No matter how carefully you plan a nutritious diet, it can still be difficult to get the entire recommended daily dose of all of the vitamins and minerals necessary for optimal health.
Taking a daily multivitamin is a great way to supplement the nutrients found in food and ensure that your body is getting the right fuel for an energetic and healthy lifestyle.
Consider a multivitamin as a booster to support your exercise and nutrition program and take care of any missing nutrients in your diet.
Why take a daily multivitamin?
The best way for the body to process the full range of vitamins and nutrients it needs is to receive them through healthful foods. That being said, it can be difficult, if not impossible, to maintain a diet that has the perfect balance and ratio of all of the vitamins we should consume.
Some of the healthful benefits of foods can be reduced or compromised through the addition of preservatives, processing, or cooking. Lifestyle factors can also contribute to a deficiency in nutrients, such as disease, age, or a vegetarian diet.
A multivitamin can fill in for missing nutrients in the diet. A multivitamin should not be a replacement for eating healthfully, as it will never be able to replace the beneficial properties of real food.
Rather, a multivitamin will support and enhance an already nutritious diet. It will also provide some measure of protection when you are unable to receive all the nutrients your body needs through food.
What are the benefits of multivitamins?
Multivitamins contain micronutrients including vitamins A-K and dietary minerals such as calcium, magnesium, and iron. Maintaining a healthy level of micronutrients in the body leads to increased energy, a feeling of overall wellbeing, and greater immunity.
Increasing your intake of vitamin C, for example, can reduce the likelihood of catching the common cold. A multivitamin can also help restore nutrients lost through sickness or disease.
Many common illnesses, such as Crohn’s Disease, pancreatitis, and colitis rob the body of vitamins. Taking a multivitamin daily is a simple and easy way to help restore this loss of micronutrients.
Do multivitamins have side effects?
Although multivitamins contain the same micronutrients found in a normal diet, they should still be taken with care. It is possible to take too much of a multivitamin, or to experience interactions with other drugs, herbs, or supplements.
Before starting to take a multivitamin, make sure to consult with your doctor or healthcare provider. Most vitamins are harmlessly passed from the body if they are over-consumed.
However, some vitamins and minerals like vitamin A, vitamin B-6, and iron can actually be overdosed on. Excess vitamin A may contribute to osteoporosis and even increase risk for cancer.
An overload of vitamin B-6 may result in numbness of the hands and mouth. Taking too much iron could increase risk of heart disease.
Be sure not to overdo your multivitamin. Never take more than directed, and immediately stop taking the product and consult a doctor if you develop side effects.
The most common side effects of multivitamins are allergic reaction and constipation. For a complete list of potential side effects associated with multivitamins, visit this fact sheet at Drugs.com.
What is the best type of daily multivitamin?
With hundreds of different types of multivitamins available, it can be difficult to know which one to choose. It is important to understand exactly which blend of vitamins and minerals you need, and which amounts. These are factors that vary by age, gender, and lifestyle.
First, look for a multivitamin that has 100% of the daily value of most of the essential vitamins and nutrients such as vitamins A, B, and C. Next, consider your specific lifestyle factors and individual needs.
For example, vegans or vegetarians should look for a multivitamin that is high in vitamin B-12 and iron. Pregnant women will want a higher dose of folic acid, and those over 65 should get increased calcium to help bone strength.
A detailed guide to choosing the right multivitamin is available from Consumer Reports. Remember that no multivitamin is a substitute for a healthy and balanced diet!
Any decision to start taking a supplement should be discussed with your doctor. Doing your research can help you make a smart decision to add a multivitamin that supports your overall health and wellness goals.