Did you know that half of all American adults regularly take a multivitamin or another vitamin or mineral supplement? This means that over $12 billion per year is being spent on multivitamins as people try to improve their health. But is it a waste of money?
If you take a multivitamin, it’s probably because you want to do everything you can to maintain your health.
But it's important to research these products as they are not created equal. I like to go directly to the company website and research the ingredients for quality. For example, does it contain clean ingredients, and are they in optimal form for the body to absorb? I think of a multivitamin as the body's insurance policy, as we often don’t get what we need from food.
What are multivitamins?
Multivitamins are supplements and have several different names, including multi-minerals, multis, multiples, or simply vitamins. You can get them in tablets, capsules, powders, liquids, and chewable gummies. Most of them are taken at least once or twice a day.
Whatever way you take them, the goal of dietary supplements is usually to supplement your diet, so you get enough nutrients and enhance health.
Multivitamins contain at least one dietary ingredient. These can be vitamins, minerals, herbs, botanicals, amino acids, or enzymes. They may also contain herbs, amino acids, and fatty acids in them.
If you take one pill, you are getting your hit all in one dose instead of several. They can also be called dietary supplements. Here are some you may be familiar with:
*St. John’s wort
It’s true your body needs nutrients to help it with reproduction, maintenance, growth, and regulation of bodily processes.
Many multivitamins can aid enzyme reactions, or help as signal molecules or structural elements.
However, you need to remember because dietary supplements are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), multivitamins may not always have the same amount of levels of nutrients than the label states.
As we get older, our vitamin B12 absorption decreases. You need this because it helps keep the body’s nerve and blood cells healthy. And B12 also helps make DNA, the genetic material in all cells. This vitamin can also help prevent a type of anemia called megaloblastic anemia that can make you feel tired and weak. You can find vitamin B12 in fish, shellfish, beef, liver, and chicken. It’s also in eggs.
Since vitamin B12 is only found in animal foods, you may not be getting enough if you are following a plant-based diet.
Many people also lack calcium, zinc, iron, vitamin D, and omega-3 fatty acids.
Calcium is excellent for essentially everything in your body. In addition to building bones and keeping them healthy, it enables your blood to clot, your muscles to contract, and your heart to beat. You can find it in milk, cheese, and yogurt.
Zinc helps improve immunity, blood sugar levels, eye, heart, and skin health. It can also help produce key sex hormones, which include testosterone and prolactin. You can find it in oysters and red meat.
Iron is an essential element for blood production. Did you know about 70 percent of your body’s iron is found in your blood’s red blood cells? You can get this from red meat and poultry. But you can also find it in tofu, cashews, and baked potatoes.
Vitamin D is said to help support your immune health and muscle function. There aren’t that many foods containing vitamin D, but you can find it in the flesh of fatty fish (such as salmon, tuna, and mackerel). Vitamin D is also known as the sunshine vitamin, so try and get a few minutes in the sun daily.
You need omega-3 fatty acids because they are the essential nutrients that help prevent and manage heart disease. These are usually found in fish and flaxseed.
Multivitamins may be even more important for those that have undergone weight loss surgery, are on low-calorie diets, have a poor appetite, or don’t get enough nutrients from food alone.
Which multivitamins can help you?
Common supplements that may benefit your health, as well as the ones mentioned above, include:
*Vitamins C and E, which can prevent cell damage
*Fish oil, which can support heart health
*Vitamin A, this can slow down vision loss from age-related macular degeneration
*Melatonin, which can help counteract jet lag
What should you do if you want to take multivitamins?
Take supplements as directed according to the label and your healthcare provider’s instructions.
Read the label, including ingredients, drug interactions, and percent daily value (% DV), to make sure you won’t have any side effects.
Speak with your healthcare provider before taking any supplements to be sure it doesn/t interact with any medications.
Be aware of the quality of the ingredients, forms, dosage, and quality standards by researching the companies website.
Look at your diet. Does it appear you’re getting the nutrients you need? How healthy is it? How do you feel on a daily basis? Do you lack energy, vitality, or focus?
Maybe now is the time to seek some expert nutritional advice? I share nutritional information that’s easy to digest in my Transformational Nutrition Program. You can check it out here.
No matter what your goal is when taking supplements, remember they’re not a replacement for a healthy diet. First, focus on getting what your body needs from food and supplement from there.
Don’t underestimate the power of a nutrient-packed organic salad for your body. Vitamins and minerals are essential to help you function as you should. Combining nutrient-packed food and a vitamin supplement may be ideal for your body. We all have different needs, co-create a plan, and/or tests with a certified specialist to discover what you may be in need of.
If you liked this blog post, check out my blog post on five easy bodyweight exercises you can do on a busy schedule.