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Do You Need a Multivitamin?

Here’s an ironic fact: Most people use multivitamins as a nutritional insurance policy. Those who take them often follow healthier, more mineral-rich diets. When you think about it, the approach makes sense — healthier people are more likely to engage in health-ish behaviors. Unfortunately, the reverse is also true: People who eat less nutrient-rich diets are less likely to take multivitamins.

If you want to consider taking multivitamins, you should do a quick self-assessment. That’s because certain people run a higher risk of nutrient deficiencies even with a healthy diet.

For example, women tend to have a greater risk of iron deficiency, especially when pregnant. Vegans and vegetarians are more likely to be deficient in Vitamin B12. Research indicates that most just about all of us are lacking in magnesium, zinc, and–especially–vitamin D.

When it comes to figuring out exactly what you need, your best option is to start by having a basic blood panel. Otherwise, you’re just guessing. Once you are armed with your results (and know where you are deficient), you can move on to finding answers and knowing if multivitamins are the right decision for your goals and needs.

Will a Multivitamin Help You With Fat Loss?

Unfortunately, multivitamins do not improve fat loss. If they did, everyone would take them—and then go skipping off for seconds at the soft-serve ice-cream machine, knowing that their six-pack abs were protected by this miracle pill.

Achieving fat loss largely comes down to being in a caloric deficit. You have to burn more calories than you consume. In the most basic sense, that means you either eat fewer calories or increase exercise and activity.

If you go the low-calorie route during a fat loss plan, you might run a greater risk of nutrient deficiencies due to you eating less or enjoying a smaller variety of foods. Now, ideally, when you’re on any plan, you’ll be eating plenty of fruits and vegetables. But reality doesn’t always follow ideal situations, so if the above scenario describes you, it might be a good idea to take a multivitamin.

The verdict: Multivitamins have no benefits for fat loss, but they could help if you’re eating less and not enough vegetables, fats, and proteins.

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