Benefits of Multivitamins & Food Supplements
Do you intake Multivitamins to supplement your daily dietary intake? If you are eating a well-balanced diet there’s little to be gained by taking a multivitamin supplement. However, there are some cases where a supplement can be beneficial.
For example in a frail older person with a poor appetite or someone who has a limited diet due to food allergies. There are also situations where taking specific vitamins or minerals is warranted.
Such as vitamin D for someone who doesn’t get much sun exposure. And also vitamin B12 for those following a vegan diet and folate for women who are planning a pregnancy.
Vitamins are substances that your body needs to grow and develop normally. Equally important, there are only 13 known vitamins your body needs. Including,
- the Vitamin A. B and
- vitamins (thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, biotin, vitamin B-6, vitamin B-12, and folate).
Understanding the main Vitamins
A vitamin is an organic molecule (or related set of molecules) that is an essential micronutrient that an organism needs in small quantities for the proper functioning of its metabolism. Essential nutrients cannot be synthesized in the organism.
Either at all or not in sufficient quantities, and therefore must be obtained through the diet. Vitamin C can be synthesized by some species but not by others; it is not a vitamin in the first instance but is in the second.
The term vitamin does not include the three other groups of essential nutrients: minerals, essential fatty acids, and essential amino acids. Notably, most vitamins are not single molecules, but groups of related molecules called vitamers. For example, vitamin E consists of four tocopherols and four tocotrienols. The thirteen vitamins required by human metabolism are:
- (Retinol and Carotenoids) vitamin A
- (Thiamine) vitamin B1
- (Riboflavin) vitamin B2
- (Niacin) vitamin B3
- (Pantothenic acid) vitamin B5
- (Pyridoxine) vitamin B6
- (Biotin) vitamin B7
- (Folic acid or Folate) vitamin B9
- (Cobalamins) vitamin B12
- (Ascorbic acid) vitamin C
- (Calciferol) vitamin D
- (Tocopherols and Tocotrienols) vitamin E
- (Quinones) vitamin K
The Multivitamins Functionality
Although multivitamins can address multiple nutritional deficiencies, they don’t seem to help most people live longer. They may, however, benefit certain at-risk populations.
Technically, a multivitamin is a supplement that contains more than one vitamin; but in common parlance, a multivitamin is a supplement that contains many vitamins and essential minerals, as a form of insurance against any potential deficiencies.
Important to realize, Vitamins have diverse biochemical functions. Some forms of vitamin A function as regulators of cell and tissue growth and differentiation. The B complex vitamins function as enzyme cofactors (coenzymes) or the precursors for them.
Both deficient and excess intake of a vitamin can potentially cause clinically significant illness, although excess intake of water-soluble vitamins is less likely to do so.
Understanding the Multivitamins
In the first place, a multivitamin is a preparation intended to serve as a dietary supplement. Inclusively with vitamins, dietary minerals, and other nutritional elements. Such preparations are available in the form of tablets, capsules, pastilles, powders, liquids, or injectable formulations.
Other than injectable formulations, which are only available and administered under medical supervision, multivitamins are recognized by the Codex Alimentarius Commission (the United Nations‘ authority on food standards) as a category of food.
However, the best multivitamins have independent certifications for label accuracy and purity. Plus a well-rounded formula that hits the majority of FDA-recommended ingredients.
Food-derived or synthetic? The choice is yours — science says they’re both effective. But if your diet is fairly balanced, you might not need one at all.
In general, the people most likely to benefit from a multivitamin are those who are unable to consume a wide variety of foods — often for financial reasons.
Unfortunately, if unsurprisingly, low-income individuals are also the least likely to spend money on a multivitamin. Additionally, a few specific populations (listed below) are commonly deficient in certain nutrients.
You might, if three conditions are fulfilled:
- You are at risk for several nutritional deficiencies and cannot adapt to your diet.
- The multivitamin provides dosages sufficient to negate the deficiency risks.
- Purchasing the multivitamin is a better option than purchasing individual micronutrients.
Restrictive diets, such as vegan diets, gluten-free diets, and some weight-loss diets make it harder to meet all your nutritional requirements. Still, those diets don’t necessarily require multivitamin supplementation.
Whereas gaps in nutrient intake could be filled by better dietary planning or less restrictive versions of the diet. Meeting all your micronutrient needs when on a restrictive diet requires good dietary planning. A multivitamin isn’t strictly necessary but could make things easier.
2. Pregnant women
Current evidence suggests that, in high-income countries, multivitamins reduce the risk of the fetus being small for its gestational age, as well as the rate of defects in the fetus’s neural tube, urinary tract, cardiovascular system, and limbs.
The quality of the evidence isn’t very high, however, so those findings are still tentative. Moreover, since multivitamins contain many micronutrients, in different forms and quantities depending on the individual product, it is quite impossible to ascribe specific effects to specific micronutrients, unless those have been studied individually in pregnant women.
This is how we know that folic acid (artificial folate) is probably responsible for multivitamins’ reducing the rate of neural-tube defects and the risk of fetuses being small for their gestational age. Because folate plays an important part in fetal development, pregnant women may benefit from the folic acid usually present in multivitamins.
Of course, you can also buy folic acid as an individual supplement, or simply eat some of the numerous foods fortified with folic acid (many cereal-grain products, in the United States).
Multivitamins Muscular StrengthTaken during pregnancy, multivitamins may reduce the risk for a number of birth defects, but the degree to which they do (and which micronutrients, aside from folic acid, are responsible) is uncertain.
3. Older people
Older people are more likely to find themselves deficient in some micronutrients. Notably, calcium and vitamins B12 and D. Yet, on the whole, the current evidence suggests that, in adults over 65, multivitamins don’t help reach common health goals such as reductions in blood pressure or in cognitive decline.
Can multivitamins address the nutritional deficiencies linked to aging? Probably, but the tangible benefits aren’t clear.
4. Bariatric Surgery Patients
By reducing the size of the stomach, and thus nutrient absorption, bariatric surgery can produce broad nutritional deficiencies. In people having undergone this surgery, a multivitamin will have reduced efficacy but should still help maintain good nutritional status.
In people having undergone bariatric surgery, a multivitamin should help maintain good nutritional status.
5. Disease prone Individuals
For instance, Celiac disease and Crohn’s disease carry a risk for nutritional deficiencies. This risk is likely due to the nutrients being poorly absorbed, in which case a multivitamin will be less effective than if the deficiencies were caused by low nutritional intake, as is the case with anorexia nervosa.
Type 2 diabetes is associated with an increased risk of low magnesium levels and other deficiencies. Moreover, many type 2 diabetics take metformin, a pharmaceutical that can cause vitamin B12deficiency. Other medications that may worsen nutritional status include (but are not limited to) the antibiotic gentamicin.
Whereas various diuretics, and drugs that inhibit gastric acid secretion. A number of diseases and medical issues can cause nutritional deficiencies. Meaning multivitamins may be a good choice as a catch-all in such situations.
6. General Population
We’ve seen that multivitamins may benefit certain at-risk populations; but can’t they also benefit everyone else, in some way? Won’t taking a multivitamin generally, make you less prone to some health issues?
Won’t they, when all is said and done, allow you to live a little better, a little longer? Many people take a multivitamin in the hope it’ll grant them a longer life.
The evidence doesn’t seem to support this. Multivitamins might reduce the risk of cancer in people with poor or suboptimal nutritional status. But on the whole, trials evaluating multivitamins haven’t shown a decrease in the risk of cancer. Whether cardiovascular diseases or other life-threatening diseases.
Multivitamins Intake and Prescription
If you grew up popping Flintstones vitamins like most of us did, you might think that of course, it’s a good idea to take a multivitamin every day. That’s just what healthy people do, right? Kind of. “You really cannot supplement your way out of an unhealthy diet,” says Robin Foroutan. A registered dietitian nutritionist and spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
But Foroutan says she sometimes advises her clients to take one, especially if their diets lack important nutrients. If your meals are more Guy Fieri than Jamie Oliver, try MegaFood Women’s One Daily or Mega Food Multi for Men.
MegaFood gets high marks from third-party certifiers, offers remarkable transparency in an industry not known for it (you can literally watch a live stream of its New Hampshire facilities), and limits its inactive filler ingredients to three — by far the lowest we’ve seen. To buy above-certified products, please link up with | Certified Multivitamins.
Multivitamins for Men
- Vitamin A: Necessary for skin, eye and immune health.
- Vitamin C: Essential for your immune system and collagen production.
- B vitamins: Involved in energy metabolism and red blood cell production.
- Calcium, magnesium, vitamin D, vitamin K and zinc: Vital for bone health.
- Vitamin E and selenium: Help protect your cells from damage.
Because men don’t lose blood monthly as menstruating women do, they’re at a lower risk of iron deficiency anemia. Therefore, iron requirements for men are lower.
Multivitamins for Women
As I conclude, in healthy people, most scientific evidence indicates that multivitamin supplements do not prevent cancer, heart disease, or other ailments. And also regular supplementation is not necessary.
However, specific groups of people may benefit from multivitamin supplements, for example, people with poor nutrition or those at high risk of macular degeneration.
There is no standardized scientific definition for a multivitamin. For instance, in the United States, a multivitamin/mineral supplement is defined as a supplement containing three or more vitamins and minerals. Particularly that which does not include herbs, hormones, or drugs. And does not present a risk of adverse health effects.
Please see other related Medical Health Wellness & Physical Fitness Articles through the jmexclusives Blog Posts.
- The jmexclusives: Vitamins & Food Supplements to Help Fight Stress and Fatigue.
- Multivitamin – Wikipedia.
- Examine – Should you take a Multivitamin?
- Health Line – The 15 Best Multivitamin for Men.
- Everyday Health – The 6 Best Multivitamin for Women.
- Your Health – Mythbusting: Everyone needs to take a Multivitamin.
- Amazon Multivitamins: Formulated 365 Tablets.
- Vogue: These Tech Startups Want to Disrupt your Vitamins.