Question: Who might benefit from taking a daily multivitamin, and how strong is the scientific evidence supporting this practice?
Answer: The question of who might benefit from taking a multivitamin is fraught with controversy right at this moment. However, many people do not get their recommended daily allowance of antioxidants. Normally, we would get those in vegetables and fruits. However the CDC, which has studied this, shows that less than a third of people get the recommended daily allowance for fruits, which would be two a day, and less than 27 percent get the recommended daily allowance for vegetables, which are three a day. As a result, most Americans -- probably half -- are nutritionally deficient in many of the antioxidants that would be replaced in a multivitamin, and therefore I would say that for many Americans, taking a multivitamin is a good insurance policy that helps cover some of the gaps in the diet.
Ideally, people eat a healthy diet, but when there are gaps the multivitamin can help. Finally, some things -- vitamin D, vitamin E -- are very, very hard, if not impossible, to get fully from the diet, and a supplement might be of great importance.