Updated: Jan-15-2020

What You Need to Know About Multivitamin Supplements

With countless supplements on the market today, there are a few factors to consider when choosing the best multivitamins for men and women.
Taking Multivitamin
Multivitamins are the world's most popular dietary supplements. Image via Shutterstock

Our body needs vitamins and minerals to function properly, and the main source of these nutrients is a well-balanced diet.

Unfortunately, not everyone is able to eat the right kind of food everyday which is why many people take multivitamin supplements on a daily basis.

The question is, do we all need one?

What are Multivitamins?

A multivitamin supplement is a dietary supplement that supplies the body with essential vitamins and minerals. These nutrients are normally found in natural sources like food.

A well-balanced, nutrient-dense diet should provide all the daily requirements for vitamins and minerals, but most people are not able to derive all their nutrient needs from diet alone.

Multivitamin supplements are said to be the most popular in the world and they come in many forms, ranging from tablets and capsules to liquids, powders, and gummies (source [1, 2]).

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Who Should Take a Multivitamin Supplement?

In general, anyone who is unable to consume a wide variety of food may need a multivitamin supplement.

Nonetheless, certain individuals may benefit from it and they include:

Multivitamin supplements may also be used to treat deficiencies caused by various illnesses and conditions.

Is it good to take a multivitamin everyday?

There are 13 vitamins in all, nine of which are water-soluble (vitamins B-complex and C) while the other four are fat-soluble (vitamins A, D, E, and K). As for minerals, there are at least 16 that the body needs to function properly. The content varies according to manufacturer and the key ingredients to look for depends on your needs.

Do Multivitamin Supplements Work?

Although multivitamins can address nutritional deficiencies, there is no evidence that they help people live longer. However, they are said to be beneficial when taken by certain populations, like the ones discussed above.

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Multivitamins can give your body the nutrients you need, and supports a more sustainable future. Image via Shutterstock

Do multivitamins have side effects?

Multivitamin supplements, when taken as directed by the manufacturer or by your physician, should not cause any unwanted side effects.

Too much vitamins, especially vitamins A and E, can be quite harmful.

There are also certain minerals in these supplements that can manifest symptoms of overdose if taken too much. Common symptoms include stomach discomfort, headaches, heart palpitations, confusion, muscle weakness, joint pain, and frequent urination. There may also be nausea, vomiting, constipation, diarrhea, loss of appetite, and weight loss. Other more serious symptoms are blood in the urine and bleeding.

NOTE: To prevent all these, refrain from taking more than one multivitamin supplement unless recommended by your doctor.

Also, it is advised to get emergency medical help if signs of allergic reaction appear. These include hives, trouble breathing, and swelling of the face, lips, tongue, and throat.

How to Choose the Best Multivitamin Supplement?

So far, there are no standards as to what a good multivitamin supplement should contain. Composition varies according to the brand and the nutrients may be derived from natural sources or created in laboratories. There may also be additional ingredients like amino acids, fatty acids, and even herbs. Also, since these supplements are not regulated by the FDA, some contain nutrient levels that are higher or lower than what is listed on the label.

Pick a multivitamin supplement that contains nutrients that are close to your daily requirements in order to avoid exceeding recommended doses.

If you can, consult your health specialist prior to taking multivitamin supplements, or any nutritional supplement for that matter.

The Bottom Line

Multivitamin supplements are intended to address nutritional gaps and ensure that you meet your daily nutrient requirement. No matter how effective they might be, it is important to note that these are not the key to optimal health. They should not replace a healthy diet.

If you decide to use one, always consider not only the efficacy but also the price and manufacturer reputation. A multivitamin supplement is something that you'll take long-term, so you don't want to get one that will cost too much. As for the manufacturer, find one that has been around for a long time and has a reputation for good manufacturing.

Lastly, as we always reiterate, consult your trusted physician for some valuable suggestions and recommendations.

**This is a subjective assessment based on the strength of the available informations and our estimation of efficacy.

*Result may vary. If you are pregnant, nursing, have a serious medical condition, or have a history of heart conditions we suggest consulting with a physician before using any supplement. The information contained in this website is provided for general informational purposes only. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease and should not be relied upon as a medical advice. Always consult your doctor before using any supplements.

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