Do We Really Need Multivitamins?

Getting eating habits right may not exactly be rocket science, but it can certainly feel like it. Even if it’s easy enough to understand the theory behind all the nutrients we need, actually being consistent about putting it all into practice is a whole different story. At times, we may not even have the luxury of time or energy to ensure that we’re getting all the vitamins and minerals we need on a daily basis. By the time we notice any nutritional lapses, it may already be too little too late. This is where health supplement manufacturers come swooping in with their magical pills. Theoretically, multivitamins ensure that you meet the general minimum baseline, as compared to not consuming these nutrients at all. But are they all they’re cracked up to be?

 

How Multivitamins May Help

In many ways, multivitamins can indeed be highly beneficial for some of us. At the heart of it, their relevance largely depends on two main factors: an individual’s specific set of needs and the multivitamin in question. The average person should have little trouble getting most of the nutrients they need from the food that they eat, but not everyone has that same advantage. Some people struggle with low appetite for various reasons of their own. For instance, low appetite is a common symptom of depression; even meeting the basic minimum can seem practically impossible. Multivitamins may help them cover the bases and recover.

Women, in particular, may benefit from multivitamins since there are certain nutrients that we need more of. Iron and calcium deficiency are two very common concerns for us, especially since they’re absorbed poorly into our bloodstream when taken together. In many cases, nutritional anaemia as a result of iron deficiency may even aggravate acne, leading to greater incidence of pimple scarring. Women are also at a higher risk of osteoporosis, which is why it’s that much more important for us to pay close attention to how much calcium we eat. However, since calcium interferes with iron absorption, do avoid multivitamins that contain both. In addition, you may also wish to select multivitamins that contain more folic acid, essential for preventing birth defects.

Multivitamins could also be useful for helping us consume more of certain nutrients that aren’t as commonly present in food. One such instance is vitamin D, which is essential for optimal absorption of calcium. Although this vitamin may be found in foods such as salmon, egg yolks, and oysters, they’re often present in quantities that aren’t sufficient. On top of that, we may also struggle with pairing enough calcium-rich and vitamin-D-rich food sources together. Sunlight may encourage our bodies to produce more vitamin D naturally, but some of us won’t get enough vitamin D this way either. This may be true if you tend to wear more covered clothing or simply don’t step out into the sun often enough. In fact, studies have shown that people who took vitamin D supplements usually lived longer than those who didn’t.

If you find that you’re often falling ill, multivitamins that are high in zinc may be an excellent option for you. Studies found that zinc is even more effective at protecting us from the common cold since they may be able to interrupt rhinovirus replication. Introducing more zinc into our diets could even shorten our colds altogether. By comparison, vitamin C would not be quite as effective if we’re already sick. Nevertheless, vitamin C is still crucial for strengthening our immune system, so we shouldn’t be neglecting our daily intake of it either. A good multivitamin for such cases would be one that contains high quantities of both zinc and vitamin C.

 

Over-Reliance And How Multivitamins May Not Be Helpful

Multivitamins should never be a replacement for food, though, which is precisely their danger. Since they offer us a way to fill the gaps in our nutrition, it may be too easy to begin taking them for granted. If we’re not careful, we may end up becoming way more lax about our diets. Natural food sources still trump alternative supplements more often than not. Hence, as far as possible, we should prioritise natural food sources over them unless we’re not getting enough of anything.

Some studies also seem to suggest that certain multivitamins may not even be as effective. In this case, it could be useful to get a little extra research done. The internet can be an excellent tool for consumers to find out the best multivitamins for our individual needs. You may also need some trial-and-error to figure out which multivitamins are working for you or otherwise. You should also consult medical professionals or qualified nutritionists for assistance with selecting the right multivitamins for you. They would definitely be in a much better position to know what you need more of, and which ones may be more effective than others.

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