Multivitamins supplements are usually daily supplement products that contain a number of vitamins and minerals thought to be essential for the correct functioning of a healthy body.
Many multivitamins also contain additional substances such as omega 3 essential fatty acids, or herbal extracts thought to be beneficial.
Multivitamins usually come in the form of tablets or capsules, but other types are available including chewy pastilles and other sweet forms for children, fruit juice based drinks, and injections of multivitamins commonly used by athletes to get better absorption rates and faster action.
Importance of having Multivitamins in your regular diet
Supplementing your diet with a daily dose of essential vitamins and minerals can not only be beneficial, it can be crucial for some in the modern world whose lifestyle deprives them of so many natural sources of these things that our ancestors would have taken for granted, including the sunshine that many of us go without for extended periods of time.
Multivitamins are also very useful for people whose diet is limited for whatever reason, be it particular food allergies or restricted diets for medical reasons including surgery.
In these cases, multivitamin formulas can be the only safe way for people to fuel their bodies with all the nutrients they need to continue functioning properly.
Specific patients may need multivitamin formulas tailoring to their particular medical condition, and these are available also, though most multivitamins are formulated to be ‘once a day’ affairs, taken in the morning.
Most doctors and nutritionists agree that the vast majority of people, even in the rich developed world, do not get an adequate supply of essential vitamins and minerals in their diets through food alone.
In some countries this is down to the lack of quality fresh food generally, while in others it is likely largely down to the prevalence of processed food with lots of ‘empty’ calories and no real beneficial nutritional value.
Sources of Multivitamins
Popular multivitamin formulas will contain all of the recognizable essentials, including vitamin C, vitamin B1, vitamin B2, vitamin B3, vitamin B6, vitamin B9 (also known as folic acid), vitamin B12, vitamin A, vitamin K1, vitamin D, vitamin E, and the minerals zinc, calcium, iron, magnesium, selenium and beta carotene.
Why your need it?
Your body needs vitamins for so many of its daily functions that we could not even begin to describe all of them here.
Suffice to say that vitamins are used to maintain the healthy functioning of the heart, brain, other organs and digestive system.
Lack of vitamins and minerals will quickly lead to the sub-optimal performance of these systems, and a chronic lack of vitamins can cause disease (such as scurvy) and even death from malnutrition.
You may have been prescribed multivitamins by your doctor as a treatment for any number of conditions from fatigue to aches and pains to depression.
In which case be assured that your doctor is not fobbing you off, vitamin deficiency can cause a wide variety of health problems, and therefore vitamin supplementation can also cure these problems without recourse to more serious forms of treatment.
If you are feeling generally run down, tired or unwell, chances are that you are suffering from a vitamin and mineral deficiency.
Multivitamin formulas are specially prepared with recommended daily guidelines in mind.
These recommended daily amounts are decided upon by doctors and based on extensive testing and research.
It is not advisable to exceed the recommended daily amounts of vitamins and minerals by deliberately overdosing on multivitamins.
In some cases this will actually prove counterproductive as too much of some of these substances can have a harmful impact on the body.
Special multivitamin formulas are available for certain types of people, including pregnant women who are not advised to take vitamin A during their pregnancies.
There are also multivitamin formulas specially formulated for children, and these are recommended over the adult versions as growing children have different requirements and tolerances than full-grown adults.
Some multivitamin formulas are also tagged as ‘time-release’, which mean that the vitamins, minerals and other ingredients are released gradually over the course of the day.
This is beneficial because the body cannot store many of these vitamins and minerals for extended periods of time, thought it may need them constantly, so the timed release multivitamins enable for maximizing the potential benefit of the supplement without overdosing on any of the contents.
Recent addition in the group
One popular addition to multivitamin formulas in recent times are omega 3 essential fatty acids.
The essential part means that the body needs them for various processes, but cannot synthesize them itself, hence they must be gotten from some food source or food supplement.
Omega 3 essential fatty acids play a key role in maintaining healthy brain activity, and have been shown to increase alertness, memory and mental agility in studies.
They also play a role in the maintenance of healthy joints and are of particular benefit to those at risk of, or suffering from, some form of arthritis.
Healthy bacteria are being added to many multivitamin supplements these days.
Often labeled as ‘pro-biotic’ bacteria, they are known to benefit the digestive system and ease symptoms such as indigestion and bloating, as well as those suffering more serious gastrointestinal problems such as ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease.
Unless you are completely confident that your daily diet contains all of the vitamins and minerals your body needs in order to keep functioning to its maximum potential, it is a good idea to take a daily multivitamin.
The benefits are proven and the cost is very little, especially when put into context with the cost of letting your health suffer unnecessarily.