After reading nic's post about the vitamins she takes, I thought I'd go ahead and cover this Good Health Guideline.
Weight Watchers recommends that all members take a multivitamin containing no more than 100% of the RDA of vitamins and minerals. Presumably, this is because dieters may miss certain nutrients because they are cutting back on their food intake.
No specific brand is recommended, though the One-A-Day Weight Smart vitamin used to be advertised in Weight Watchers Magazine and ads in program materials. (Weight Watchers' members seem to be a huge market force, and I wouldn't be surprised if the organization made more from ads in program materials like the Complete Food Guide and the coupon books they hand out in meetings than from membership dues.) It looks like that vitamin is now called Women's Active Metabolism, and the metabolism activators are both variants on caffeine. If you take your multivitamin while you are drinking your morning coffee, you're probably getting about the same effect. I tend to be a little skeptical of anything that claims to affect weight loss or metabolism, because there are so many scammers out there. (I am, in fact, concerned that this post will attract spam comments from snake oil salespeople.)
I take Country Life's Maxine for Women, which Jillian Michaels recommended on her much-missed podcast. I take the version with iron because I have had troubles with anemia in the past. Weight Watchers' guidelines would make this vitamin a no-no because it contains more than 100% of the RDA of certain nutrients. I also take 2 capsules of fish oil, a flaxseed oil capsule (it helps my eczema, read about it on the internets), and some extra selenium and vitamin D. I used to also take a glucosamine supplement because everyone said it would help save my knees, but to be honest, I quit taking it weeks ago and have noticed no difference at all. I started taking some of the extra supplements after reading When Your Body Gets the Blues and started taking the fish oil after hearing about the benefits of Omega 3 fatty acids.
I am assuming that this guideline is all about nutrition and less about supporting weight loss, but the Body Blues research suggested that there could be some weight-loss benefit from supplementation, light, and exercise, as well as a mood-lifting effect.
There is still some controversy over whether vitamins provide real health benefits. I think that most vitamin consumers, like me, think that because vitamins may help and probably won't hurt, that we are safer taking them than not. It's really anyone's guess whether we're helping ourselves or just wasting the money we spend on supplements. I feel better when I'm taking my vitamins regularly, but I also tend to take them at times when I'm really focusing on other healthy habits, like exercise and diet.
Do you take any supplements? Do you notice any difference from when you weren't taking them?