Why take a Multivitamin?
In a nutshell, it’s wise to make sure your diet is complete with all the nutrients needed for health and wellness. A multivitamin is seen by many to be a 'safety net', ensuring that any of the vitamins and minerals that you don't get via your diet are covered. It is estimated that 1 in 3 people in the UK now take a multivitamin daily.
1. Over 40 years old
As we get older our bodily functions become less efficient. In prime place is our digestive system, which plays an important part in the absorption of nutrients from our food. Diminished digestion and absorption combined with an increased need equals deficiency. Such deficiencies may be aggravated by chronic disease conditions and medications, which affect liver and other functions.
One example is that over 50 percent of the elderly are estimated to have a suboptimal Vitamin E status. Vitamin D is another top example, the Department of Health recommends a Vitamin D supplement is taken for those over 65. Many people over 40 choose to take a multivitamin formula containing other added nutrients to help support the body such as Lutein, Coenzyme Q10, and Probiotics.
Many age based scientific studies have also backed the use of supplements - for instance a recent study has indicated that long-term daily multivitamin use modestly and significantly decreased the risk of cataracts.
2. During intense physical activity
For the human body to complete all the tasks it has in a normal day, it must be given a wide and complex variety of vital nutrients. Becoming deficient in any one of these essential vitamins or minerals causes a breakdown of the metabolic pathway that produces optimum efficiency, leading to a sharp decrease in performance. Bodybuilders, athletes, and people that lead active lifestyles need even more nutrients than the average non-active person for this reason.
3. Pregnant or trying to conceive
Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding often choose to take a multivitamin as there are certain vitamins and minerals that are especially important for the body at this time.
If you choose to take a daily multivitamin and mineral supplement during your pregnancy or when trying to conceive, make sure it has the vitamins that are essential for your pregnancy. These are:
- 400mcg of Folic Acid
- 10mcg of Vitamin D
Important: Do not take vitamin A supplements, or any supplements containing Vitamin A (retinol), as too much could harm your baby.
4. Aged between 6 months and 5 years
The Department of Health advises children aged 6 months to 5 years to supplement with vitamins A, C and D. A deficiency in Vitamin D causes rickets which is a bone disease that is on the increase in the UK
5. Digestive difficulties or chronic illness
People who suffer from digestive difficulties or chronic illness can often become malnourished due to the intestine being unable to absorb nutrients as efficiently. Examples of chronic illness include Crohn's and Ulcerative Colitis, HIV, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). To aid some of these illnesses you may choose to take a Multivitamin formula with added probiotics which can support your digestive system as well as add digestive enzymes e.g. Bromelain.
Getting the balance right
Supplements can be helpful and health-enhancing or harmful and a waste of money. It all depends on what you take, how natural it is and its bioavailability (if your body can absorb it).
There are many different Multivitamin formulas available - they are all very different. Ensure that you choose one which suits your age and diet.
Don't forget it is important to consume your vitamins with food and water as depending if they are water-soluble or fat-soluble they may not be absorbed into your system otherwise.
Always ensure that you follow the directions on your supplement instructions because too much Vitamin A, D, or E can build up in the body and become toxic.
A healthy balanced diet is the best way to consume all the nutrients we need. Sometimes however this isn't possible and then supplements can help. This article isn't intended to replace medical advice. Please consult your healthcare professional before trying any supplements or herbal medicines.