What Multivitamins Are and What They Do
Do Multivitamins Actually Work? A Closer Look at How it Works?
Multivitamins are the most widely used supplements in the world.
Their popularity has increased rapidly in the last few decades.
Some people think multivitamins can improve health, compensate for poor eating habits, or decrease the risk of chronic disease.
But what is science telling about multivitamins? Do they actually work? This article is evidence-based.
What Are Multivitamins?
Multivitamins are supplements that sometimes contain a lot of vitamins, minerals, and other ingredients.
There is no real standard for what constitutes a multivitamin, and it’s nutrient composition varies by brand and product.
They have different names, including multivitamins, multiminerals, multiples, or just vitamins.
They are offered in many forms, such as tablets, capsules, chewable rubbers, powders, and liquids.
Most multivitamins must be taken once or twice a day. Be sure to read the label and follow the recommended dosage instructions.
Multivitamins can be found in pharmacies, large discount shops, supermarkets, and various online retailers.
Multivitamins are supplements with lots of vitamins and minerals. They’re available in different forms.
What do multivitamins include?
There are 13 vitamins and at least 16 minerals related to health.
Many are involved in body enzymatic reactions or work as hormones, signaling molecules or structural elements.
The body needs these nutrients for reproduction, maintenance, growth and regulation of body processes.
Multivitamins may contain many of these vitamins and minerals but in different forms and quantities. Other ingredients such as herbs, amino acids, and fatty acids can also be included.
Multivitamins may contain higher or lower nutrient levels than the label state due to the non-regulated dietary supplements.
In some cases, all of the nutrients listed may not even be included. Many cases of fraud have been reported in the supplementing sector, so it is important to buy from a reputable manufacturer.
Nutrients can also be derived from real foods or synthetically produced in laboratories in multivitamins.
In addition to vitamins and minerals, plant vitamins can contain herbs, amino acids, and fatty acids. Fraud on the label is common and the number of nutrients can vary.
Multivitamins and Heart Disease
Heart disease is the most common cause of death in the world.
Many believe that taking multivitamins can help prevent heart disease, but the evidence is unclear.
Results from observational studies on multivitamin and heart disease are mixed. Some studies found a reduced risk of heart attack and death, and others found no effects.
For over a decade, the Physicians ‘ Health Study II examined the effects of multivitamin daily use in over 14,000 male doctors.
There was no decrease in death from heart attacks or strokes.
A recent study found that for at least three years, women, but not men, have a 35% lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease in a multivitamin.
Multivitamin users have found several observational studies with a lower risk of a heart condition. Several others, however, found no link. There is a mix of evidence in general.
Multivitamins and Cancer
There is also mixed evidence behind multivitamins and cancer risk.
Some studies found no effect on cancer risk, while others linked multivitamin use to increased cancer risk.
A review examined the results of five randomized controlled trials with a total of 47,289 participants (Gold Research Standard).
They found that men’s cancer risk was 31 percent lower, but no effect on women.
Two observational studies, one on women and the other on men, linked multivitamin use over the longer term with lower colon cancer risk.
The Physicians ‘ Health Study II found that long-term, daily use of a multivitamin reduced men’s risk of cancer without a history of cancer. However, the risk of death during the period of study was not affected.
Some studies have linked multivitamin use to a reduced risk of cancer. There is no benefit to other studies, however, and some studies have even found an increased risk.
Are there any other health benefits for multivitamins?
Multivitamins have been studied for several other purposes, including brain function and eye health.
Multivitamin supplements could improve memory in older adults, have been found by several studies.
Additional supplementation can also improve mood. This makes sense because a lot of studies have found links between poor mood and lack of nutrients.
More studies have also found that multivitamin supplements can enhance the mood or decrease the symptoms of depression.
However, no mood changes have been found in other studies.
Some studies link supplementation with multivitamins to better mood and memory. In other studies, however, no mood changes were found.
Age-related macular degeneration is a world leader in blindness.
One study found that antioxidant vitamins and minerals can slow it down. There is no evidence, however, that the disease is prevented from developing first of all.
Multivitamins can also reduce the risk of cataracts, another very common eye condition.
Antioxidant vitamins and minerals may contribute to slowing the progression of blinding diseases.
Multivitamins in some cases may be harmful
More is not always better in nutrition.
While some vitamins and minerals are fine at high doses, others may be seriously harmful.
Because of their solubility, vitamins are divided into two groups:
- Water-soluble: Excess amounts of these vitamins are expelled by the body.
- Fat-soluble: The body has no easy way to get rid of these, and excess amounts may build up over long periods of time.
Examples of fat-soluble vitamins include vitamins A, D, E and K.
Vitamin E and vitamin K are rather non-toxic. However, vitamin A and vitamin D may exceed the body’s ability to store and toxic effects.
Pregnant women need to take special care of their intake of vitamin A as excess amounts are associated with birth defects.
The toxicity of vitamin D is extremely rare and unlikely due to the use of multivitamins. But toxicity to vitamin A occurs occasionally.
If you eat plenty of nutrient-dense foods and add a multivitamin, you can easily exceed the recommended daily intake of many nutrients.
Smokers should avoid multivitamins with large amounts of beta-carotene or vitamin A. It may increase the risk of lung cancer.
Minerals can also be harmful in high-dose supplementation. For example, high doses of iron could be absolutely dangerous for people who don’t need it.
Furthermore, faulty production often leads to multivitamins containing nutrients that are much larger than expected.
High doses of certain nutrients can have adverse effects, which is more likely if you take a high-powerful multivitamin in addition to a nutrient-dense diet.
Who is supposed to take a multivitamin?
There is no evidence to suggest multivitamins for everyone.
In fact, in some individuals, they are likely to cause harm.
However, some groups may benefit from the addition of vitamins and minerals to their diet.
The elderly: absorption of vitamin B12 decreases with age, and older people may need higher levels of calcium and vitamin D as well.
Vegans and vegetarians: These people are at high risk for vitamin B12 deficiency as this vitamin is found only in animal feed. Calcium, zinc, iron, vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids may also lack them.
Pregnant and breastfeeding women: these should be discussed with their doctor by pregnant and breastfeeding women. Some nutrients are needed while others (such as vitamin A) can cause large amounts of birth defects.
Others may also benefit from the use of multivitamins. This includes people who have had surgery for weight loss, are on low-calorie diets, have poor appetite or for some reason alone do not get enough nutrients from food.
Some people may need higher amounts of certain vitamins or minerals. This includes pregnant and breastfeeding women, elderly people, vegetarians, vegans, and others.
Real food is best forever
Multivitamins are not an optimal ticket for health.
In fact, there is weak and inconsistent evidence that most people are improving their health. They may even cause harm in some cases.
If you have a nutrient deficiency, then only supplementing that certain nutrient is much smarter. Multivitamins contain large amounts of everything you don’t need.
Additionally, taking a multivitamin to “settle” a poor diet is a bad idea. Eating a balanced diet of real food is far more likely to ensure good long-term health.
Wherever possible, whole, single, nutritious foods— not supplements— should meet your nutrient requirements.