These days, in the rush to get ratings or sell magazines, the media seems more willing to sacrifice balanced reporting in favour of controversy. Health, diet and exercise stories are among the topics about which the truth gets butchered more than most! One of the best examples is stories on vitamins and minerals - they are either presented as magical elixirs, that are the fountain of youth or portrayed as useless or even harmful. 

Often, some 'expert' states that 'all you need is a healthy diet’ so why take a multi-vitamin/mineral supplement. I wish people would stop making this idiotic statement, because despite the fact that the public is now more educated than ever about diet, people are eating worse than ever. The British National Diet and Nutrition Survey showed that people’s vitamin and mineral intakes were bad and getting worse - men only get about half of the recommended amount of fruit and veg and only 1/3 for oily fish, yet soft drink intake has doubled! The survey also shows that of the eight gender and age groups studied, not one of them got the required amount of each essential nutrient - not one! 19 to 24 year old women were deficient in at least 10 of these essential nutrients! And the measurements they used were for minimum requirements for nutrients not the optimal amount needed to support good health! Not surprisingly, according to one of the authors of the survey, a substantial number of subjects had low vitamin D levels in their blood and a fell eight percent of women were anaemic (due to low iron status). 

So unless you are getting at least your 5 fruits and veg a day and are eating plenty of meat, fish, dairy, eggs, whole grains, etc, a quality multi is probably intelligent insurance.

-Mark Gilbert BSc (Nutrition), CISSN