Do multivitamins play a crucial role in enhancing your daily health and wellness? Multivitamins are potent health supplements packed with many essential nutrients (vitamins, minerals, and, sometimes, amino acids).
They are particularly helpful (even essential) for people who have dietary restrictions/ limitations. People most likely to benefit from multivitamin supplements include vegans, vegetarians, and lactose intolerants.
You need to keep in mind that whether or not multivitamins are suitable for you depends on:
- Your age and gender
- Whether you’re on any medication for the treatment of some health disorder
- Whether you have a vitamin deficiency
- Whether you’re pregnant
Clearly, if you’re a healthy individual with a balanced diet that supplies your body with all the nutrients it requires, you do not need multivitamins.
But people with nutritional gaps – for any reason – need multivitamins daily.
But easier said than done – these supplements aren’t candies that you can munch on without keeping their dosage in mind. Although rare, if you overuse these supplements, you can face certain side effects.
Interested in exploring the many domains of multivitamins – whether or not they actually work, are you the right candidate, what are the benefits and side effects you must know? If yes, you’ve just hit the jackpot.
We have curated this post for all you curious souls trying to figure out the science behind consuming multivitamins safely. Buckle up and explore the ins and outs of these supplements.
What is the composition of multivitamins – are they good for your health?
The human body requires as many as 30 vitamins and minerals to carry out daily activities, ranging from metabolism to sleep, and even growth (both physical and mental). You name it, and the body will require some or the other nutrients to produce hormones or enzymes that control a specific function.
When the diet you consume cannot supply all nutrients, that’s when doctors prescribe multivitamins. But there’s a catch – not all multivitamins are the same. Their composition varies a great deal from brand to brand.
You have to be very mindful of the brand you’re buying as the FDA does not keep an extremely tight nab on the components that different brands use. Your focus should be purchasing natural multivitamins that do not have artificial colors or derivatives.
Natural multivitamins can replenish your body with vitamins including, but not limited to, vitamin C, vitamin D, vitamin B complex, and vitamin K. These supplements also replenish the body with minerals including, but not limited to, iron, zinc, phosphorus, and amino acids.
Only those multivitamin supplements are good for you and compensate for the deficiency you have. If you do not have any deficiency and you still consume multivitamins, you can experience the following side effects:
- Upset stomach – acidity and heartburn
- Nausea and vomiting
- Headaches and allergic reactions
When your doctor prescribes you multivitamins, stick to the prescribed dose.
Top 5 health benefits of multivitamins
Multivitamin supplements can be safely consumed daily when you are struggling with vitamin and mineral deficiencies. The top five benefits of consuming these supplements have been listed below.
#1. They improve vision
Multivitamin supplements that contain ascorbic acid (vitamin C), vitamin E, vitamin A, and minerals such as zinc and copper in the required quantities have the power to fight off macular degeneration; thereby, protecting your vision as you age.
#2. They strengthen immunity
Vitamin E and vitamin D are essential for building the body’s immunity against infections and allergies. If you have a deficiency of these vitamins, you need multivitamins since your diet is not supplying these nutrients.
#3. They balance/ normalize brain activity
Scientists have been conducting research in order to determine the benefits of multivitamins. And some such studies have proven that these supplements can produce serotonin. Serotonin is the happiness hormone.
When the levels of serotonin reduce, it leads to anxiety and depression. And it’s most common in senior citizens. With the right multivitamins under your belt, you can keep these disorders at bay.
#4. They are good for muscle and bone density
Natural multivitamins that can supply required doses of vitamin K, vitamin D, and calcium have been found to reduce the risk of osteoporosis and fractures in women above 30 years of age.
#5. They reduce fatigue
Multivitamins that contain vitamins b12 and b6 make the body energetic. If you have a deficiency of these vitamins, you will definitely benefit from consuming multivitamin supplements daily.
Did you know?
Natural multivitamins might be a boon in disguise. Here’s why we say so:
- They might alleviate certain heart conditions
- They might reduce the risk of cancer
However, studies are still ongoing. There’s still a long way before scientists can say with absolute surety that these two benefits are indeed 100% true.
Multivitamin considerations to keep in mind
Yes, these supplements have many benefits. But, as discussed, they can have some side effects too. Therefore, you must keep in mind certain considerations to ensure that you reap only the benefits from these supplements, not side effects.
#1. Types of multivitamins to choose from
The choice of picking a type can be mind-boggling. Why, you ask us? Well, that’s because these supplements come in many forms include:
- Chewable tablets
- Powder form
- Liquid form
The next classification includes multivitamins manufactured for:
- Diabetic patients
- Pregnant women
- Lactating mothers
Did you know?
If you have diabetes, all types of multivitamins are not safe for you. For example, gummies are laced with sugar that’s potentially dangerous for you.
Follow your doctor’s advice very carefully and consume only diabetic multivitamin supplements specially made for people with diabetes.
Similarly, men do not require as much iron as women. Hence, the classifications.
#2. How you consume these supplements matter
Multivitamins can be fat-soluble or water-soluble. The former should be consumed after you eat. The latter should be consumed on an empty stomach.
- Chew the chewable tablets
- Gulp the capsules with a glass of water
- Let the sublingual tablets dissolve under your tongue
Where can you buy multivitamins?
You can easily buy multivitamin supplements from pharmacies and drug stores. However, due to ease and comfort, many people prefer to buy multivitamins online.
However, when you buy multivitamin supplements online, you have to read more than just the label. You have to make sure that the website/ app you’re making a purchase from is genuine.
Multivitamins are beneficial for those people who do not get all the essential nutrients from food. Healthy individuals should focus on eating whole foods to give their bodies a daily dose of essential nutrients.
Also, always read the label whether you buy multivitamin supplements online or you shop for these supplements at drug stores.
Frequently asked questions
If the multivitamin you’re taking is fat soluble, take it after food. But if the supplement is water soluble, take it on an empty stomach.
When you have nutritional deficiencies, multivitamins are the only line of defense that keeps the body healthy. In fact, consuming multivitamins daily is essential for people with a risk of developing macular degeneration and women susceptible to fractures due to osteoporosis.
Diabetes (both type 1 and type 2) fluctuates with sugar intake. Certain multivitamin supplements such as gummies are not safe as they contain a lot of sugar. When you have such health conditions, religiously follow your doctor’s advice. Take only specially manufactured diabetic multivitamin supplements that are safe for you.
1. Effectiveness of Multivitamins:
- Bailey, R. L., et al. (2013). Examination of vitamin intakes among US adults by dietary supplement use. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 113(5), 657-666.
- Jenkins, D. J., et al. (2002). Supplementation with vitamins C and E improves arterial stiffness and endothelial function in essential hypertensive patients. Hypertension, 39(2), 268-273.
2. Choosing the Right Multivitamin:
- National Institutes of Health. (2021). Dietary Supplements: What You Need to Know. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/DietarySupplements-HealthProfessional/
3. Potential Benefits:
- Gaziano, J. M., et al. (2012). Multivitamins in the prevention of cancer in men: The Physicians’ Health Study II randomized controlled trial. JAMA, 308(18), 1871-1880.
- Mursu, J., et al. (2011). Dietary supplements and mortality rate in older women: The Iowa Women’s Health Study. Archives of Internal Medicine, 171(18), 1625-1633.
4. Potential Side Effects:
- Bjelakovic, G., et al. (2012). Mortality in randomized trials of antioxidant supplements for primary and secondary prevention: Systematic review and meta-analysis. JAMA, 297(8), 842-857.
- Gahche, J., et al. (2011). Dietary supplement use among U.S. adults has increased since NHANES III (1988–1994). NCHS Data Brief, 61, 1-8.
5. Individual Considerations:
- Murphy, S. P., et al. (2002). Diet patterns: A challenge in epidemiology and public health nutrition. The Journal of Nutrition, 132(12), 3614S-3617S.
- Tucker, K. L. (2003). Assessment of usual dietary intake in population studies of gene-diet interaction. Nutrition and Metabolism, 52(Suppl 1), S69-S74.
6. Timing and Form:
- Traber, M. G., & Atkinson, J. (2007). Vitamin E, antioxidant and nothing more. Free Radical Biology and Medicine, 43(1), 4-15.
- Institute of Medicine (US) Panel on Dietary Antioxidants and Related Compounds. (2000). Dietary Reference Intakes for Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Selenium, and Carotenoids. National Academies Press.