The health benefits of multivitamins have always been challenged, and use has declined in recent years as people apparently believe that eating a good diet will provide all they need for excellent health. But this simply isn’t the case. Most people don’t eat as well as they should, and food isn’t as nutritious as it once was.
Vitamins are the main building blocks of the body and help you maintain good health. Some believe that multivitamin supplements can also compensate for poor eating habits and even reduce your risk of chronic diseases.
Furthermore, strong research shows that one of the biggest health benefits of multivitamins is their ability to help us live not only healthier, but longer lives. Bruce Ames, PhD, published a study in October 2018 titled “Prolonging Healthy Aging: Longevity Vitamins and Proteins.” In it, he explains how vitamins, minerals, and other micronutrients are not only essential for our current health and well-being, but also have a strong influence on how rapidly and gracefully we age.
Multivitamins supplements are the most commonly used supplements worldwide and their popularity has increased rapidly in the past few decades. Some believe that multivitamins can improve health, compensate for poor eating habits, and even reduce your risk of chronic diseases. Anyway, you may wonder if these supposed benefits are true. Vitamins are the main building blocks of the body and help keep you in good health.
What Are Multivitamins?
Multivitamins supplements contain many different vitamins and minerals which are important for growth and development. while there’s no standard for what constitutes a multivitamin, their nutrient composition varies by brand and product. Multivitamins are also known with many names like multimineral, multis, multiples, or simply vitamins. Which are available in many forms, including tablets, capsules, chewable gummies, powders, and liquids. Multivitamins supplements should be taken once or twice a day. Ensure that you read the label and follow the recommended dosage instructions. They are available in pharmacies, large discount stores, and supermarkets, as well as online. This medication is used to treat or prevent vitamin deficiency due to poor diet, certain illnesses, or during pregnancy.
What Do Multivitamins Contain?
Your body requires thirteen vitamins and at least 16 minerals for a healthy life. Many of them helps in enzyme reactions in your body or function as signaling molecules or structural elements. As your body needs these nutrients for reproduction, maintenance, growth, and regulation of bodily processes. Multivitamins may provide many of these vitamins and minerals but in varying forms and amounts. Multivitamin supplements may also contain other ingredients like herbs, amino acids, and fatty acids.
Multivitamins may contain higher or lower levels of some nutrients than the label states, as dietary supplements are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). In certain cases, they may not even provide all of the listed nutrients. Make sure that the nutrients in multivitamins may be derived from real foods or created synthetically in laboratories.
Are Multivitamins All We Need?
If the diet is well-balanced, we might not need a daily multivitamin or specific vitamin pills. But there are situations where we do. For example, women of childbearing age should take a folic acid pill every day.
Taking multiple vitamins personalised for your needs is better than taking one multivitamin, but finding a specific supplement and vitamin routine can be difficult and time-consuming. Sometimes, it’s better to take a single capsule of a multivitamin than taking multiple pills of different vitamins.
Which Vitamins Are Most Important?
There are more than 50 nutrients needed for thousands of metabolic processes and the maintenance of good health. Here are a few of the key players:
Vitamin A – Good for vision, healthy skin, and proper growth, and development
Also known as retinol, vitamin A is a powerful antioxidant that maintains good skin, strengthens the immune system, and supports vision, particularly in dim light. Good food sources include carrots, sweet potato, and melons.
Vitamin B – Good for energy levels, psychological wellbeing, and brain function
The eight B vitamins help the body turn food into fuel, boost energy levels and promote healthy brain function, concentration and memory. They may also reduce feelings of stress, anxiety and low mood. Good food sources include whole grains, lean meats, and eggs.
Vitamin C – Good for antioxidant protection, skin health, and strengthening blood vessel walls
Vitamin C maintains healthy connective tissues in the joints and skin and may help to accelerate wound healing and reduce bruising. It also helps to ward off colds. Good food sources include red peppers, kiwis, strawberries, and citrus fruits.
Vitamin D – Good for healthy bones, immune function, and mood
Vitamin D regulates the amount of calcium and phosphorous in the body, and so plays an important role in maintaining normal bone density. It is also essential for the proper functioning of the nervous system and immune system. Nearly two-thirds of the UK population are severely lacking in vitamin D. Most of our vitamin D is sourced from the sun, while certain foods may contain lesser amounts, such as eggs, oily fish, and mushrooms. Vitamin D supplements are particularly popular in the UK during the winter months.
Vitamin E – Good for antioxidant protection, skin health, and circulation
Vitamin E strengthens cell membranes and protects cells against oxidative damage from free radicals. It plays an important role in the maintenance of healthy vision, skin, and immune function. Good food sources include almonds and sunflower seeds.
Folic acid – Good for cell renewal, heart function, and prevention of neural tube birth defects
Folic acid, also known as vitamin B9, is crucial for the production of healthy cells and haemoglobin. It also helps to maintain normal homocysteine levels, which supports heart and cognitive function. Folic acid is so important that it is often fortified in cereals and flours. Other food sources include dark leafy greens, asparagus, and broccoli.
Calcium – Good for strong teeth and bones, and blood clotting
Healthy calcium levels are essential for the development and maintenance of bones and teeth. It also regulates muscle contractions (including the heartbeat), blood pressure and hormone secretion. The best foods sources are dairy products such as milk, yoghurt, and cheese.
Iron – Good for maintaining healthy blood and muscle function
Iron is needed to produce healthy red blood cells and haemoglobin and helps to deliver oxygen and nutrients to all cells in the body. It also supports the production of neurotransmitters, hormones and collagen. It is estimated that 32% of women of childbearing age (19-64) don’t consume enough iron. Good food sources include shellfish, beans, and lentils.
Zinc – Good for immunity, fertility, and skin
Zinc is an essential building block for enzymes, proteins and cells. It plays a vital role in the maintenance of a strong immune system and supports skin health and wound healing. Zinc is also important for proper taste and smell. Good food sources include oysters, spinach, and dark chocolate.
Chromium – Good for blood glucose levels
Chromium helps to determine the amount of energy we release from food and enhances insulin sensitivity. Because of this, it may be beneficial for those with diabetes. Good food sources of chromium include whole grains, broccoli, and oats.
Magnesium – Good for muscle function and strong bones
Magnesium plays a role in the conversion of food into energy. It also partners with calcium to maintain normal muscle function, blood clotting, and bone density. Good food sources include pumpkin seeds, spinach, and black beans.
Who Can Benefit from a Multivitamin?
In recent years, many multivitamins have become specialised, targeting consumers of certain ages, gender or activity levels. Those who may benefit from a daily multivitamin include:
- Athletes: People with a physically active lifestyle need more nutrients than the average non-active person to support muscle recovery and any fitness related goals. Creatine and amino acid supplements can support muscles during short bouts of intense exercise, and aid growth and recovery. Strenuous exercise is also associated with oxidative stress and tissue damage, so athletes require a higher intake of antioxidant nutrients such as vitamins C and E.
- Deficiency: Several large-scale observational studies show that many people simply don’t achieve nutritional sufficiency through diet alone. This may partly be caused by declining soil quality which means fresh fruit and vegetables aren’t as nutritious as they were 70 years ago. It may also be explained by the increasing reliance on convenient pre-packed meals. A daily multivitamin with the recommended allowance of vitamins and minerals can help to protect against such deficiencies.
- Pregnancy and lactation: The Department of Health advises all women who are considering pregnancy to take a daily 400mcg folic acid supplement to reduce the risk of neural tube defects, and a daily vitamin D 10mcg supplement to support the growing foetus. A multivitamin high in iron, folic acid and vitamin D is also suitable.
- Children aged 6 months to 5 years: The Department of Health also advises all children between the ages of six months to five years to be given a supplement containing vitamins A, C and D. These vitamins are particularly important during the early years, especially if children are fussy eaters.
- Over the age of 65: Our nutritional needs change with age. This is partly because the stomach secretes less hydrochloric acid, which impairs the breakdown of food and the absorption of nutrients. As a result, many mature adults need to consume higher quantities of nutrients in order to absorb the same amount. All adults over 65 are advised to take a daily vitamin D 10mcg supplement to maintain bone strength, while calcium, iron, vitamin C, and Coenzyme Q10 are also important.
- Menopause: During and after menopause women require greater intakes of certain nutrients, particularly calcium and vitamin D. This is because the loss of protective oestrogen during this period accelerates bone loss. Some women also find that phytoestrogen supplements such as black cohosh help to relieve common symptoms of menopause, including such as hot flushes, night sweats and irritability.
- Smokers: Regular smokers need high doses of vitamin C in order to maintain a steady body reserve. This antioxidant vitamin is crucial for the neutralisation of free radicals molecules produced by chemicals in cigarettes. Vitamin B12 is also important as smokers often have lower vitamin B12 serum levels. However, it’s important to remember that a daily multivitamin certainly doesn’t cancel out a harmful habit. There is some evidence to suggest that smokers should avoid high levels of beta-carotene as it may increase the risk of lung cancer.
- Restricted diet: If your diet is restricted in any way, you may be missing out on certain nutrients. For example, vegetarians and vegans are often low in B12 as this vitamin is primarily found in meat. Even trends such as paleo or Atkins diet can limit your intake and may be bolstered by a daily multivitamin.
- Those with little exposure to natural sunlight: Vitamin D is a foundation to good health but it is difficult to get sufficient amounts from food alone. Plus, during the winter months, the sun’s rays simply aren’t strong enough in the UK for the skin to synthesise vitamin D. A daily 10mcg supplement can help to ensure that vitamin D levels don’t get too low.
Health Benefits of Multivitamins
Boosts the Immune System
The multivitamin capsule contains vitamin C, vitamin E, and vitamin D-know for strengthening the immune system. Vitamin C and vitamin E are antioxidants that help to reduce allergy symptoms.
Keeps Heart Healthy
The heart is a vital organ of the body and keeping it healthy is necessary. Various studies suggest that taking high-quality multivitamins may reduce cardiovascular diseases. Vitamins B1, B2, B6, K1, Niacin, and magnesium all play a role in cardiovascular health.
Promotes Healthy Aging
As much as you want to stay young forever, nobody is exempted from aging. And, the older you get, the more you’ll need to care for your physical health. Unfortunately, as you age, it becomes harder for the body to absorb the much-needed nutrients and particular medications may drain nutrients further.
An effective and simple way to look after your health is by taking vitamins. As you get older and begin to experience deficiencies, there are various vitamins that can help reset your nutrient levels.
Reduces Anxiety and Stress
The minerals and vitamins in your daily multivitamins can significantly reduce levels of anxiety and stress. To convert food into energy, the body utilizes B vitamins. Such vitamins are also beneficial to keep your nervous system functioning properly. Taking vitamins daily may replenish your body’s supply of such vitamins.
Maintain muscle strength.
Age-related loss of muscle mass is associated with free radical damage. An antioxidant-rich daily multivitamin helps keep free radicals in check. Vitamin D has also been shown to improve muscle strength in older people.
Numerous studies have found that a daily multivitamin and mineral supplement—particularly one with therapeutic dosages of vitamin D (at least 1,000 IU) and calcium (1,000 mg)—can improve balance and reduce risk of falls.
Improve sense of smell
Anosmia, the inability to detect odors, may be caused by a deficiency of zinc. Low levels of vitamins B12 and A along with copper are also associated with changes in sense of smell (and taste).
Protect against hearing loss
Several studies have found correlations between hearing loss and deficiencies in B-complex vitamins. In one study, people with elevated homocysteine levels had a 64 percent increased risk of hearing loss. The best way to lower homocysteine levels? B-complex vitamins.
Improved short-term memory
A recent study from Australia showed that B vitamins has a significant impact in supporting short-term memory function. In the research, older participants who supplemented with vitamin B12 did better in memory tests compared to those who did not take supplements.
Supports Eye Health
Vitamin A is also known as an eye vitamin because of its benefits. It helps to improve your eyesight and reduce age-related macular degeneration that may cause permanent eye damage. One study suggests vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants may slow down the progression of macular degeneration.
Improves Brain Function
Some vitamins and fatty acids are slow or prevent memory loss. Vitamins like vitamin B12, herbal supplements such as Ginkgo Biloba, and omega-3 fatty acids help restore brain function.
Beneficial for Skin
Vitamins and minerals are always best for skin health. They help keep your skin healthy and shiny by providing essential vitamins such as vitamin E and vitamin C. They help to retain your natural oil inside your skin to prevent dryness of the skin. Antioxidants present in it also play an important role.
Vitamin C is a strong antioxidant known for strengthening the immune system. Vitamins D and E boost immunity, too. These vitamins can also help reduce allergy symptoms.
Excess fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, and K) are stored in the body. Water-soluble vitamins (B and C) are not. Excess water-soluble vitamins simply travel through the body. This means it’s necessary to take these essential vitamins on a daily basis.
Increased energy levels
When your body doesn’t get enough vitamins, one has to work harder to perform simple tasks, which can lead to fatigue and other health problems. Consuming multivitamins and keeping a healthy lifestyle can keep you energetic and fit.
Boosts Your Cardiovascular Health
Specific vitamins, such as magnesium, C0Q10, and B vitamins, all contribute to a healthy cardiovascular system. So, if you’re one of those who worry about cardiovascular health in general, taking vitamins may help keep your heart healthy. Just make sure to combine it with eating heart-healthy foods.
Keeps Body in Good Working Order
One of the best benefits of taking vitamins regularly is that it keeps the body in good working order. Basically, vitamins work hard to keep the body functioning properly and help drive the essential processes that are required daily.
Every nutrient you get from vitamins is on a mission to provide benefits that help you achieve your wellness goals in no time.
Keeps Your Bones Strong
You probably know that calcium is vital for healthy bones. However, did you know that vitamin D is required by calcium to fulfill its job?
The skin also produces vitamin D after direct sunlight exposure, but the use of sunscreen, poor skin absorption, and weak winter sunlight may work against the production of this important nutrient. Even if vitamin D is added to milk, most people don’t drink dairy products regularly.
Supports Healthy Metabolism
B vitamins, such as riboflavin, thiamin, B6, B12, biotin, and folate collaborate with some enzymes in your body to metabolize energy from fats, carbohydrates, and protein. Eating a healthy diet and staying physically active also help maintain a healthy metabolism, which are essential factors for your overall health and healthy aging.
Prevent diabetes complications
Diabetes increases urination and thus loss of water-soluble vitamins and minerals, resulting in deficiencies that dramatically increase risk of additional problems that affect the eyes, nerves, blood vessels, kidneys, and extremities. The best way to prevent these complications, in addition to keeping blood sugar under control, is taking a potent daily multivitamin and mineral supplement.
Improve sexual function
Optimal sexual function is dependent on robust flow to the organs that are responsive to sexual hormones. Vitamin C, vitamin E, and B-complex vitamins protect the arteries and improve blood flow throughout the body. Zinc is a requisite for testosterone production, the hormone of desire in both men and women—yet another reason why taking a potent daily multivitamin can boost libido and performance.
Stop telomere erosion
Chromosomes, found in the nucleus of all your cells, carry the genetic blueprints for your growth, development, and physiological function. At the tips of every chromosome are protective “caps” called telomeres, which naturally get shorter as we age. Research has found that taking a daily multivitamin can help slow and even reverse this erosion.
Prevent dental problems
Vitamin C plays a key role in the prevention of gum disease, as it helps maintain the integrity of the supporting structures of the oral tissues. Other antioxidants, including vitamins A and E as well as selenium, have also been shown to improve the health of the gums. Perhaps even more important is zinc, which stabilizes cellular membranes and inhibits plaque growth. Deficiencies in both zinc and vitamin A are also common in patients with periodontal disease.