It is confusing. Ultimately, there isn't strong evidence that taking a multivitamin can prevent chronic illness, but that doesn't mean you should throw the baby out with the bathwater.
Most people can and should be taking vitamin D, and many can benefit from fish oil or other omega 3 supplement. Women of childbearing age should be taking folic acid. Things like CoQ10 can be helpful for fertility and heart health.
So what about multis?
I'll be honest, I take one. This is despite the lack of evidence that they are useful. This is weird as usually my decisions are all evidence-based. But for some reason, I can't give it up as a bit of insurance. It just makes me feel better knowing I'm covering my bases...even though I eat a crazy nutritious diet and really probably don't need to take a multi. To make it even, I take it every other day. Or, if its one you take several times per day, like DrVita's Six Daily Advanced Multi-Vitamin, I take just 2 rather than 6 capsules daily.
Anyways, here is what I like about this multi from DrVita: the capsules are easy to swallow and have no aftertaste. They are free of artificial colours and flavours. What I don't like is that it has a whole lots of unnecessary ingredients that are not present in large enough quantities to probably do much. That being said, all the extra goodies in them do have health benefits, but I suspect only in much larger quantities, and keep in mind vitamins that throw in extra herbs, etc., are usually a lot more expensive. Also keep in mind that herbs can interact with other supplements and medications, so it is best to check with your doctor first before taking any. Most health experts will tell you that price is not always an indicator of vitamin quality. If you do want to take a multi, I would check out the website for the Centre for Science in the Public Interest, or contact them for advice. I was not able to find any third party reviews about the quality of DrVita multis so while I can say they are easy to take and I liked being able to control my dosage, I can't tell you much beyond that.
I think the question of whether or not to take a multi should be determined by your budget, your health status, your diet and your lifestyle.
Disclosure: I was sent a complimentary bottle of DrVita vitamins, but all opinions on this blog are my own.
Do you take a multi?