Changing lifestyles in the past few years have led to an increase in nutritional deficiencies. Daily nutritional requirements are not fulfilled from the daily dietary intake and this is the reason why multivitamin demand has seen a significant surge in recent times. Multivitamins help in fulfilling the nutritional gap in our bodies and are easily absorbable, fast-acting sources of nutrition for our bodies.
According to research conducted by the World Health Organisation (WHO), approximately two billion people around the world suffer from micronutrient deficiencies. These micronutrients majorly consist of iron, calcium, and vitamins A, B, C and D.
Multivitamins are made using extracts derived from plants and animals sources rich in vitamins and minerals. These come in soluble-form that is easily absorbed by the body and maximum nutrition is derived from them.
However, before you decide to opt for multivitamin supplements, there are some factors that need to be considered, in order to choose the best multivitamins for yourself. Read on to find out more.
Things to look for in Multivitamins
Vitamins and Minerals
Multivitamin supplements consist of essential vitamins and minerals that are required for the optimal functioning of our body. These micronutrients are essential to support extensive Physical and cognitive functions of the body.
A good multivitamin supplement will have a balanced combination of Vitamin A, C, D, E, K and eight B-complex vitamins. The B complex vitamins consist of thiamine, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, biotin, niacin, B6, B12 and folate. In order to function properly, the human body needs the right amount of these vitamins.
In addition, the supplement must also contain vital minerals that together with the vitamins help in the optimal functioning of the body. These minerals include calcium, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, iron, copper, zinc, and iodine.
Daily Value (DV)
All multivitamin supplement bottles contain nutrients with respect to a 2000 calorie diet. One must choose a multivitamin that provides closest to 100 per cent of the Daily Value of vitamins and minerals as listed on the label. It is important to remember we also take in vitamins and minerals from our food and therefore, the intake from the supplement must balance out only what is deficient. For people who already are taking balanced diets, it is vital to watch out for an overdose of nutrients.
Every physical body is different from the other and so are their requirements. Today, multivitamins are created keeping the unique needs of men, women, children and senior citizens in mind. It is best to buy the most suitable variant accordingly, keeping the following in mind:
- Women’s Vitamins
Women’s bodies go through so many physical and hormonal changes throughout their life and their multivitamins are therefore focused on compensating for the essential nutrients women tend to lose due to hormonal imbalances, childbirth, breastfeeding, menopause and other conditions.
Women’s multivitamin majorly includes calcium as their bone density starts to deplete in their twenties. Apart from calcium, women’s supplements also contain biotin that improves dry and brittle skin, hair and nails.
Women who are planning to conceive are given prenatal vitamins that consist of folic acid, iron, calcium, Vitamin D, DHA and iodine. These nutrients are responsible for promoting the healthy growth and development of the child and also prevent birth defects. For breastfeeding mothers, iron is recommended.
- Men’s Vitamins
Men’s bodies also have specific requirements that aren’t practically met with dietary intake. Men need sufficient Vitamin D to produce testosterone, aid brain development and strengthen the bones. Ideal levels of Vitamin E are also required to support prostate health in men.
For well-managed heart health Vitamins A, C and E with minerals selenium and zinc are required. Men benefit significantly from Magnesium in the supplement, which helps to boost their energy levels, especially post 40. Vitamin K prevents blood clotting and most supplements are enriched with an active form of folate (Vitamin B) that supports the health of red blood cells.
- Vitamins for Senior Adults
Metabolism levels drop with the ageing process and older adults thus have different nutritional requirements. Their appetites are decreased and their capacity to absorb certain nutrients also decreases. A higher intake of calcium and Vitamin D is recommended for older adults as it helps in reducing injuries from falls and supports bone health.
Energy functions start to lag in older adults and Vitamin B 12 is required to boost energy levels in the body. Vitamin B12 supplement is recommended to adults over the age of 50, as absorption of this nutrient from whole foods is difficult for them.
Potassium supplements are advised combined with a low-sodium diet to lower blood pressure levels in the body.
- Children’s Vitamins
Children are picky eaters and it is almost impossible for parents to ensure optimum nutritional intake from their daily diet. Children’s multivitamins are produced with the right amount of vitamins and minerals that support growth and development.
The majority of children’s supplements contain Vitamin A that aids in tissue and bone repair. Vitamin C assists the immune system of the body, while calcium and Vitamin D that supports bone health, assisting growth and development.
For optimal brain development, the supplements may also be loaded with Vitamin B12 extracts. Check for the taste and easy absorbability of multivitamins before adding to the diet of your child. Gummy multivitamins for children are getting popular these days, as they taste great, are chewable, fun to look at and are loved by the little ones. Mothers find it convenient to replace candies with these gummy multivitamins to ensure optimum nutritional intake.
Opt for Organic Multivitamins
The human body is designed to absorb rich and whole foods. When choosing a multivitamin, you should always consider buying ones derived from organic sources. These multivitamins are made using premium quality ingredients, which are free from harmful chemicals, making them easy to absorb. Rich in bioavailable ingredients, these supplements offer maximum benefits to the body. Supplements that are made using synthetic ingredients and chemicals are not as beneficial to the body.
Check for Certifications
All supplement manufacturers need to be certified by the regulatory body to assure the quality and safety of the product. The regulatory bodies check the quality of the supplements as various parameters and are approved only if they meet high-quality standards. One when choosing a multivitamin should we check and ensure the industry seal and certification on the label.
Do You Need a Supplement?
While most people do benefit from multivitamins, it is always best to assess whether you really need them or not. It could be that you are already having a balanced diet and do not need an overdose of vitamins. There are also certain conditions under which multivitamins should only be started if your healthcare provider suggests. Some of these include -
- Women who are pregnant or trying to conceive - Women who are planning to conceive are given iron, folic acid and Vitamin D as their prenatal vitamins. However, every pregnancy is different and one must consult a doctor before consuming any such supplement.
- Breastfeeding Mothers - Breastfeeding women should pay attention to the supplements they choose and that also only if their doctor suggests because what they consume will directly affect their baby.
- Vegan or Allergic to certain Foods - It is harder to get some nutrients when the person is vegan or is allergic to dairy. It is always a good idea to consult your doctor first to decide what multivitamin will work best for your body in such circumstances.
- Senior Adults - Men and women over the age of 50 should take extra care about the supplements they choose. Hormonal changes, lifestyle diseases, and physiological changes must be weighed carefully before starting any supplementation.
- Had surgery in the past - patients who have undergone gastric or bypass surgery have a poor gut and it may be difficult to absorb certain nutrients. Hence, it is recommended to consult a doctor before starting a daily supplement.
- Have certain genetic health conditions - Your body may have trouble absorbing nutrients if you have:
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease
- Celiac Disease
- Cystic Fibrosis
- Liver Disease
- An Autoimmune Disorder
- Alcohol Dependence
- Hereditary Disorders
Considering our fast-paced lives and daily stress, it is both impractical and difficult to keep track of the nutritional intake from our diet. Adding multivitamins to our daily diet can help fulfil the daily nutritional requirements of the body and help in uplifting physical and mental health.
Apart from this, multivitamins contribute to raising energy levels of the body and support improving the mood as well. However, one must not only rely on supplements alone. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle with a balanced diet is recommended to reap maximum benefits. Consuming supplements along with a healthy lifestyle is the best way to maintain good health.