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The Complete Truth About Multivitamin Benefits

Detoxification Circuit

By: Michael Lam, MD, MPH; Carrie Lam, MD; Jeremy Lam, MD

The Multivitamin ProblemMultivitamins are big business these days. You can’t read about health without encountering information about deficiencies and multivitamin benefits. But all this information isn’t necessarily true. There’s a growing body of evidence that suggests that taking supplements isn’t the solution. Instead you should be improving your diet to get the vitamins and minerals you need naturally.

The Multivitamin Problem

Everywhere you look in the health sphere you’ll find talk about multivitamin benefits. Vitamin and mineral supplements are a big industry these days. Americans spend more than 12 billion dollars a year on supplements. And around half of all Americans and 70 percent of adults over 65 take supplements regularly. This represents a huge investment in health.

Are Multivitamin Benefits Real?

Johns Hopkins researchers have recently reviewed the evidence for and against multivitamin benefits. This research included an analysis of some of the most recent studies on vitamins for specific health conditions.

Here are some of the results:

  • Multivitamins didn’t lower the risk of heart disease or cancer in research that involved 450,000 participants.
  • Multivitamins didn’t change the outcome for 1,708 heart attack survivors. The rates of later heart attacks, deaths, and surgeries were the same in the vitamin and placebo groups.
  • A 12-year study tracked the mental functioning of 5,947 men. It found that multivitamins didn’t reduce the risk of issues associated with mental decline.

These are sobering statistics. They indicate that, despite all the talk about multivitamin benefits, that they have no power to reduce the risk of cancer, mental decline, or heart disease. There is also evidence that some components of supplements such as beta-carotene and vitamin E, may be harmful in high doses.

Multivitamin Benefits for Adrenal Fatigue

Multivitamin Benefits for Adrenal FatigueWhile multivitamins may not be beneficial for healthy individuals, what about persons with adrenal fatigue? Many people who have Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome (AFS) consider taking vitamins.

When you have AFS, any change may cause a worsening of your symptoms and problems, even a healthy change. Ongoing, unrelieved stressors like a poor diet, sedentary lifestyle, or work problems can cause AFS. But your body doesn’t understand the difference between good stress and bad. So, when you take supplements, it can be an additional stressor. This may cause the release of more cortisol and worsens your condition.

When you have AFS, you need to introduce any changes to your lifestyle slowly, carefully, and with the advice of a medical professional who understands your condition. Otherwise, you might miss out on enjoying the multivitamin benefits and only experience their side effects. It is also important to find a multivitamin that has good quality ingredients as you don't want to be digesting any unnecessary fillers.

The Detoxification Circuit and Supplements

Supplements can also further unbalance the Detoxification Circuit, which can become unbalanced very early on in AFS. This circuit contains the liver, the immune system, and the Extracellular Matrix (ECM), which refers to the spaces outside of the cell walls. These spaces are filled with fluid and are primarily used to convey chemical messages and to allow substances to move through the body.

The Components of the Detoxification Circuit

The three components of the Detoxification Circuit are designed to work in harmony to eliminate metabolites, which are produced as a result of metabolism in your body. These metabolites can be very harmful, but the liver deactivates and expels them before they can do damage. When you have AFS however, this process breaks down. Metabolites are produced in increasing numbers as a result of stress and exposure to toxins and the liver can’t keep up with their numbers. The metabolites then end up in the ECM, where they slow chemical messaging and turn the body into a kind of toxic stew. This in turn activates the immune system, which produces inflammation to get rid of the metabolites. And all of this activity just creates more metabolites and worsens the original problem.

Taking vitamins can potentially add to this spiral of poor health and adrenal fatigue by further unbalancing the Detoxification Circuit if there is underlying weakness. With this in mind, it is vitally important to choose the right type of multivitamin to help your recovery journey. That being said, it might not be beneficial to take a multivitamin that has so many vitamins and ingredients in it, but it might be helpful to take specific nutrients that target adrenal recovery, like vitamin C or vitamin B5. Being specific in your nutrients can be beneficial to those who are very sensitive to supplements. It's best to consult a practitioner who understands the intricacies of being gentle with supplementation.

How to Get Sufficient Vitamins

Woman Thinking How to Get Sufficient VitaminsWhile healthy people may not see the benefits of a multivitamin, the same cannot be said of those with nutrient deficiencies or adrenal fatigue. However, those in advanced adrenal fatigue often find themselves to be more sensitive and thus need to proceed with caution when it comes to choosing your multivitamin. Proper titration is necessary. The weaker the body, the greater the risk of adrenal crashes being triggered, especially with multiple vitamins containing vitamin Bs and C.

Nutrients and vitamins are found in foods in combinations and quantities that make them easier for your body to process and use. Not enough is known about how the body processes and uses nutrients, which is why supplements just can’t match the benefits of a healthy diet.

According to Johns Hopkins, a healthy diet has much stronger evidence supporting its benefits than multivitamins do. So, if you’re looking to improve your health, here’s how:

  • Reduce your intake of unhealthy fats and sugars.
  • Eat more lean, organic protein, vegetables, healthy fats, and whole grains.
  • Snack on fruit instead of sugary treats.
  • Reduce your sodium intake.

One exception to this rule is folic acid. If you’re a woman of childbearing age, then folic acid supplements can be beneficial. They can prevent neural tube defects when taken before and during early pregnancy. This is one of the few multivitamin benefits that has plenty of evidence to support it. Otherwise, try to improve your diet so that you’re getting all the nutrients you need.


There are some multivitamin benefits for specific situations. Here’s a brief guide to taking multivitamins:

  1. Try to get all the nutrition you need from a diet of organic, lean proteins, vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats. Also cut down on sugary or processed foods.
  2. You may need to supplement in certain situations, such as folic acid for women who want to have a baby.
  3. Talk to your doctor about your options if you’re concerned about the nutritional balance of your food.
  4. make sure you take the right kind of multivitamin if you are suffering from adrenal fatigue.

If you would like to get additional information about nutrition for better health, the team at Dr. Lam Coaching can help. We offer a free** no-obligation phone consultation at +1-626-571-1234 where we will privately discuss your symptoms and various appropriate choices. Moreover, you can also send us a question through our Ask The Doctor system by clicking here.

© Copyright 2021 Michael Lam, M.D. All Rights Reserved.

Dr. Lam's Key Question

There are some multivitamin benefits for specific conditions and situations such as folic acid for women of childbearing age. However, for most people, a healthy diet will give you all the vitamins and minerals you need without you having to spend extra money on these supplements.

© Copyright 2001-2021 Michael Lam, M.D. All Rights Reserved.
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