Most of us feel like we need to pop a multivitamin simply because this has been drilled into us for so long. As a kid, your parents might have insisted you take a chewable multivitamin every single day. But as busy adults with a dozen things to do each day, taking a multivitamin often slips our mind. So how important are multivitamins? Do they just waste ten seconds of our day or are they an invaluable addition that can make or break our health?
Can Multivitamins Make Up For A Bad Diet?
The important thing to remember when you decide to take multivitamins is that multivitamins are essentially supplements, not substitutes. They supplement a diet by making sure you get enough vitamins, but they can’t undo the effects of a bad diet. If you live off preservative-laden frozen foods, sugary treats and deep-fried snacks, taking a multivitamin everyday isn’t going to save you from their effects. Having said that however, something is better than nothing. If your diet isn’t the best that it could be, taking multivitamins could save you from deficiencies.
But the best way to use multivitamins is as an insurance policy. If you’re maintaining an overall healthy diet, but would like to make sure you’re getting all your essential nutrients, then taking a multivitamin is a great option. Some vitamins aren’t bioavailable in the food you eat, so popping a vitamin pill could make sure that you’re getting your fill of them.
Can You Overdo It With Multivitamins?
Vitamins are essential for your body’s healthy functioning, but only in trace amounts. You know how certain supplements say they contain about 300 times your daily recommended intake of vitamin K? Most of it is just going to come out in your pee. With vitamins, more isn’t always better. In fact, if you take in more vitamins than you need, your body is just going to get rid of the excess.
Most times, taking high amounts of vitamins won’t have a harmful effect on your body since it just gets eliminated from it. However, with vitamins A and D, you might have to be a little more careful. These vitamins are fat soluble and can accumulate in your body. Too much vitamin A buildup can increase your risk for osteoporosis, while too much vitamin D can cause damage to your kidneys and blood vessels. To avoid this, always consult with your doctor before taking any supplements.
Are Food-Based Multivitamins Worth The Price?
While you wander through the supplement aisle of the drugstore, you might come across ‘food-based’ multivitamins. These multivitamins are much higher priced than regular vitamins, but are they better for you? Food-based multivitamins contain powdered vegetables, fruits and other natural compounds. Regular multivitamins, on the other hand, contain synthetic forms of these vitamins. This is not necessarily a bad thing unless you have very sensitive digestion. If regular multivitamins give you a bad tummy, then food-based multivitamins can be worth the investment. However, if you’ve never had an issue with synthetic multivitamins, then you don’t have to make the switch.
Other Supplements You Should Consider Taking
A good multivitamin is always a great option since it gives you a good mix of all your essential vitamins. There are also specific multivitamins available for different sexes and age groups. This is important because at various stages of our lives, our bodies have different needs. But apart from a basic multivitamin, here are a few additional supplements you should consider taking.
Even if you’re on a multivitamin, you might need extra vitamin D. Many people are deficient in this vitamin because they aren’t out in the sun enough. Travelling in cars, working indoors and using sunscreen all the time can hamper our body’s ability to absorb vitamin D. If your vitamin D levels are very low, supplement with a vitamin D capsule.
Fish oil capsules are important sources of omega-3 fatty acids. These healthy fats keep our brain functioning optimally and are important to keep taking as you get older. They also give you healthier hair, skin and nails.
Probiotics are an important, often overlooked, supplement that could make a huge difference to your overall health. Taking a good probiotic supplement could boost your immunity, improve your digestion and even help you lose weight.