In a perfect world, we do not need a multivitamin supplement as we can get all those essential vitamins and minerals by eating a healthy balanced diet containing a variety of fruits, green vegetables, whole grains, pulses, legumes, etc. right? Wrong.
Here are top ten reasons to take a multivitamin supplement, no matter how healthy your lifestyle is.
1. Filling The Nutritional Gap:
Most of us don't get the recommended dosage of essential nutrients from food and diet alone due to a restricted diet (such as ketogenic diet, Atkins diet, low carb diet, etc.), poor appetite, compromised digestive system, or changing nutritional needs. Supplementation is intended to bridge the nutritional gap to avoid nutrient deficiency and maintain proper nutrients from food and supplementation.
2. Nutrient Absorption Declines with Age:
Research has indicated that as we age, malabsorption becomes very common as our body does not have the same capability to break down and absorb nutrients as it used to. Also, nutrient absorption interferes with the medication. The production of digestive enzymes, which break down and absorbs nutrients from food and drink, naturally declines the older we get. Multivitamin supplements can correct these deficiencies and become even more critical as we age.
3. Our Food is Losing Nutrients
- Soil Depletion: A well fertile soil is a crucial agricultural element for plants to absorb adequate minerals. Without this, the plant cannot form essential vitamins. But due to modern farming techniques, synthetic fertilizers, depleted soils, or GMO seeds, there has been an alarming drop in soil mineral levels that rob the plants of essential nutrients. A Study Published in the Journal of Nutrition and Health in 2003 reveals that mineral levels in fruits, grains, and vegetables dropped as much as 77%. It is improbable that we can get all the nutrients we need from food. A well-formulated supplement containing multivitamins and multi-minerals can provide an insurance formula against deficiency.
- Cooking Damage Nutrients in Food: Cooking processes like boiling, freezing, drying, cooking, microwaving, frying, and reheating can significantly reduce micronutrient content. So unless you are eating raw food, you lose many nutrients from your food while cooking. A multivitamin supplement can fill in those gaps.
4. Harmful Chemicals increase the Nutrient Needs:
Chemicals found in our water supply, air pollution, soil pollution with the additional use of pesticides, insecticides, and herbicides-- all impact the nutritional component of the food. Consequently, we need to increase our need for extra vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants as they create harmful free radicals that attack our immune system. Supplementing the diet with vitamins, minerals, along with antioxidants, help fight those free radicals.
5. Exercise Increases Nutrient Needs:
Bodybuilders, athletes, and people with active lifestyles need more nutrients than the average non-active person. As you exercise or make efforts to be physically active, your body uses up the energy and nutrients (vitamins and minerals) stored in your body. It is essential to replenish these vital nutrients from time to time to provide you energy, maintain the lean tissue muscle, and promote recovery post-workout. That’s why an athlete’s diet includes a large portion of protein, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Taking a multivitamin supplement is an easy and quick way to ensure you get all those vital micronutrients.
6. Poor Eating Habits:
Busy schedules, irregular eating habits, consuming processed junk food on the go, and stress- all contribute to poor digestion and absorption, making it difficult for our bodies to extract the nutrients it needs from food. While a multivitamin supplement cannot replace poor eating habits, it can help prevent damage caused in the body due to toxins or overconsumption of food.
7. Reduce the Risk of Chronic Disease:
Healthcare workers like doctors and nutritionists encourage people to look for disease prevention instead of their treatment. Taking a daily supplement may significantly reduce the risk of chronic diseases. A study published in Nutrition Journal in Oct 2007 showed how people who took multiple supplements, including a multivitamin, vitamin C, and all, were 73% less likely to have diabetes and 39% less likely to have hypertension. The multiple supplement users also better c-reactive protein levels, homocysteine (a measure of inflammation), cholesterol, and triglycerides.
8. Vegetarians and vegans
Vegetarians and vegans are often deprived of vital nutrients and can benefit from a multivitamin supplement since their food restrictions can make it harder to get the nutrients their bodies require.
9. People with a condition that depletes nutrients or digestive Issues:
Those with cancer, diabetes, and chronic gastrointestinal disorder such as colitis and pancreatitis or Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), need to take supplements as heavy medications can disrupt the process of nutrient absorption.
10. Needs above the Recommended dietary allowance (RDA):You may need supplements if you belong to the following categories or are undergoing any of the below-mentioned conditions.
- Lactating (Breast-Feeding)
- Prolonged Stress
- Chronic Disease
- Inherent Deficiency
- Environmental Pollution and Heavy Metal Toxin
- Malabsorption Disorders like Crohn’s Disease or Irritable Bowel Syndrome
- Exercise-induced Nutrient Depletion
- Alcohol Consumption
- People who have undergone surgery
- Those who are on medications
Even if your daily diet is balanced, comprising plenty of fruits and green veggies, you may still need to take a daily multivitamin supplement to bridge potential nutritional gaps. Taking supplements is a nutritional insurance policy that helps you fill in the gaps for nutrients you may not sufficiently get from your diet.
- Vitamin and Mineral Supplements: Do We Really Need Them?, Farin Kamangar and Ashkan Emadi, International Journal of Preventive Medicine, 2012, (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3309636/)
- Addressing nutritional gaps with multivitamin and mineral supplements, Elizabeth Ward, Nutrition Journal, 2014, (https://nutritionj.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1475-2891-13-72)
- Health effects of vitamin and mineral supplements, Fang Fang Zhang, The British Medical Journal, 2020, doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.m2511 ,(https://www.bmj.com/content/369/bmj.m2511)
- Usage patterns, health, and nutritional status of long-term multiple dietary supplement users: a cross-sectional study, Gladys Block, Christopher D Jensen, Edward P Norkus, Tapashi B Dalvi, Les G Wong, Jamie F McManus & Mark L Hudes, The Nutrition Journal, 2007, (https://nutritionj.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1475-2891-6-30)