Do you need a multivitamin? Some say absolutely while others say no you don't but I say it depends. A multivitamin should be considered nutritional insurance as the typical amount of any of the long list of ingredients is based upon the official recommended dietary allowance (RDA). How do you sort out if you need one and then how to select the right one for you?
Do you eat a broad range of foods each week? Is the food fresh with as little processing as possible? Is the produce picked and eaten at peak? Do you take prescribed medicines that can and do decrease absorption of certain nutrients/minerals? Does your alcohol intake reduce your vitamin levels particularly the B group? Is your digestion working favorably? These are some of the questions to ask yourself.
The majority of Americans are considered in a deficit situation by many experts and companies. Think of the high stress, fast paced life with little time to shop and prepare home cooked meals especially with city people in mind. Of course, some people both men and women don't cook at all. You can easily understand the appeal of a general purpose multivitamin taken daily.
The multivitamin choice is dependent upon your age, overall health and personal preferences. Generally, people over 50 years benefit from a quality multi that includes minerals, trace elements and no iron. People younger will often have low to moderate iron in theirs along with choice of specialty ingredients for pre-natal/natal. There are others that are derived from whole food, tasty liquids, formulas for middle aged and older men and women while children like to eat yummy chewables.
As always, price gives an idea of the product quality. I think a middle of the road price point is the best. The way the manufacturers position their product lines paying a very high price isn't necessarily better but paying little actually gives you less with cheaper and lower quality ingredients as part of the formula.
So, do you need a multivitamin? For most of the people I know, that answer isn't a clear yes or no as they shop fresh at the farmer's market and prepare at least one home cooked meal each day and they take few if any prescribed drugs. But look closely at your circumstances and decide for yourself if a little bit spent on nutritional insurance is for you.