Multivitamin supplements are a daily insurance policy
This concern is not entirely unfounded however it is important to look upon a Multivitamin as a daily insurance policy against an imperfect diet. Eating fresh, healthy food everyday as part of a balanced and varied diet plan is always going to be the first recommendation but however well planned you are factors including choice of food, skipping meals, or simply elimination of nutritional value of food through the manufacture/cooking process mean it's not always possible to achieve sufficient intake - cue your multivitamin supplement!
Always take your multivitamin with food containing good fats
It is important to remember to take your take multivitamin supplements with non-dairy fat - this is because they contain two types of vitamin: ones like A, D, E and K need fats to be present for absorption to take place, others like B and C, are water soluble and therefore don’t need fat before they can be absorbed. You could take a fish oil supplement at the same time or eat oily fish (eg, salmon or mackerel), other sources of good fats include avocado, nuts, natural nut butters (with no added sugar) or seeds.
Split the dose to maintain steady levels
The body cannot absorb all the multivitamin nutrients at once so a good tip to maximise the absorption is to split the pill, taking one half in the morning and the other half in the evening - both with food. Also, soluble vitamins are eliminated in 12 to 16 hours so by taking a multivitamin in two doses you maintain steady levels within the body.
Women of childbearing age should consider multivit + folic acid
Incidentally, you may be interested to know that half of all pregnancies are unplanned and go unnoticed for several weeks, so if you're a woman of childbearing age you may wish to choose a multivitamin containing folic acid. A recent study showed that women who took folic acid supplements in the first four to eight weeks of pregnancy halved their risk of having a child with autism. Important - if you are pregnant you must ensure your Multivitamin does not contain Vitamin A as it may harm your baby.
Children under 5 recommended to take daily vitamin drops
The Chief Medical Officer Dame Sally Davies has advised that children under five should take daily vitamin drops to avoid deficiencies, particularly of vitamin D.
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.