In this fast-paced life that most of us lead, it gets really difficult to consciously maintain a healthy diet. Fast food hardly gives the nutrition value our mother’s lunch provides. In such a scenario, most of us resort to multivitamins, irrespective of whether we need it or not.
The National Diet and Nutrition Survey show that a significant population of the UK doesn’t get sufficient nutrition from diet alone. This is the reason why multivitamins are the most wide-ranging supplements in UK.
Though deemed good, popular culture has made our understanding of multivitamins hazy. Read on to refresh your memory and understand why, despite everything, we still recommend it.
What are Multivitamins?
As the name suggests, multi-vitamins are dietary supplements that have a lot of vitamins and in some cases, even minerals. Multi-vitamin pills differ from one another in composition and nutritional benefits. Some pills are also designed keeping specific causes in mind such as weight loss, various diseases, longevity etc.
What are the benefits?
• About one-third of the population in UK regularly takes multivitamins. This is because the human body compulsorily needs 13 vitamins to function properly.
Many times, even a healthy diet doesn’t consist of all these vitamins. Taking a multivitamin replenishes all these nutrients, making you healthier.
A National Institutes of Health (NIH) study found increased bone density and reduced fractures in post-menopausal women who took Calcium and Vitamin-D supplements.
• Daily intake of a good multivitamin can improve one’s mental health as well.
• It improves bodily functions and boosts immunity. It effectively lowers the illness and mortality rate.
• Multivitamins go a long way in reducing stress.
• They can also help in dealing with problems such as smoking, alcoholism etc.
• They are a reliable way to obtain scarcer vitamins like Vitamin D and Omega-3. In fact, research suggests that Vitamin K is better absorbed from tablets than food.
How safe is it?
No study or research has been able to find any side effects of consuming multi-vitamins, making them one of the safest dietary supplements you can take. However, if you have a medical condition or you are pregnant or breastfeeding, it is best to consult a doctor before taking them.
What should I take?
When it comes to multivitamins, ‘one size doesn’t fit all shoes’. A young female would require multivitamins with a high concentration of iron whereas, an older woman would not require any more iron that she is already getting from her diet.
Women are also advised to take multivitamins with folic acid before and during early pregnancy as it prevents neural tube defects in babies. Also, the quantity of nutrients required by a bodybuilder or athlete would be far more than that required by a person who does not lead an active lifestyle.
The human body has different requirements of vitamins and minerals based on the age, gender, diet, lifestyle and medical conditions. The best way to choose a multivitamin is to take your doctor’s advice.
How should I take it?
Taking it once a day is advisable. Ideally, you must have it with your meal for maximum absorption. However, if you are taking more than one multivitamin, take them during different times of the day.
Multivitamins can be a game changer if taken properly. However, they are by no means a substitute for a balanced meal. They only add to the food you eat. In order to achieve optimal health, maintain a healthy diet along with taking multivitamins regularly.