Vitamins and minerals are required by the body for optimal performance. These vitamins and minerals are consumed daily from various food sources that we consume. However healthy diet is not accessible to everyone every day and this means there may be a short supply of the required elements. This shortage of nutrient supply may be stabilized by using multivitamins.
Multivitamins are the most commonly used supplements. However, in recent times, they may have been used inappropriately. The vitamins are integrated into every bottle of drink, yet the pills are consumed excessively. These actions may be traceable to the bogus promises on drug packs and health gossips, as well as the belief by users. Such believes and promises may include; Multivitamins can serve as a replacement for a good diet, may reduce the risk of chronic diseases, may improve hair, nail growth, treat skin problems, etc. Hence, as much as possible, many people pop multivitamin pills without any medical recommendations. In this article, we share all you need to know about your daily multivitamin consumption including its benefits, and possible side effects of excessive consumption.
What are Multivitamins?
Multivitamins mean multiple vitamins; they are a combination of various nutritional elements intended to supplement the inadequate vitamin and mineral supplies from the food you consume. Multivitamins are taken to ensure you have the daily required nutrient value for optimal health (1).
These multivitamins are produced in different forms for easy consumption including capsules, tablets, chewable gummies, liquids, and powders. Every multivitamin irrespective of its forms comes with recommended dosage and guidelines which should be followed meticulously. They are usually available at local stores and sold over-the-counter (2).
What Does a Multivitamin Supplement Contain?
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has no statutory regulatory measure for dietary supplements, as much as it does for prescription drugs. Hence, the multivitamins may contain
- Varying amounts of vitamins
- Macrominerals such as calcium, potassium, phosphorus
- Trace minerals such as iron, copper, iodine, zinc (3)
- Fatty acids
- Amino acids
You may need to discuss drug interactions with your medical expert before taking any multivitamin supplements.
Why You Need Multivitamins?
Your daily vitamin and mineral intake requirement can be obtained from the food sources you eat. However, for some reason, this intake from the food sources may not be adequate, resulting in the need for multivitamin supplements. You may need an extra multivitamin supplement if
1. You are on a weight loss diet.
2. You are on a gluten-free diet. This means you may need to consume more vegetables, fruits, and also multivitamin supplements to replace the required nutrients.
3. You are obese and overweight. Being overweight may expose you to the risk of vitamin deficiencies.
4. You take alcohol excessively. Then most of your food calories may be from alcohol than foods, and this may result in vitamin deficiency (4).
5. You are pregnant. Vitamin B is very important especially during the first few weeks of conception. The use of prenatal multivitamins containing Vitamin B and other important nutrients is highly recommended during pregnancies.
6. You are a senior citizen. As you get older you may experience difficulty in chewing, unpleasant taste bud changes probably caused by medications, and decreased appetite. These factors may lead to vitamin deficiency.
7. You suffer from malabsorption. These conditions interfere with food digestion processes and result in reduced absorption of essential nutrients. Malabsorption may be triggered by diseases such as ulcerative colitis, surgeries, or illnesses that cause diarrhea and excessive vomiting.
8. You are taking certain medications, especially those prescribed for low blood pressure, acid reflux, and Parkinson’s disease. Most times, such medications deplete the body’s store of essential vitamins and minerals (5).
Facts About Multivitamins Supplement
- The human body requires a daily dose of essential vitamins and minerals for optimal health and body performance.
- These vitamins and minerals may be obtained by taking multivitamins supplements.
- Some multivitamin products do not contain the required dose intended for consumption.
- The multivitamin supplement does not function in stamina building, muscle building, or weight loss.
- Continuous consumption of non-recommended multivitamins over long periods may pose health threats.
- Consuming excessive multivitamins does not increase its activity or function in the body but may increase the risk of health problems.
- If you eat healthy meals daily, you may get all the essential vitamins and minerals and you need not require multivitamins (6).
- The best supply of vitamins and minerals to your body is from the direct food sources consumed.
The Best Source of Vitamins and Minerals
- Have regular supplies of fruits and vegetables. If you have fruits and vegetables within site, chances are, you’ll grab them more often.
- Cook your greens tenderly. Overcooking your greens may eliminate the essential nutrients.
- Consume whole foods. Whole grains, nuts, vegetables, etc, contain more vitamins and minerals than processed foods.
- Make meal prepping a habit. Prepare healthy snacks and easily accessible food. Ensure that each time you need to grab food, you have a healthy option to reach for (7).
Benefits of Multivitamin Supplement
- It improves short-term memory. An adequate supply of Vitamin B has been known to improve short-term brain function (8).
- It reduces anxiety and stress. Vitamin B performs various functions in the body such as helping the nervous system to perform efficiently, convert consumed food into energy, etc.
- It reduces the fatigue rate and increases the energy level.
- It may improve poor mood and ease symptoms of depression (9).
- Combining different multivitamin products may be dangerous and pose health threats. If you have to take them, ensure you consult your medical expert.
- If you have a specific nutrient deficiency, consult your doctor for an appropriate recommendation of multivitamins. This will ensure you do not take unnecessary doses of unrequired vitamins.
- Ensure you take your multivitamin supplement as prescribed or according to the recommended dosage.
- If you are pregnant, please take only prenatal recommended multivitamins, and consult your medical expert (10).
- If you have any form of salt sensitivity, kindly consult with your doctor before taking any multivitamins.
- Avoid taking multivitamins with dairy products including milk, and other supplements that contain calcium. Calcium may interfere with your body’s absorption of multivitamins.
- Do not take excessive doses of fat-soluble vitamins, they may accumulate in the liver and trigger adverse health conditions. These vitamins include Vitamin A, D, E, and K.
Possible Side effects
Multivitamins mean multiple vitamins. Hence, a supplement may contain varying measures of various vitamins and one may end up taking more than the required amount. Possible side effects include
- Excessive consumption of vitamin C may cause diarrhea, stomach cramps, and nausea.
- Excessive intake of zinc and selenium may result in fatigue, hair loss, and gastrointestinal upset (11).
Sometimes excessive consumption may trigger allergic reactions such as
- Swelling of the face, tongue, lips, or throat
- Stomach upset
- Unusual taste in your mouth
- Tooth staining
- Stomach bleeding
- Increased urination
- Uneven heart rate
- Limp feeling and muscle weakness
- Confusion (12)
- Lung cancer (13).
- Nausea and vomiting
The shortage of nutrients supply in the body may be stabilized by using multivitamins. However, multivitamins are not the best solution to insufficient intake of vitamins and minirals. Taking a multivitamin may offer benefits such as improved moods, brain function, and energy performance level. However, excessive doses of multivitamins may pose health challenges such as swelling of the face, tongue, lips, or throat, diarrhea, nausea, hair loss, hives, stomach upset, unusual taste in your mouth, headache, tooth staining, etc. The best way to supply your body with the essential vitamins and minerals required for optimal health and performance is by taking healthy diets. If your diet does not match up to the required standards, then you may supplement your meals by taking multivitamins.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Can I take multivitamins every day?
Yes, you may take multivitamins daily. However, you have to ensure that it is recommended by your medical expert and you follow the recommended dosage meticulously.
What happens when I take multivitamins?
When you take a multivitamin supplement, the varying vitamins and nutrients contained in the supplement function to ensure your body perform at an optimal health level. However, the multivitamins only act as support for the nutrients already consumed from food sources. They are not a replacement for food.
What happens when I take an excess dose of multivitamins?
This is a common scenario. When you take healthy meals containing the essential vitamins and nutrients, then take multivitamin supplements, it becomes easy to have excess vitamins in your body. This excessive intake does not improve metabolism in the body, rather it may result in health conditions such as Vitamin D toxicity, vitamin A toxicity, hair loss, diarrhea, stomach upset.
Do multivitamins contain minerals?
Yes, most multivitamin products contain minerals such as iron, calcium, zinc, potassium, and magnesium. An excessive intake of these minerals may pose serious health problems such as stomach bleeding, and uneven heart rate.
Can multivitamin supplements help my hair growth?
Vitamin B6 and B12 are great and may be helpful for hair growth. The activities of the vitamins facilitate the transportation of oxygen and nutrients to the body cells, including the hair cells, and this may encourage hair growth. Also, hair loss caused by iron deficiency may be resolved by the intake of multivitamins containing iron.
Can multivitamins be harmful to the body?
Yes, excessive intake of fat-soluble vitamins may be harmful to the body. When water-soluble vitamins are consumed in excess, they may be excreted via body fluids. However, fat-soluble vitamins get accumulated in the body and may cause damage to the liver.
- “Do multivitamins make you healthier?” – health.harvard.edu
- “What are multivitamins?” – healthline.com
- “Minerals” – medlineplus.gov
- “Dr Art Mollen: Pros and cons of taking vitamins” – azcentral.com
- “Should I Take a Daily Multivitamin?” – hsph.harvard.edu
- “Is There Really Any Benefit to Multivitamins” – hopkinsmedicine.org
- “Should You Take a Multivitamin?” – clevelandclinic.org
- “Neurocognitive effects of multivitamin supplementation on the steady state visually evoked potential (SSVEP) measure of brain activity in elderly women” – ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
- “Understanding nutrition, depression and mental illnesses” – pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
- “Teratogenicity of high vitamin A intake” – pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
- “Getting Too Much of Vitamins And Minerals” – webmd.com
- “Multivitamins” – drugs.com
- “Beta-carotene in multivitamins and the possible risk of lung cancer among smokers versus former smokers: a meta-analysis and evaluation of national brands” – pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov