, if you go to the doctor's office complaining about bleeding gums he'll probably tell you that you have a vitamin C deficiency, then you're gonna go home and eat them like M&M's. A month later you go back and he says, "glad to see your gums have stopped bleeding, but now you have a vitamin E deficiency".
My recommendation is to get your vitamins for natural, organic whole foods. You don't need a multi-vitamin if you have a well balanced, diverse diet of fruits, vegetables and meat. I've asked this question before about other things, but how did we survive millions of years without a GNC multi-vitamin. I personally don't believe that science can outsmart Mother Nature.
Stay Fit, Stay Healthy!