Growing up in the household that I did, I assume everyone takes a multivitamin as a very least of supplemental support for overall good health. My assumption is obviously not reality. Aside from prohibitive reasons such as cost, there is the idea that there is “no point” to taking a multivitamin. For others, it isn’t even a consideration nor on their radar.
I am going to argue (based on my personal research and experience) that everyone over the age of two should be taking a multivitamin. That is, unless of course your diet is perfection and you are getting all of your daily nutrients through the foods that you consume – every single day.
It is recommended that the best way to get all of the nutrients that body needs is through whole foods. However, many of us don’t get all of the vitamins and minerals we need through our daily diet. A multivitamin fills in the gaps – to ensure you are getting all of the recommended vitamins (14 of them) and minerals (9 of them) to maintain good health.
Vitamins are organic and are required by our bodies for survival. Vitamins control the chemical reactions within the body to convert food into energy and living tissue. They are either water soluble which must be taken daily since they are not stored in the body or fat soluble, which are stored in the body.
The amount of minerals we need vary in dosages from trace amount to greater than 100 mg a day. Minerals are used to produce and maintain necessary hormones and bodily functions.
Aside from being simply a support for good health, some of the other benefits to taking a multivitamin include having more energy, better physical response to stress, improved memory and concentration, and a strong immune system.
Before you rush out to grab the first multivitamin you see on the shelf, wait. Not all multivitamins are the same. There are ones made specifically for men, women, teenagers and children given that each of these groups have different needs. There are even formulas specific to support heart health, those over 50 and even those with an active lifestyle.
Men’s multis are more than likely going to also contain ‘saw palmetto’ which may support a healthy prostate. Men’s supplements will also likely not contain iron as iron may accumulate in the body and cause organ damage. Also, some formulas for men will have ingredients such as ‘horny goat weed’ (yes, this is a real thing) and dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) which supports testosterone (hence, a good name for the goat weed!).
Women’s multis have formulas which focus more on skin, nails, and hair health. There are also Pre-Natal multis for expecting mothers. The pre-natals have the recommended amount of folic acid to help prevent neural tube birth defects.
Children’s multis are made specifically for kids that are growing every day. Kids that take vitamins seem to focus better in school and be sick less often.
There are also teenager specific multis on the market since they need different vitamins and minerals as their bodies grow into adulthood. A lot of growth spurts occur during teenage years so nutrition is crucial for proper development.
Purchasing a high absorbability multivitamin is also key. Taking a vitamin that simply runs through your body isn’t getting you any further ahead. Ask your health food store associates or pharmacist for a suggestion for a multivitamin that is absorbed well by the body. This way you will feed your cells with the vitamins and minerals that it needs much better. It might be a bit more expensive, but it will do a much better job.
After you buy the vitamin that is best for you, ensure you are getting the most of it. Vitamins should be taken every day, at the same time each day and with a meal. I find that morning is the best time as it sets you up for the day with your best nutrition so that you are ready to go out to do what you need to do for the day.
As great as multivitamins are, they are not miracle workers. That is, you cannot take a multivitamin and hope it makes up for poor eating habits. You still have to eat well overall (80/20 or 90/10 rule) to be healthy and prevent diseases.
If you are not taking a multivitamin now, think about why. Ask yourself, and your doctor, if taking one would be an appropriate step for you given your circumstance to be a healthier you.
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