Most of us have heard of multivitamins. You just need to walk into a local health food shop and you will find an aisle filled with them. There is an abundance available, for men, women, kids, over 50s, pregnant women—so many, it’s hard to keep track.
But are they actually beneficial and something we should make part of our daily lives? Or just another fad designed to make money? Well, I have all the answers.
It’s easy to get lost in the “knowledge” of what is good for you. Everywhere you look, someone is telling you something new that contradicts what you have heard before.
“Eat red meat, it will keep you healthy,” “Don’t eat red meat, it will give you cancer!” Literally everything we hear these days seems to be a contradiction. With the internet making all of these statements so easily accessible, all this information can be mind-boggling for the average person.
Realistically, having the right information when it comes to nutrition is very important. Most of us want to try and take care of ourselves in the best way we can. Moreover, most people don’t mind taking one tablet a day if it means a healthier, happier you.
But are these supplements really necessary? Let’s find out.
What Are Multivitamin Supplements?
A standard multivitamin supplement is something you will take on a daily basis. It’s taken in order to ensure you are meeting the recommended daily value (RDV) of all the essential vitamins and minerals your body needs to function properly.
Our bodies need certain vitamins and minerals in order for pretty much everything to work. From calcium building our strong bones, to vitamin B12 helping our production of hemoglobin, to biotin giving us luscious, bouncy hair.
In addition to this, there are certain vitamins and minerals that work together to make sure the other works properly. Just like we need vitamin D in order to absorb calcium. So, even if you drink 20 pints of milk a day, without enough vitamin D all that calcium will be of no use.
Who Needs Multivitamins?
The fact is, with today’s abundance of bad food choices so readily available, most people don’t get enough of the essential vitamins and minerals from their diets. In fact, the majority of people are deficient—to some level—in a number of vitamins and minerals, if not all of them.
Therefore, most people can benefit from a multivitamin supplement, especially the more vulnerable members of our society.
Older people, for instance, tend to be deficient in a number of essential nutrients—the reason being that, as we age, our body needs further nutrition to keep going as normal.
However, we also tend to eat less as we get older as our appetite is no longer what it used to be. Therefore, older people need more nutrients but are eating less, so a daily supplement is definitely a good idea.
Moreover, pregnant women can benefit greatly from a daily supplement. As your baby grows, it takes all of the vitamins and minerals it needs from your stores—so if you are not getting enough for both of you, you can end up severely deficient.
This is why a lot of pregnant women tend to develop an iron deficiency, anemia, because they simply aren’t getting enough through their food.
Also, children can benefit from a kiddies’ supplement. Many kids are fussy eaters and there is nothing more frustrating as a parent, when all you want is to know your little one is getting everything they need but they won’t eat anything healthy!
In this case, a daily supplement can just give you peace of mind that your little angel is growing and developing well, having all the nutrition they need.
How to Choose a Multivitamin Supplement?
First of all, there are so many supplements available. Think about who it’s for and why it’s needed. For example, you will find multivitamins for hair growth, weight loss, basically everything! So you need to consider what will be best for you.
If you want a general multivitamin for yourself, then there are numerous to choose from. But just ensure the one you select has your basics in there, like vitamins A–E, iron, magnesium and zinc.
If you want vitamins to give you better hair, skin and nails, for example, look for added ingredients, like biotin and niacin.
It’s also important to ensure that the value of each ingredient is not too high. Checking the label will tell you the number of milligrams for each ingredient, and what RDV that is.
Sometimes you’ll get these fancy supplements that claim to be amazing and offer something like 326 percent of your RDV for a vitamin. You want to steer clear of.these. There is such a thing as overdosing on vitamins and, unless directed to do so by a doctor, you are nowhere near deficient enough to take such supplements.
The RDV doesn’t even need to be 100 percent. Remember that you do get vitamins and minerals from the food you eat; a supplement should never be a substitute for a healthy diet.
Think of supplements like a top up or a fail-safe. If you don’t get everything you need from your diet, it’s OK, you have the supplement to fall back on. But don’t assume that you can live on unhealthy food and it’s alright because you take multivitamins.
Lastly, if you are buying a vitamin for someone in particular, like your kids, or yourself if you’re pregnant, buy a supplement that specifically says it is for that person. This way you know not only will it be safe to use, but it will also have everything the individual needs.
If you are eating an extremely balanced and healthy diet all the time, multivitamins may not be necessary. But most of us aren’t eating as well as we should be, so vitamin and mineral supplements come in handy. They ensure we’re getting enough of the essential nutrients our body needs to function properly.
Find a multivitamin that is high quality, features the right amount of vitamins and minerals and that suits your lifestyle. Taking it on a daily basis will ensure you’re not deficient in any important vitamins and minerals.