The surprising reasons you should be taking a multivitamin

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As you go about your busy day, it's easy to forget the importance of proper nutrition and maintaining a balanced diet. While eating a variety of whole foods is the best way to get the vitamins and minerals you need, the reality is that most people fall short in some areas. Supplementing with a multivitamin can help fill in the gaps and provide nutritional insurance. New research shows that taking a multivitamin regularly may have significant benefits for both your short-term health and long-term wellbeing. Before you dismiss multivitamins as unnecessary or ineffective, consider some of the most compelling reasons you should be taking one daily. Your body and mind will thank you for the extra nutritional support.

Why getting enough vitamins and minerals matters

Getting adequate amounts of vitamins and minerals is essential for your health and well-being. Deficiencies in these micronutrients can lead to a variety of issues, some severe. Here are a few reasons why getting enough vitamins and minerals matters:

  1. They help support critical bodily functions. Vitamins and minerals are essential for everything from converting food into energy to fighting infections. A lack of nutrients impairs your body's ability to function properly.
  2. They may reduce the risk of disease. Many vitamins and minerals act as antioxidants, helping prevent cell damage. They are also essential for a healthy immune system. Not getting enough of certain nutrients like Vitamin D and calcium can increase the risk of conditions such as rickets or osteoporosis over time.
  3. They promote healthy growth and development. Vitamins and minerals are especially important for children, adolescents, and pregnant or lactating women. They are necessary for proper growth, neurological development, and avoiding birth defects.
  4. They may enhance your mood and mental well-being. Some nutrients like B vitamins, Vitamin D, and omega-3 fatty acids play a role in the production of neurotransmitters that regulate your mood and stress levels. Deficiencies in these nutrients have been linked to increased risks of depression and anxiety. We encourage you to read on our articles on depression if you have doubt on the symptoms on depression and therapy for depression.
  5. They could extend your lifespan. Some research indicates that getting adequate amounts of certain nutrients, especially antioxidants like Vitamin C and carotenoids as well as B vitamins, may help support longevity and a healthy aging process. Want to know foods that rich in vitamin B1, B3, B5, B6 and B12? read it respectively.

The depletion of nutrients in our soil and food

As our population has grown, the demand for food has skyrocketed. To meet demand, industrial agriculture techniques have depleted nutrients in our soil and food. According to recent studies, the mineral content of foods has declined significantly over the past 70-100 years.

Many essential vitamins and minerals are no longer present in adequate amounts in our diet alone. Two of the most significant nutrient depletions are:

  1. Zinc: Zinc levels in vegetables, grains, and fruits have declined by up to 81% over the past century. Zinc plays an important role in immune function, protein synthesis, and cell growth. A zinc deficiency can lead to loss of appetite, decreased sense of taste and smell, slow wound healing, and frequent illness.
  2. Magnesium: Magnesium levels have decreased up to 85% in some foods. Magnesium is involved in over 300 enzyme reactions in the body and is important for bone health, blood pressure regulation, and metabolism. A magnesium deficiency may lead to insomnia, irritability, loss of appetite, and abnormal heart rhythms. We encourage you to read this article on Magnesium: causes, symptoms and what to do.

In addition to changes in soil and industrialised farming, food processing, and overcooking further reduce vitamin and mineral content. For these reasons, a high-quality multivitamin can help ensure you get adequate amounts of essential nutrients that may be lacking in your diet.

You may also interested to read on these articles on Magnesium rich food, Zinc rich food and Vitamins to strengthen the brain and memory.


Lifestyle factors that reduce nutrient intake

Your lifestyle and daily habits can negatively impact how well you absorb essential vitamins and minerals, even with a balanced diet. Several factors contribute to reduced nutrient intake and necessitate the need for a daily multivitamin.

Chronic stress

Prolonged periods of stress can deplete your body's stores of important nutrients like vitamin C, vitamin B, and magnesium. Stress also inhibits the absorption of nutrients and can harm your digestive system and gut health. A multivitamin helps ensure you get adequate amounts of these nutrients despite stress.

Irregular meal times

Not eating at consistent times each day or skipping meals altogether makes it difficult for your body to properly absorb nutrients. Your body relies on a steady supply of nutrients to function optimally, so irregular eating patterns deprive your cells of essential vitamins and minerals. A daily multivitamin helps supplement any deficiencies from inconsistent meal times.

Certain medical conditions

Some health conditions like celiac disease, Crohn's disease, and gastric bypass surgery can inhibit your absorption and utilization of nutrients. In these cases, a multivitamin becomes particularly important to address any nutritional deficiencies. However, you should always talk to your doctor before starting any new supplement to ensure safety and appropriate dosage.

Aging

As we get older, our bodies naturally absorb and utilize nutrients less efficiently. Conditions like atrophic gastritis cause decreased stomach acid, making it harder to break down and absorb vitamin B12, calcium, zinc and other nutrients. A multivitamin tailored for adults over 50 can help supplement the nutrients we need as we age.

Several lifestyle factors and health conditions deplete our nutrient stores and impair absorption, necessitating the need for a daily multivitamin. A multivitamin helps safeguard your health by providing a nutritional foundation and supplementing for any deficiencies. However, multivitamins are not meant to replace a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle. For the best results, focus on an overall approach to wellness with good nutrition, reduced stress, regular exercise, adequate sleep, and limiting unhealthy habits.


How to know if you have a vitamin deficiency

According to health experts, many people have low levels of certain vitamins and nutrients, even with a balanced diet. The symptoms of a vitamin deficiency can often be subtle at first, but over time may become more serious if left unaddressed. Knowing the signs of common deficiencies and whether you may be at risk can help you take steps to optimize your health.

Fatigue and low energy

If you feel tired all the time despite getting enough sleep, you may have a deficiency in iron, B12, or folate. These vitamins are essential for producing red blood cells to carry oxygen throughout your body. Without them, you can become anemic and experience fatigue, shortness of breath, and pale skin. Meat, poultry, seafood, beans, and leafy greens are excellent sources of these nutrients.

Muscle weakness or bone pain

A lack of calcium, vitamin D or vitamin C can lead to muscle aches, bone pain, and an increased risk of fractures or breaks. Calcium and vitamin D work together to build and maintain strong bones. Citrus fruits, bell peppers, broccoli and strawberries provide vitamin C, while milk, yogurt, sardines and egg yolks supply calcium and vitamin D. Spending time in sunlight also helps your body produce vitamin D naturally.

Slow wound healing or frequent illness

If you find your cuts or injuries are slow to heal or you seem to catch every cold and flu that goes around, you may need more vitamin C, zinc or protein in your diet. These nutrients are essential for immune function, skin health and tissue repair. Load up on foods like oranges, bell peppers, nuts, seeds, beans, eggs, and lean meats.

Digestive issues or changes in vision

Vitamin A, vitamin B6 and vitamin B12 are important for eye health, digestion and red blood cell formation. A lack of these vitamins can lead to dry eyes, night blindness, diarrhea or constipation and pale, smooth tongue. Sweet potatoes, spinach, carrots, tuna, chicken and bananas are excellent sources.

If you experience any concerning symptoms or have additional risk factors like a restricted diet or gastrointestinal condition, talk to your doctor about whether you may benefit from a multivitamin or nutritional supplement. An easy way to help prevent deficiencies is to follow a balanced diet with a variety of foods from each food group. In many cases, making a few simple changes can help ensure you get all the vitamins and minerals you need for good health.

In summary, vitamins and minerals are vital for health, development, and wellness at all life stages. Although diet is the best source, multivitamin supplements may help address any gaps to ensure you get the essential nutrients you need each and every day.

A multivitamin is not meant to replace a balanced diet with plenty of whole foods, but it can be a convenient and affordable way to fill in nutritional gaps and give your body the fuel it needs to function at its best each day. Make sure to choose a reputable brand with adequate amounts of vitamins and minerals suited for your age and gender. You may want to read on these 2 articles on The best multivitamins for men and The best multivitamins for women.

Also, you may interested to read on these articles discussing about Vitamin D – causes, symptoms and consequences and Tables of food with vitamin D.

Author

  • Emily Z

    Bachelor of Science in Nutrition and Dietetics. Emily has years of experiences in writing articles under the scopes of her professional knowledge. She has expert knowledge of nutrition principles, including macronutrients, micronutrients, and dietary guidelines; proficient in assessing and addressing nutritional deficiencies, food allergies, and intolerances. She also has experience in developing meal plans for various health conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease, and gastrointestinal disorders. She has the ability to effectively communicate complex nutrition information in a clear and understandable manner.

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Bachelor of Science in Nutrition and Dietetics. Emily has years of experiences in writing articles under the scopes of her professional knowledge. She has expert knowledge of nutrition principles, including macronutrients, micronutrients, and dietary guidelines; proficient in assessing and addressing nutritional deficiencies, food allergies, and intolerances. She also has experience in developing meal plans for various health conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease, and gastrointestinal disorders. She has the ability to effectively communicate complex nutrition information in a clear and understandable manner.

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