Eating a tacoSplashy editorials pop up regularly decrying the need for any sort of multivitamin or supplement. Just follow standard medical advice, they say (which often includes taking a daily multivitamin) and don’t think.

But their argument is pretty easy to poke holes in. Our diets are so poor, that cheap multivitamins are snuck into as much food as possible: from candy, to almost all our grains. In fact, it’s just been decided that we need to add folic acid to Masa (corn flour used to make tortillas and other things) to prevent birth defects.

That’s the holy grail of supplements, that even the most vitriolic opponent won’t touch: prenatal vitamins. Our diets are reliably bad enough that we supplement our food with vitamins and minerals, and not only tell women to start taking a prenatal when they begin trying to conceive (or as soon as they find out if they weren’t), but occasionally recommend that all women of childbearing age should be taking a prenatal vitamin (which despite marketing, can be any supplement with enough folic acid and a few other things).

No one trusts the average diet is enough to support reproducing.

We could all use a nutrient boost, even if we aren’t growing new humans.

Here’s one point where I agree with many of the detractors: if they’re just looking at store-bought supplements, they’re kind of right. They often don’t match labels, are all filler, and have even been caught with stimulants and other bad things mixed in.

Where to begin? Look at your diet. You might already know where some holes are and be able to steer yourself in the right direction. Then look for a high-quality multivitamin. If you don’t have something in mind (like iron) just go for something like Vita One that covers all your bases.

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