3 Simple Ways To Tell if a Multivitamin Will Benefit You (Men and Women)
For your body to function properly, it is important to feed it with the right key nutrients. Essential minerals and vitamins enable your cells, tissues, and organs to perform at their best and maintain overall health.
The human body needs a specific amount of nutrients on a daily basis. Referred to as the Daily Value or DV, it ensures that your body correctly performs all the vital processes and you stay fit and healthy. You can achieve your DV through the diet you take or by taking dietary supplements/multivitamins every day. Doing so can help you avoid potential health risks, especially those associated with nutrient deficiency.
According to a survey, around 70%s of older adults take a vitamin every day, whereas one-third of them take multivitamins. This suggests that doing so must be essential. In this article, we will discuss whether you should or not use a daily multivitamin.
When we talk about the risks of nutrient deficiency, there are numerous diseases that result from it. Lack of certain nutrients can cause various illnesses. For example, a lack of Vitamin C can cause scurvy, while a Vitamin B1 deficiency can very well lead to beriberi. Meanwhile, you are also at risk of developing pellagra if you are Vitamin B3 deficient. Not to forget, rickets caused by lack of Vitamin D is an incredibly common disease worldwide.
What Conditions Demand Multivitamins
While taking a multivitamin can have significant benefits by reducing your risk of developing severe illnesses, not everyone needs it. Plenty of people eat a healthy diet on a daily basis to meet their requirements.
Any diet that includes enough vegetables, fruits, protein and fat sources, and whole grains can provide your body with the nutrients it requires. But, it is hard to manage a diet like that for most people. A lot of people do not get an adequate amount of daily nutrients. People with the following conditions may just need a multivitamin more than others:
Folate is a B vitamin that is especially necessary for pregnant women. Enough folate in the body reduces the risk of birthing a child with anencephaly or spina bifida. So, it is crucial that all pregnant women ensure adequate folic acid in their bodies through a daily multivitamin.
It is also important to remember that folate is beneficial and most effective when you take it in the first few weeks after conception. However, it is often hard for a woman to find out about her pregnancy during this time.
Moreover, most pregnancies in the US are a result of unplanned conception. Therefore, it is important that any woman looking to conceive should take a multivitamin with high quantities of folate. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also recommend that women in their childbearing ages (15 to 45) should consume at least 600 mg of folic acid every day. Pregnant women must also take prenatal multivitamins to get enough iron, vitamin D, calcium, and DHA.
The term malabsorption refers to any condition that interferes with the normal process of digestion. During digestion, the body breaks down food particles so that they are easily absorbed into the bloodstream. This nutrient absorption during the digestive process is essential to staying healthy.
When medical conditions prevent digestion from taking place, it increases the risk of poor absorption of nutrients. The little to no absorption of nutrients from the food that you eat leads to a condition called malabsorption. The diseases causing it include cystic fibrosis, ulcerative colitis, celiac, etc.
Other times, it may be illnesses that cause excessive diarrhea and vomiting, which can prevent absorption of nutrients. Not only this, a few surgeries, such as gastric bypass, also involve the removal of parts of or entire digestive organs. This removal can cause a decrease in the number of nutrients that are absorbed during digestion. Oftentimes, alcoholics also face malabsorption as excess alcohol consumption prevents absorption of Vitamins B and C.
3. Old Age
There are many reasons senior citizens must take a daily multivitamin. They are likely to be at risk of or already have a poor nutrient intake. This may be because of difficulty associated with chewing and swallowing. A lot of old people also find it hard to correctly taste food, meaning they find most food items to taste unpleasant. As a result, they may not eat as much as they should.
Oftentimes, the reasons are linked with psychological disorders like depression or stress. Adults are at a greater risk of suffering from depression and isolation that can result in eating disorders. Not to mention, old people may have multiple illnesses whose medicines can depress their appetite.
All of these reasons lead to a poor diet and eventually a poor daily value. Furthermore, the bodies of older people can barely absorb any Vitamin B12 from food, making them vitamin B deficient. This is the reason The National Academy of Medicine recommends foods fortified with Vitamin B12 for adults over the age of 50. Or, they should take a multivitamin regularly.
Whole Foods vs. Multivitamins
While multivitamins are a great way of consuming essential nutrients and meeting our body’s daily value, it is hard to beat nature. This suggests that minerals, vitamins, antioxidants, anti-inflammatory agents, and phytochemicals that whole foods deliver are far better than those in a multivitamin pill.
For instance, cruciferous vegetables like Broccoli contain compounds that can help decrease inflammation and even prevent certain cancers. On the other hand, some studies reveal that calcium supplements can increase the risk of heart disease. This is the reason physicians suggest calcium intake through diet rather than pills.
A study by the Archives of Internal Medicine suggests that multivitamins and other kinds of dietary supplements are associated with death risk in older women.
However, you can still choose a daily multivitamin that has no associated health risks. In fact, such multivitamins are even more beneficial than whole foods. For example, a multivitamin containing folic acid is a synthetic version of folate that offers better absorption when delivered in a pill. Meanwhile, Vitamin D pills contain the best kind of Vitamin D that is not available in any food item.
Do You Need to Take Daily Multivitamins? Key Takeaways
Make sure you consider the following factors while deciding to start taking a daily multivitamin.
- Appetite: In case you have a poor appetite or limited diet, you may need dietary supplements. However, you should either drop the idea or consult a doctor first if you eat well on a daily basis.
- Deficiencies: You may need a multivitamin if you are experiencing symptoms of illnesses associated with nutrient deficiencies.
- Increased nutrient need: Certain conditions like pregnancy can cause an increase in your daily value.
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