To be in tip top health, your body needs many different vitamins and minerals every day. Most of these vitamins and mineral requirements are met through the food you eat each day. But it can sometimes be hard to know if you are getting enough of every vitamin and mineral your body needs. Because a lack of adequate vitamins and minerals can cause a variety of medical issues, many people choose to take a daily multivitamin to ensure that their needs are met. Should you be taking one too?
Who Needs to Take a Multivitamin?
There are several groups of people for whom taking a daily multivitamin is recommended:
Very active people such as athletes, bodybuilders and anyone else leading more of an active lifestyle than the average person should take a multivitamin to help keep their body performing at its best.
Those on a weight loss diet
Dieting can often risk depriving the body of adequate nutrient intake, especially if the diet does not include sufficient fruit and vegetables. A multivitamin will ensure your body is supported throughout it’s weight loss phase.
Pregnant or breastfeeding women
Many pregnant women require a multivitamin with folic acid throughout their pregnancy, although you should speak to your doctor to find out if this is necessary for you.
Women of a childbearing age
Women intending to become pregnant in the future should take a multivitamin with folic acid to help prevent the risk of birth defects.
Those over 60
Older people often lack enough magnesium, vitamin D and certain B vitamins. Women who are getting older or who are hard on their bones and joints through rigorous activity should take a multivitamin high in calcium to help strengthen their bones and reduce the chances of fractures or sprains. It also helps to reduce their risk of having osteoporosis when they age.
Vegetarians lack many of the daily vitamins and minerals that come from animal products. They should take a multivitamin which includes vitamins B12 and D, calcium, zinc, and iron, which are all low in a plant based diet.
What to Look for in a Multivitamin
Unless you know of a specific deficiency you have or circumstance that requires extra nutrients, a normal multivitamin is sufficient for everyone, although there are specific multivitamins designed for men and women and specialised ones for those with specific needs such as older people, vegans or pregnant women. Choose one specific to your sex and age group. Most usually include all the basic vitamins and minerals, such as:
Vitamin B1, B2, B3, B6, B12 and B5
Vitamin A, E, D2 or D3, K
Choose a supplement that provides 100% of the daily value (DV) for most of the vitamins and minerals within that supplement. Bauer Nutrition has a range of multivitamins suitable for most people.
When to Take Your Vitamins
It doesn’t matter what time of day you take your multivitamin, although generally most people find it easier to take it in the morning. It’s a good idea to take your multivitamin at the same time every day so that it becomes a habit. That way you won’t forget to take it and miss out on the benefits. For maximum comfort level, it is always better to take your multivitamin with food – some people can experience an upset stomach if they take their daily vitamin before they eat. If you feel sick after taking your daily multivitamin with food, try a chewable multivitamin which is usually easier to digest and causes less upset stomach than tablets.
It’s always best to try and get your nutrition needs from food. Don’t think that taking a multivitamin means you can eat unhealthy and still get enough vitamins and minerals. A daily multivitamin is just backup to an already healthy diet.