Demystifying the myth of multivitamins and their potential uses has been raging on for quite some time now. This magic pill which was introduced to the general population some 60 or so odd years ago seems to be growing steadily in popularity, but when scrutinised carefully, for a lot of the wrong reasons!
For beginners, the regular use of multivitamins among many people is actually practiced as a short cut to eating healthy. Where diets are primarily made of fried, sweetened, buttered or processed foods, using multivitamins to replenish the missing nutrients is not going to do any good. When entire groups of vegetables go missing from a diet, and desserts are ranked as the highlight of the meal, popping in a multivitamin at the end of a meal is not going to provide a balanced diet to anyone.
In addition, there are those parties who depend on multivitamins to resolve issues like boosting energy levels, improving performance, beating stress, defeating wrinkles and of course losing weight.
While a lot of brands selling multivitamins do actually tout all these and many other benefits, the pill itself has never been known for replacing actual food. If anything, multivitamins are to be used as a supplement alongside real food and only fill in the nutrient gaps that may be left in an individual’s diet.
Who Can Benefit From The Use Of Multivitamins?
But if one is eating healthy, how may there be nutritional gaps in the diet? It is a valid question and one that can be answered considering these points. For instance, multivitamins are recommended for certain groups of people who may otherwise be running short on certain nutrients such as:
- Pregnant And Breastfeeding Women: Given the special nutritional needs of women in this group, prenatal vitamins are especially designed to fill in any nutritional gaps in the mother’s diet.
- Vegans And Those Following Vegetarian Diets: Followers of this type of dieting trend can benefit from including supplemental nutrition with vitamins D and B12 into their diets.
- Those With Food Intolerance Or Allergies: Multivitamins can benefit people in this group but should only be taken under the supervision of their medical practitioner.
- Picky Eaters: Typically children, but even some adults will not include all food groups into their diet and can suffer from nutritional deficiencies. Where suitable, doctors will recommend to include multivitamins in such cases, to supplement nutritional inadequacies.
Again, it is important to remember than good nutrition will only be provided by real food and cannot be made up for by relying solely on multivitamins.
How Else Can Multivitamins Be Beneficial?
- Other than having medical reasons for nutritional deficiencies, people also use multivitamins to plug their nutritional gaps. Personal food preferences, tastes and dietary habits can all sometimes limit the inclusion of important nutrients into the diet. Here supplementing missing nutrients with the help of multivitamins can be beneficial.
- In other instances, age related concerns such as reduction of bone density can be corrected or at least delayed by the use of supplemental multivitamins providing vitamin D and calcium.
- It is recommended that those who are 50 and above should supplement most of their vitamin B12 from synthetic sources such as dietary supplements or fortified foods.
There are a lot of different companies that produce multivitamins. Unfortunately, not all of them live up to the value and results that they provide. This is why it is important to know which multivitamin to buy. Below you can find our recommendation based on quality of the product, value for the money, and results:
A Word of Caution
Food has a lot of phytochemicals, fiber and much more that cannot be cloned into a pill or other supplements. And while thinking that taking multivitamins will take care of missing nutrients, there is also the danger of taking too much of a good thing. Some nutrients will only work well for us when combined with certain others for effective absorption and filtering through the system. When taken in excess, these nutrients can leave residue in the body that can have toxic effects.
It is best to only take a multivitamin after consulting with your doctor, or else choose one that provides less than a hundred percent of the recommended daily value to stay within safe recommended limits.
Likewise, not all nutrients are needed equally for all age groups. For instance, menopausal women and men in general, need very little or no iron supplementation.
In the end, whether it is weight loss or an overall healthier lifestyle that you seek, remember that the real solution is a combination of healthy eating and regular physical activity that will see you through and not merely a daily dose of supplements.