It is essential to remember that a multivitamin complex cannot replace a healthy and balanced diet. The main purpose of a multivitamin is to fill nutritional gaps and provide a sampling of the wide range of nutrients and healthy chemicals found naturally in foods. It cannot offer fiber or the taste and enjoyment of foods that are so key to an optimal diet. However, multivitamins can play an important role when nutritional needs are not met by diet alone.
When this is the case, there's no need for an expensive brand, as even standard store brands will deliver results. Look for one that contains the recommended daily amounts and that bears the United States Pharmacopoeia (USP) seal of approval on the label. We'll explore situations in which a multivitamin can promote health, as well as whether there are benefits or harms to taking additional nutrients from a pill if the diet is already adequate. This page looks specifically at the use of multivitamins, which typically contain around 26 different vitamins and minerals and often provide 100% of the recommended daily amount of these micronutrients. Keatley cites people who have poor quality diets, people who have difficulty digesting (such as those who have undergone gastric bypass surgery or who have Crohn's disease), and the elderly as potential candidates for multivitamins.
The researchers concluded that multivitamins do not reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer, cognitive impairment (such as memory loss and slowness of thinking) or premature death. Multivitamins come in several forms (tablets, capsules, liquids, powders) and are packaged as a specific combination of nutrients (B complex, calcium with vitamin D) or as a complete multivitamin complex. Choosing whole-grain side dishes, cereals, breads and more can reduce the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and cancer, and also improve digestion. Individual vitamin supplementation may also be essential in certain cases, such as a deficiency caused by prolonged malnutrition or malabsorption caused by malfunctioning of the body's digestive system. Adams agrees, saying that while multivitamins exist to provide nutrients that keep us healthy, using them as the only source of nutrients provides no benefit and can sometimes cause more problems. It's wise to talk to your healthcare provider about the supplements you take on a regular basis, Kitchin said, especially if you have a health problem, dietary restriction, or are taking any type of medication. However, data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) indicate that people can continue to consume supplements.
Adams also recommends looking for a brand that has good manufacturing practices, which are the main regulatory standards to guarantee the quality of pharmaceutical products for human use, or that bears the seal of the National Sanitation Foundation (NSF on the label), which certifies that the ingredients on the label are the only ingredients used in multivitamins. Henderson recommends making sure that there are sufficient amounts of each vitamin advertised in your multivitamin bottle. There is no doubt that multivitamins are important when nutritional needs are not met by diet alone. In addition, 70% of adults over 71 years of age take a vitamin; approximately one-third of them use a comprehensive multivitamin pill. According to the NIH, there is no standard definition of what nutrients and in what quantities a supplement must contain to be a multivitamin. Half of American adults, including 70 percent of those over 65, take a multivitamin or other vitamin or mineral supplement on a regular basis.