Multivitamins are probably the most common supplements in the world. They are readily available in pharmacies, grocery stores, and online.
But is it really necessary to take a multivitamin everyday?
Continue reading this article to learn the benefits of a multivitamin, who should take a multivitamin, and the truth about if you should be taking a daily multivitamin to improve your health.
What Does a Multivitamin Do?
A multivitamin is a supplement that contains a variety of vitamins and minerals.
Multivitamins can improve your health by offering additional nutrients that you may not be getting from your diet.
In fact, multivitamins can compensate for poor eating habits and may even reduce your risk of getting sick.
Vitamins and minerals are essential to human health and well-being. There are about 30 different vitamins and minerals that we need to consume from dietary and supplemental sources (1).
But what exactly do we need these nutrients for?
Each vitamin and mineral has a specific role, or roles, in the body. Some produce enzymes and hormones, some boost the immune system, and others are important for normal functioning of organs, nerves, and body systems. Additionally, many vitamins and minerals are key for growth and reproduction.
Continue reading to understand who exactly should be taking a multivitamin.
Who should take a multivitamin?
For one, most people have gaps in their diets, and taking a multivitamin is a good way to cover those gaps.
Other people may have certain dietary restrictions which makes it hard for them to get all the nutrients they need.
Here’s a list of circumstances that would indicate taking a multivitamin.
Those With Nutrient Deficiencies
Of course, if anyone has a nutrient deficiency, it’s important to correct that deficiency by adding in adequate nutrients back into the diet. A multivitamin is a great way to ensure the body is receiving all the vitamins and minerals it needs to function optimally (2).
Those Who Travel Frequently
Frequent travel undoubtedly creates a change in routine and often off-sets healthy eating habits. Daily multivitamins are a great idea when people are on-the-go, especially if they are eating less nutrient-rich foods during periods of travel.
Vegans and/or Vegetarians
People that avoid animal products are often low in vitamin B12, iron, zinc, vitamin D, and omega-3 fatty acids. Those who follow a vegan or vegetarian diet should be supplementing with a multivitamin to ensure their nutrient needs are being met (3).
Those with Food Allergies and Intolerances
Individuals with food allergies or intolerances often present with nutrient deficiencies. For example, if someone avoids gluten, they may be lacking many vitamins and minerals – such as thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, and zinc – that are usually found in fortified grain products such as breads and cereals (4).
Older adults tend to have a reduced appetite, so therefore, a multivitamin can help cover the nutrient gaps. Plus, the absorption of certain nutrients decreases with age such as vitamin B12, calcium, and vitamin D, which means adding extra through supplemental sources is important (2).
Weight-Loss Surgery Patients
People who have undergone weight loss surgery not only consume less food but they don’t absorb their nutrients as efficiently after surgery. Taking a daily multivitamin is imperative for these individuals (5).
Clearly, multivitamins can be appropriate for many different people, and for a variety of reasons. Even if you do not identify with any of the groups listed above, taking a daily multivitamin can still be beneficial to optimize health and prevent disease.
Even a complete, balanced diet may not be providing you with all of the nutrients you need.
Plus, high levels of stress and poor sleep can impair proper absorption of many vitamins and minerals. This is exactly why taking a multivitamin daily can be helpful for many people.
Are There Side Effects From Taking a Multivitamin Daily?
Although there aren’t any real side effects from taking a multivitamin daily, it’s important to choose a quality product and consume the recommended dose.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate dietary supplements, which means some vitamins and other supplements may have higher or lower levels of certain nutrients than what the label states.
It’s also important to consider that some supplements contain ingredients that may interact with certain medications. Because of this, make sure to check with your healthcare provider before starting a new supplement.
Dosage is also an important thing to consider when taking multivitamins. Be sure to not take more than the recommended dose to avoid toxicity from certain vitamins and minerals.
There are certain vitamins – particularly water-soluble vitamins – that are harmless if you exceed the recommended amount. The body is able to flush out excess amounts of water-soluble vitamins through urine.
On the other hand, if you exceed the recommended amounts of fat-soluble vitamins – namely vitamins A, D, E, and K – excess amounts can accumulate in the liver and cause problems (6).
What to Look for When Choosing a Multivitamin?
The nutrient content of multivitamins varies depending on the brand.
Perhaps the most important consideration when choosing a multivitamin is to make sure you’re purchasing your vitamins from a reputable manufacturer.
It’s also important to ensure your multivitamin contains no major allergens like wheat, gluten, milk, tree nuts, eggs, fish, or shellfish. This is especially important if you are someone with allergies.
Additionally, it’s important to consider that nutrient needs for men and women are slightly different.
This is why Naked Multi has formulated separate special blends for both men and women to account for these differences. Not to mention, Naked Multi provides a high-quality product that is vegetarian and allergen-free.
Clearly, multivitamins can provide additional nutrients to cover any gaps that are not being met through food sources.
Many people can benefit from taking a daily multivitamin such as those with dietary restrictions, those who travel frequently or don’t have access to nutritious foods, older adults, and anyone with nutrient deficiencies, for example.
Healthy people with balanced diets can also benefit from taking a daily multivitamin as common experiences like stress and poor sleep can impair normal nutrient absorption.
However, it’s important to remember that a multivitamin cannot replace the benefits of a healthy diet. It’s still important to eat a balanced diet rich in whole foods like fruits, vegetables, proteins, healthy fats, and whole grains.